“Darth Caedus is gone but the Galactic Alliance is suffering from the aftermath of his dark reign. The Jedi have been shouldered with the blame and Luke Skywalker has been banished from Coruscant because he was unable to stop Jacen Solo's turn to the dark side. To make matters worse, Jedi Knight Valin Horn is suffering from a psychotic break that brings even more unwanted attention on the Jedi. In a desperate move, the Galactic Alliance assigns official observers to every Jedi Knight to keep them in check.
After his banishment Luke and his son, Ben, decide to uncover the truth behind Jacen's turn to the dark side and their search leads them to Dorin, home world of the mysterious Kel Dors. While there they uncover some startling revelations that bring a whole new set of problems. Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, the Jedi continue to struggle under the watchful eye of the government and the media. When a rogue Jedi appears suffering from Valin Horn's same condition, the Jedi must find a way to capture him and get the answers they need. All the while they must outwit the government forces that have turned against them.
Outcast was a mixed bag for me because even though I flew through the pages, there were certain elements that didn't work. One thing that works well throughout is Aaron Allston's top notch writing. This story flows easily and Allston does a wondrous job of plopping us right into the middle of the civil conflict brewing around the Jedi. Throughout the story we are treated with a nice balance of action and character development that make this an effortless read. I especially enjoyed the fresh insights into the Kel Dors and it was fun to see grandparents Han and Leia up to their old tricks.
What didn't work for me was how little actually happens in this story. I hate to even comment on this since I enjoyed Allston's writing so much, but that is my straight up initial reaction. Granted, I have not read the Legacy of the Force series, and one could argue that perhaps that hindered my understanding and comprehension of everything going on in Outcast. Honestly, I feel like Allston did a great job of including the perfect amount of background info to set the stage for the story and besides, I didn't encounter anything a little Wookiepedia couldn't remedy. In the end it just seems like very little happened here and I never really felt like any of the heroes were in any kind of danger.
Don't get me wrong though. As I stated earlier, the elements that did work, worked quite well and were enough to keep me going. Star Wars fans will no doubt find plenty here to rave about, but I won't be surprised if many are left with the same impressions that I was. This is the first book in the series, and my hope is that as the series unfolds I will look back on Outcast and have a deeper appreciation for it. In the meantime I am eagerly anticipating the release of the second installment, Omen.”
jachism wrote this review Tuesday, March 31, 2009.