New Jedi Order - Dark Tide I: Onslaught
by Michael A. Stackpole
Published by Del Ray
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the second book in the New Jedi Order series, and the first book in the Dark Tide duology.
Our heroes continue to learn about the Yuuzhan Vong and the threat they present. When the Senate refuses to take the invasion seriously, Leia and the Jedi decide to take matters into their own hands. Luke begins to regroup the Jedi and send them on fact finding missions. At this point, the story splits in several directions.
Anakin and Mara Jade go to Dantooine. Mara Jade attempts to strengthen herself against the disease she's fighting and Anakin comes to terms with the death of Chewbacca and his use of the Force. They soon discover they are not alone on the planet.
Corran Horn and Jedi Knight Ganner Rhysode go to a planet on the Rim where a group of scientist have been missing. Well within the Yuuzhan Vong invasion range, they discover a Vong artifact, the scientist, and an outpost of warriors and slaves.
Gavin Darklighter and Rogue Squadron begin preparing for dogfights with coralskippers and begin patrolling the Outer Rim looking for Yuuzhan Vong. They soon encounter a pirate who survived a run in with them, and they learn more about the aliens.
Leia, Danni Quee, and Jaina Solo head to Agamar to plea for help against the invasion. They eventually end up on Dubrillion with Lando and begin an evacuation of the survivors from the approaching Yuuzhan Vong.
Luke and Jacen Solo head back to Belkadan to look for more clues from the Yuuzhan Vong. They soon discover another Yuuzhan Vong outpost with slaves who have been infected by Vong biotechnology. Luke keeps Jacen from heading in and trying to save the slaves, but they soon end up in trouble anyway.
Eventually, Jaina joins Rogue Squadron and all of our heroes flee to Dantooine with the Dubrillion refugees. They must make a stand there in a rather spectacular ground battle with the Yuuzhan Vong. But can their growing understanding of the Yuuzhan Vong save them?
When Del Rey announced that this would be a long, multiple book series, I was a bit worried that they could keep it interesting that long. However, we've got two books out now and it seems to be going strong. If you liked Vector Prime, you'll like this. If you did not like Vector Prime (for Chewbacca dying), I still think there's a chance you'll like Onslaught.
The multiple storylines keep things varied and interesting. If you don't find interest in one subplot, it's not long till you switch to another. I was also amazed to see that the Expanded Universe characters seem more interesting to me than the characters from the film. The Solo kids are by far the stars of this book, and Corran Horn makes a good showing. It's neat to see that if you're a fan of the Young Jedi Knights, Junior Jedi Knights, or Rogue Squadron, then Onslaught's storyline is intricately woven in with them.
One scene with the slashrats definitely reminded me of the film Tremors, where creatures pursue people from below the sand. Since I loved that movie, I thought of it more as an homage than a rip off. :)
The ground battle on Dantooine was incredible. It was fast paced, tense, and action packed. Exactly the large scale battle you expect from Star Wars. It was rewarding to finally see the Jedi in full action, both in the sky and on the ground. I hope the battles in Episode II are this good.
I'm also hoping that other characters from the other series show up along the way. I'd love to see Tenel Ka from the Young Jedi Knights books, Ikrit and Tahiri from the Junior Jedi Knights books, and more. While they're digging up old characters, why not find the lost crystal from Splinter of the Mind's Eye?
Han Solo is barely in this. And when he is in it, he's a shadow of his former self. This story takes place two months after the death of Chewbacca. While his wife, children, in-laws, and friends are out almost being slaughtered, he's back on Coruscant drowning in alcohol feeling sorry for himself. I always thought Han Solo would have been out getting revenge for the death of his friend or at least protecting his family. A bit disappointing. Maybe he'll be back in Ruin.
The sub plot of Mara Jade with the disease, while deep, hasn't interested me. I'd rather see her get over the disease and get back in action.
There was a tremendous scene where a Noghri attacks a Yuuzhan Vong warrior who threatens Leia. I thought, "Ohhh, this is gonna be good." However, it ended rather abruptly. I would have loved to have seen more. Maybe in the future.
My only other gripe was that there was a little too much preaching about the Force and why the Jedi do what they do. Mara lectures Anakin, Luke lectures Jacen, Corran lectures Ganner, and Jaina lectures Danni. I know it's essential for character development, but I didn't care for it.
Lots of ugly to choose from! There's Jacen being "implanted", slaves being beaten and tortured, Yuuzhan Vong killing refugees, and more.