Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Allies
Del Rey, May 25 2010, $27.00
Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker and his son Jedi Knight Ben are on a mission to find out what turned Jacen Solo to the dark side of the Force. Accompanying them is Sith Apprentice Vestara Khai from the unknown Sith tribe on the planet Kesh. Luke and Ben are surrounded in space by a Sith armada that include Vestara’s father. Shockingly, instead of killing the Skywalker pair and their crew, the Sith offers a temporary alliance. They want to go with Luke and company when they enter the Maw, an area of black holes and hostile space. They agree to a joint mission.
The Jedi who spent their childhood during the war at Shelter are going insane. The dark creature who lives in a black cluster in the Maw, Abeloth, is thought to somehow influence those losing their minds. The Sith have reasons of their own to find her. As they enter the Maw, back at Coruscant, the capital of the Galactic Alliance, Chief of State Natasi Daala continues her assault on the Jedi Order trying to turn them into outlaws or obedient to her governmental rule.
This is the middle book in a nine saga arc, but it remains an exciting Star Wars entry with a stunning twist as well as moving forward on the two overarching themes. Filled with the trademark action expected of a Star Wars thriller, Allies also contains an intriguing alliance between enemy combatants and an even more fascinating theme of slavery complete with rebels, underground railroads with conductors and a quasi organization located on planets where slavery is legal. Leia and Han are in minor but critical roles finding ways to break Daala’s siege while also bringing needed humor to lighten the dark forces moving across the galaxy. Harriet Klausner
Gallery (Simon & Schuster), Apr 2010, $15.00
Bradley Tyson is abusive with a horrific violent temper. His wife Riley pleads with him to go out with her on their fifth anniversary while her sister watches their two young children, Carter and Brie, but he refuses; instead he slaps her and leaves. A few hours later, two police officers wake her up with the news he is dead; a pimp killed him when he refused to pay for a blow job
Ironically, in death Bradley is a more attentive husband as his spirit visits Riley every night; he seduces her into believing he cares though she has doubts. Her misgivings prove true that even in death a leopard does not change its spots. Bradley steals her soul taking her into the vilest of realms. Riley’s boss of several years Malik Davenport vows to save her soul from her odious late husband; something he hopelessly could not do when the prig lived. A royal ancient warrior who kills demons, he enters the most hellish of hells to save Riley while the war between the demons and the paladins has teetered towards evil winning due to Bradley; Malik and his peers plan to win Armageddon; he has an added incentive: Riley.
This is a great urban fantasy in which battered Riley is the foci of the war between demons and the paladins. Fast-paced from the opening setting when Bradley shows his snarling teeth and never slowing down, fans will appreciate this strong saga as the romance takes a back seat to saving a soul and a world; neither an easy task. Readers will root for Riley to kick Bradley’s spirit to hell’s curb, but wonder if she can find the courage even with those who cherish her like her sister, her boss, and his brother coaxing her to do so. Only one thing could get her to challenge her dead mate. Harriet Klausner
Beyond 2012: The Omega Point
Tor, Jun 22 2010, $24.99
On December 21, 2012, the world anticipated the end that never came. However, while everyone sighs in relief, unbeknownst to humanity something critical occurred on that date, but was so tiny in its alpha entry into the vastness of the solar system it went undetected. A supernova occurred in a long ago universe’s past has released energy into the solar system on December 21, 2012. Over the next few years as the energy travels towards the sun, it absorbs all in its path causing horrific solar storms on earth and leading to the wealthiest retreating underground.
In 2020 in West Virginia, Dr. David Ford becomes the Acton Clinic’s chief psychiatrist. On his first day at work, Aubrey Denman explains that besides his medical role, he must defend the clinic’s top secret mission to save the planet from the supernova energy assault from prosperous sinister adversaries especially the Seven Families who own the planet’s wealth. When Denman dies in a car bomb explosion, Ford finally believes what she said although he struggles to understand what is going on. Trusting no one even his clinic peers, Ford learns that December 21, 2012 was the alpha and that the Omega Point when time ends for mankind is soonest.
This exhilarating sequel to 2012: The War for Souls is an action packed doomsday science fiction thriller that is fun to read when the storyline centers on the supernova extinction threat. When the plot expands beyond the doomsday countdown into biblical figures and similar observations, it loses some of its strength of the end is now. Ford is a strong lead character who feels incapable of what is expected of him, but knows he must do more than just try as the threat of annihilation is real. Sub-genre fans will relish Whitley Strieber’s exciting tale while wondering throughout is mankind’s reign over. Harriet Klausner