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Rebel Dream: Star Wars Legends (the New Jedi Order): Enemy Lines I (Star Wars: The New Jedi Order (Paperback)) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Apr 2002
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From the Inside Flap
"As the Yuuzhan Vong's spectacular conquests continue unchecked, Luke Skywalker, Han and Leia Solo, and Wedge Antilles are forced to destroy what they have risked their lives to create. . . .
Scattering like rats before the Yuuzhan Vong's invasion of Coruscant, the panic-stricken members of the New Republic Advisory's Council pause just long enough to set up a mock defense on nearby Borleias--a transparent attempt to buy time that fools no one, least of all the Jedi.
Leia and Han Solo trek from world to world to foment rebellion against the New Republic's disastrous appeasement policies. But Luke Skywalker has chosen the most dangerous assignment of all: to sneak into the Yuuzhan Vong's stronghold on Coruscant. His outrageous scheme to gain entry is either brilliant or suicidal, depending on the outcome. And bearing down swiftly on Borleias is a Vong invasion fleet, determined to destroy the galaxy's remaining defenders. . . .
About the Author
Aaron Allston was the New York Times bestselling author of thirteen Star Wars novels as well as the Doc Sidhe novels, which combine 1930s-style hero-pulp fiction with Celtic myth. In addition to being a writer, he was a game designer, and in 2006 he was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame. Allston died in 2014.
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After the fall of Coruscant, the homeworld of the New Republic, the remaining members of the Council are frantic. The New Republic manages to capture the Vong base at Borleias, but General Wedge Antilles and the rest of the garrison there know that they can't hold it. That would seem to suit the Council just fine, adding even more political intrigue to an already horrendous situation. Wedge, his followers in the army, and the Jedi decide that the New Republic is dead, and that they must return to their rebellion roots to keep as many planets as possible from negotiating with the Vong. To this end, they send Han and Leia Organa Solo on a mission to various planets to begin this operation. Meanwhile, Luke senses a horribly dark presence back on Coruscant, and embarks on a seemingly foolhardy plan to go back and investigate, along with a team from Republic Intelligence hoping to set up a Resistance cell there. What Luke finds there may be the end of him, and the last hope of the New Republic could fall to the huge Vong invasion force determined to re-take Borleias.
Rebel Dream has a lot of stuff in it that I have been missing from the Star Wars books up to now. The characterization of all the regulars is fabulous. Wedge Antilles really comes into his own here, now that we have somebody who is very skilled in writing him contributing to the books (I believe Michael Stackpole also utilized him well in his two books, but I can't remember for sure). He's older, wiser, more seasoned, but he remembers what it was like to be a young, hot-shot pilot and the byplay between him and the rest of the cast is excellent.
Even better, however, and truly the saving grace of the book, is Han and Leia. They are sent out to set up resistance cells on planets whose governments may not be willing to help against the Vong, and they are the Han and Leia that I have missed since this series started. The banter between them is marvelous, the teasing with the deep love that is underneath, flowing between them like a bond that will never be broken, is back in full force. Don't get me wrong. This is not "reset button" characterization. Everything that has happened to them and their family still affects them, and they both have their wistful moments thinking of Anakin and Jacen, and their doubts about Jaina. The teasing between the two of them has often served to cover their insecurities, so it's logical that it's even more pronounced here. Literally every scene they have in the book is wonderful, at least where they are concerned.
In fact, that's the best part about this book. Despite the heavy content, the book is fun. That's something that I couldn't have said about many of the New Jedi Order books, and it's a refreshing change. Luke and Mara have a serious mission to Coruscant, but they have time for humorous asides as well. The Wraith squadron, which Allston created many years ago, comes back (or at least some members do) and their senses of humour are a shining beacon after so much darkness.
The only problem with this much humour is that Jaina's dalliance with the Dark Side of the Force is shunted aside a bit. Yes, at the end of Dark Journey, Jaina was on her way to dealing with it, but it seemed that there would still be a tough road ahead of her. In Rebel Dream, it didn't seem like it was that hard. That being said, everything she's gone through has led to some wonderful scenes in this book with both Jag and Kyp, as well as a wonderfully touching scene with her mother. Allston hits the right notes on all of these, whether it's darkness, light stuff, or some emotional scenes, everything is good.
That's not to say the book is perfect, though it is definitely a 5-star effort. The storyline involving the human spy that is under the control of the Vong is very predictable, and thus quite dull. One thing Allston is not is subtle. Tricky, yes, as he keeps Wedge's ultimate plan hidden from even the reader. But he's not subtle. The spy story is right there in the reader's face, very obvious to anybody who's paying attention. Unfortunately, that also makes the resolution seem too easy, and there's no real tension involved. It does lead into something nice for the next book, but in this one, it's just tedious.
Rebel Dream is a return to form for the Star Wars books. Yes, I have liked most of the New Jedi Order series, but there's always been a "but this isn't really the series I grew up with" feeling behind it. Allston succeeds in marrying what I have always liked about the series to what I like about the recent books, and making a perfect match. He should be commended, and this book should be read despite not really having much to do with the overall storyline. It's not an "important" book for the series, but it is definitely worth the side trip.
Finally the New Republic / someone else is fighting back and starting to kick some Vong butt. As has been said in a different review its good to see this, I also like the way it has been done, this isn't an all inclusive victory it hasn't knocked the Vong for 6.
Rather than go for the cliched OHHH we are getting our butts handed to us on a plate, now if only those little furballs can use their stoneage weapons to defeat the all powerfull bad guys or if we remodulate the phase converters on the dilithium crystals and pump it throu the defelector array then we can suddenly win the day.... The events of this book have given the Republic a glimmer of hope, and the Vong a bloody nose BUT no more.
I am so glad to see that some of the worse bits of Dark Journey such as Jania's relationship with the Vong has been worked with to make it more realistic and believable. Aaron has also done some work to give her a more human feel, allowing for me to empathise with her better... this has explained some of why her flirtation with the dark side happened and made it more realistic than in Dark Journey.
I do have a couple of niggles about this book thou... How come Republic forces cross Vong space all the time, such as going to Kessel and Courscant? I thought the Vong planted dovin bassals everywhere? Also how do the pipe fighters work between star systems?
Anyway if you have started the NJO books then you will read this regardless of reviews, if you haven't then go and start at the begining with Vector Prime and enjoy.
Just like in the X-Wing series Allston describes some great battle scenes and the close relationships of the starfighter pilots to great effect. But perhaps the best and most telling thing about this novel is that it is not all doom and gloom and it is the New Republic (well the important bits) finally getting their act together and dishing out some punishment.
...if you love NJO this book is a must, if you haven't seen the light yet start at the begining with Vector Prime then work your way through to really appreciate this novel. If you want more Aaron Allston stuff look up the X-Wing series he co-wrote with Michael A. Stackpole. The series starts with Rogue Squadron by Stackpole.
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