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on 28 January 2008
Legacy of the Force: Betrayal marks the beginning of a new 9 book series taking place ten years after the 19 book New Jedi Order series and about four years after the Dark Nest Trilogy that bridges the gap between the NJO and LotF. Betrayal in my opinion is a far more satisfying opening to LotF than Vector Prime was for the NJO, this I think hinges on how much I enjoyed the Dark Nest Trilogy and how it set the galactic scene after the Yuuzhan Vong war and how it sorted out a number of key issues so LotF could hit the ground running. This however is not to take anything away from Betrayal itself, this book is excellent in its own right with Aaron Allston crafting a compelling and extremely enjoyable story.

Betrayals plotline is centered around the growing tension between the Corellian system of planets and the Galactic Alliance, with a Jedi Order that is continuing to grow and become an important part in guarding the peace and security of the galaxy. The Corellian system on the surface is simply wanting concessions from the Galactic Alliance but with Thracken Sal-Solo as Corellias(the planet) Chief of State, Centerpoint Station and Sith thrown into the mix things are anything but simple. However this latest galactic incident has a lot of implications for the Skywalker/Solo families as Han solo and Leia gravitate towards the side of the Corellians while the rest of their family are Jedi Knights duty bound to protect the Galactic Alliance. This plot is beautifully handled providing anything but a clear cut conflict as both sides have valid concerns and are being manipulated from behind the scenes by the true enemy. The books highlight is the focus upon Jacen Solo now an active Jedi Knight for the Order and his informal apprentice Ben Skywalker as they get drawn into this conflict which leads to a simply amazing turn of events which I wont dare spoil for anyone.

Aaron Allston provides an exciting adventure full of action and humor that further convinces me that this is going to be a superb series. My only complaints are that I would have liked to have seen more Jedi Masters such as Saba Sebatyne, Kyle Katarn, Cilghal etc and the Jedi Academy on Ossus but those are very minor things. LotF: Betrayal left me like the Dark Nest Trilogy did, desperate to read what comes next.

This the paperback version of Betrayal also has an added bonus of containing two short stories. These two stories are by Karen Traviss and although they do not tie into the Legacy of the Force storyline they are both excellent. They are called "In his image" and "A two-edged sword" and focus upon Darth Vader in the years following Revenge of the Sith.
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on 28 November 2012
First, a comment on the Legacy of the Force series as a whole: this really is a bridge too far; everyone who reads Star Wars books wants to hear the continuing adventures of our heroes but when are they going to get their happy ending? This is 30 years plus after Star Wars and the poor dears are creaking on into their fifties and sixties without being allowed to stop. They vanquished the Empire and then the Yuzung Vong: why do they have to have more misery piled on top of them? It's fair to say the books were going stale before the New Jedi Order series and were in much need of the peril brought by the extra-galactic invasion. After that came the interesting Swarm War series on the frontiers of unexplored space (which could have tapped a rich vein of different adventures). However, instead, the denizens of the Galaxy apparently haven't had quite enough suffering and are intent on putting themselves through more.

The Galactic Alliance, successor to the New Republic- supposedly a loose alliance but now seemingly the same thing as the NR- want money. For some reason, they fear another extra-galactic invasion and believe this is imminent, despite the fact that the first and only time this unlikely thing has happened is in the few years previous. They therefore want money to pay for a fleet but the Corellians, apparently recognising the sheer lunacy of this premise, don't want to pay. The only rational course for the GA to follow is to go to war with the Corellians who spend the money they saved in not building a fleet on....building a fleet!

Ok. So the broad setting doesn't make load of sense. As for our heroes, [SPOILERS RE EARLIER BOOKS] well, the New Jedi Order upped the ante by killing off the family dog, Chewie and the Solos' youngest son: this series needs to at least match that but how? George Lucas already told the NJO writers that they couldn't kill off Luke, Han or Leia, so what does that leave them? Only the characters from the expanded universe whose loss will hurt those characters most. If you've read any of the Expanded Universe books, you can probably guess who they are: if you haven't you're waay out of touch for this series, won't have heard of them and won't care about them. You're also unlikely to have heard of the chief villainess: I have all the novels and had to look her up, she's that obscure. [SPOILERS END]

These books were written in the paranoia of the post 9-11 era and they are deeply centred in the atmosphere of that period. Much of the series to follow will come to focus on civil liberties and how they are balanced against the need for the perceived greater good. It's a worthy topic, though a bit deep if you're just after a bit of fantasy adventure and likely to become dated as time goes by. My chief problem with it though is that this soap-box commentary is done with all the subtlety of a hammer.

So, to Betrayal itself. The books of the series are written by authors in the repeating pattern of Aaron Alliston, Karen Travis, Troy Denning. This equates to a writing standard of Good, Dire, Reasonable, so at least we're off to a decent start. In fact, most of what is decent in the series is in this book (although it has its fair share of bad bits).

Alliston's style is his strongest suit: the easy, sharp dialogue from his x-wing books are repeated here and the events which lead Jacen to his eventual fate are a logical, convincing chain. He adds some neat touches, such as a Sith knot language left as a clue for Jacen to follow. Interspersed with his journey are events seen from Wedge's perspective. His divided loyalties underline the difficulties of the series' unconvincing premise but don't get used to his presence: his appearance is for one book only and then he features no more (something to get used to if you're going to read the series). Despite his status of legendary hero he's inexplicably badly treated (again, something you'd better get used to).

The set-up to the book is pretty stupid: within the Corellian system, Centrepoint Station- a weapon with the power to destroy anything anywhere- has been left abandoned and now Corellian independents are attempting to bring it back on line. This is a device a thousand times more potent than the Death Star but nobody thought they might want to keep an eye on it? The Galaxy was better off with Palpatine looking after it.

What threatens to wreck the whole book though, is one daftly conceived bit of "Sith Magic" (groan). In a cave Jacen encounters some bats that he must fend off, only, when he hurts the bats someone real a thousand light years away is hurt instead, so when he tries to kill one, he nearly kills Luke. This begs the question why, if the Sith can trick someone into hurting someone else by hurting a bat, don't they just go and kill the bats themselves and kill their enemies with no hassle at all? Terrible idea.

All in all, the book is decent enough but it's the high point in a series that is unnecessary and increasingly illogical. Still, if you're like me, you'll keep buying it because it's Star Wars, even if it is ruining things.
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on 16 December 2010
I loved the star wars films. From the first time I saw them they were my three favourite films. Then they made three more! Six fantastic movies (let's pretend Episode III was as good as the others). But then I discovered the Expanded Universe, and that's what really makes star wars. I know that there are many people, some in my own family, who reject the expanded universe as not being "proper Star Wars". This isn't true. According to Aaron Allston's website, not just anyone can write a star wars novel. They are approached and asked if they would write a novel, and their ideas are closely scrutinised by LucasBooks to ensure they work with the star wars universe. The people who MADE "Proper Star Wars" approve them. Not sure if George Lucas reads them, he's probably too busy with the expanded universe TV series he's reportedly planning. I wonder if they'll be considered "proper star wars"?

Either way, whether you like the idea of the expanded universe or not, it exists, and utilises many famous and/or well-talented authors. Aaron Allston is one of them. This first book in the Legacy of the Force series is a fantastic introduction to a series, and a highly addictive novel. I won't call it a page-turner as I listened to the audiobook (more on that later), but whatever the equivalent is, this book has it.

The story has a basic premise of one government (Corellia - Han Solo's home planet) causing problems for a joint-government by not following the rules. The Jedi, as a peace-keeping force, get involved (Yes! Lightsabers!) and inevitably the dark side is discovered to be involved. The story is mainly about Jacen Solo and his investigations into the dark side presence, but Han and Leia allow Allston to add political intrigue into the book, and Luke and Jaina Solo get some X-Wing action as well. It's Han and Leia's involvement that I really enjoyed in the book though. As good as the dark side and space battles are, the politics is written expertly.

Han Solo, caught between supporting his homeworld and the Galactic Alliance, is written beautifully, as is Leia, as they weave through the plotting and intrigue of beauracracy between the warring opponents. The political situation is a s realistic as if it were being broadcast on television in reality, but on a larger scale. I find that the best books, Sci-fi or fantasy are those that have well written politics, which is something that even the original six stories lack (It IS kind of the backdrop of episodes II and III, but they're mainly about killing the bad guys).

I am reviewing this from an Audiobook version of the novel. I'm not sure that this makes it a fair review in comparison to my others or not. But I don't intend to do it again. That's not to say the audiobook was bad! In fact, there were some very distinct advantages to the audiobook. The Star Wars theme at the beginning is obvious, and gets you into the right mood. The woman who says where the chapter is set is amazing (I will forever read "Coronet, Corellia" in her voice), and the hum of lightsabers is fantastic. There are so many elements that the audiobook has that the book doesn't. Including music. It's not always there, but hearing the expertly chosen music as Jacen encounters the Sith, for example, throws the experience of the expanded universe into a completely new dimension.

But there is one disadvantage to this format. I read at a rate of roughly 130 pages per hour, if I enjoy what I'm reading. That would be between two and three hours to read the book. The Audiobook was 6 and a half hours long. And it was a shortened version. The latter is why I won't use audiobooks much in future. They miss things out. Probably unimportant things, but the principle is still there.

This is a fantastic story. Some knowledge of the Expanded Universe would be useful, but not necessary (If you don't know who Jacen and Jaina are for example, it soon becomes apparent). Knowledge, however small, of the original star wars trilogy is essential (If you don't know who Han Solo is, Watch the films! - and this is the one occasion I would recommend the films over the books).

But I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the films, It's one of the best Expanded Universe books that I've read, and while I wouldn't suggest it as an introduction to the expanded universe (A few stand-alone novels would be better), it wouldn't be out of place on any Sci-fi/fantasy lovers bookshelf. I don't know whether to recommend the audiobook or the written novel as the sound-effects add a lot to the story, but takes more time. For a slower reader, get the audio book. It's incredible. For the fast reader, get the book. Medium reader? Get both! In any case - get this book!

Wishful Thinking: Maybe the e-book format will soon allow the woman to say "Coronet, Corellia" when you start that chapter...
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on 29 March 2008
Betrayal is the first novel in the new nine part star wars series called Legacy Of The Force, which is being jointly written by Aaron Allston, Karen Traviss and Troy Denning. Each of which are writing three novels a piece, and it's Allston's job to start the series off and what a job he does!

The legacy series takes place roughly ten years after the end of the yuuzhan vong war and five years after the dark nest crisis. Luke Skywalker has been able to fully unify the jedi order, however planetary interests are threatening the Galactic Alliance and the famous/infamous Corellia is at the heart of it all, which is being led by none other than Thracken Sal-Solo.

However dark forces from the distant past are also manipulating events behind the scenes and in so doing are escalating events. And trust me you are in for a lovely treat when you find out who, but that's enough of that.

Our faveourite heroes return in Betrayal, Luke, Mara, Han, Leia, Wedge, Tycho Celchu aswell as some of our most hated villains however the story really belongs to Jacen Solo and Ben Skywalker, Master and Apprentice, they make an excellent team, while Ben is innocent and naive, he is struggling to grow up so as to obtain respect from the "adults" which can be quite funny in some cases, Jacen on the other hand, well let me say first that his arrogance is outstanding, but he still is a very interesting character and his choices in this book will have lasting effects. Allston has not left everything to the old generation though and has introduced several new and very interesting charcters into the star wars universe.

All in all i found this book to be one hell of a rollercoaster ride, the writing is fantasticly well detailed and the characters are all done justice, an excellent start to the new series, let us hope it continues.
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on 26 March 2007
This book is a bit weird because it seems to take ages to get into the really exciting stuff. But once it does reach that stage you really won't be able to put the thing down.The story has great potential with regards to the Jacen Solo character and some of our old favourites continue to thrill. Yes Luke,Han and Leia are getting on a bit but when I imagine them in this time frame they're still young; these characters are immortal. Overall an excellent start to the series, if you buy it persevere with it at first; you'll be glad you did.
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on 28 July 2006
After an iffy start this book becomes difficult to put down. I did have to remind myself at times that the Solo children are now in their early thirties, adults in their own rights, and definitely older than their parents were during the films. I won't say too much about the second part of the book, as it will give too much away. However, it is interesting to note the different approaches two of the characters have to a similar problem. A must read for all Star Wars fans, the legacy continues.
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on 13 February 2007
i thought this was a great start to the legacy of the force series, i really enjoyed this book, i felt as though i could feel the growing tension between luke and han but the only thing is it was a bit predictable that there was going to be a big fight at the end to finish the book off, but overall i give 5 out of 5 stars for the rest of it.
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on 8 August 2013
Bit slow to begin with. About half way through it picks up speed and drags you along.
I'll definitely be buying the next one. Don't quite understand why there's so many different authors in the series to be honest. So I don't know how much the writing style will differ. Hopefully it won't be too extreme and it will all flow. But can't help but have my reservations about how the story and quality of writing will progress with my expectations already so high.
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on 28 June 2006
For SW fans of a 'certain age', those of us who were teenagers when the film first burst onto the screen all those years ago, Star Wars: Legacy of the Force is a wonderful way to return to the Skywalker/Solo legend. Luke, Leia, Han, R2 and fussy old C-3PO are not just 'celebrity appearances' here, they are the central characters round whom several tales are being woven.

The main characters are portrayed sympathetically and realistically. We've all grown older since that first opening crawler and this really is like meeting up with old friends.

Luke, now married with children, is no longer the whining brat of

the movies but deeply aware of the responsabilites and dangers that the Force and a galaxy wide government can present.

The old energy between Han and Leia has matured into that feisty 'edge' that only couples who are truly matched can dare risk and there are some comic moments as Han comes to grips with being the father of a lively, teenage jedi daughter.

As with all the best SW literature there are battles, politics, intrigue and mystery as well as the threat of some very dark influences which look as if they are going to present our lifelong heroes with some terrible choices in later volumes.
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on 8 April 2016
Very dramatic and tense in places with enjoyable plot twist surrounding the expand universe, if you don't mind reading a book that is no longer cannon that is...

Its also a very good place to start if you want to start reading the star wars books, but don't want to get bogged down with the confusing stuff.

I'm very satisfied with the purchase and will buy the rest of the series.
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