Following on from Balance Point, Conquest
continues the saga of the Yuuzhan Vong conquest of the Alliance.
The Jedi Knights are now in danger, and Anakin Solo has his
own ideas on how to help them.
novel focuses primarily on Anakin, and an excellent job Greg
Keyes makes of writing the character, who up to now has been
slightly irritating in his arrogant and headstrong behaviour.
Keyes takes Anakin through an emotional journey, and along
the way delivers many welcome insights into the Jedi way,
and particularly the culture of the Yuuzhan Vong. We learn
about the Vong caste system, the hierarchy, gods and beliefs,
and that there are those amongst the Vong who do not agree
with the invasion. Anakin is forced to repair his lightsaber
with a crystal of, shall we say, unusual origin, and this
in turn leads to an examination of the relationship between
Jedi and his weapon. The repair also results in Anakin discovering
an intriguing advantage against the Vong.
friend Tahiri (linking this novel all the way back to the
Junior Jedi Knight series) is captured by the Vong and subjected
to experimentation. The New Jedi Order series has been remarkably
graphic in the portrayal of violence and horror, with some
novels being stronger than others. Conquest offers a liberal
splattering of bio-technological sadism in the form of Tahiri's
suffering, with descriptions of mutilation and gore that would
not make this novel suitable for younger readers. It would
be fair to say that these frequent references to such imagery
are not in the spirit of Star Wars, the main thrust
of which, as a concept, has always been one of fantasy rather
than horror. However, the dark tone of the New Jedi Order
series has given substance and credibility to literary Star
Wars, and there is no denying the appeal amongst older
is a well written and enjoyable read thanks to Keye's informal
style, and the author has evidently immersed himself in the
saga in order to produce of novel of distinct merit. However,
is it me, or are these novels getting steadily shorter?