Ascension (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi #8)

Cynthia Ayala ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff

Photo Courtesy of
Photo Courtesy of

Author: Christie Golden

Published: August 9, 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group | Lucas Books

Series: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi

Genre: Science Fiction

The toppling of ruthless Natasi Daala has left a political vacuum on Coruscant and ignited a power struggle between opposing factions racing to claim control of the Galactic Alliance. Surrounded by hidden agendas, treacherous conspiracies, and covert Sith agents, the Jedi Order must keep the government from collapsing into anarchy—while facing the combined threats of the resurgent Lost Sith Tribe, a deposed dictator bent on vengeance, and the enduring menace of Abeloth, the profoundly evil entity hungry to become a god.

Christie Golden does not disappoint yet again.  Picking up from where the last book left off, Golden does exactly that, picks up the pace of a lagging storyline that seems to have spun out of the original intention of the novel.  At least, that’s how it seems.

The interweaving  plot lines from the various point of views of the Abeloth, the Sith, the Jedi, and the younglings coincide with one another to present a very layered novel.  Vestara Khai, a Sith Apprentice, just so happens to be in love with Ben Skywalker, has experience a lot in the company of the Skywalkers, and these allow for a lot of character growth.  She experiences joy, happiness, and a sense of peace and trust that allows her to see more than the Sith path and eventually forces her to throw down her red lightsaber. She forsakes her path as a Sith and moves toward to the Jedi path and the embrace of Ben Skywalker.

It’s an angst filled sub-plot in the novel that is very nostalgic, reminding readers of the love between Mara Jade, the hand of Palpatine, and Luke Skywalker.  The presentation makes the reader feel the torment the pair experience of being natural enemies, and ensnares the reader.  But it doesn’t just copy and paste what has already happened between Ben’s parents; this is their own experiences, experienced in a completely different way.  It also allows younger readers to attach themselves (if by some bizarre circumstance they weren’t attached to Star Wars) to not only the novel but to the Star Wars Universe.

However, that is where the biggest issue springs.

Luke’s very strong emotional dislike of Vestara goes against everything that has been built to his character.  This goes beyond his natural and understandable distrust of her, as expected, and he should not get his hopes up of her turning her back on her culture, but he gives up on that hope.  However, that is implying that he had hope in the first place.  Not once does he even entertain the hope that she can be saved, or turned.  No, Luke Skywalker, whose father was Darth Vader, whose wife was the Hand of the Emperor, does not entertain the idea of hope once.  The Jedi are not foolish, but hope is a concept they hold close to their hearts, even if they remain optimistic on the issue.  Luke is quite frankly blinded by his emotions and distrust, which is contrary to everything he stands for.

That little bump in the plot line does not diminish the true beauty of the novel.  The banter itself is priceless and hilarious.  When they all gang up on Luke, his niece, son, and Vestara, it’s hilarious and the best part of the novel.  Golden is a true fan of Star Wars and knows how to present the characters amazingly!  Oh, and a true form of nostalgia?  Han Solo needs to dress as a Sith Guard to once again break Leia out of a Sith Prison.  That moment was just awesome!  Trust me, this is the best book of the series so far.  ★★★★ (B+)

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