I am slowly making my way through the extended universe of Star Wars. So far it has been a fun ride within the Fate of the Jedi series. Abyss by Troy Denning was a good read even though in general it was a little bit slower action wise than book two, Omen, but you get a feel for the universe being far larger than ever. Those of you know that Star Wars well will also know that as usual the Jedi and the Sith don’t get along. I’m not suggesting good vs. evil or dark side vs. light side of the force. They are definitely a dividing points between them, but even more so the philosophy of how to use the force in order to manipulate the world around the user. In Abyss I started to feel as though the lines between the Jedi and Sith were starting to blur some with a bigger threat to the universe coming into play. The idea of the enemy of my enemy is my friend. I’m not saying that they like each other, but a common enemy to all force user Sith and Jedi alike could mean putting hostilities aside for a time just to survive. Even though this has not happened yet Denning seemed to suggest that it could eventually.
In this book we see the continuing story of the struggles of the Jedi to cope with their young going insane for reasons that even they were unsure how to deal with much less understand fully. As the Solo’s and the Jedi continue to search for answers and deal with the political issues that are slowly pushing them out. They are running out of time and thin on answers to both issues. You can get a sense that they are desperate to avoid political conflict to a point, but on another unwilling to bend to a tyrant who is targeting the Jedi. Denning does a good job I believe giving the reader the idea that out side of the political realm society has somewhat begun to see the Jedi Order as irrelevant to some degree culturally. I think in part the danger of the Sith and the dark side of the force has lost its influence within the social construct. For most citizens the Sith are no more than a myth by now or at the very least a tiny side note to their every-day-life scenario.
Luke and Ben must also seek answers to the bigger picture of not just why the Jedi order is falling victim to this madness, but how it is happening. Each part of the puzzle they must try to unravel they path that Jacen Solo went down in his fall to the dark side and eventual down fall. At every turn they must face dangers with in the Maw to find the Mind Walkers for answers. Some of which neither likes much, but seems to be the only option they have. Luke must decide how far they are willing to go to get their answers. Do they risk everything and become one with the force to get the next piece they seek or is their another way? I’ll leave it at that. Their path is somewhat of a grey area that they must navigate with care.
Despite what many of the Jedi Order want to believe the Sith still exist and their power has begun to grow again. They are on the verge of having a true war with the Jedi much like during the past ages. In some ways it reminds me of the battles in the Darth Bane series where the power of the Sith rivaled that of the Jedi. In a lot of ways you can see the reason that Darth Bane instituted the rule of two, master and apprentice, when you have many Sith seeking power it becomes a total dog-eat-dog world they must face. You can see that in Abyss they face each other just as much as their desire to destroy the Jedi. Their existence is a brutal one where survival is nearly as important as obtaining as much power as possible on an individual level. Even though they fight among themselves it is agreed that the Jedi are still the enemy to them all. In this case, Luke and Ben, whom are in their cross-hairs so to speak. Taking out the Skywalkers makes their job of destroying the Jedi Order as a whole much less difficult of a task.
These threads of story parallel each other and while you know they are somewhat connected by a larger story arc they are to a point almost told in a manner that really keeps them as three stories. There are elements of each storyline that I really like, but I always end up coming back to one central question. How will they link up? If what I understood from Luke and Ben’s encounter with the Mind Walkers there is a greater danger out there in the depths of space that is some sort of presence within the dark side of the force targeting the Jedi and Sith alike.
To sum up I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the next book in the series. If there is one thing that I know about the Star Wars universe it is filled with interesting characters, many storylines that have intrigued us for decades, and many more in the years to come. The richness of the universe only seems to grow the more we get to see it through the film makers, authors, and games not only expanding it, but continuing to give it life. For many of us we’ve grown up with Star Wars and it has become not just a collection of stories that pit Jedi and Sith against each other over and over. It has become an icon within our modern culture. It is something we as readers can feel as though that is almost possible to become part of that universe with each new story. That connection to a fictional world is priceless as every new experience deepens the story we first fell in love with in 1977.