Del Rey, 2008
I admit that I bought this book because of its cover: its sepia tones and dark inks ooze noir. A fact that, when combined with glossy purple Star Wars logo, had me nerding out pretty hardcore. The first thing to note is that book takes place in the period immediately following Revenge of the Sith with most of the Jedi Order hunted and killed while those left alive are on the run. Our main character, according to the back of the book, is a Jedi turned Private Investigator named Jax Pavan who receives a message from his dying master leaving Jax to compleete an important mission. Unfortunately, Jax is where this novel starts to have its problems since he is technically a bounty hunter not a private investigator. Read on for more impressions…
I suppose it could just be a bit of misleading text on the back blurb but never do we see Jax doing any real investigating; private or otherwise. Instead we mostly see him on the run and complaining about his suddenly tenuous connection with the Force. Jax lacks any really interesting qualities as a character and it more or less cookie-cutter jedi-on-the-run #1. It’s a good thing that Reeves doesn’t take too long to introduce Den Dhur and 15-YQ who, in my opinion, need to ditch Jax and get their own damn series. Den Dhur is a down on his luck, blacklisted reporter who is helping his buddy, I5-YQ (I5) track down the aforementioned Jedi. I5 is a protocol droid. I know, I know but bear with me here because he is far from anything like C3PO. You see I5 has never had his memory wiped and has been hacked, both by himself and his former master, to subvert some of the typical droid programming. What that means, in plain english, is that we have a protocol droid that behaves a bit more like the independent and free-wheeling R2-D2 with a bit of IG-88 badassery thrown in for good measure. It is definitely a good thing as the friendship between Den and I5 really keeps the novel alive.
The novel is fairly mediocre regardless of some interesting characterization. There are a number of familiar faces including Darth Vader but those appearances feel more contrived rather than organic, shoehorned in so as to get better use out of the Star Wars universe. Though I did appreciate I5’s nod to Star Wars’ most famous droid duo. Unlike many Star Wars plots Jedi Twilight lacks the epic feel, which on its own isn’t a bad thing but the inability of Reeves to generate a working plot on a more personal or intimate level means the whole novel feels inconsequential. A small pet peeve, and adding to my general malaise surrounding the novel, is Reeves’ tendency to pepper the action with unnecessary anachronisms, “cleverly” renamed anachronisms but none-the-less obvious reference to our time and place. That isn’t to say that the novel is worth checking out. The lackluster plot does really hide some interesting characters and Reeves does nail the whole “buddy cop” vibe between Den and I5; it’s just a shame that the other characters don’t live up to that same level of fun and excitement. It is a definite change of pace for the Star Wars universe and I find myself actually looking forward to the next book in the series.