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Betrayal by Aaron Allston
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My Review: 6 - Worth Reading, with Reservations

Reservation #1: if you haven't been keeping up with the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe novels, this is, by far, one of the worst places you can jump aboard. While there is some merit in believing that every story set in a franchise should be friendly to newbies, the thing with the Star Wars Expanded Universe is that it's grown so large, with so many important characters that have nothing to do with the movies, that if you pick up this book just wanting to get the further adventures of Han, Luke, and Leia, you are going to be sorely disappointed.

If you are caught up, like I was, you may still be disappointed. This book is… strange. I was accidentally, then on purpose, spoiled for the MAJOR EVENTS that happen in this Legacy of the Force series, so I read this book with a kind of dread, but also with a kind of expectation: I wanted to see just how on Earth the writers were going to pull this off. Betrayal reveals to the readers the FIRST MAJOR EVENT. Which, if you've been reading the books in publication order, shouldn't come as any surprise: it was pretty clear where a particular character was heading after the Dark Nest Trilogy, but still: it's tough, especially when you've been reading this series as long as I have.

Aaron Allston, for his part, does the best he can: there are great moments in this book: fantastic characterizations of fan-favorites like Wedge Antilles, and introductions to promising new characters like his daughter. Allston's trademark humor, while not in full-force, does permeate the book and provide some much needed levity. And the action of the story starts up quick and doesn't let up until halfway through the book, wherein Allston allows the readers and the characters to stop and catch their breath before plunging headfirst into the rest of the action. There's a lot to digest in this book, and I'm torn between thinking that this was the right approach, that we needed to get through this stuff and quickly as possible, and thinking that perhaps the EU powers-that-be could've taken a little more time with it and given the readers a chance to really swallow the Civil War that's brewing. Because it is a tough book to swallow: both the events that are rattling characters' lives and the changes those events wrought in them. If there's anything to walk away from in this book, it's that theme of change, of transformation. It's a fascinating theme, but it's also a very, very painful one.

There's some good stuff in this novel. There's some stuff that I'm not wholly convinced about, so the rest of the series will have to do its best to convince me. However, I don't recommend reading this if you aren't already through the New Jedi Order and the Dark Nest Trilogy, and even that's the bare minimum for you fully appreciate the events of this book. If you've already read this, though, I'd love to hear your thoughts (just don't spoil me, because even though I know the MAJOR EVENTS, I'd like the little things to be a surprise). ( )
  devilwrites | Mar 20, 2013 |
I loved the star wars films. From the first time I saw them they were my three favourite films. Then they made three more! Six fantastic movies (let's pretend Episode III was as good as the others). But then I discovered the Expanded Universe, and that's what really makes star wars. I know that there are many people, some in my own family, who reject the expanded universe as not being "proper Star Wars". This isn't true. According to Aaron Allston's website, not just anyone can write a star wars novel. They are approached and asked if they would write a novel, and their ideas are closely scrutinised by LucasBooks to ensure they work with the star wars universe. The people who MADE "Proper Star Wars" approve them. Not sure if George Lucas reads them, he's probably too busy with the expanded universe TV series he's reportedly planning. I wonder if they'll be considered "proper star wars"?

Either way, whether you like the idea of the expanded universe or not, it exists, and utilises many famous and/or well-talented authors. Aaron Allston is one of them. This first book in the Legacy of the Force series is a fantastic introduction to a series, and a highly addictive novel. I won't call it a page-turner as I listened to the audiobook (more on that later), but whatever the equivalent is, this book has it.

The story has a basic premise of one government (Corellia - Han Solo's home planet) causing problems for a joint-government by not following the rules. The Jedi, as a peace-keeping force, get involved (Yes! Lightsabers!) and inevitably the dark side is discovered to be involved. The story is mainly about Jacen Solo and his investigations into the dark side presence, but Han and Leia allow Allston to add political intrigue into the book, and Luke and Jaina Solo get some X-Wing action as well. It's Han and Leia's involvement that I really enjoyed in the book though. As good as the dark side and space battles are, the politics is written expertly.

Han Solo, caught between supporting his homeworld and the Galactic Alliance, is written beautifully, as is Leia, as they weave through the plotting and intrigue of beauracracy between the warring opponents. The political situation is a s realistic as if it were being broadcast on television in reality, but on a larger scale. I find that the best books, Sci-fi or fantasy are those that have well written politics, which is something that even the original six stories lack (It IS kind of the backdrop of episodes II and III, but they're mainly about killing the bad guys).

I am reviewing this from an Audiobook version of the novel. I'm not sure that this makes it a fair review in comparison to my others or not. But I don't intend to do it again. That's not to say the audiobook was bad! In fact, there were some very distinct advantages to the audiobook. The Star Wars theme at the beginning is obvious, and gets you into the right mood. The woman who says where the chapter is set is amazing (I will forever read "Coronet, Corellia" in her voice), and the hum of lightsabers is fantastic. There are so many elements that the audiobook has that the book doesn't. Including music. It's not always there, but hearing the expertly chosen music as Jacen encounters the Sith, for example, throws the experience of the expanded universe into a completely new dimension.

But there is one disadvantage to this format. I read at a rate of roughly 130 pages per hour, if I enjoy what I'm reading. That would be between two and three hours to read the book. The Audiobook was 6 and a half hours long. And it was a shortened version. The latter is why I won't use audiobooks much in future. They miss things out. Probably unimportant things, but the principle is still there.

This is a fantastic story. Some knowledge of the Expanded Universe would be useful, but not necessary (If you don't know who Jacen and Jaina are for example, it soon becomes apparent). Knowledge, however small, of the original star wars trilogy is essential (If you don't know who Han Solo is, Watch the films! - and this is the one occasion I would recommend the films over the books).

But I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the films, It's one of the best Expanded Universe books that I've read, and while I wouldn't suggest it as an introduction to the expanded universe (A few stand-alone novels would be better), it wouldn't be out of place on any Sci-fi/fantasy lovers bookshelf. I don't know whether to recommend the audiobook or the written novel as the sound-effects add a lot to the story, but takes more time. For a slower reader, get the audio book. It's incredible. For the fast reader, get the book. Medium reader? Get both! In any case - get this book!

Wishful Thinking: Maybe the e-book format will soon allow the woman to say "Coronet, Corellia" when you start that chapter... ( )
  AdamBourke | Dec 16, 2010 |
It’s been a little over a decade since the end of the Yuuzhan Vong war, which seems to be enough time for galactic politics to break down into squabbling, and Corellia is making noises about getting out from under the Galactic Alliance. A rift between Corellia and the Galactic Alliance tugs at the loyalties of Corellian heroes— like Han Solo and Wedge Antilles— and their families. We get full-scale military confrontations, attempts at diplomatic rapprochement, and behind-the-scenes manipulations from a mysterious wielder of the Force that will set Luke Skywalker and Jacen Solo at odds.

The tale includes an intriguing take on the Sith; I’m curious as to how that will unfold. ( )
  slothman | Jul 1, 2009 |
Set 40 years after Star Wars, this is the fist book in a new 9 book series.

Legacy of the Force sees the 2 great Star Wars families seperated by an impending civil war and the rise of a new dark power.

You get exactly what you expect in these books, all your favourite characters (and their kids) make an appearance, Jedi, lightsabre duels, space battles and non stop action.

Exciting stuff. ( )
  Lucien21 | Apr 30, 2009 |
I have come back to my Star Wars books after a long hiatus. I never even got to finish the New Jedi Order series because things always go in the way. So, with the release of newest Star Wars book, Outcast, I thought I should read the series just before that book. Now, I am a Star Wars geek. I can tell which version of the movies I'm watching when other can't. I have four lightsabers. But most importantly for this review, I always try to get the first editon first printing of every book that comes out, whether I read it or not the minute I get home. So, I already know what the outcome of the whole "Leagcy of the Force" series will be.

But, in a way, Star Wars has always been like that, as soon as a trilogy or a series is over it enters the collective unconscious and everyone knows what it is about and the enjoyment is experiencing how the characters come to that end point. That's what I was looking for when I started this book. In that regards, it was a good book. Nothing amazing and nothing like the older books of Bantam Spectra books when you had Kevin J. Anderson, Timothy Zahn, and Michael Stackpole creating a good portion of the universe and tales that introduce us to it. But it was easy to pick up and read from cover to cover.

Aaron Allston isn't one of my favorite Star Wars writers, or just writers in general. He can get the job done, but it feels lacking when you read it. One of his problems is that he looses his rhythm when he writes. For most of the book, we are switching back and forth between parallel scenes and instead of increasing the tension, it diffuses it. There are two large engagements that just felt so drawn out because we were bobbing from scene to scene that there was no real build up to anything. Also, he doesn't give his characters the credit they deserve, part of it is how he writes, the other parts I can't say if they are his fault or that of the people who brainstormed the idea of the series. But the main character through the whole series is Jacen Solo, son of Han and Leia. Supposedly he is in his thirties now, and is a Jedi Knight, yet he seemed more like a teenager than he did in the "Young Jedi Knight" series.

I think the part that is hard, for me as a writer, is the ending. First there was no real rising action to a climax and then resolution, it just drifted to an end point that didn't even seem like an end point. I could have seen it end a little before or go on to an other chapter, but i got a bit of the feeling i had when i read the end of the last harry potter and it didn't quite end either. At least there wasn't a warp jump to some point in the future in this book.

The best way I can think of this book was it was true to legacy lucas left when he did the prequel trilogy, interesting and fun story, just not executed well in a final form. ( )
  WDPrescott | Apr 8, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345477359, Mass Market Paperback)

“[Betrayal] blasts off a new string of adventures starring beloved Star Wars familiars . . . this new installment should please Star Wars fans.”
–Publishers Weekly

Honor and duty collide with friendship and blood ties as the Skywalker and Solo clans find themselves on opposing sides of an explosive conflict.

When a mission to uncover an illegal missile factory on the planet Adumar ends in a violent ambush–from which Jedi Knight Jacen Solo and his protégé and cousin, Ben Skywalker, narrowly escape with their lives–it’s the most alarming evidence yet that political unrest is threatening to ignite into total rebellion. The specter of full-scale war looms between a growing cadre of defiant planets and the Galactic Alliance that some fear is becoming a new Empire.

Determined to root out those behind the mayhem, Jacen follows a trail of cryptic clues to a rendezvous with the most shocking of revelations. Meanwhile Luke grapples with something even more troubling: dream visions of a shadowy figure whose Force power and ruthlessness remind him of Darth Vader. If Luke’s visions come to pass, they will bring untold pain to the Jedi Master . . . and to the galaxy.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker are ambushed and uncover evidence that a rebellion is brewing.

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