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Star by Star by Troy Denning
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I still don't know why Luke Skywalker was so opposed to Jedi taking action in the earlier New Jedi Order books, and thus why he suddenly decides it's okay to take action here isn't really explicable. But, I'm glad he does because though it isn't quite as good as Conquest, Star by Star is the book that really kicks the New Jedi Order up a notch. While Luke, Leia, Han, and company try to do what they can as the Yuuzhan Vong advance on Coruscant, Anakin Solo leads a team of Jedi apprentices on a strike team to destroy the voxyn queen, the "mother" of Force-sensitive, Jedi-hunting creatures starting to plague the galaxy. Unlike the ponderous space strategy of the earlier books, this is really effective.

It's a little different for Star Wars, but it works. Denning brings concepts into Star Wars that are new but work with what we've seen before. The Jedi shadow bombs are a clever idea, but I love the Jedi battle meld, which is used to co-ordinate the actions of the strike team, but also to really make that strike team come to life as characters: this is a group of desperate people, pushed to their limits, and it's utterly engrossing to read about. Anakin Solo was brought to life by Conquest, and Denning really sustains that development here, plus lifting up Jacen and Jaina for the first time in the series. Meanwhile, Leia and Han's adventures on Coruscant are the danger-a-minute escapes you'd expect from them; other than the strike team, these are the best segments of the book-- you can see why Denning went on to write Tatooine Ghost, as he gets these characters perfectly. There are even nice parts for Lando and C-3PO! Heck, he's even the first NJO writer to treat Borsk Fel'lya as a genuine character, and not just an improbable obstacle for our heroes.

Famously, this is the book that kills Anakin Solo. Though I'm disappointed it had to happen given how much Del Rey mishandled the Solo kids in the years to come, the death scene itself is incredibly well done, and it's the right choice for both the book and the series. Anakin consumed by the Force as he dies to save his teammates-- it's marvelous. And then... that scene where Leia and Han find out... you can feel their grief, I got shivers just from reading it. How utterly devastating. This is the emotional low point of The New Jedi Order, this is its The Empire Strikes Back, and it promises that nothing will ever be the same again...

The New Jedi Order: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Aug 22, 2014 |
As the brutal Yuuzhan Vong war continues, the Vong launch a new threat. A threat so horrid, that it seems as though they may finally have the best of the New Jedi Order. They reveal to have launched a new savage beast that is capable of locating and taking out Jedi Knights. How can a Jedi manage to avoid such a beast and avoid falling to the dark side? The skillful Troy Denning is at it again with another brilliant Del Rey novel, Star Wars: Star by Star. Part of the New Jedi Order series this novel is by far a good read with nearly 630 pages all filled with adventure and skillfully-well thought out planning. ( )
  Wuher | Jul 17, 2013 |
In my opinion the best-written NJO book in the series so far, and also longer and more in depth. Star by Star is an important installment in that it is a turning point of the series.

This book focuses on the tale of the Myrkr strike team, the group of young Jedi led by Apprentice Anakin Solo, who infiltrated the Yuuzhan Vong in order to destroy the voxyn queen. While scores of Jedi and New Republic characters have already died over the course of the Yuuzhan Vong war, there's something a lot darker about Star by Star than any of the other books. Perhaps it is because of the detailed deaths of so many Jedi -- young Jedi -- including that of Anakin Solo. ( )
  stefferoo | Mar 5, 2013 |
I'll be giving away a major plot point at some point in this review. Fair warning.

I wasn't terribly crazy about this book. The action comes fast and furious, which can be a good thing, but I didn't feel like Denning did a good job at all of making it clear exactly what was happening most of the time. This resulted in me skimming through most of the action sequences to get to the resolution.

And then there's the death of Anakin Solo. Now, I have no particular problem with killing off major characters. This whole series is one long war story, and obviously, in war, people die. I'm glad there's at least an attempt to reflect that. I just think it was a bizarre choice to kill off the closest thing the Star Wars universe has had to a dynamic character in a long time. And that aside, the manner of his death was ridiculous. OK, he was drawing on the Force to overcome the pain from his wounds so he could go down fighting and give the rest of his team a chance to survive. All that, cool. I'm down. But in doing so he's actually being consumed by the Force, to the point where his body is glowing? That's just dumb.

On the other hand, I did like what Denning did with Jacen's character throughout this novel, actually giving him some subtlety for once. Jacen suppresses the whining that has been prevalent throughout the series and actually just does what needs to be done, for the most part. The way that affects him makes him kind of interesting rather than just irritating. I'm sure the irritating will be back soon, but it was nice to have a break from it. ( )
  jonwwil | Aug 9, 2010 |
Denning keeps up the suspense by separating two large groups of Jedi into two separate, critical missions and alternating viewpoints. The overall tale of the Yuuzhan Vong war continues, with new developments of tactics and R&D on each side and a major strategic shift at the end. I do wish Denning had been able to make more of the minor characters distinctive; there were times when I was referring back to the dramatis personae listing at the beginning to try to remember who was which and not finding them. ( )
  slothman | Nov 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345428676, Mass Market Paperback)

The New York Times bestselling Star Wars series The New Jedi Order enthralls readers with its epic drama and thrilling adventure. Now readers will pierce the very heart of darkness. . . .

It is a solemn time for the New Republic, as the merciless Yuuzhan Vong continue their campaign of destruction. The brutal enemy has unleashed a savage creature capable of finding—and killing—Jedi Knights. And now Leia Organa Solo faces a terrible ultimatum. If the location of the secret Jedi base is not revealed within one week, the Yuuzhan Vong will blast millions of refugee ships into oblivion.

As the battered but still unbroken Jedi scramble to deal with the newest onslaught, Leia’s son Anakin lays out a daring plan. He will lead a Jedi strike force into the heart of enemy territory in order to sabotage the Yuuzhan Vong’s deadliest weapons. There, with his brother and sister at his side, he will come face-to-face with his destiny—as the New Republic, still fighting the good fight, will come face-to-face with theirs. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:36 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"It is a solemn time for the New Republic, as the merciless Yuuzhan Vong continue their ruthless campaign of terror and destruction. The brutal enemy has unleashed a savage creature capable of finding - and killing - Jedi Knights. And now Leia Organa Solo faces a terrible ultimatum from the mighty alien foe determined to conquer the galaxy. If the location of the secret Jedi base is not revealed within one week, the Yuuzhan Vong will blast millions of refugee ships into oblivion." "As the battered but still unbroken Jedi scramble to deal with the newest onslaught, Leia's son Anakin lays out a daring plan. A Jedi strike force will allow itself to be "captured" by the Yuuzhan Vong and taken to their stronghold in the realm of darkness, where the Jedi will sabotage the evil empire's deadliest weapons. The leaders of the force are the three Solo siblings. The risks are tremendous. Can the Jedi fight a ruthless enemy without becoming ruthless themselves and falling victim to the dark side?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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