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The Final Prophecy
by Greg Keyes

Published by Del Rey


Scott's Rating:   3 out of 4
Mike's Rating:   4 out of 4
Michael's Rating:   3.5 out of 4
Nick's Rating:   3.75 out of 4


When the Shamed Ones contact the GFFA about Zonoma Sekot, Tahiri and Corran Horn are called in to investigate. With their infatuation with the Jedi and the living planet, the GFFA realize that they could potentially become allies in the war. The catch is that they first want to be taken in person to the legendary world. When our Jedi heroes finally meet them face to face, they are introduced to The Prophet (Nom Anor in disguise).

However, when they agree to take him to Zonoma Sekot, they end up getting more than they bargained for. The Shaper Nen Yim and the priest Harrar also come along for the ride. Of course they can’t be trusted, but what is their real interest in the planet? And what are the hidden connections between the Yuuzhan Vong and Zonoma Sekot as well as Tahiri and Nen Yim?

Meanwhile, Wedge Antilles leads the fleet into a carefully orchestrated battle with the Yuuzhan Vong. But what will happen to him and our heroes when their communications through the Holonet are cut off?



Scott:

    The Final Prophecy takes a while to get going, but once it does get rolling it hardly lets up. I liked Greg Keyes’ previous work, so I also enjoyed this story. While I liked his work on Edge of Victory better, I thought this one was still entertaining. Keyes is very good at writing action and his fast paced style is perfect for the obligatory final space battle.

Besides his talent for writing action, Keyes also does some interesting things with the characters we’ve come to know and love. Corran Horn makes a long awaited return, much older and wiser now. It’s interesting to see him form a master / apprentice relationship with Tahiri. Speaking of Tahiri, I thought the revelation about her relationship with Nen Yim was clever (though it was cut short a lot faster than I would have liked). However, the potential revelation about the relationship between the Yuuzhan Vong and Zonoma Sekot should prove to be the most interesting aspect of this story.

Keyes also sets up some cool situations for the characters to deal with. Tahiri’s visit to Dagobah, though brief, is a highlight. Any time an EU character visits a location from the movies it is noteworthy. I found it interesting to see the Yuuzhan Vong’s take on this pivotal planet from the films. It was also interesting to see the Holonet finally brought down during the war. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why this wasn’t done sooner in the storyline, but it does make tactical sense.

I should also mention the nice cover by Terese Nielsen. It’s a good depiction of not only Tahiri, but the Yuuzhan Vong as well.


Mike:

    Let's go back to the Galactic Civil War for a minute. Say it's about a month before Endor, and we throw Darth Vader, Thrawn, Bevel Lemelisk, Luke, and Han (out of the carbonite) in a ship and send 'em on an adventure together, over the course of which they engage in several coffee shop-esque discussions on the philosophical issues the war has brought up. All without attacking each other. If that sounds interesting to you, you'll enjoy this book. Seeing as how this book introduces, to Nen Yim at least, the solution to how we can all just get along, it's fitting to pepper it with GFFA/Vong debates on the ethics of everything that's going on. Forgive the misnomer, but the Vong are finally starting to look human after all. Harrar, after fading in and out of the plot for years, finally gets some real dimension. His talks with Corran were the best parts of the book; especially concerning Ithor. That Keyes could take a B-level villain with all of three or so appearances in the NJO before now and, in the span of 300 pages, make me like him and mourn his loss, is truly impressive.

That seems to be one of the things he's best at; really giving his characters, well, character. His Corran is a logical progression of Stackpole's Corran. His Tahiri is completely in line with the Force Heretic Tahiri; even down to her calling Han and Leia "Anakin's parents", which to be honest, is something anyone with their relationship would do; whether Anakin had died or not. Poor Nen Yim!! I was downright giddy by the time she died; her budding friendship with Tahiri was the first credible such hero/villain relationship yet to be seen in the NJO. When she rushed off to ponder what she'd learned from the qahsa, I was filled with outright "everything's gonna be okay" glee. She knows the solution! Hooray! And then...

Ah, Nom Anor. As anyone who follows my reviews (as, it turns out, some people do) knows, this guy fascinates me. A race of fanatic warriors as villains is all well and good, but Nom's the one character who's really kept the Vong interesting all along. Simply by being a different kind of evil, he was the first sign that the Vong were redeemable, that it was possible to tear them away from their religious fury. I'm actually starting to tire of praising this guy, so I'll just take another moment to register my continued approval of his role thus far, and to day I'm looking forward to seeing how the comeuppance I assume he'll be getting in TUF is handled.

The Bilbringi plotline proved that space battles in the NJO can still be interesting; it also proved that Keyes knows his EU history. Or should I say his revisionist history; Thrawn had a cloaked Golan II, Pellaeon had a son, and most shockingly of all, Lieutenant Page had a first name. Very interesting. Here's hoping he and Pash Cracken are still kicking somewhere.

I could say more, but with TUF right around the corner, and this being very much the first half of the NJO's final story a la Empire or Matrix Reloaded, I'm gonna hold off a bit for my next review. Bottom line is, I enjoyed the book tremendously, and I can't wait to finally find out what the story is with that damn living planet.


Michael:

    I really enjoyed The Final Prophecy, and in my personal opinion, I would rate it amongst the top echelon of the New Jedi Order novels. I felt that there was true progression to the storyline in this novel, even though at times the novel felt like a prologue to the upcoming NJO finale. The pieces on the chess board have been put in motion, with the resolution to the game only a novel away. And this 'motion' is what I enjoyed about the novel.

Corran Horn makes a welcome return to the forefront of the NJO storyline; he has always been a personal favourite of mine. Throughout the Expanded Universe saga, we have watched Corran Horn grow and mature from a CorSec agent, X-Wing Pilot, Jedi Knight, and now - a maturing, wisened Jedi Master. His Master / Padawan relationship with Tahiri, especially given her evermore blossoming joint personality of Human / Sandpeople / Jedi Knight / Yuuzhan Vong will be intriguing to watch as further adventures unfold.

Scenes with Tahiri on Dagobah are a nice surprise for fans, as is the great plot point that some elements of the Yuuzhan Vong, especially the Shamed Ones, believe that the planet is the one of prophecy.

It was also pleasing to see some of the earlier major Yuuzhan Vong characters in Nem Yim and Harrar revisted. Having the two of them, put together with a disguised Nom Anor as well as Corran and Tahiri, and everyone suspicious of all the others, was very interesting reading.

Lastly, the writing style that was used by Greg Keyes that made the reader discover that the Star Destroyer Captain who helped Han Solo by piloting a TIE fighter, and ultimately dying, was in actual fact Grand Admiral Pellaeon's son. An interesting plot point, given the fact that this is the first time that we know that Pellaeon has a son, and sad at the same time that we know Pellaeon has lost his child to the war. It is something now that Han Solo and Pellaeon have in common. It would be very interesting if in the future, we see both these two characters reminiscing about the personal losses of war.


Nick:

    Greg Keyes’ return to The New Jedi Order is a monumental one, ideally suited for its position as the penultimate novel of the series. The Final Prophecy is the perfect setup for James Luceno’s upcoming The Unifying Force.

The Final Prophecy is one of the most character driven books of the series. While it falls short of Traitor in this regard, Keyes’ novel still offers a compelling array of characters with different views on the enigma that is Zonama Sekot. One of the reasons that I so love the Edge of Victory duology is for its character-driven plots; the same is true of this book.

Nen Yim and Tahiri Veila engage in some situations that reveal new sides to both characters and unearth some startling revelations in the process. It was interesting to observe both their reactions to the shared memories. While not as earth shattering as her interaction with Nen Yim, Tahiri’s relationship with Corran still proves to be an enjoyable part of the book. The discussion of whether not Corran should accept her as an apprentice stands out as particularly important.

Harrar undergoes the most dramatic character change, as Keyes’ finally seizes upon the doubt Harrar developed in Dark Journey and takes it to a new level. I was truly sad to see him die, even if it was at the hands of the executor that everyone loves to hate, the duplicitous Nom Anor. However, his “off-screen” death lends possibility to his survival. One can only hope.

Finally, Nom Anor is back to his old tricks. No longer content to play the role of the Prophet, Nom Anor makes a decision that could bring him into a position of supreme importance, but at the same time could very well cost him his life. I assume the Nom Anor will finally meet his fate in The Unifying Force, but the question remains – how?

On a completely different note, I am pleased the series planners did not resort to resurrecting Anakin Solo. Upon hearing the title of this novel, I feared that the prophecy was referring to a possible return of the most popular Jedi of the Expanded Universe. Being a firm believer that characters that die should stay dead; I was relieved that Anakin did not return.

As the initial manuscript for The Unifying Force was already complete when Keyes began writing The Final Prophecy, it provided him a unique opportunity to set up the final novel. He arranged all the key players for a truly explosive finale. Overall, Keyes offers the perfect setup for the conclusion of The New Jedi Order.

Lastly, Terese Nielsen’s cover stands out as my favorite of the entire series. She managed to capture details of continuity not typically seen in covers. Notice Nom Anor’s plaeryin bol and the three small scars on Tahiri’s forehead. It is this attention to detail the makes the cover so wonderful, but then again, I have other reasons to love it…



Scott:

    As already mentioned, it takes quite a while for The Final Prophecy to get rolling. There are brief spurts of action here and there, but it doesn’t really hit full steam till about halfway through. Some of the story is also bogged down by drama with Tahiri. I thought she had already gotten past all of her inner conflict and split personality in the last book, yet it comes up here again. Though I understand the need to address it, I found it a bit tedious to get through.

I also had a hard time buying the setup of the story. I don’t see how it makes sense in any way, shape, or form to take members of the Yuuzhan Vong race to Zonoma Sekot, the possible key to winning the war. That’s like inviting Nazis and Japanese to the Trinity Site during World War II. It simply doesn’t make sense any way you package it.

I also thought that Luke and the rest of the Jedi should have been alerted to the presence of Corran, Tahiri, and the Yuuzhan Vong a lot sooner. After all, the living planet seems to know what’s happening on every square inch of its surface. Why didn’t it simply tell Luke that his buddies, and a possible threat, were on the other side of the planet? A minor nitpick, but one I noticed anyway.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book and I thought it was a good setup for the big finale.


Mike:

    Can't really think of anything. A lot of the suspense was taken away by my having read the TUF excerpt a while back and seeing Nom still alive and back in Shimrra's relatively good graces, but that's hardly Keyes' fault. Before seeing that, I was really expecting this to be Nom's end.

Oh yeah; there's still the matter of the Ikrit prophecy. Weren't we finally gonna find out how that worked out? I'm happy as long as Anakin stays dead, but whatever the answer is, we'd better get it in TUF.


Michael:

    One of the things that I found highly frustrating was how characters, especially Nem Yim declared that they had discovered the secret of Zonama Sekot - without letting the reader know. Obviously this will be resolved in 'The Unifying Force', however, when this discovery is mentioned numerous times, it is annoying - as we know the reader won't know this until a further book.

While the short scenes on Dagobah were great for the storyline, I felt that more could have been explored as a plot device with Tahiri and the famous Dark Side Cave. Perhaps this can be saved for another time, with Tahiri again returning to the planet in a further story?

I agree with Scott, when he points out that Luke and co should have been alerted to the presence of Corran and Tahiri a lot earlier. Zonama Sekot, being phenomenally strong in the force, should have been able to convey this info to Luke. It would also have made sense that Zonama Sekot would have immediately detected members of its enemy, the Yuuzhan Vong, as soon as they stepped foot on the planet. Perhaps Zonama Sekot was too busy preparing for the trip into Hyperspace to have noticed the new arrivals on the planet.

Lastly, the plot point of Quorreal, the predecessor as Supreme Overlord to Shimrra was very interesting, and equally so, the revelation that there are still fragments of the Yuzzhan Vong society still loyal to the leadership and cause of Quorreal. However, I believe that this plot point could be been introduced a lot earlier in the NJO storyline.


Nick:

    As is usually the case, there wasn’t too much that I would consider “bad” about The Final Prophecy. I was a little confused as to why Luke and company weren’t made aware of Corran and Tahiri’s presence on the planet sooner. Also, I was a little annoyed that the secret of Zonama Sekot was frequently alluded to, but never revealed. Minor gripes, and I suppose the planners had to save some surprises for the finale.



Scott:

    Nen Yim meeting her fate with Nom Anor. Talk about horrible!


Mike:

    Everyone seems to be talking about Nen Yim and the rock, but I personally cringed a lot harder when Harrar slipped off the cliff like a punk. "Remember the fight", my butt.


Michael:

    I have to agree with Scott again on this point. The scene where Nem Yim is killed by Nom Anor, her head being smashed with a rock, is rather nasty indeed.


Nick:

    Nom Anor bludgeoning Nen Yim’s head with a rock was quite brutal.


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