Saturday, June 25, 2011

Knight Errant

That's more like it. Last night, I finished reading Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller and unlike the last Star Wars novel I read, this one was a lot of fun and, for the most part, quite satisfying.

The story centers around Kerra Holt, a Jedi from 5,000 years before the original trilogy, who is stuck in a really tight spot. She is cut off from Republic space, stuck in a sector that is controlled by various Sith Lords. She's the only Jedi, the only one capable against of taking a stand against the Dark Side. At first, she's caught up in a conflict between brothers Daiman and Odion. But soon the conflict between those two spill over, driving Kerra to the strongholds of other Sith Lords. She's the only one who seems at all concerned about the plight of those under the Siths' heels. Can Kerra do something to stop the destructive evil? Or will it finally consume her as well?

This week confirmed something that I've suspected for a while now. The Star Wars Extended Universe has pretty much exhausted the original trilogy's generation. Crosscurrent was set at the tail end of that generation. Because so many books have been written about that era, it's become so bloated and heavy that the books simply aren't as engaging anymore. But books set in the "distant past" seem to recapture the freshness and uniqueness of the Star Wars universe. For example, the idea behind this book, of one lone Jedi facing off against countless Sith Lords, completely on her own, was fascinating.

It also helps that Miller put together some great oppressive regimes. We encounter three different Sith territories as we travel with Kerra, and they're not at all alike. You'd think, given that Sith were in charge of each, that there would be the same kind of repression and oppression in each, but Miller came up with three different ways that people can be beaten down and rooted each in their lord's personalities.

The characters in this book really shine as well. Kerra is a great hero, as is Brigadier Rusher.

I don't know if we'll see more novels about Kerra Holt (I know that they're publishing comics about her exploits), but if there are, I might just be persuaded to pick them up.

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