AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi - Into The Void
25,793 BBY. A novel which ties-in to the Dawn of the Jedi comics by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema and set around the same time as the first book of that series; 'Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm'. This book focuses on Je'daii Ranger Lanoree Brock as she is sent on a mission across the Tython system in search of her long-lost brother, Dalien, whose insane pursuit of ancient technology may endanger the entire star system and everyone in it.
I read a criticism of this book that it could just have easily been set at any point in the Star Wars timeline and be about any Jedi on a mission. That criticism is fair but I don't feel it goes far enough. For me, the biggest problem with this book is the fact that it is specifically set when it is and it would've been better set at any other point in the timeline. The Dawn of the Jedi period is a hard one to get to grips with and lacks the comforting familiar sights that allow you to immerse yourself in the Star Wars saga. Here there are no Jedi or Sith (well, except for the red-skinned species) and instead we have the Je'daii, whose insistance on using both the light side and the dark side in balance is counter to the traditional Force mythology of the Star Wars saga. Similarly, there are no Republic, Empire or Rebellion and the political organisations of the Tython system are vague at best.
So, if you're able to get past the unfamiliar setting, is the story itself worthwhile? Well, not really. Lanoree is a very hard protagonist to like and the only other main characters are her deranged brother and a very secretive criminal. On top of the lack of accessible characters, the plot seems to just jump from one under-developed setting to another without ever really giving us a chance to immerse ourselves in the worlds being described. Certainly don't expect a story that delivers on the title 'Dawn of the Jedi', either. That's just the overarching time period name and the origins of the true Jedi Order are never even approached.
For me, the worst thing about the book however was its structure. The entire book alternates between the main plot and an extended series of flashbacks and its very frustrating. Just when the story seems to be gaining momentum, that momentum is allowed to fizzle out as we read about Lanoree and Dalien's boring trip across the desert or somesuch when they were younger. Similarly, whenever the flashback scenes seem to be getting to a salient point, we're then thrown disorientatingly back into the 'present day' plot. This book would have been orders of magnitude better if it had told the entire story chronologically, taking us from the beginnings of Lanoree and Dalien's Great Journey all the way through to their final confrontation years later in one continuous narrative.
My final point is, sadly, another negative one but perhaps this time not Lebbon's fault. In this book Dalien Brock is searching for a hypergate of the Gree (an alien race who once ruled much of the galaxy) beneath the surface of Tython. In the subsequent graphic novel 'Dawn of the Jedi: Force War' there is a completely separate hypergate hidden beneath the surface of Tython which was built by the Kwa (a different alien race who once ruled much of the galaxy). I can't help but feel that, since this novel was intended to promote the comic book series, the two sets of writers should have communicated their plot plans a little more.
2 out of 5