“When they say to one another, ‘May the Force be with you,’ it is precisely this that they mean: It is a wish that when the time comes to leap into the void and to make a decision based on instinct and trust, you are rewarded for that act and not punished. The hope is that if you meet the galaxy halfway, it meets you in the middle and carries you the rest of the distance.”
I literally checked this book out of the library four times before I finally finished it (and kept it until forced to return it all four of those times, accruing several dollars worth in fines each incidence). So that’s probably not the best sign. I did end up liking this, and I did end up giving it four stars, though, because I really think the problem in this case was me, not the book. It was pretty on par with its predecessors in terms of story and quality, and my having a hard time keeping with it doesn’t really have a basis in the book itself. It’s just mostly that during the last five months or so I have wanted almost nothing but to read a specific subset of kissing book. And this book has almost no kissing in it. Very much not what my brain wanted slash still wants right now. I’ve been in id-mode, guys. This is also why my reading pace has literally halved itself. Ugh, I need to be medicated.
But enough about not-the-book; let’s talk about the book.
As you might be able to tell from the title, this book finally dramatizes the fall of the Empire (and the birth of what will become the First Order). There’s lots of political maneuvering, sweet moments of sadness and revenge and regret (mostly between Norra and Temmin and Brentin) but I also thought it did well by its ostensible antagonist, Sloane. Big Bad Rax, though, I thought kind of piddled out. The whole book its hinted he has this secret mission, but when it’s finally revealed, it was mostly anti-climactic, although I was pleased the reveal here related to Grand Admiral Thrawn. (After just having finished Thrawn, it was a nice tie-in.)
I also enjoyed seeing the bittersweet moment of Ben Solo’s birth. It was a lovely moment, tempered by our knowledge of what happens to that character (and his parents).
All in all, I’ve enjoyed my time with this series, but it’s not a favorite. Of the new Star Wars Disney canon, I’ve much preferred Claudia Gray’s works, or the aforementioned Thrawn book that Zahn published a couple of months ago. There was just a little too much expectation riding on this one, and it had just a tad too many moving pieces for my taste.