Backlash by Aaron Allston is the fourth book of the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi series. This book is set primarily on one of my favorite planets in the Star Wars Galaxy- Dathomir! This wild and untamed planet is always a great place to play with Luke, Han, and the rest of the crew in a swashbuckling adventure of fun! The story begins as Luke, Ben, Han, and Leia track Vestara to Dathomir and set out into the wilds to find her. There is plenty of action and danger as a group of nightsisters try to assassinate the offworlders and disrupt the peaceful unification of the Raining Leaves and Broken Columns clans. Meanwhile, Vestara has been “adopted” into the tribe and continues to mystify Ben as he tries to figure out what she is up to.
While I loved the setting, this wasn’t my favorite book of the series. The action scenes felt blocked out and boring. The real strengths of this novel were in the investigative tension and the continued political shenanigans back on Coruscant. Moff Lecersen continues his behind the scenes efforts to assassinate the good guys, overthrow the government, and otherwise be a despicable sleemo.
One of my favorite experiences while reading in the Star Wars universe is the feeling of walking in the shoes of a Jedi. I have read better depictions of how a Jedi thinks and reacts to situations around him, the way Allston portrayed it (especially in fight scenes) was more like glorified acrobatics or some other trained skill. It didn’t consistently have the supernatural feel like I have come to connect with The Force. That isn’t to say that Allston isn’t a good Star Wars writer, some of his non-Jedi work (such as books in the X-wing series) is among the best that has ever been written in the Star Wars Extended Universe, but in this book his depiction of The Force bothered me.
I am excited to see how this series will pan out, this book ended on a great cliffhanger and it will be really cool to see the Skywalkers try to figure out a way out of their latest predicament.