****edit**** I swapped out the original pic I posted for this review (you can find it here in it's WIP place [link]
). I wanted a pic that more suited the book. I thought about having a spoiler warning for this pic, but then it doesn't really reveal anything the cover doesn't. I also wanted to try something a little more artsy (and not in that Episode II we-don't-want-to-choreograph-the-Anakin-Dooku-lightsaber-duel kinda way
). I only have the base colored fill in, but with all the black and shadow I don't think adding the contrast to the colors will make much difference.
And this review is full of spoilers; BEWARE.
Review: ***SPOILER WARNING***
I really enjoyed this book. First of all it has to be the very first Jaina-centric book they've ever come out with (I don't count "Dark Journey" since it only tried to be a "Jaina" book and made such a big deal about her going dark but then really did nothing to pay it off, it's what I call a story without a climax). And this was probably the only book in the whole Legacy series that had more good than bad. Of course it helps that most of the annoyances were in the previous books to set up this one.
The first thing I have to mention is that this book undid alot of the Jedi bashing done in "Revelation", and thankfully Jaina and Luke were no longer just standing there passively while the Mandos and other characters lectured them about how the Jedi are the cause of all that is wrong in the galaxy. And Boba Fett and the Mandolorians were finally portrayed in a more believable fashion, probably due to the fact that this is the only non-Traviss book they're in.
And I really like how Luke was portrayed in this book. Yeah, he is still over-powered but at least they had him in a more "Yoda" role, readying a younger Jedi to take on the mission he himself could have accomplished in each of the previous 3 books
. But at least they came up with a plausible arguement why he couldn't be the one to kill Jacen, but I wish that Jaina hadn't had so much help during her first duel with Jacen, Luke giving her the boost in the Force and projecting his image over her to throw Jacen off balance. It kinda diminishes Jaina as the Sword of the Jedi. But since this was only their first duel and it happened barely halfway through the book it didn't have to be a "normal" duel.
Which brings up the point that this was a very short book. It didn't seem as abridged as Denning's "Inferno" did, but it would have been nice to see some characters and scenes fleshed out a bit, alot of the action not focusing on Jaina, Jacen, and Ben happens off screen. But the story did move along at a nice pace.
And Caedus is finally the big bad this series has been boasting he was. Where was this Caedus 5 books ago!? The shatterpoint was a nice touch, it's a better feat than being able to use the Force to deflect laser bolts (which I will always think of as being as dumb a superpower as Superman's freeze breath
). Too bad we get this Caedus in the final book of the series (not to mention his life
). But why teach Jaina this technique if she's not even going to use it?
Another first, Tahiri was presented as a credible (if conflicted) apprentice, dispite the poor set up of her becoming a Sith in the previous books, but much like Anakin and Padme's unconvincingly "falling in love" in Episode II, we get the payoff in a following "episode"
. And I love the fact that it was Ben who was the one to deal with her. And while I liked their free-falling part of their duel, the battle was much too brief and Tahiri had practically given up before it had started, so it didn't have much impact when Tahiri was "redeemed".
Dispite all the back up Jaina had in this story she was thankfully allowed to be on her own most of the time, epsecially during the final part of the book when she boarded the Anakin Solo. Zek's "dying" (maybe) was a good thing for her, not in I didn't care for his character kinda way, but that it allowed her to "stand alone".
And that brings us to the final confrontation with Caedus. I knew it was too much to hope that Jaina and Jacen would come face to face with each other, maybe exchange some words, ignite lightsabers and try to kill each other. I mean, it's only how every lightsaber duel in every movie began
Instead, we have Jacen literally running into Jaina's lightsaber before the fight even begins
Okay, she's not getting a power boost from Luke this time, but how much of an advantage does she need?! He's already missing an arm! But other than that the fight was pretty good, but I keep wondering why these authors never try to make a "normal" duel. So one of the few nitpicks in this book. Another thing that bugged me was the quick ending. There was no follow up with Ben and/or Luke, Tahiri, Tenel Kal in regards to Jacen's death (but then they probably couldn't do that without revealing the "surprise" at the end). And the convenient way that the war ended and piece was issued throughout the galaxy. Just seemed a little to easy. But then with the very unconvincing way the war began in the first place, it somehow fits this series
So Jaina finally gets to be the hero, unfortunately, it is in what is probably one of the weakest storylines of the EU novels. While there was a lot to enjoy in this series the bad (more like annoying) far outweighed the good, and tragically we lost the lives of serveral major characters, some of which deserved much better than they got in this series; specifically Mara.
Grading the series as a whole I would have to give it a 5 out 10. "Invincible" was arguably the best book in the series if for no other reason that most of the bad choices and mistakes by the authors were done in the previous 8 books.
In closing . . .
Since this wasn't an "Infinities" story, Mara, Jacen, and Palleon will remain dead, I am glad that Allana is still alive. And I dearly hope that Jaina isn't sent to the background once again and that she and Ben are featured more. Well, Ben never really had a shortage of spotlight, he got more of it in this series than Jaina has in all the books she's appeared in, but here's hoping the torch has finally been passed to the next Skywalker/Solo generation.
Ratings of Individual books:
Invincible - 8
Betrayal - 7
Inferno - 7
Fury - 7
Exile - 6
Tempest - 6
Bloodlines - 5
Revelation - 5
Sacrifice - (currently reading)