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Monday, July 28, 2008


Originally was planning to post as read through Invincible. As had suspicions and ponderings, was planning on posting them, so that the revelations of the book would be an interactive process. A few chapters per post. Unfortunately, was prevented from blogging for a few days, and meanwhile completed the novel. So this post will just be a synopsis of what happening in the story, and opinions on this last in the Legacy of the Force series. Suffice to type, there will be SPOILERS.


A massive disappointment. A MASSIVE disappointment.

Only Jacen Solo (and Isolder) died.

What happened to the great drama of Jacen and Jaina fighting each other to the death in an act of mutual gemicide? (Was intending to use that term, to describe the killing of a twin, to start off the blog posts on this novel--akin to how the title crawl of Revenge of the Sith starts with 'war'.) They were born together, grew up together, and died together. There would also be an opposite parallel with the births of Han Solo and Leia Organa Solo's children. Anakin Solo died first, following years later by Jacen Solo, then Jaina Solo, in rapid succession, to counter Jaina being born first, followed closely by Jacen, and a couple of years later by Anakin. Jacen's (and should have been Jaina's) death was fitting taking place in the ANAKIN SOLO, the Star Destroyer named in remembrance of their slain brother. Still, the situation would have been more dramatic if Jacen and Jaina died in the ANAKIN SOLO, which in turn was destroyed in the battle at Shedu Maad. Thus, Han and Leia would see their twins and a ship named for their last child all die in almost a single blow. Though would personally have rather had the fight and dual gemicide occur on Coruscant, Jaina and Jacen's native and home world. They were born there, and they could have died there.

But there was so much potential in this novel. This could have been the end of the Skywalker-Solo dynasty. Allana (Jacen's child; Han and Leia's grandchild) should have been killed by the nanokiller. Tahiri should have triggered the baradium bomb and killed herself and Ben Skywalker.

There was some speculation that this book could have contained the deaths of the main characters. Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa Solo, Han Solo, and even C-3P0 and R2-D2, are getting too old. The New Jedi Order series failed to make a transition from them to the next generation. More on that below.

Faced with the death of his son, and the mutual assassinations of his niece and nephew (granted, nephew that murdered his spouse), Luke could have died in a manner similar to his mother. Leia and Han (and even the droids) could have died if Han got them killed fighting in the Millennium Falcon during the battle, especially if learning of the death of all his children led his to a foolish action which got them killed.

In contrast, Zekk should not have been killed--or declared missing.

Which answers some of these questions of why the deaths were so limited: this novel kowtows to the 'illustrated novels' set around a hundred years later. Ben survives so that his line can lead to Cade Skywalker. And Jaina survives to marry Jagged Fel?

Which is infuriating. Jaina was supposed to hitch up with Zekk, not Jagged. That was set in the Young Jedi Knights series. Tenel Ka was able to beat out that skank, Danni Quee, but Zekk was unable to compete with douchebag Jagged Fel?

Which brings up another thing. Potentially the single area in which Star Trek surpasses Star Wars: to be big in Star Wars, you need either a pedigree or pre-introduction credentials; Star Trek gives more chance of advancement to the 'common man.' (The X-Wing series is an exception.)

A street urchin without a last name can't trump the child of Baron Soontir Fel and Syal Antilles, and the nephew of Wedge Antilles. And a Hapan princess was able to beat out some ordinary astroxenobiologist. Jacen and Jaina were set up to marry a princess and a street urchin, because their mother and father were a princess and a street urchin. But nooooo, Jagged Fel was thrust upon readers. Ugh.

Novel canon supersedes cartoon canon. Jaina and Ben should have been killed. And Jagged, too--why not?

The chapter setup is similar to the other novels in the series and the novelization of Revenge of the Sith. Instead of somber or factual koans or information, each chapter is begun with a quoted joke by Jacen when he was 14 or 15 years of age.

This is fairly effective. 'Devout' Star Wars readers will take note of how Jacen has fallen. He was once full of kindness and friendliness. Also notable is that as with Jacen, all the jokes can be warped from good to have a sinister connotation.

There are also scenes interspersed through the novel recounting situations detailing the 'twin-bond' between Jaina and Jacen.

Yet, especially if Jaina died too, this could have been more effective and inclusive.

Avid readers were there when Jaina and Jacen were in utero. They were there when the twins were born, when they arrived at Coruscant from their nursery on Anoth, when they were kidnapped by Hethrir, when they helped stop a war in the Corellian system, when they became Jedi apprentices and then Jedi.

Readers were there when Jaina and Jacen lost their brother on the mission to Myrkr. There when Anakin passed leadership of the mission--and the role as Star Wars big-wig of the Solo children--surprisingly to Jacen instead of Jaina. There through Jacen's bouts of pacifism and indecision. There through Jaina and Jacen's transformations after the loss of Anakin. There through Jacen's helping end the war which had cost the lives of trillions and several worlds, including Coruscant. There through the Dark Nest episode.

And there through Jacen's fall into the dark side and Jaina's forging into the Sword of the Jedi.

They were there from before the twins were born and there when Jaina and Jacen grew into adults in their mid-thirties. Were there when Jacen died and Jaina lost Jacen (though Jaina should have died, too).

Between each chapter should have been scenes from a broader spectrum of their lives and how they were linked.

Having them fight to the death would have also fulfilled the Yuuzhan Vong prophecy.

If, as the case should have been, the other Solos and Skywalkers had died, there should have been snippets from their histories, too--almost a century for the droids.

Having Isolder die was practically pointless.

And aren't there too many red-heads in the Star Wars Galaxy? And couldn't Denning have used 'olive skinned' or 'bronze' or 'copper' instead of 'swarthy'? 'Swarthy' sounds grimy, filthy, and too close to 'warty'.

Even the style of writing of this novel was not up to snuff with Denning's usual standard, as though he was too intimidated and pressured by the enormity of his job (killin Jacen), although he should have been charged with killing the complete Skywalker-Solo lineage.

The story ends with the Confederation and Imperial Remnant joining a new Galactic Alliance, with Admiral Daala at the helm. At least Daala is anti-Jedi. Having Luke and his Jedilings push around and be condescending to common folk since the New Jedi Order is a large part of why personally support the end of the Skywalker-Solo dynasty, the other being that Star Wars should progress from that family.

They tried with a couple of novels set around a thousand years before A New Hope, fleshing out the Battle of Ruusan and the Ruusan Reformation needed to make the prequels and expanded universe get in sync. However, they should not have entrusted such a difficult job of clearing new ground (in terms of timeline and characters) to a computer storyline writer. As great as Knights of the Old Republic and KOTOR2 are--and they are great--writing a novel is another thing. And the field should have been cleared by an expert, the way Zahn was. They should give a new glut of Star Wars stories set in another era, with a new group of characters, another try. They could even try something exotic. How about the formation of the Chiss Ascendancy? Or how the Yuuzhan Vong turned from relatively peaceful to violent? (Wouldn't trust them with a story as big as the formation of the Republic.)

Anyway, Invincible was a dismal failure.

And a major disappointment.

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