Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff [uncredited] (2009, Del Rey)
Currently the climactic final book in the Coruscant Nights series (pending the release of a fourth next year), Patterns of Force has more going for it than simply sharing a name with one of my favorite Star Trek episodes (that’s right; I’m a fan of both. Come at me).
Reaves digs into long-standing expanded universe lore and utilizes the Imperial Inquisitorius, a special division of the Emperor’s Dark Side Adepts focused on rounding up Force-sensitives and either pressing them into Imperial service or killing them. This novel largely follows the efforts of Jax Pavan and his team to protect Kajin Savaros, a young and untrained Force-sensitive, from that fate.
At the same time, tensions and divergent goals within the team threaten to fragment it. I-5YQ, the sentient protocol droid, is contemplating participation in a plot to assassinate Emperor Palpatine. Weathered reporter Den Dhur is growing tired of the dangerous life he’s chosen, and is considering a life of quiet domesticity back home on the planet Sullust. Laranth Tarak, Jax’s only fellow Jedi companion, must cope with the fact that she has developed feelings for Jax, while he seems to be infatuated with Dejah Duare, the widowed Zeltron woman who has now joined the team. Finally, Haninum Tyk Rhinann, former aide to Darth Vader, wants his old job back.
All the while, Vader is getting closer to completing his search for Jax, as the two of them draw closer to the inevitable confrontation at the novel’s climax.
Aside from a somewhat predictable double-cross, Patterns of Force is a departure from the noir vibe of the last two Coruscant Nights novels. While I devoted a lot of space in the last two reviews to praising those hard boiled elements, their absence here doesn’t hurt the book. Reaves has established strong enough characters and dynamics to carry the story without the extra genre flavor.
Patterns of Force would have been a great note for the Coruscant Nights series to go out on, but I’m glad there’s another one in the works. These books are great pulpy fun, and they follow a cast of original and colorful characters whose exploits I look forward to reading about again in the future.
Not to hijack my own review, but on an unrelated note:
A year ago this week, I started The Stolen Data Tapes as a way to document my progress toward my goal of reading every full-length Star Wars novel. The following day, I posted my first review. Despite a schedule that is often very busy, I’ve managed to get at least one review out every week, with the exception of one week last summer when I was on vacation. I’ve still got a while to go before I reach my goal, but contrary to the expectations of many a naysayer, I’ve made a pretty hefty dent, having squeezed in reviews of a lot of other Star Wars material besides.
It’s primarily your continued interest, appreciation, and kind words that have helped me stay consistent and diligent with this blog. I’ve said so before, but again, thank you all so much for your moral support. I hope you’ll all continue to read and enjoy for another year. Check back here this coming Wednesday, next Friday, and every Friday for new reviews. As always, feel free to drop me a line in my “ask” box for any reason. Thanks again, and may the Force be with you.