The other day at the library, I spotted Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves and decided that since I had read the first two books in his Coruscant Nights series, I might as well cap it all off and see how everything turned out for Jedi Jax Pavan and his motley band of misfits.
It took me a little while to reacquaint myself with the characters in the book. It has been about a year and a half since I read the previous two books, so it took me a little while to recalibrate myself. But once I had, I was in the thick of it again.
Jax Pavan, one of the only survivors of Order 66, has spent several years working in the lowest levels of Coruscant, doing his best to keep going even though the Empire is hunting him. He has a bunch of things the Empire wants, from a Sith holocron to a chunk of some weird metal and a drug that boosts a person's connection to the Force. To make matters worse, he's now picked up a stray. There's an incredibly talented Force-adept loose and it's up to Jax to bring the kid to safety.
In many ways, Reaves was trying to create a sort of noir Star Wars novel. Pavan is working as a private investigator of sorts. There's all sorts of plots and counterplots, some hard-boiled romance and the like. His writing is fine and evocative. I think he did a decent job overall. But there were a number of places where the book fell down.
For one thing, Reaves stitched up the endings of the both this book and the overall series in the last twenty pages or so. All at once, things are done and wrapped up neatly. It didn't strike me as all that well done.
And for another, Reaves cannot capture the voice of Darth Vader for anything. It's awful. He has Darth Vader laughing. LAUGHING! I'm sorry, but the Dark Lord of the Sith should not laugh. I can't think of a moment where he even came close in any of the movies. Every time Vader spoke in this book, I winced because it didn't ring true.
This isn't a problem that only Reaves has to contend with. I've yet to see anyone capture Darth Vader's voice well, so I'd suggest that all future Star Wars authors adhere to a strict moratorium on Vader. If he shows up, he's got laryngitis. I mean, dude was burned by lava, right? He's gotta have off days with his vocal chords.
So overall, it was a decent book. Nothing spectacular, but then, I didn't expect it to be. Just some good "junk food" fiction.