The old Jedi order died with the Old Republic. Then there was Luke, and only Luke, and a lot of fumbling to re-create the Jedi from what little he knew of them. He did the best he could, and he made mistakes. I was one of them. His generation of Jedi was put together like a rickety space scow, but something new has emerged. It’s not the old Jedi order, nor should it be.
We, Jaina, are the new Jedi order, and this is our war.
-Kyp Durron, Jedi Knight
While the last book was an Anakin Solo showcase, this one is more of an ensemble. The entire Solo clan, the Skywalkers, and even Threepio get time in Rebirth.
On one front, Anakin and Tahiri return to the location of the rest of the Jedi students, on Booster Terrik’s Errant Venture. Anakin is learning to fight without using the Force, in an effort to deal with foes who still mysteriously exist outside the Force. However, when Corran Horn asks for his help on a simple supply run, Anakin jumps at the chance-as does Tahiri, who’s coming to terms with what was done to her by the Yuuzhan Vong. To nobody’s surprise (at least on the reader’s end), it’s never that easy.
Luke and Mara spend time beginning to take a more active role, setting up safehouses (or safeworlds, really) for the Jedi, in a response to the hunting of Jedi; of course, it might also have something to do with the fact that Chief of State Fey’lya has ordered Luke and Mara’s arrest. Luke also decides to try to contact Kyp Durron, in an attempt to get some clue what he’s up to, and he sends Jaina Solo (still on a leave of absence from Rogue Squadron) to do it. She tracks him down at the broken world of Sernpidal, where the Jedi Knight has discovered something very, very unpleasant.
Han and Leia, with Jacen and Threepio, are also working on gathering supplies; I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but I want to say that Han and Leia are in rare form, and while Jacen seems to backslide into his moral morass, he doesn’t wallow in it as much as in previous books.
And on the other side, the Vong Nen Yim is attempting to find a way to heal a dying world-ship, and isn’t afraid of using what the Vong consider heretical means to do so….
I can’t help but wonder why Greg Keyes named this book Rebirth; for that matter, after having read this book and the previous one, I can’t figure out why this pair of books were labelled as “Edge of Victory”. Things aren’t that close to resolution for one side or another. Still, there was at least a fair amount of movement on the greater war; and two subplots are wrapped up in a permanent manner. One subplot, the continuing fragmentation of the Jedi, seems to be speeding up with Luke’s actions. Kyp, on the other hand, seems to me to be inching his way to the Dark Side; to be honest, while some of Kyp’s ideas are dead on, his methods are definitely questionable for a Jedi Knight. If this is a subplot by the Star Wars authors to create a credible Dark Jedi, then I have to admit they’re doing a great job of it-why should a Jedi fall in the span of a simple trilogy? (okay, Darth Vader is an exception!)
The Vong also get a bit more depth, continuing to explore the role of the Shapers, and a bit more of the politics/religion that permeate the Yuuzhan Vong. Events seem to be occurring behind the scenes which should have an impact in the ongoing saga; it remains to be seen just how much of an impact. We also get a little more info on the reasons why the Vong act as they do, and see the impact that the Jedi have made on some elements of the invaders.
Things are looking like they’re beginning to escalate further, and Rebirth does a good job in getting all the players in place, and it closes with a couple of surprises (some good, some not-so-good). While the stated theme of the latest books seems a bit off, Rebirth is still a pretty good read, especially for the fans of the original heroes like me!