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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the dark side of this book!
After the momentous events of Star by Star, things take a bit of a breather in Dark Journey, by Elaine Cunningham. Star by Star was overloaded with characters and galaxy-spanning events, including some major changes for both the planet Coruscant (the capital planet of the Republic) and for the Solo children. This book takes a bit of a closer look at Jaina Solo. After what...
Published on 26 Feb 2006 by David Roy

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the force lightening?
I had been looking forward to this book since the day I finished the cracking "Star By Star" many months ago, unfortunately it didn't live up to my anticipation. The plot was quite involved, but I don't think that it was as hard to figure out, as Elaine Cunningham believed it was. Without giving anything away, the fact that the whole book was focused on Jaina...
Published on 25 April 2002 by Mark Leonard


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the dark side of this book!, 26 Feb 2006
By 
David Roy (Vancouver, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
After the momentous events of Star by Star, things take a bit of a breather in Dark Journey, by Elaine Cunningham. Star by Star was overloaded with characters and galaxy-spanning events, including some major changes for both the planet Coruscant (the capital planet of the Republic) and for the Solo children. This book takes a bit of a closer look at Jaina Solo. After what happened to her two brothers, she's in danger of moving to the Dark Side of the Force, and Cunningham does an effective job of giving us that story. Even better, it's not all wrapped up and Jaina will have a fight on her hands for probably the rest of the series, which makes the book even more effective.

Jaina Solo and the survivors of the mission to destroy the Force-sensitive creature the Yuuzhan Vong were using to help track and destroy the Jedi are trying to escape, but Jaina is bringing something more than the survivors back. Guilt over what happened to her brothers, as well as a desire for revenge, is causing her great problems as well as tension among the Jedi. Upon returning to Coruscant and discovering what happened there, she and her crew make for the Hapes Cluster, where the Jedi are unwelcome for what happened to a fleet of their ships in an earlier book. That is also where other refugees have arrived, including Han and Leia Solo. A tearful reunion occurs, but Leia is troubled by the feeling she has about Jaina. Will she go all the way to the other side, losing herself forever? Or will she have help from good friends as well as rivals to keep her on the good path? Whatever she decides, she will be changed forever, forging her own way, and the Vong had better not get in the way. The Vong are after Jaina for a sacrifice, thinking that she's special because she's a twin. The royal family in the Hapes Cluster has their own plans for her. Will she be able to walk the fine line between them all?

Cunningham really gets into Jaina's character, carving her up so we can see exactly what is making her tick. We see the shades of what she could possibly become, the anger that could consume her because of what happened to Anakin and what she feels happened to Jacen. She's always had an on-again off-again relationship with her mother, who she feels neglected her for the political realities of the Republic when she was growing up, and she's always been her father's girl. Now, not even Han knows how to deal with her, mainly because he has no insight into the Force and what she's going through. She must face her own demons, though she does have the help of Jag Fel (son of Baron Fel, who is attached to the remnants of the Empire and the alien Chiss) as well as rogue Jedi Kyp Durron. But even Durron seems out of his element with her, which makes it strange that she might become his apprentice. All of this makes the story a lot more personal than most of the past books have been, even those that were designed to examine one character (such as the Han Solo books by Luceno), and Cunningham does a great job with it.

Kyp and Jag are pretty good too, as almost rivals for Jaina's affection (though in much different ways). I really liked Lowbacca (one of Chewbacca's family members), mainly because it established a Han-Chewie dynamic between them. Both of them are working together on a project, and Lowbacca has ultimate loyalty to the young Jedi. He's not afraid to speak his mind, but he doesn't question her much. Unfortunately, this includes when she sacrifices some of his other family members for her plan, which didn't sit as well with me. He doesn't exactly shrug it off, but he's not as upset about it as I would have thought. Otherwise, though, Lowbacca is very nice (though I could have done without his nickname, "Lowie," but that's already been established and Cunningham couldn't do anything about it).

Unfortunately, some of the other characters aren't quite as well done, mainly because the book is so short. It's understandable when a book focuses on one major character that the other major characters get short shrift, but that shouldn't include the minor characters who are part of the main plot. Isolder, the Hapan prince who also figures in his mother's plans for the royal family, doesn't really come off the page as three-dimensional. He's more of a plot device then anything else. The main Vong characters, the priest Harrar and Khalee Lah, are decent but nothing more. Lah is annoyingly stereotypical as the Vong warrior to whom the Vong version of honour is everything. He gets increasingly irate at the successes Jaina is having at leading them around by their noses, making him even less interesting. At least his father always has plans within plans and isn't a one-note character.

Plot-wise, though, Dark Journey is a standout. My first thought was that the final battle was truncated too much, beginning with only about 10 pages left in the book, but then I realized that in this book, it's all about the characters. Cunningham gives enough ship combat to satisfy most people, but that's not the point of the book. We see the path Jaina is following and a possibility for where she will go. She also wisely leaves the rest of the series to continue her journey and see where she finally ends up. Dark Journey just sends her on her way, and it's all the better for it. It's not perfect, but it is extremely well-done.

David Roy
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but could be better!, 15 Feb 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
Dark journey suggests long and exploritive look into the dark side in which jaina is emmersed. However what we got was a very shallow apprecaition of this side of the force. A Dark Journey it wasn't more a shaddowy fleeting walk. Aside from this there was a need for the
Skywalker / Sols clan to be envolved in her renewal. In the past characters have needed support and help to reject the dark side not so this time sadly. There could have been more character plot devlopment if this had been the case. Kyp Durrons character didn't come accross that well! I was pleased to see character development and a change of dirrestion but fundementally his role wasn't that impressive. More impressive were the usual characters of Solo and Lea, these two pollished charactes added depth and grit to the book. Colonel Fel on the other hand was not realy explored...All in all a good read but needed a bit more detail and substance 4/5
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One half of the story?, 5 Mar 2002
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
It's great that you finally get to meet the real Jaina Solo as truely main character, however you get the feeling this is only half the story, and that whatever is happening to Jacen is going to be the other half. Thanks to Jaina, we see another chink in Vong's armour. Maybe they're not so invincible after all!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last a book for the girls, 11 Feb 2002
By 
scnewey@hotmail.com(Sal) (a blot on the landscape) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
i'm not going to give the story away. Not always the easist book to follow, which has to be its biggest down point, the other being a lot of the old characters hardly being in it. The good point is that we really got to meet Jaina for the first time, and her characterisation was good, as was Kyp Durrons. This leads to another good point that the characters decisions seemed totally within character.
This is another important book in the series, with new allies for the new republic and decisions made by major characters in the series and also for the two sides. Also good was to see the Hapans given a airing, but the major bad guy's didnot figure in it much. So a enjoyable but probably could have been better.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the force lightening?, 25 April 2002
By 
Mark Leonard (Galway, Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
I had been looking forward to this book since the day I finished the cracking "Star By Star" many months ago, unfortunately it didn't live up to my anticipation. The plot was quite involved, but I don't think that it was as hard to figure out, as Elaine Cunningham believed it was. Without giving anything away, the fact that the whole book was focused on Jaina made it quite predictable as to which way the story would move.
Fast paced as the book was, Jaina's dark side battle was far too cerebral to be exciting, my feeling was she was flirting with the dark side more than actually being tempted by it. Where were the displays of Dark Side force powers that happened at the end of the previous book? I wanted people being fried with force lightening, not a "Will I, Won't I" discussion in Jaina's head! Her attitude change wasn't very believable and came across as forced, the climax was disappointing, a sterile portrayal of the battle scene, which was unfortunate as these are the very scenes that have made this series so enjoyable, but there were enough developments in the Yuuzan Vong war effort, to make this still worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BORING, 8 Feb 2009
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
this book is the worst of the NJO series and possibly the worst star wars book ever written.Its called dark journey but if i remember right jaina doe not really turn to the dark side she just considers it a little bit.
and the rest is just boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Side??, 23 Feb 2002
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
This book was an excellent read, as the whole NJO has been on the whole but the writers still seem reluctant to really take a character deep into the dark side. Saying that, this was an exceedingly well written book which moves along at a steady pace, never lagging and often exciting.
It was good to see Jagged back, i was wondering when this would occur but Lowbacca need more refinement as a character, at the moment he is really just Chewie with a Lightsaber. I like Tenel Ka and hope she is still in the series, hopefully with Jacen in some way.
Overall a good book, but the series need a revelation of some sort to kick it into high gear and with at least 7 more book it gets you wondering just what this could be.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cliche driven walk throu a slightly dark room., 23 Mar 2002
By 
Mr. A. J. D. White - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
I am sorry, much as I did enjoy this book, I do feel thats its probably the weakest NJO novel in the way it relates to the major characters... Everything is very cliched and obvious, there are no real suprises or revelations. This book harps back to the worst of the Starwars novels which I hoped where dead and buried with the start of the NJO series.
Despite that its still a good novel, it advances the story in a intresting way with regards to the Vong, even if they dont play to bigger a role *SIGH*. It manouvers some of the characters into intresting positions most obviously Tenal Ka and reintroduces Jag Fel, who despite having a good reason to re-appear rapidly sinks into an unbelievable role. Kyp ends in a very intresting position despite being horrible misused in my humble opinion. The Solos and Skywalkers are swiftly and naffly shifted to one side leaving Jania all on her own...... Lowbacca has been described as Chewie with a lightsaber elsewhere which I can understand, but he lacks the obvious loyalty and main supporting character role of Chewie, and simply becomes a plot tool *GRRRR*.
IF you read the NJO series then this book is a must as I feel its gonna be fairly pivotal, having introduced new elements and repositioned a few of the major characters. If you haven't read this series then go and start at the beging and set yourself for a dark journey throu the world of Starwars, don't start in the middle.
Much as I have slated this book I can understand where it comes from... following on from the events and harshness of Star by Star I can understand why they have let things slide a bit I just wish they hadn't. Elaine is a GOOD author and should have been allowed to delve deeper and darker to create a better novel. I would also like to have known more about the fall of a certain planet, and the after effects of that.... surely they would have been more than a slight refugee problem.... (Oh and why would refugees flee ACROSS Vong space with all its dovin basal mines?)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional journey - not lots of action, 28 Oct 2007
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
Great NJO book. This one is quite different to the other books in the series - this is more of an emotional journey than an action story like many of the others. it is way more about courtly intrigue and dealing with loss.
Jaina is portrayed really well - very believable - but the promise of badness is dashed - annoyingly! this one is also notable for its extensive use of Tenel Ka (1 of my fav NJO characters) and her stuff is good.
Readable and interesting, Jaina's Dark Journey is a compulsive, easy but rewarding read. And thankfully NOT a let down after the amazing Star By Star.
8/10 bring on Enemy Lines!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!, 9 Feb 2002
This review is from: Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) (Paperback)
Ive always been a Jaina fan, so it was a dream come true when DJ was finally released. In two words, absolutley brill. The dialogue between Jaina and Jagged, and Jaina and Kyp was great, with a lot of amusing moments there. I felt perhaps there should have been more opportunities there for Luke and Mara in the story.
The Hapan royal family was great, providing much needed humor into the dark theme of the story. Tenel Ka is at her best in this book, even more so than in the YJK books. And of course who can forget Jaina, continuing a struggle against her anger and grief, and readers finally see an NJO author develop her character, something I have been wanting for a long time.
Elaine Cunningham has truly done good by this book. I hope she does more star wars books, cos I'll be buying them!!
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Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order)
Dark Journey (Star Wars - New Jedi Order) by Elaine Cunningham (Paperback - 7 Feb 2002)
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