Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves (2008, Del Rey)
Coruscant Nights is a trilogy of books (scheduled to become a tetralogy next year) that follows the adventures of Jax Pavan—
No, not that Jax. This Jax is a Jedi Knight who survives the Jedi Purge of Order 66 and makes the seemingly insane decision to stay on Coruscant.
The first novel in the series, Jedi Twilight (for my thoughts on jokes about the use of the word “twilight,” see my review of Planet of Twilight), takes place only a few months after the events of Revenge of the Sith. Author Michael Reaves draws parallels and allusions to plenty of real-life historical events (i.e. the extermination of groups of Force-sensitives on Coruscant referred to as “Flame Night”) to evoke the brutality and terror of a totalitarian regime in its early days.
Jax survives on Coruscant by laying low in terms of using the Force and working as a bounty hunter, rounding up criminals for other criminals. This is a pretty unfulfilling existence for the Jedi, and it’s not until he’s approached by Nick Rostu, who brings with him a mission from Jax’s now-dead master, Even Piell, that Jax regains a sense of purpose.
The mission is the search for a droid called “Bug-Eyes,” which is believed to hold information valuable to the Whiplash, an underground anti-Imperial movement on Coruscant. Gradually, others join Jax in the search for this droid MacGuffin, forming a colorful supporting cast: Laranth Tarak, a Twi’lek member of a Jedi sect known as the Gray Paladins; Den Dhur, a Sullustan journalist; and Dhur’s companion I-5YQ, a protocol droid capable of thinking, feeling, and making its own decisions beyond basic programming.
Against them in this endeavor are the Black Sun criminal organization (including a young Prince Xizor) and Darth Vader himself, who has become hell bent on tracking Jax down.
Reaves draws quite a bit on his previous Star Wars fiction, including the MedStar books he wrote with Steve Perry and especially his 2001 novel, Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter. Folks who have read that book know that its protagonist was Jax’s father, and that I-Five was his partner before his death at the hands of Darth Maul.
Jax, however, uncomfortable with the partnership of equals that existed between his father and the droid, and not quite as at peace as he thought he was with, like most Jedi, not having known his parents, Jax spends almost the entirety of the book avoiding what I-Five has to tell him. It makes for very good character drama.
Like Reaves’s recent novel, Shadow Games, the Coruscant Nights books are hard boiled fiction set in the Star Wars universe. Like the work of Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, Jedi Twilight features characters who are damaged goods, and is set in a sprawling, decadent city, amid the wreckage of broken lives. Reaves captures just enough of that moody vibe, without it becoming total pastiche or delving so far into that moodiness that the novel loses the fun, adventurous spirit of the Star Wars franchise.
While obviously not comparable in quality to the classic work of the aforementioned Chandler and Hammett, Jedi Twlight is a good read for fans of hard boiled/noir fiction and Star Wars, and especially folks like me, who are a little obsessed with both.
Next week, we’ll take a look at the second, even more detective-y Coruscant Nights novel, Street of Shadows.
- starwarsismything reblogged this from stolendatatapes
- leviperetic likes this
- ptahole likes this
- kalesyllog likes this
- fettup likes this
- manvandemaan likes this
- haaaaaaaaave-you-met-ted said: I really liked this series. Then again I have a soft spot for noir/hardboiled genre myself.
- stolendatatapes posted this