Posts Tagged With: Walter Jon Williams

Destiny’s Way, by Walter Jon Williams

destinyswayYou don’t know my students.  You don’t know how impulsive and reckless they are.  Don’t judge them all by Jacen.  Kyp Durron killed millions.
And this was your responsibility.
The situation was complex.  I was paralyzed, and Kyp was under the control of-
You mean to say that it was not your responsibility.
I could have been more aware of the situation.  There’s so much I could have done-
So it is your responsibility.
The next time it will be!  The next time one of my students is swept away on a dark whirlwind and catastrophe results, it will be my fault!
Of course it would not be your fault.  You are a Jedi Master, not a nursemaid!
-Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master of the New Republic, and Vergere, Jedi Knight of the Old Republic


Up to now, the New Republic has been on the ropes.  The invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong has steadily pushed into the core worlds, capturing the world of Coruscant and transforming it into a new homeworld, Yuuzhan’tar; the government is fragmented, with some looking for personal power, and others looking to reforge the Republic into something strong enough to withstand the Vong.  The Jedi have taken hits, with Jaina Solo having skipped waaay too close to the Dark Side of the Force, and Jacen Solo in the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong, and Anakin Solo becoming a casualty of war.

But Jaina’s managed to pull back from the darkness, although not fully healed in the spirit; and Jacen has endured torment beyond anything he had ever known, and escaped the Yuuzhan Vong along with the enigmatic Vergere.  The government has regrouped at Mon Calamari.  And in Destiny’s Way, things begin to reverse dramatically.

There’s a lot happening in this book.  There’s a couple of big events that happen here, though.  First and foremost, we have the return of Jacen Solo to the Republic.  That in itself is a pretty important morale booster, especially to the Solo family.  Even more importantly, however, is the fact that he’s accompanied by Vergere.  Vergere certainly plays a significant part in Destiny’s Way; we find out what actually went on with her waaay back in the novel Rogue Planet (a book I never really got around to reviewing).  But the real gem in this plotline is the conversations between Vergere and Luke.  Ever since it became apparent that Vergere was a Jedi from the Old Republic, I’ve been looking forward to a face-to-face comparison between (to borrow a phrase) two different points of view.  There was just so much good stuff there, I had a hard time picking out an opening quote for my review!  And Vergere still feels that Jacen has an important role to play, although the true nature of that role is still up in the air.

This is not to say, however, that the book is all about Jacen and Vergere; Han and Leia go on a trip to the Imperial Remnant, hoping to get a hold of some maps and perhaps more concrete help against the Vong.  Han manages to make a few points debating a couple of Imperials, especially during a conversation about how the old Empire would have handled the Vong.  Jaina, on another front, tries to ambush the Supreme Overlord Shimrra…with mixed results.  (Actually, I rather liked the inclusion of the character Keyan Farlander; you gotta be an old computer game aficionado to appreciate it!)  Jaina seems to be reverting, however; not exactly to the Dark Side, but maybe the Bleak Side.  That may be a pretty reasonable attitude, though, when one looks at the odds.

And on Mon Calamari, politics draws in Luke and Mara, as they become involved with the selection of a new Chief of State, and the establishment of a body long overdue.  And the Jedi aren’t the only ones involved; two of the more shady characters in the Star Wars universe get involved as well.  But the end results set up a new status quo between the Jedi Knights and the New Republic.  The introduction of a pair of Councilors shows the divisions in the Republic government:  Fyor Rodan has very firm opinions as to what role the Jedi should play; and Cal Omas is probably the most right-headed politician I’ve seen in the Republic (he makes a marvelous point concerning the question of Luke and concerns about his gaining too much power).  Meanwhile, a pair of events on Mon Calamari demonstrate that the end of the war may come with greater speed than expected; one features the return of the Rebellion’s greatest strategic mind, and another features a weapon that may have horrifying results.

The Yuuzhan Vong are not neglected, however; the work on Yuuzhan’tar goes…hm.  At least as well as can be expected, given the events in Traitor.  We get some insight on Shimrra (and I haven’t quite figured out for certain his relationship with what I can only term as his fool).  Nom Anor and Tsavong Lah are put on notice-the next failure of one will be the last for both.  And the subplot about Nen Yim advances a bit, as the Vong begin to come to terms with one of their most significant problems in the way of their conquests; it certainly can’t be good news for Nen Yim, even if her work succeeds.

There is a lot going on in this book, and it is to Williams’s credit that it seemed to flow as smoothly as it did (I haven’t read too much of his novels, but I was a big fan of his Wild Cards work).  As I mentioned earlier, the real standout parts of the book was the Vergere/Luke conversations, but really, the Jedi Knights and their role in the war is re-evaluated, and I’m pretty happy with how that looks so far.  However, there is a can of worms opened up in this book as well, that I’m not entirely sure is a good idea….  Related to that can is a character Dif Scaur, who seems like a fairly ruthless individual; problem is, he’s working with the Republic.  He’s a character to watch….  And of course, we get to see the continuing evolution of tactics used by both the Yuuzhan Vong and the Republic military.

Unlike Star By Star, I can’t even begin to guess what the next steps in the New Jedi Order are; but in Destiny’s Way, as quoted by two characters who are diametrically opposed to each other, it’s the turning point.  And I think they’re both right.  This was an enjoyable book, with many good moments; and for a change, things don’t look quite so bleak for our heroes.  Given that I’d worried in earlier reviews that the New Jedi Order storyline might be painting themselves into a corner, that’s a pretty significant feat.

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