Vortex is the sixth book of the Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi series and is easily my favorite thus far. Luke and Ben are tricked by Abeloth (who though seriously injured, was not defeated) and she escapes her prison in the Maw. Their tenuous Alliance with the Sith is falling apart and Darth Taalon falls into the pool of knowledge and is experiencing some very bizarre changes. Ben and Vestara’s relationship continues to develop on tenterhooks as she tricked Ben and almost gets Luke killed at the end of the previous novel. Happily, Ben doesn’t buy any of her crap about turning to the Dark Side (which got really old as a theme in Legacy of the Force) and I was impressed by the caliber of Jedi Knight we have in Ben Skywalker. Denning does a really great job at portraying Ben’s toughness as a young Jedi who has experienced a lot of evil in his days without completing abandoning the optimistic (and in some ways idealistic) inner core of his character.
Ben and Luke, and the Sith chase Abeloth to the Fallanasi planet in an effort to finish her off when all heck break loose. (Interestingly, and hopefully leaving a clue, this planet is one of the places where Jacen went on his sabbatical) Very cool battle scenes and some new Force abilities are explained.
Back on Coruscant, the Jedi Council is finally getting their act together even though Kenth Hamner is continuing his idiotic trend. When Saba, Kyp, and Corran discover that Kenth went behind their back to make a deal with Daala it results in an incredible showdown and my favorite battle scene of the book. The slavery uprisings continue across the galaxy, making Daala and her Mandalorian stooges look completely evil. Daala’s reputation and government is on the brink of disaster. Luckily, because the Jedi afflicted by Abeloth seem to be healed, tensions cool somewhat allowing the Jedi to finally get off their butts and send help to deal with the Sith. Jaina, Han, and Leia also lead a strike force to release Jysella and Valin Horn from their carbonite prisons.
Also, the subplot of Tahiri’s trial moved forward and I found it very interesting and well paced (having never been much of a courtroom drama person before this).
This was easily my favorite book of Fate of the Jedi so far. It felt really good having the Jedi as a whole stop being stuck in the political quagmire and get out saving the galaxy like they are supposed to. My only complaint was how pointless and detached all the slavery stuff is. Even with a very interesting journalism scene that involves the deaths of some important people I have no idea how (or if) it connects to anything going on with the general plot of the Jedi, Sith, and Galactic Alliance.
In fact, as a whole that is one of the weaknesses Fate of the Jedi itself seems to suffer from. Legacy of the Force, the X-Wing Series, New Jedi Order, and other Star Wars series’ had much clearer plot arcs and problems for the characters/groups to solve. When different items are introduced in this series it either has a surprising connection or absolutely no connection, and its impossible to tell until about three books later.
The seventh book of of Fate of the Jedi is called Conviction and it is out as of this posting, but is not immediately available to me. As I will be returning to school soon it may be difficult to get a copy of the book for some time because of library accessibility. The eighth book: Ascension comes out in a few weeks but the final book of the series will not be released until April 2012. It is likely I will read and review all three of the remaining books in the series some time next spring. As usual, there is plenty of fantastic material out there and I will continue to find and share as much as I can with you here at Book Review Rants. Until next time, keep reading!