Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi – Into the Void by Tim Lebbon – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

Into the Void

Bane of Kings writes a review of the latest Star Wars novel, Into the Void by Tim Lebbon.

“A fun look into a Star Wars before such a time as even the Old Republic. Action packed and page-turning.” ~The Founding Fields

I’ve been reading a lot of new Star Wars releases recently and there seems to be a trend of one thing happening – they’re fun, action packed and page-turning, but they’re rarely anything more. Crucible and The Last Jedi both prove my point, but nonetheless, it’s Star Wars, even if Tim Lebbon has picked an era of history that I know nothing about (aside from the confusing Spiral), in order to tell his tale in.

On the planet Tython, the ancient Je’daii order was founded. And at the feet of its wise Masters, Lanoree Brock learned the mysteries and methods of the Force—and found her calling as one of its most powerful disciples. But as strongly as the Force flowed within Lanoree and her parents, it remained absent in her brother, who grew to despise and shun the Je’daii, and whose training in its ancient ways ended in tragedy.
 
Now, from her solitary life as a Ranger keeping order across the galaxy, Lanoree has been summoned by the Je’daii Council on a matter of utmost urgency. The leader of a fanatical cult, obsessed with traveling beyond the reaches of known space, is bent on opening a cosmic gateway using dreaded dark matter as the key—risking a cataclysmic reaction that will consume the entire star system. But more shocking to Lanoree than even the prospect of total galactic annihilation, is the decision of her Je’daii Masters to task her with the mission of preventing it. Until a staggering revelation makes clear why she was chosen: The brilliant, dangerous madman she must track down and stop at any cost is the brother whose death she has long grieved—and whose life she must now fear.

This novel explores the early days of the Jedi, back when they were known as the Je’daii. You can see certain similarities, and for the first time, the novel itself feels like it wouldn’t work if it was set in the same time period as the main films – which was the problem that dogged the Old Republic novels. I picked up the #0 issue of Dark Horse’s Dawn of the Jedi saga a few weeks ago in the bargain box at my local comic store in order to see if it could clarify anything, and it certainly helped me to understand to a certain extent the background that this novel was set in,

Into the VoidThe book itself is set 25,000 years before the A New Hope, and deals with a very different time. Intergalactic travel is merely an idea, planets boasted different names and technology is far from what we’re used to. The early days. There aren’t that many alien species yet, nothing like the vast sea of them that you see in the Mois Eisley Cantina. There’s humans, Twi’lek, Wookiees – and even the Sith, presenting a threat of course to the Je’daii, who aren’t as powerful with the force as say, Yoda is in the prequels.

The main character here is Lanoree, and it is through her eyes (first person present tense) the story is told. She’s an interesting character, and it’s nice to read a novel with a female lead in the Star Wars Universe for a change, but Lebbon hasn’t managed to make her have a lasting impact on me as a character, although she does undergo some development throughout the book. The story has some great promise and some great ideas, but ultimately  it isn’t more than your average book from this Universe. The setting is the only thing that makes this book stand out, because otherwise Lanoree could be replaced with pretty much any minor EU Jedi character and we wouldn’t notice the difference.

The flashbacks are a somewhat weak element of the book as well, and the ending itself doesn’t really deliver as it feels sudden, as if it was forced and abrupt. However, I still enjoyed the book itself despite all the negative things I’ve said about it, but only to a certain extent. The action, the twists and the world is fun to read in and I hope that Into the Void isn’t the last book that I see in this Universe. And I’ll also be reading something else if it’s written by Lebbon as well, because I’m fully aware that he’s already an established writer – Echo City is high on my to-read list and has been for a long time, so I may have to check that out and see how well he fairs outside the Star Wars Universe.

VERDICT: 3/5

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Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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