Ruin, the third entry of the NEW JEDI ORDER series, isn't as good as the previous two installations.
The primary reason for this is that Siege, which was going to be the middle volume of this would be trilogy, was cancelled, so a lot of ideas and events seemed kind of either forced or unbased at the beginning of this volume. However, a lot of cool stuff did happen in this novel -- more on that later.
The biggest problem with this book, and its predecessor Onslaught, was that they tried to say too much. Though the publication of Siege would have helped, it wouldn't have alleviated this problem. The author crams a ton of events from a bunch of characters' POV into a few chapters, and then the book skips a week until the next big battle, skipping what would have been very interesting character building times. Another problem with this too much being said is that certain smaller plotlines were just dropped.
I found myself not liking the enemies, the Vong, in this book. Vector Prime set them up extremely well, alien and menacing, and, well...alien in thought and deed. In this book, however, they're still theoretically obsessed with pain, but they're too petty. They've gone from a terrifying unified force to political infighting among their own houses, petty acts of revenge, and are just too human in their thought processes.
Most of the characters are in character, but Luke and Corran are still often preachy-speechy, not seemingly able to have a normal conversation, while the Solo kids, for the most part very interesting characters, seem to be mostly just worry-warts in this book. While I wasn't expecting to see Han much, he gets more space than some other characters -- Leia is sadly neglected, as is the new and potentially very good character Danni Quee. However, because it's Stackpole, of course we get our myriad of familiar characters. Good old Kapp Dendo's back, Pelleaon, Chiss, Baron Fel is mentioned. Which leads me to another interesting but completely undeveloped character -- Fel's son, Jag.
The action isn't as good as in the other books -- in fact, most of the big battle isn't seen from the POV of the fighters, but is instead outlined after the fact. While there are a few very neat sequences, such as the destruction of the "grand," and the defoliation, most of the action scenes aren't what we've come to expect from Stackpole either. And he effectively makes it impossible for any other author to use his character Corran also.
Still, while the writing isn't so great, a lot of very interesting and important events occur, and a lot of neat insights and foresights are made. While this book doesn't have that "great book" feeling to it, it is definitely worth reading as one of the more "important" in the Star Wars line. I'll give it 3.5/5 stars.