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Suspended helplessly between life and death, Luke Skywalker lies in state at the Jedi academy. But on the spirit plane, Luke fights desperately for survival, reaching out physically to the Jedi twins. At the same time, Leia is on a life-and-death mission of her own, a race against Imperial agents hoping to destroy a third Jedi child -- Leia and Han's baby Anakin -- hidden Suspended helplessly between life and death, Luke Skywalker lies in state at the Jedi academy. But on the spirit plane, Luke fights desperately for survival, reaching out physically to the Jedi twins. At the same time, Leia is on a life-and-death mission of her own, a race against Imperial agents hoping to destroy a third Jedi child -- Leia and Han's baby Anakin -- hidden on the planet Anoth. Meanwhile, Luke's former proté gé Kyp Durron has pirated the deadly Sun Crusher on an apocalyptic mission of mass destruction, convinced he is fighting for a just cause. Hunting down the rogue warrior, Han must persuade Kyp to renounce his dark crusade and regain his lost honor. To do it, Kyp must take the Sun Crusher on a suicide mission against the awesome Death Star prototype -- a battle Han knows they may be unable to win... even with Luke Skywalker at their side!


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Suspended helplessly between life and death, Luke Skywalker lies in state at the Jedi academy. But on the spirit plane, Luke fights desperately for survival, reaching out physically to the Jedi twins. At the same time, Leia is on a life-and-death mission of her own, a race against Imperial agents hoping to destroy a third Jedi child -- Leia and Han's baby Anakin -- hidden Suspended helplessly between life and death, Luke Skywalker lies in state at the Jedi academy. But on the spirit plane, Luke fights desperately for survival, reaching out physically to the Jedi twins. At the same time, Leia is on a life-and-death mission of her own, a race against Imperial agents hoping to destroy a third Jedi child -- Leia and Han's baby Anakin -- hidden on the planet Anoth. Meanwhile, Luke's former proté gé Kyp Durron has pirated the deadly Sun Crusher on an apocalyptic mission of mass destruction, convinced he is fighting for a just cause. Hunting down the rogue warrior, Han must persuade Kyp to renounce his dark crusade and regain his lost honor. To do it, Kyp must take the Sun Crusher on a suicide mission against the awesome Death Star prototype -- a battle Han knows they may be unable to win... even with Luke Skywalker at their side!

30 review for Champions of the Force

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Never again with this series! If I ever, ever get the urge to re-read it again, somebody smack me in my face-ular area. In all seriousness, I can’t tell if this book was genuinely better than the last one or not, because I sped-read most of it, focused only on the parts that caught my attention, and skipped large chunks of it that seemed stupid or boring. Anyway, it didn’t fill me with rage. I’m not going to go into huge detail, or really any detail at all, in this review. I have already more than Never again with this series! If I ever, ever get the urge to re-read it again, somebody smack me in my face-ular area. In all seriousness, I can’t tell if this book was genuinely better than the last one or not, because I sped-read most of it, focused only on the parts that caught my attention, and skipped large chunks of it that seemed stupid or boring. Anyway, it didn’t fill me with rage. I’m not going to go into huge detail, or really any detail at all, in this review. I have already more than said my piece in my long and longer reviews of books one and two. This one has the task of cleaning up the mess from before. Luke is unconscious in a Jedi fashion after being attacked by Kyp Durron and his spiritual stowaway Exar Kun, and coincidentally Leia and Han’s two year old Jedi twins are the only ones who can see his spirit floating around. At one point they have to wield his lightsaber. Yeah, a two year old wields a lightsaber. I have no energy to mock it right now, so just know that I would like to and leave it at that. Meanwhile the remnant of the Empire that is after the baby Jedi because REASONS? (Seriouslly, what the eff makes them think that a baby will be a good asset for them?? As I said in one of my status updates: “He’s a BABY. What the what are you going to do with a BABY. Just because he has Jedi powers doesn’t mean you can make him your own Emperor. And what, he won’t even be an adult for twenty years! By then, the Empire will be gone. Great plan, asshole!" Then there’s this whole black hole thing that is a joke and Daala fucks shit up and there is a nearly hundred page battle I skipped entirely, which turned out to be a good idea because KJA summed it all up at the end anyway so I literally missed nothing. In summation, these are not good Star Wars books. They are not good books in the standard of books in general. You should not read them. [First read, February 2001]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Jumbled plot lines abruptly end, making this book feel like a messy Lord of the Rings: Return of the King We open the final book in the Jedi Academy Trilogy with many open plot threads. Kyp Durron is on the run with the Sun Crusher, Han in pursuit to try to reel the boy back in. Chewbacca and Wedge head off to the Maw Cluster to take it over. Leia is appointed Chief of State, and the Jedi students must find a way to bring Luke back from his Force induced coma and defeat Dark Lord Exar Kun. NOTE: A Jumbled plot lines abruptly end, making this book feel like a messy Lord of the Rings: Return of the King We open the final book in the Jedi Academy Trilogy with many open plot threads. Kyp Durron is on the run with the Sun Crusher, Han in pursuit to try to reel the boy back in. Chewbacca and Wedge head off to the Maw Cluster to take it over. Leia is appointed Chief of State, and the Jedi students must find a way to bring Luke back from his Force induced coma and defeat Dark Lord Exar Kun. NOTE: Again, I listened to the audiobook, but have read the book in the past, though too long ago for me to remember perfectly. I Liked: First mention goes to Chewbacca, who actually has a job in this book besides standing by Han and moaning incomprehensibly! Kudos to Anderson to putting our Wookiee friend in charge of his own commandos! At first, it seemed an odd move, but ultimately, I liked how he was used (not sure why C-3PO had to be sent also, unless it was to translate) and showed that he could be used in more versatile roles. Second place goes to Kyp Durron, whose Dark Side arc continues to be interesting. I enjoyed seeing his rise and fall, to see his thought process and how he wants to destroy the Empire (but ends up destroying the one he loved instead!). Also, while it does go overboard, Tol Sivron and his cohorts on the Maw Installation made for amusing reading. I Didn't Like: There are so many aggravating, annoying things about this book! I almost don't know where to begin. The characters haven't changed from Jedi Search and Dark Apprentice. Luke is still completely stupid. Ackbar is still whiny. Leia doesn't do much more than dump her kids on other people and run around the galaxy doing Mon Mothma's job. Wedge and Qui make me want to yell at them to get a room (thank God that relationship was retconned). Admiral Daala continuously proves that she should never have been given command of a turtle, much less several Star Destroyers. At least Han and Lando aren't gambling the Falcon every other sentence. I just wish Lando's feelings for Mara weren't so obvious and gag worthy. And that the characters didn't constantly quote themselves. Every other word out of their mouths was "I have a bad feeling about this", "This deal is gettin' worse" and "Don't tell me the odds". Most of the problems I have with this book are in relation to the plots and how they are wrapped up. For instance, the Jedi Academy faces off with Exar Kun. This is an interesting idea...but quickly, I start seeing problems. Number One: Luke is only be able to communicate with his two year old niece and nephew. Why can he only communicate to toddlers who have absolutely no Jedi training? Why couldn't he communicate with Streen or Kirana Ti or Kam, whom he has been training for some weeks/months? Why would he try to communicate with two kids who can barely talk themselves? Number Two: Jacen, the two year old son of Han and Leia, wields a lightsaber against a two headed beast. I thought that people tended to protect children, but obviously, I'm wrong. Also, I would think that a toddler would be unable to handle the forces of the blade regardless of Luke's helping him (Han certainly had a hard time), but again, I must be wrong. And what idiot caretaker thought it would be acceptable to put a child in such a compromising position? Han and Leia need to sue Luke, Cilghal, and all those Jedi when they return. Of course, if Han and Leia hadn't been irresponsible and out of character they wouldn't have dumped their twins on Yavin 4 with Luke (who was in a coma) in the first place. I can tell Han and Leia are shapening up to be wonderful parents. Not. Number Three: Cilghal, the newest arrival to the Praxeum, becomes the de facto leader. I would have placed bets that Kam or Streen would have risen to lead in Luke's absence. Number Four: The whole Exar Kun plot line was way too quickly and too easily wrapped up. The Jedi just circle around him, say they won't back down, and POOF! Exar Kun is destroyed! Wow, that was easy! So much for that Super Powered, Really Scary Sith Lord that killed one Jedi student and turned another into a genocidal Dark Sider. And what's worse than HOW it was wrapped up was HOW QUICKLY it was wrapped up. The end of the Exar Kun plot was about 1/4th of the way through the book! We had a climax, and a denouement...and then, let's move on to our next plot thread to wrap up! And people blame Return of the King for having too many denouements! The whole Anoth plot bugged the heck out of me. Anakin and the twins were placed there, a place only three people knew about (Winter, Luke, and ACKBAR???), to keep themselves from the Dark Side? This just sounds crazy! Who built the compound? Did Ackbar bring them in then kill them like the Empire would have? Lastly, this plot just put a spotlight on Han and Leia that I hated: that they would drop their kids on anyone (Winter, nanny droid, Jedi students they barely know) at the drop of a hat to go off and doing something "more exciting" and "important". Again, so much for being parents, if any of their kids keep from heading down the Dark Side, it would be a miracle. Kyp Durron returns to the Light Side...just because he has to. He had a really great story going, and then Anderson went, "Shoot, I have to wrap this up fast!" and just wrote a pell-mell ending for Kyp. That has to be the only reason why Kyp was allowed to go scot-free with the murder of an entire system (the Carida system) and several other planets. Either that, or the New Republic is more corrupt than the Old Republic. After these THREE threads are over, we STILL have to wrap up the Maw Installation, Moruth Doole, and the Daala threads! Good heavens, this book has more endings than The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition). At least in that movie, they had a reason to end that way (it was like the book), and it all happened in the last half hour. Here, we wade through nearly a whole book of endings. I had that "done" feeling and then had to read more endings. It was tiring and hard to maintain momentum. I love how this New Republic works too. Mon Mothma can just pass down her office to Leia. No vote, no line of succession, nothing. Why did was the New Republic created again? To give people freedom, right? So why can't the people vote on their Chief of State? Heck, when Obama was elected, they had a whole special election for the Senator of Illinois! Another questionable aspect of the New Republic: Leia at one point "reasons, cajoles, and shames" people into letting Luke deal with Kyp. And how is the New Republic different than the Empire? Oh, right, the Republic is freedom--freedom for the Skywalkers and Solos, that is. Must be why Kyp Durron can murder an entire world and get a slap on the wrist. Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Tame to none. Ditto. Big space battle explosions, people die, it's Star Wars. Overall: Anderson had some amazing ideas. The Jedi Academy. The Maw Installation. Heck, trying to create a female Imperial who DOESN'T turn to the New Republic at the first sight of a man...I mean, drop of a helmet. But ultimately, I think he failed in one big way: in tying all these ends together in a cohesive story. This book felt like one long ending after another. Finish if you must, but I don't think it's all that critical.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    Star Wars fans might rate it four stars; everyone else probably two. Shallow re-hash of classic elements from original movies. (Written before second set filmed.) The usual impossible, improbable and silly plot devices. Flunks high school physics . . . again. After explaining why long hyperspace jumps are increasingly fatal, Anderson proceeds to have people make "direct" and Inner Galactic Core to Outer Core jumps with no casualties. The latter would be improbable to the point of certain death--o Star Wars fans might rate it four stars; everyone else probably two. Shallow re-hash of classic elements from original movies. (Written before second set filmed.) The usual impossible, improbable and silly plot devices. Flunks high school physics . . . again. After explaining why long hyperspace jumps are increasingly fatal, Anderson proceeds to have people make "direct" and Inner Galactic Core to Outer Core jumps with no casualties. The latter would be improbable to the point of certain death--or least being jerked out of hyperspace by proximity to some gravity well. He also starts with the Maw being an almost impenetrable collection of Black Holes, then has people popping in and out on various routes, including the "back door" and a brute force (un-Force assisted) jump. Then an unlikely fatal plunge into a black hole figures in the climax--at least unlikely as described. Anderson apparently doesn't understand what a black hole is or, more likely, assumes his readers don't. Errors are forgivable; deceiving the reader isn't.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Orphal

    My problem with this series is that there were too many villains who were all too easily defeated. Who's the bad guy? Is it the slave lord? Mmmmm. Not really? The imperial Admiral and her 4 star destroyers? Oops! 3 Star Destroy... Nope, 2 Star De... Nope, Damn. The spirit of the Lord of the Sith? Nope. The imperial ambassador? The prototype Death Star? The new Sun Crusher super weapon? This apprentice of Luke's? Who is turning to the dark side? Oops! Nope, he just died without a fight. What about this My problem with this series is that there were too many villains who were all too easily defeated. Who's the bad guy? Is it the slave lord? Mmmmm. Not really? The imperial Admiral and her 4 star destroyers? Oops! 3 Star Destroy... Nope, 2 Star De... Nope, Damn. The spirit of the Lord of the Sith? Nope. The imperial ambassador? The prototype Death Star? The new Sun Crusher super weapon? This apprentice of Luke's? Who is turning to the dark side? Oops! Nope, he just died without a fight. What about this other apprentice? He looks like he is turning too? Maybe the author was trying to capture the confusion of a war, that while in the mopping up stage, has a lot of things in need of mopping. For me, it translated and just a rag-tag group of ineffective advisories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Again, I have some problems with this book. The biggest of the three problems is that there is no definitive plot throughout the book. Stuff just keeps happening to the characters that isn't necessarily connected to anything else that happened. Perhaps one of the most annoying things for me in this book is the complete incompetency of every villian in this entire trilogy. They are all ridiculously dumb. A lot of the actions of the characters were stupid as well. The trilogy could be improved gre Again, I have some problems with this book. The biggest of the three problems is that there is no definitive plot throughout the book. Stuff just keeps happening to the characters that isn't necessarily connected to anything else that happened. Perhaps one of the most annoying things for me in this book is the complete incompetency of every villian in this entire trilogy. They are all ridiculously dumb. A lot of the actions of the characters were stupid as well. The trilogy could be improved greatly if the main characters possessed a shred of intelligence.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    An okay finish to this trilogy. Kind of ho-hum after the first two. Also, it leaned a lot on cliches from the original movies - Han said, "don't quote me the odds" every other page it seemed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ian

    As "Star Wars" books generally go, they are read for their plot and interesting conflicts much more than for artistic merit and technique. This installment is no different--not that that's a negative point. In order to read these, I have to keep this in mind. I've read a few of Kevin J. Anderson's books in the past, including "Star Wars" and other sci-fi, and this isn't one of his best. I won't cover the plot here, since you can find that on the back cover and elsewhere. But for critical purposes As "Star Wars" books generally go, they are read for their plot and interesting conflicts much more than for artistic merit and technique. This installment is no different--not that that's a negative point. In order to read these, I have to keep this in mind. I've read a few of Kevin J. Anderson's books in the past, including "Star Wars" and other sci-fi, and this isn't one of his best. I won't cover the plot here, since you can find that on the back cover and elsewhere. But for critical purposes, this book is plain and often amateurish and downright silly. Mr. Anderson, like many other "Star Wars" authors, still finds it necessary to make references to themes, events, and dialogue from the original cinematic trilogy. But it serves only to irritate. I don't need to be reminded of Jabba and the trash compactor every few chapters. Nor do I need to be entertained with such literary morsels as: "Mara Jade wore only a tight-fitting jumpsuit; her curves looked like hazardous paths through a complicated planetary system." *gag* At moments like this, Mr. Anderson sounds like he's fourteen years old. Since the plot also failed to hold my attention, there is little enjoyment to be had here. The Jedi were fighting against a bunch of idiots here. The book is tolerable, but I think I've had my fill of Mr. Anderson's writing for several years.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    A really nice way to round the series off, enjoyed this much more than book 2

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    A very good conclusion to the Jedi Academy trilogy by Kevin Anderson, "Champions of the Force" finds Luke Skywalker down but not out. While his body is in a coma, his life-force is still strong, and he attempts to use the Force by telepathically connecting with his niece and nephew, Jacen and Jaina Solo, both of whom are strong in the Force. Meanwhile, Leia and Admiral Akbar lead a contingent to stop an Imperial attack on planet Anoth, which is the secret location of Han and Leia's youngest son, A very good conclusion to the Jedi Academy trilogy by Kevin Anderson, "Champions of the Force" finds Luke Skywalker down but not out. While his body is in a coma, his life-force is still strong, and he attempts to use the Force by telepathically connecting with his niece and nephew, Jacen and Jaina Solo, both of whom are strong in the Force. Meanwhile, Leia and Admiral Akbar lead a contingent to stop an Imperial attack on planet Anoth, which is the secret location of Han and Leia's youngest son, Annakin. The Empire, knowledgable of Annakin's dark lineage, wants to kidnap the child and raise him in the Dark Side, like his legendary grandfather, Darth Vader. Han and Lando go off in search of Kyp Durron, a renegade Jedi, possessed by the spirit of a long-dead Sith Lord, bent on destroying any solar system in which remnants of the Empire still have a stronghold. Unfortunately, he has the capability of doing this with his doomsday weapon called the Sun Crusher. "COTF" nicely finishes this entertaining series and leaves a few pleasant cliffhangers for future books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Thompson

    This may have been the worst Star Wars book I've read so far. The author, Kevin J. Anderson, has written some pretty good Science Fiction. But not this time. The story was contrived, the characters were not well developed (I didn't care about any of them), their interactions were juvenile; and what happens is easily predictable. It's like Anderson just through this story together on a whiteboard and then filled in the necessary dialogue. It was frustrating reading for me. I actually yelled at th This may have been the worst Star Wars book I've read so far. The author, Kevin J. Anderson, has written some pretty good Science Fiction. But not this time. The story was contrived, the characters were not well developed (I didn't care about any of them), their interactions were juvenile; and what happens is easily predictable. It's like Anderson just through this story together on a whiteboard and then filled in the necessary dialogue. It was frustrating reading for me. I actually yelled at the book/author multiple times. Oh well. They can't all be good. Seems like there's about 100 Star Wars books out now. Some have been pretty good. Most have been very average. This series sucked pretty badly.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    FIRST THOUGHTS: Who would have thought a Star Wars book would make me tear up? Not me! But that's exactly what happened with this one. All in all, a fitting conclusion, with a steady pace and intricately woven multiple plots!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

    The final entry in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Champions of the Force tries, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to recreate the epic, over-the-top feeling of Return of the Jedi, with fire-fights, Force powers, and space battles. All culminating in the restoration of the Jedi Order. After the ending of the last book, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is comatose after one of his young disciples, Kyp Durron, went rogue, and under the influence of the spirit of the ancient Sith, Exar Kun The final entry in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Champions of the Force tries, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to recreate the epic, over-the-top feeling of Return of the Jedi, with fire-fights, Force powers, and space battles. All culminating in the restoration of the Jedi Order. After the ending of the last book, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is comatose after one of his young disciples, Kyp Durron, went rogue, and under the influence of the spirit of the ancient Sith, Exar Kun, used dark Force abilities against him. Trapped between life and death, Luke Skywalker can only sit and watch as his apprentices try to hold it together in his absence, something they do remarkably well in spite of the fact that Kun is flinging some new hazard or danger at them every five minutes in an attempt to try and kill Luke's body in a bid to try and kill him off entirely. Most of the apprentices, I keep using that word because this is pre-Phantom Menace, so the word Padawan to describe a young Jedi hasn't popped up yet, get there own little sections to shine, including Kirana Ti, who is essentially Xena Warrior Princess, Kam Solusar, a hulking redeemed Jedi, and Tionne, the silver-haired bard who in my mind is played by Marcia Cross, though the ones who really stand out in these sections are Cilghal, a Mon Calamari diplomat with healing hands who serves to keep the group together, and R2D2, whose loyalty to his master goes beyond anything we've ever seen before. The wondertwins, Jacen and Jaina, make an appearance, including in one scene, where, and I kid you not, under the tutelage of his uncle's ghost, the three-year-old Jacen picks up a lightsaber and uses it to defend his uncle with the kind of skill that would make an Olympic fencer eat their heart out. Also, I know that parenting is kind of lax in the Star Wars universe and you were under severe amounts of stress at the time, but Han, Leia, perhaps its best if you don't leave your precious Jedi children at a dark temple built by an evil Sith, and where one student almost kills Luke under the influence of evil. Meanwhile, in another part of the galaxy, Kyp Durron, the Jedi wunderkind turned crazed loon is in possession of the Sun Crusher, a weapon even more powerful than the Death Star, and is using it to wreak a personal vendetta against the remnants of the Empire, including one scene where he causes the sun around the Imperial planet of Carida to go nova, killing millions, possibly billions. Kyp's family were political idealists who believed that if they worked through the proper channels, they would be able to get the Emperor to step down from office, they were eventually thrown into the mines of Kessel after making too much noise, whilst Kyp's brother Zeth was sent to be conscripted at the Imperial military academy... on Carida, the planet that Kyp just blew up. His parents were eventually carted off, and presumed dead, leaving a young Kyp to work the mines alone until he was helped to escape by Han Solo, right before getting imprisoned again by Admiral Daala, who tortured him, and then planned on having him executed after he provided no information. So Kyp has a reason to loath the Empire, and he has the deadliest weapon in history at his fingertips. Out in the middle of space, alone, barely alive, and defeated, Admiral Daala, the Kathryn Janeway of Star Wars, is trying to come down after yet another defeat. This makes four defeats in a row if you count losing one ship at the Maw Installation, losing the Sun Crush, losing another ship at Mon Calamari, and losing her second ship at the end of the previous novel. But Daala is a survivor and it is a shame that so many defeats coming at such fast intervals with only a few minor victories in between makes a great character look incompetent. She isn't incompetent, she didn't become the only female admiral in the Empire through nepotism, she is simply defeated time and time again through a mixture of bad luck, and the fact that in one instance, she is going up against Ackbar, who knows every strategy that she knows, and who is truly her equal. Daala decides to return to the Maw Installation, the think tank that she was assigned to guard for ten years, only to find a bunch of New Republic commandos, Wedge Antilles amongst them, snooping about the labs, and the prototype Death Star that she had overseen the construction of gone. From there, the pace picks up, with every couple of pages switching back between half-a-dozen characters, and portrays two exciting, though slightly underwhelming space battles from multiple points of view, which is absolutely my favourite way to portray any kind of large event, as it tends to lend it a sense of epicness. Once all is done, Luke Skywalker, no longer comatose, starts to lead the now growing Jedi Order into a new era, a redeemed Kyp Durron at his side, Wedge and Qwi begin there relationship anew after she finally comes to terms with her past, Lando and Mara start a business together mining glitterstim, Ackbar returns to his post as the top admiral for the New Republic, working closely with Winter Celchu, and Han and Leia embrace in the wind as the Cathedral of the Winds on Vortex, the one that was destroyed at the start of the previous novel through tampering and indoctrination is restored, once again playing the beautiful, unique songs of the wind. But deep in space, once the dust has settled after the final battle, Dalaa is still lurking. Everyone thinks that she's dead, but she's still around, and as she departs to the Imperial-held worlds to rally the warring warlords under her banner, a vault of valuable, secret information on her computer, we are reminded that no matter how sweet today is, tomorrow could be very different. Kevin J. Anderson would eventually go on to write the Young Jedi Knights series with his wife Rebecca Moesta, a series of fourteen young adult novels published between 1995 and 1998, yowza! He is an incredibly prolific author, and has dabbled in other sci-fi staples such as Star Trek, the X-Files, and Dune. Despite some uneasiness at first, I'm glad that I've dipped my toe into the Star Wars EU. The thing that pushed me away for so long was the sheer scale of the behemoth, but now that I've started, I don't want to finish, and as I write this, glancing down at the copy Children of the Jedi that I just got today, I think I know where to go next.

  13. 4 out of 5

    RumBelle

    It seems, at the outset of this final book in the trilogy, that Luke, Han Leia and their friends and family are in dire straits. Luke is trapped in suspended animation after his battle with Kyp and Exar Kun. Kyp himself has taken the Sun Crusher and is not using it to annihilate Imperial worlds. Anakin and Winter are in grave danger, and Daala may not be as distant a memory as everyone believed. It is at their toughest tests though, when people triumph, and this is no exception. Without wanting It seems, at the outset of this final book in the trilogy, that Luke, Han Leia and their friends and family are in dire straits. Luke is trapped in suspended animation after his battle with Kyp and Exar Kun. Kyp himself has taken the Sun Crusher and is not using it to annihilate Imperial worlds. Anakin and Winter are in grave danger, and Daala may not be as distant a memory as everyone believed. It is at their toughest tests though, when people triumph, and this is no exception. Without wanting to give away details, success is achieved, lessons are learned, and groundwork is laid for future EU stories. There are some gut-wrenching moments in this book, and many more where you truly cheer. My two favorite story-lines center around Anakin and Luke. They are, in my view, the two most dramatic and action packed of the book. This was an adrenaline filled ride, and one of the best EU trilogies, after anything written by Zahn.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lily Elle Bragg

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It took me two and a half years to read this goddamn book. If I was anybody else I would've given up after 30 pages but, alas, I'm me, and I have to finish every book that I start. Every now and then while reading this I would start feeling guilty about how much I did not enjoy reading it. There are some moments throughout this whole trilogy where you can just tell that Anderson is a decent writer. A bit of description, normally, a slight break from the chaos that was the rest of this book. There It took me two and a half years to read this goddamn book. If I was anybody else I would've given up after 30 pages but, alas, I'm me, and I have to finish every book that I start. Every now and then while reading this I would start feeling guilty about how much I did not enjoy reading it. There are some moments throughout this whole trilogy where you can just tell that Anderson is a decent writer. A bit of description, normally, a slight break from the chaos that was the rest of this book. There are a couple really beautiful moments, which is why this isn't a straight 1 star, but nowhere near enough to make up for the thing this book claims is a plot. It's not a plot. This book has neither stakes nor any purpose at all really. It almost - almost - managed to pull something back when they killed Kyp Durron but lo and behold he was actually alive anyway! The first time this series actually makes you care about something (and it happens after the final battle scene, about three books late to the party) and it backtracks like a paragraph later. I haven't read any of Anderson's other books, but I've heard they're decent. This series is not. Just don't read it. Luke trains some jedi, Leia becomes head politician lady, Lando and Mara are now in business together. Han does literally nothing important at all. That's all you need to know in terms of continuity, just skip right over this one. P.S. The twins are maybe the most infuriating part of this book. They're some weird toddler/god hybrid that was horrible from the first page that they appear. And the amount of times that this guy said "he used the force" or "he sensed it by using the force" like ffs we know they can use the force, I doubt anyone reading this is new to the concept of jedi. A little subtlety would go a long way.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sean Mobley

    Champions of the Force, the final book in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, following Luke and his Jedi Apprentices as they struggle to overthrow the specter of Exar Kun, an ancient Sith lord still lurking in the temples of Yavin 4. Meanwhile, Leia and Han respond to a threat on the life of their youngest child, Anakin, (who is hidden on a fortress planet with dozens of traps designed to foil kidnapping attempts), and the continued “threat” of Admiral Daala. Meanwhile, Kyp Durron, the Fo Champions of the Force, the final book in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy, following Luke and his Jedi Apprentices as they struggle to overthrow the specter of Exar Kun, an ancient Sith lord still lurking in the temples of Yavin 4. Meanwhile, Leia and Han respond to a threat on the life of their youngest child, Anakin, (who is hidden on a fortress planet with dozens of traps designed to foil kidnapping attempts), and the continued “threat” of Admiral Daala. Meanwhile, Kyp Durron, the Force adept introduced in the series’ opener Jedi Search, runs amuck in the indestructible superweapon, the Sun Crusher. Before I go in to detail, I just want to say…I’m defeated. Dark Apprentice had so thoroughly dashed my hopes for this series that by the time I got to Champions of the Force, I was so de-invested in the characters and the story that reading it was more of a courtesy than anything…I’d read the other two, so I might as well just see it through. At the Jedi Academy, Luke has been defeated by Kyp Durron (and Exar Kun) and is suspended in some sort of Force Ghost plane of reality in a sustained out-of-body experience. While his physical being is in a coma, he can wander around and chat with the ghost of Exar Kun with his mind. The Jedi Apprentices have to draw on all of their training and intuition to defeat Kun and bring Luke back to the real world. Meanwhile, Kyp heads to Carida, the home of the major Imperial Academy for the predictable de nu mon. Blinded by the Dark Side, he calls up the Academy and demands to know what has happened to his brother (you remember his brother, right? The one who was conscripted when his family was dragged off for political dissent? To be honest, this same detail is so oft repeated in the books that I started flat out laughing whenever a character started telling it) and threatening to blow up the system if they don’t tell him. The Academy doesn’t take him seriously and feeds him a lie that his brother was killed in training. Kyp gets mad and shoots the magic, sun crushing torpedo toward the system’s star to set off the deadly reaction. Panicking, the folks at the Academy take 30 seconds to punch his brother’s name into the computer and find out that he is still alive and stationed on Carida. Considering the ease with which they found out the truth, you wonder why they didn’t just tell him in the first place…they didn’t gain anything by lying. (view spoiler)[ The scene plays out just like you guess; Kyp tries to abort the torpedo but can’t, so he flies down to the planet’s surface to try and pick up his bro before the star goes nova and obliterates everything for lightyears around. The lack of suspense is palpable when, surprise, the bomb goes off before he can get his brother on board Kyp watches him get turned into cosmic dust. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ When news of Kyp’s war crime hits Coruscant, there is a remarkable lack of emotion considering an entire system (containing a pretty big chunk of the Empire’s military strength) has been destroyed. Han heads out to try and find Kyp and stop him from using the Sun Crusher again. Successful, Han brings Kyp and the weapon back to Coruscant where Kyp is immediately arrested and put on public trial for committing an atrocity against life beyond anything the Empire ever did. This is the sensible thing to do so that the member states of the Republic (and those considering entrance) know that a democracy will not tolerate such unwarranted, horrific, genocidal destruction. Oh wait, this is a Jedi Academy book we’re talking about. Of course the sensible thing doesn’t happen. Instead of putting the kid on trial, the government apologizes to Kyp for making it so easy for him to get at the Sun Crusher and ships him back to Yavin 4 to continue his Jedi training. I’m not joking, this is what happens in this book. Before he can go back to Yavin, Kyp is tasked with flinging the Sun Crusher into a black hole, something the reader suggested to the characters a whole book ago. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ The story hits its climax barely halfway through when the Jedi Apprentices on Yavin band together to destroy Exar Kun. Throughout the book, Kun has sent jungle beasts to try and kill Luke’s physical body. These novice Force users realize that “teamwork makes the dream work” and form a magic chanting circle to summon Kun unto them, only to use their combined mental forces to defeat his spirit once and for all. Let’s put this into perspective…these adepts had the Force ability of the little six-year-old Younglings that Anakin finds in the Jedi Council Chamber towards the end of Episode III. And what does Anakin do to these kids? He wrecks ‘em! Mind you, Anakin had not studied the depth of the powers of the Dark Side that Kun had. Yet when Kun gets faced by Team Power Rangers, he instantly flips out and explodes like that guy who eats a hot dog in Leonard, Part 6. Boom. Defeated. (hide spoiler)] And this happens literally halfway through the book. This big, impending conflict which was easily the most interesting part of the whole series gets paid off not with a bang but with a whimper, with over 150 pages left to go before the book ends! (view spoiler)[ When you realize it’s over, you just wonder where else the story can possibly go with its core element resolved. It works in Return of the King because you actually care about the characters and the book takes an absolutely unexpected twist when you think the story was resolved, but with this series you don’t care about anyone or anything, and you already know how the book is gonna wrap up because the plot is just so insipidly transparent. The Sun Crusher is gonna get destroyed. Admiral Daala is going to be stopped on her “rampage.” Everyone’s gonna live happily ever after. (hide spoiler)] As I mentioned at the start of this review, I was pretty much cruising through this book so I didn’t really care how absurd this all was anymore. I just wanted to finish. To that end, the book did have some pleasant surprises in store, most notably the little council of scientists that get control of a prototype Death Star (yep, another superweapon) and try to figure out how to use it by following all “standard, pre-established bureaucratic protocol.” The dialogue in these scenes is refreshingly witty and would make anyone who has dealt with Academics or big organizations chuckle. But this little glimmer of enjoyment does not make the rest of the book worth the time. I learned two lessons from this book. 1) The New Republic is not a free and just Democracy at all, and 2) Jedi are evil. To reach the second conclusion, just take a look at the track record…the last three Jedi of note were Darth Vader, an agent of Evil, Luke Skywalker, who apparently turned to the Dark Side and served the Emperor and murdered a bunch of people in one of the comic books, and Kyp Durron, who ran off and blew up an entire star system. If I were any citizen of the Universe, I’d be questioning if I’d be letting the Jedi run around with any power. Maybe Palpatine had it right. As to the Republic, Kevin J. Anderson makes it clear that they don’t care about doing anything actually interest of the people. They take Kyp, a man who killed more people in a day than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao killed combined in their lifetimes, and just let him walk off without so much as a slap on the wrist. I’d be screaming for blood! And when Mon Mothma, the head of the New Republic, decides to step down, she hands the baton off to Leia. Don’t worry about free elections or anything, just let one Dictator pass rule on to the next. No need to get the people involved. I can’t fathom how any of this series got green lit and out the door. They are not good. That’s all there is to it. They mess with any sort of reasonable, logical timeline of events. They paint the Republic and the Jedi, organizations we as readers are supposed to sympathize with, to be more evil than the Sith and the Empire (because at least they didn’t try to hide the fact that they were bad folks). If these books had been ANYTHING but Star Wars books, not only would I have ignored them, they would have been universally panned by critics and readers. As it is, I know I’m not alone in my distaste for the Jedi Academy books, but what is most disappointing is that these books were released on the heels of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. I, and most of Star Wars nerddom agree, that the Thrawn books kick butt. They have great enemies, exciting sequences, interesting stories and dialogue. I’ve read them all three times and I still can’t put them down when I read them again. Thrawn established a certain level of quality in storytelling that you’d think LucasArts and Random House would want to live up to. But, for whatever reason, the next thing we get is this. Whatever. I’m done with this series. Should you read it? Reading Champions of the Force is like watching a bad film adaptation of a book you already know the plot to; you know the ending and you can see all the “plot twists” from a mile away because you know how everything has to unfold. If that sounds like your cup of tea, I’m not gonna stop you. I certainly can’t recommend Champions, or any of the books in the Trilogy. Like I said for all of my previous reviews of the Jedi Academy books, don’t start here. If you’ve read Search and Apprentice and you just want to get through, just do it. But if you are lucky enough to have not started the series, seek out other books first. Check out my reviews for Book 1 and Book 2 in the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Meggie

    For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This week’s focus: Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson. SOME HISTORY: Bantam continued to bang out Star Wars books at record speed. Champions of the Force was released in October of 1994, making it the fourth of five books that Bantam would release that year. It made it to number fo For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This week’s focus: Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson. SOME HISTORY: Bantam continued to bang out Star Wars books at record speed. Champions of the Force was released in October of 1994, making it the fourth of five books that Bantam would release that year. It made it to number four on the New York Times paperback bestseller list for the week of October 2, 1994, and it was ultimately on the NYT list for 8 weeks. The end of the Jedi Academy trilogy was not the end of Anderson’s foray into the Star Wars universe; he went on to write Darksaber and co-write the Young Jedi Knight books with his wife, and edit three themed collections of short stories. MY RECOLLECTION OF THE BOOK: I remembered the huge plot points, but not a lot of the smaller details. I had also forgotten how weirdly this book builds to multiple climaxes of different subplots, over and over again. PRINCESS LEIA COSTUME CHANGE COUNT: Yeah, I got nothing. She’s certainly present in the book, we just get no insight into her (doubtless) extensive wardrobe. A BRIEF SUMMARY: Luke Skywalker lies comatose, and his pupils are forced to face the evil spirit of Exar Kun on their own. Han heads off in the Millenium Falcon to dissuade Kyp Durron from his destructive path of vengeance. And Wedge Antilles and Chewbacca head to the Maw Installation to liberate the Wookiee slaves and neutralize its threat. THE CHARACTERS: Luke proved himself a poor teacher in Dark Apprentice, but he’s even less useful in this book. He spends the first half as a Force ghost of sorts, only able to communicate with his toddler niece and nephew. (In one memorably horrific scene, he possesses? assists? his toddler nephew in wielding his lightsaber to kill some Sith alchemical monsters.) Once returned to his actual body, he promptly forgives Kyp Durron, and then is merely along for the ride as they dispose of the Sun Crusher. I hate to say it, but he’s so boring in this book. Leia, meanwhile, returns to her bystander role from book 1 and just tags along on things. You could remove her from many of her scenes, especially the foiled kidnapping attempt on baby Anakin, and you wouldn’t lose anything. Mon Mothma steps down as Chief of State and hands the role off to Leia, and other than coercing the Senate into letting Kyp get rid of the Sun Crusher, we don’t see much of her job duties. Poor Leia. Han has things to do in the first half of the book--he’s the only person that Kyp Durron will listen to, and is able to talk him (very quickly) down from his revenge plot. Unfortunately, that means that Han is now useless for the second half, and ends up tagging along to the Kessel & Maw Installation subplot merely because Lando needed a ride. Lando is still flirting with Mara Jade. I’m also confused about how Lando’s million credits from Umgul are apparently enough to take over the Kessel mines. I would think you would need a lot more than one million credits to revamp all that? And that’s not even getting into the question of who exactly would be your market for an addictive drug that gives you telepathic power. How is the glitterstim market legal? I am confused by the emphasis on Jaina and Jacen as “the Jedi twins,” and Anakin as “the Jedi baby.” Surely there are other Force sensitive children out there in the galaxy? Why all the focus on Han and Leia’s offspring? (Nepotism. The answer is nepotism.) And while I loved The Last Command, I am now blaming Zahn for all these Solo children kidnapping plotlines. Ambassador Furgan tries to kidnap baby (!) Anakin so they can have a new Emperor. Insert that Gru meme here... The Jedi-in-training continue to be amorphous, two-dimensional creations. We can identify them by their archetype--Cilghal is the healer, Tionne is the bard--but otherwise they’re not remotely fleshed out. They manage to defeat Exar Kun with light and teamwork! It’s strangely anticlimatic. Moruth Doule dies in the mines, consumed by spiders. Cheating death in the Cauldron Nebula, Admiral Daala returns to the Maw Installation to cause mayhew. She then has ANOTHER fakeout death. I would say that I’m surprised that she is this stupid and yet has survived this long, but Daala is pretty much the cockroach of the GFFA so this is par for the course. ISSUES: Crystal Starr Light mentions in her review that Champions of the Force is a jumble of plotlines and conclusions, and I agree. The book is weirdly paced, in that we’ll be hurtling towards a climax, get a brief denouement, and then start hurtling towards the climax of a totally different plotline. Kyp Durron destroys Carida in the first chapter; the Jedi pupils defeat Exar Kun AND Han stops Kyp at almost exactly the halfway point. There’s very little sustained action, just constant lurching from one *pivotal scene* to another, and it’s difficult to read. Other reviews have mentioned Anderson’s flubbing of basic sci-fi elements like black holes, but I was most bothered by the incorrect military ranks! We find out in Jedi Search that Wedge Antilles is now a General. Previously, Wedge was a starfighter pilot and then a starfighter commander; I would assume that he’s part of the New Republic naval forces. However, a general is usually an army officer (think Han being in charge of the ground mission on the forest moon of Endor). General Wedge is overseeing construction, then serves as the personal bodyguard to Qwi Xux, then heads up the Maw Installation mission. Why isn’t he an Admiral? And why is he doing all these jobs that seem totally outside of his purview? My main issue, though, concerns how Kyp Durron atones for the destruction of multiple planets and millions (maybe billions) of people. THE ATONEMENT OF KYP DURRON: I liked Anderson’s treatment of Kyp’s debacle on Carida. He shows up, demanding that they give him info about his brother, and fires a missile when he hears that Zeth is dead. Of course, the Imperials lied to him; and of course, he’s not able to save his brother before the star goes supernova. He heads off, destroys another solar system, and then Han reaches out to him at exactly the moment that Exar Kun is defeated. Kyp gives in, and he’s sent before the Senate for sentencing. Mon Mothma orders that only Luke Skywalker can decide what to do with him. Luke sends Kyp to face something like the cave on Dagobah, and Kyp doesn’t use his weapon. Hurrah! He’s a Jedi now! WHAT. I’m not saying that Kyp Durron deserved a prison sentence, or the death penalty, or anything, but he murdered millions. Sure, they were Imperial worlds, but there were probably more people like Zeth, who had not chosen to align themselves with the Empire but were forced into it. Morality issues in Star Wars can get a little iffy when you look at them too closely, and this is a classic example. Kyp never fully atones for what he’s done, and so Luke’s immediate reacceptance of him feels off putting and not properly attained. IN CONCLUSION: I can’t stress enough--the Jedi Academy trilogy is pivotal to the 90s era Star Wars books. It introduces a lot of characters and concepts that we will see again! But Champions of the Force in particular is weirdly paced, weirdly plotted, and handles both the OG characters as well as the newer ones so haphazardly that it’s not even close to an enjoyable read. Next up: another doozy, The Crystal Star by Vonda N. McIntyre. My YouTube review: https://youtu.be/0Wmnp8TD_aI

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Review for the Jedi Academy Trilogy (Overall trilogy rating 4/5): This was one of my favorite series set in the Star Wars universe growing up. After a re-read it's still near the tops for me* in terms of the ideas it covers, but it's flaws are more obvious to me now. This trilogy covers an amazing number of great scenes and world building: - We get to see the planet Kessel and get introduced to The Maw (a series of black holes near the planet). That world and the spice within get very fleshed out. Review for the Jedi Academy Trilogy (Overall trilogy rating 4/5): This was one of my favorite series set in the Star Wars universe growing up. After a re-read it's still near the tops for me* in terms of the ideas it covers, but it's flaws are more obvious to me now. This trilogy covers an amazing number of great scenes and world building: - We get to see the planet Kessel and get introduced to The Maw (a series of black holes near the planet). That world and the spice within get very fleshed out. We also learn how Han was able to brag about making the Kessel run using a unit of distance instead of time. - Blob Races! - Good development of Admiral Ackbar, his homeworld, and people. - A race of aliens with a tower sized glass cathedral with the only purpose of being a building sized flute. - We finally get introduced to Han and Leia's twins. - Luke makes his first fumbling attempts at reestablishing the Jedi. - The Sun Crusher! There is a new big bad weapon in town and it blows up stars! Overall these books are fun and have a lot going for them. The purported villain is pretty weak (though you could argue that the real villain is an anti-hero within the book). Also for some reason Kevin J. Anderson has some *really* weird issues with time and space. For example, it felt like the books took place over the course of a couple weeks (which made it feel very cramped in terms of what happened) but apparently it was actually months if not longer. * (In terms of overall Star Wars Legends recommendations I think the Thrawn trilogy is top. I'm not really a huge fan of a lot that was written around the time of the prequels. The X-Wing series as I've written before is also amazing. And I'll get to it in my re-read later on but the New Jedi Order series is also fantastic. But the NJO isn't as significant if you haven't lived with the characters and books like these contribute heavily to that.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kirstin DeGeer

    This series suffered from a severe overabundance of enemies (and plotlines). It meant there were too many small climaxes in the third book. I also felt like the readers were being treated as if they couldn't remember a thing. I understand that it's probably important to review important plot points in subsequent books so that readers don't have to go back and reread before each new book comes out, but this was too, too much. Really the best example of the annoying side of this is that everyone h This series suffered from a severe overabundance of enemies (and plotlines). It meant there were too many small climaxes in the third book. I also felt like the readers were being treated as if they couldn't remember a thing. I understand that it's probably important to review important plot points in subsequent books so that readers don't have to go back and reread before each new book comes out, but this was too, too much. Really the best example of the annoying side of this is that everyone had to keep repeating Kyp's full name. Near the end, in fear, Han yells, "Kyp! Kyp Durron!" That is completely ludicris. Regardless of this review, I did enjoy the basic plot of this series and much of the writing therein.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Dobbs

    Three plotlines in this, the final book of the Jedi Academy trilogy. In the first, the possessed (by Exar Kun) Jedi apprentice Kyp Durron is flying around the galaxy in the indestructible Sun Crusher weapon/ship and wiping out major Imperial targets. Even if innocent lives are lost. In another plotline, Luke Skywalker is in a coma at the temple on Yavin 4 and the spirt of Exar Kun plots for a way to kill him. In the third storyline, Wedge and Chewie go back into the Maw to free some wookiee slav Three plotlines in this, the final book of the Jedi Academy trilogy. In the first, the possessed (by Exar Kun) Jedi apprentice Kyp Durron is flying around the galaxy in the indestructible Sun Crusher weapon/ship and wiping out major Imperial targets. Even if innocent lives are lost. In another plotline, Luke Skywalker is in a coma at the temple on Yavin 4 and the spirt of Exar Kun plots for a way to kill him. In the third storyline, Wedge and Chewie go back into the Maw to free some wookiee slaves. This wrapped up the set nicely, even if I still couldn't get my head around the overly-powerful weapons that the Empire could have built within 10 years yet the Republic can't do it if you give them 10,000.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    The Good: This finale of the trilogy was pretty good. I liked the writing style, and the narrative kept me involved. The Bad: The chapters were rather short, which wasted a lot of space; that's something that often annoys me in books. Conclusion: Star Wars fans will enjoy this; others won't...but, you already knew that, right?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    These were the first Star Wars novels I read, and as such, they have a special place in my heart. I can't really judge them objectively, but if I tried, I'd say they're not as technically impressive as Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, but they're still very entertaining.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Anti-climactic, fairy-tale ending. The only legitimate antagonist is removed in the first third of the book. Of the other two, one is a moron who is supposed to be comic relief and the other has no power or weaponry to pose a threat. Overall, a very derivative and safe trilogy

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kasc

    In my opinion this is the best novel of the series. It is the fastest read taking us from one action packed scene to another while managing to neatly wrap up all the loose strands thereby nicely rounding out the series. As with its predecessors, however, many things are awry here. The few rather boring passages in this book revolve around Wedge and his idiotic love interest. I absolutely do not care for their relationship, but their quest to regain her lost memory just rubbed me wrong on so many In my opinion this is the best novel of the series. It is the fastest read taking us from one action packed scene to another while managing to neatly wrap up all the loose strands thereby nicely rounding out the series. As with its predecessors, however, many things are awry here. The few rather boring passages in this book revolve around Wedge and his idiotic love interest. I absolutely do not care for their relationship, but their quest to regain her lost memory just rubbed me wrong on so many levels. Mostly, I think it’s the relevance that is repeatedly placed on the lost memories of the two of them together. I mean they have known each other for what, 2 weeks? But sure, these memories are way more important than whatever scientific knowledge Qwi has obtained over decades. But not to worry, if they cannot succeed they’ll just make new memories together. I hate that Wedge keeps insinuating her scientific accomplishments are worth less than their little romantic entanglement. It took three novels, but finally the idiotic plan of hiding away the Jedi children crumbles. As it turns out it is kind of inconvenient to hide a kid in an unknown location once that kid is in danger and in need of rescuing. It almost seems like it would have been smarter to keep the kid safe somewhere close by (huh, who would have thought). Miraculously though, it all works out for the best. Still, in his portrayal of Luke, Anderson is able to one up the stupidity of this plan. It is astounding how little Luke comes across like the seasoned Jedi Master that he supposedly is at this point but more like a naïve imbecile who is just winging it. First off, why the hell did he not do a background check on Yavin IV and possible past Sith/Jedi entanglements before establishing his Academy there? Apparently, the data was in the Holocron (Tionne retrieved the data on Exar Kun and the Massassi that way after all), was he so overconfident that he did not take the 30 minutes to check, seriously? Plus, should he not have been aware of a Dark Side presence once there? Does he lack the skills to check or did he just neglect to do it? Second off, Luke seriously makes his two-year-old (!) nephew defend his lifeless body with a lightsaber. I mean, sure he was somehow working through the kid’s body, but there was a grownup literally in the next room. It would have taken seconds to get an adult and it seems to me that fighting through the body of an adult would have been a lot more effective and would not have required to put a child in danger. Seriously, Luke should never, ever be allowed to look after these children. The only thing that somewhat redeemed his actions here is that Cilghal later brought the kids to help the group of Jedi fight Exar Kun. So apparently it is normal to have toddlers participate in a fight. Yet, although it seems hardly possible even Luke’s stupidity can be topped by that of every single Imperial we meet here. We already got a glimpse at that in the previous novels from how stupid Daala acted by attacking seemingly random targets without any apparent strategy and by neglecting to contact any other Imperial worlds. Now, there is Furgan. I cannot for the life of me figure out how he pulled off the poisoning of Mon Mothma given how incredibly stupid he is. His world is obliterated but instead of directly running to some other imperial stronghold he continues on his pointless quest of kidnapping a baby. To top this, he eventually tires to escape in a type of Imperial Walker. From a planet. How did he think that was going to work out? Finally, there is the director of the Maw Installation, Tol Sivron, who is a cookie cutter bureaucrat and just infuriatingly stupid and incompetent. Given this assortment of idiots, the Imperials do not really appear like such a big threat in this series. However, despite all these aspects, this is not a bad novel. A lot happens and after around 2/3 I was left wondering what could still happen as pretty much everything had been resolved by then (Exar Kun defeated, Luke and Kyp are back, Anakin is rescued, Wedge and co. have taken over the Maw Installation). But Anderson still had a big showdown at the Maw and Mon Mothma’s recovery in store. After this novel the new characters introduced finally seem like meaningful and relevant additions to the story and the EU at large (it took him three novels to accomplish what Zahn could immediately do, but hey he got there). All the storylines are eventually wrapped up and we get a nice closing scene at the Cathedral of Winds (a fitting location for this) where pretty much everyone gets to make a little appearance (even the guy from the blob races). Overall, while this is certainly no among the best series in the EU, it is a relevant addition that cannot really be skipped.

  24. 4 out of 5

    A.J. Blanc

    The conclusion to the Jedi Academy Trilogy should've been a fast-paced, gripping tale with tension from page one, but instead casually closes out the many plot lines one-by-one like a checklist without much effort by the characters. If anyone is a Champion of the Force in this book, I'll cast my vote for Exar Kun, who was able to keep his spirit alive for 4K years and severely messed with Luke's praxeum. Like with the first book in the trilogy, I didn't agree with a lot of the average criticisms The conclusion to the Jedi Academy Trilogy should've been a fast-paced, gripping tale with tension from page one, but instead casually closes out the many plot lines one-by-one like a checklist without much effort by the characters. If anyone is a Champion of the Force in this book, I'll cast my vote for Exar Kun, who was able to keep his spirit alive for 4K years and severely messed with Luke's praxeum. Like with the first book in the trilogy, I didn't agree with a lot of the average criticisms of this novel. SPOILERS! One of the main complaints is how easy Kyp Durron turns from the dark side. I didn't mind this because he was still under the influence of Exar Kun, so when Kun was defeated that influence vanished. Sure it was a bit lazy, but it makes sense within the story and SW universe. The same goes with his lack of punishment as a mass murder, since Mon Mothma made that Luke's decision. Next there's the defeat of Exar Kun, and return of Luke to corporeal form. My biggest problem with this whole exciting event was that it happened in the first third of the book! I wasn't bothered too much by Luke only being able to communicate with the twins, since they're blood... though it would've worked better with Streen IMHO. The Jedi students working together was ok, because that's how he was 'killed' the first time. Then there was Jacen expertly wielding Luke's lightsaber, by Luke sort of taking possession of the boy's movements. I could believe all those working in SW, I just would've preferred more buildup and at least a little explanation for some of the concepts beforehand. Finally there's the baby Anakin and Ackbar sub-plots. The only thing wrong with this situation, other than there being a bit dull, is that it made no sense to begin with. How exactly did Ambassador Furgan plan to groom Anakin Solo to be the next emperor? I can buy into the spy piece of it; Terpfen was actually a decent character I think, as well as the simplicity of its conclusion at the halfway point of the novel, but without any actual Force users around that would work with the Imperial Remnant this plan is just silly. There were of course things I liked, such as Chewbacca actually getting something to do, the aforementioned Terpfin, Kyp and even Tol Sivron were great characters, but all of the characters, good guys and bad, continued to be dumb and make illogical decisions. Having said that, I liked CotF better than Dark Apprentice, and would give it a solid 3.5 stars; however I can't bring myself to bump it up to four due to the above issues, as well as the needless repetition of movie lines. The Jedi Academy Trilogy isn't as bad as many people say, and neither is Kevin J. Anderson. It could've been a lot better that's for sure, but you also have to think about when it was written. Lucasarts wasn't keeping as close of tabs on everything during that time, because the EU was still relatively small compared to after the prequels a decade later. So if you liked the previous installments, or you're interested in pursuing the Legends continuity, I'd recommend reading this trilogy... after getting through the Thrawn Trilogy that is.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Xane

    Reread review (3/2/18): [1 Star; -2 stars from initial reading] Just saying but this book's cover should have been BRONZE colored. That way the covers of the trilogy would have been gold, silver, and then bronze. Just like their descending quality! Okay, sick burns aside, let's talk about the book... This book convinced me that this trilogy is, at best, mediocre. It's not just the stilted dialogue or the inaccurate physics regarding black holes. It's a much more fundamental issue than that. At a v Reread review (3/2/18): [1 Star; -2 stars from initial reading] Just saying but this book's cover should have been BRONZE colored. That way the covers of the trilogy would have been gold, silver, and then bronze. Just like their descending quality! Okay, sick burns aside, let's talk about the book... This book convinced me that this trilogy is, at best, mediocre. It's not just the stilted dialogue or the inaccurate physics regarding black holes. It's a much more fundamental issue than that. At a very basic level, the characters and plot just don't hold together. (1) Luke: Despite supposedly being about Luke establishing his Jedi Academy (or Praxeum as KJA decides to call it at one point and then never calls it that again), Luke is barely a character in these books. When he is there, he is such a bland and uninspired character that one could easily wonder if KJA had ever seen the real Luke in the movies. There was a great opportunity here to see Luke guide his new students and wrestle with what it means to be a teacher. Remember, in this universe he has gone over to the Dark Side and come back, defeating the reborn Emperor. Luke was the perfect person to not only understand Kyp's descent into the Dark Side, but to bring him back from it. Instead, we get a Luke who is completely helpless to do anything. There's no soul searching when he loses Gantoris or Kyp, no doubts about the validity of what he is doing, no plans to change things for the better or take action. Luke simply meanders about these books repeating platitudes from the movies and acting like a shadow of his true self. (2) Kyp: Kyp Durron is a fascinating character, not least of all because he's essentially the first Anakin/Kylo Ren of the Star Wars universe. Seriously, a character who rejects the teachings of his master, embraces the secrets of the Dark Side, then falls headfirst into the Dark Side after he attempts to kill his former master and loses a family member (wife [Anakin], father [Kylo], or brother [Kyp])? Kyp did all that first! (Update: and another thing: in Dark Apprentice, Kyp finds the melted mask of Darth Vader and vows to carry on the Sith legacy -markedly similar to Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens). Despite this, his character arc is completely lacking. He has a solid reason to hate the Empire, but instead of exploring this motivation, it's simply repeated ad nauseam (this is one of KJA's most annoying hallmarks -recapping and re-explaining and retelling EVERYTHING that has happened, even right after that thing has just happened). Kyp losing his brother on Carida at the start of CotF is a great character moment. But it's quickly overturned when he surrenders to Han simply because... Exar Kun gets killed? (And I could write even more about this, but Luke's students killing the powerful [and boring] Exar Kun because they were "strong together" was one of the most ridiculous things ever). Like other reviewers have said, KJA has the plot affect the characters, instead of the other way around. There was no agency on Kyp's part in his surrender. He surrendered simply because it was the third book and KJA decided it was time to start wrapping up plot threads. (3) Han: KJA's treatment of Han perfectly exemplifies the flaws of these books. Interestingly, just like The Force Awakens, the Han here is a fatherly mentor figure (in TFA, to Rey; here, to Kyp). Han and Kyp's friendship provides the emotional base for these books. In fact, it's the reason that Jedi Search was really any good. It's simply a shame, then, that Han's character has been butchered so badly by CotF. Examples? All right, let's look at Han and Leia's final exchange in the book: Leia: "Why does it seem as if the whole galaxy conspires to keep us away from each other all the time? We used to have adventures together!" Han: "Maybe its payback for all the lucky breaks I've had." Leia: "I hope your luck comes back soon, then." Han: "Never quote me the odds... I feel lucky enough right now." WHAT?! Where did "never quote me the odds" come from? What are the odds here? Are we really trying that hard to shoehorn in things from the movies? This right here is everything wrong with KJA's characterizations. Instead of building upon the foundation of the movies, KJA simply coasts on them. Instead of understanding the characters and utilizing the strengths of the written word to give them new depth, our heroes are reduced to near-caricatures of themselves. And I could go on and on about this. Leia worrying about whether or not she can fulfill her duties as both a mother and a stateswoman. Han and Lando getting into juvenile squabbles about who owns the Falcon. Lando blowing past charm and going full creep on Mara Jade WHO SEEMS TO BE OKAY WITH THIS BY THE END OF THE NOVEL. AAAAAH. (4) The Villains: They are all laughably bad. Where Zahn gave us one of the most memorable Star Wars characters ever in Thrawn, KJA misses with every single villain. Part of the problem is that some of his villains are supposed to be laughably bad. Moruth Doole is supposed to be a pathetic, weak-minded coward. Tol Sivron is supposed to be a thoroughly inept manager. Ambassador Furgan is supposed to be a pompous, self-important idiot (and his grand scheme is literally to kidnap baby Anakin so that... they can have a new emperor! How much more cartoony evil can you get?). And yet, one of the "real" threats, Admiral Daala, never experiences a single real victory. Ever. In any of the books. How are we supposed to take her seriously when she is just as incompetent as the other villains? Even the mysterious and powerful Exar Kun turns out to be incapable of really doing anything against Luke. Despite Kun's attacks having more weight given how he killed Gantoris in Dark Apprentice, he ultimately is dispatched rather easily by Luke's motley group of students. Every single villain ends up falling flat on their face. (5) Other stuff: The MT-AT attack on Anoth was entertaining. The battle in the Maw goes on forever. Mon Mothma passing the torch to Leia was touching. (Though I thought we were dealing with a republic here? Aka one that needs to vote on who becomes the next Chief of State? Whatever.) Despite everything, I really like Cilghal; her "hero moment" of healing Mon Mothma was fantastic. It was nice to see Ghent again. Winter was awesome. Wedge basically volunteers his way through the trilogy (Coruscant cleanup duty, Jedi academy supply duty, guard duty for Qwi, battle duty for the Maw attack; the man is a volunteering machine!). Streen got the short shrift -you would think that Gantoris' death and its impact on him would have been explored at some point, but NOPE. In fact, none of the Jedi trainees are much more than cardboard cutouts. A shame really, given that this whole trilogy was supposed to be about them. You know what, this is all making me so grumpy that I'm giving CotF one star. I was going to give two but after writing all this out I just can't. There's too many problems. Too much wasted potential. Counters! Anakin gets (briefly) kidnapped, so another for that counter: Times the Solo kids have been lost/kidnapped: 2

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This was the book with the most action, especially the end when everyone shows up to where the trouble all began, the Maw Installation. Good riddance to the Sun Crusher and Death Star prototype in the black hole. No more superweaopns! Although I admit I liked the team of Maw scientist on board the Death Star prototype. Good comic relief with their silly meetings and following the guide book on what to do, even during a battle. *headslap* *lol* Why did he make Daala live? I just know she'll show up This was the book with the most action, especially the end when everyone shows up to where the trouble all began, the Maw Installation. Good riddance to the Sun Crusher and Death Star prototype in the black hole. No more superweaopns! Although I admit I liked the team of Maw scientist on board the Death Star prototype. Good comic relief with their silly meetings and following the guide book on what to do, even during a battle. *headslap* *lol* Why did he make Daala live? I just know she'll show up again in another book now, especially when she downloaded info and plans from the Maw's computers. Kyp, glad he made it back from the dark side after Exar Kun's defeat. I've been rooting for Kyp all along. Liked his test in the temple, a reminder of Luke's test in the cave, only with better results. Cilghal, I always like healers. Glad Mon Mothma was curred after Ambassador Furgan's poisoning. (Glad he got what he deserved on Anoth!) Leia is crazy to become Chief of State at Mon's request after getting all her children back in her care. I think she'd be a great leader but she's taking on a lot. Good luck to her. I liked Leia's pep talk to Luke's students about not to give up b/c Luke was in a suspended stare and it being their first challenge in their life as Jedi. After all the devastating things happening on Yavin IV it was good to see the students unite to defeat Exar's spirit. Mara had more of a role which was a plus :D I wanted to tell Lando to back off with the flirting. She's likes Luke! At least Lando's subplot came full circle. I like the idea of the Smuggler's Alliance talking over Kessel with Lando's money. :D The end scene was nice with everyone gathered at the Vortex Cathedral of Winds. It was reminiscent of the end of A New Hope. Lots of subplots and character's but not overcrowded and not a dull read at all. Having read the books that precede this set and getting to know some EU characters and story lines I came out liking The Jedi Academy Trilogy more now than when I was 13.

  27. 4 out of 5

    James Taylor

    Champions Of The Force is the third and final book of the series, and mainly exists to wrap up all of the plot threads. The Jedi students must defeat Exar Kun to bring Luke back from his coma; Kyp is on his rampage with the Sun Crusher; Chewbacca and Wedge go for a Wookie rescue mission in the Maw Cluster; and Mon Mothma's mysterious illness is yet to be cured. The Exar Kun plot was wrapped up really early in the book and in such a silly and boring manner. I thought that this plot thread was the Champions Of The Force is the third and final book of the series, and mainly exists to wrap up all of the plot threads. The Jedi students must defeat Exar Kun to bring Luke back from his coma; Kyp is on his rampage with the Sun Crusher; Chewbacca and Wedge go for a Wookie rescue mission in the Maw Cluster; and Mon Mothma's mysterious illness is yet to be cured. The Exar Kun plot was wrapped up really early in the book and in such a silly and boring manner. I thought that this plot thread was the main focus of the trilogy, so for it to end so early and poorly was hugely disappointing. Many of the Jedi recruits had little to no character development in the series too, and I expected more of them to be concentrated on in this instalment. There was more action in this book with a battle occurring at the end to conclude some of the Imperial's fates. This part alone made it more exciting than the second book. Lando was constantly cringey with his dialogue with Mara; continuously flirting at every opportunity. I also felt some dialogue was really forced with Han reeling off some of his favourite lines. Leia says “I hope your luck comes back soon then” which he replies “never quote me the odds” - which doesn't really fit. Overall, the series was really poor, so you cannot expect a great book to conclude it. It was probably as good as it could be given the story leading up to it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Devan Smith

    Definitely better than the second installment, but still kind of meh. I liked what the author did with Kyp Durron, he kind of redeemed the character for me after wrecking him in the last one. Also, Lando, Han, and Ackbar are all fantastic in this edition. I also liked the general theme of "Champions of the Force," Luke's students kind of have to strike out on their own and discover what being Jedi really means in the context of galactic struggle. It felt very natural. There was a weird loose end a Definitely better than the second installment, but still kind of meh. I liked what the author did with Kyp Durron, he kind of redeemed the character for me after wrecking him in the last one. Also, Lando, Han, and Ackbar are all fantastic in this edition. I also liked the general theme of "Champions of the Force," Luke's students kind of have to strike out on their own and discover what being Jedi really means in the context of galactic struggle. It felt very natural. There was a weird loose end at the end of the story that felt very out of place in the context of the narrative, but maybe it will be addressed later in the EU. Some of the dialogue throughout is kind of clunky as well. If I had to take a shot for every time the word duty is used (and this goes for the entire series) I would be wasted by page 30. Anyways, this books get a 3/5, and I would probably give the series as whole that grade as well. Passable, generally enjoyable, excellent at moments, but overall fairly average as far as the Star Wars EU goes. SPOILER: I love how they killed Exar Kun by roasting him

  29. 4 out of 5

    John

    2.5 stars. Better than the second book but still a very frustrating book. The bureaucracy on Maw Installation and the battle with Exar Kun are probably the best parts of the book. Outside of that, the same problems persist. Terrible pacing, inexplicable or non-existent character arcs, awful awful dialogue and characterization, over-the-top violence that took me out of the book. And Lando, for some reason Kevin J. Anderson thought that Lando being that creepy guy at the bar that everyone avoids w 2.5 stars. Better than the second book but still a very frustrating book. The bureaucracy on Maw Installation and the battle with Exar Kun are probably the best parts of the book. Outside of that, the same problems persist. Terrible pacing, inexplicable or non-existent character arcs, awful awful dialogue and characterization, over-the-top violence that took me out of the book. And Lando, for some reason Kevin J. Anderson thought that Lando being that creepy guy at the bar that everyone avoids would be...charming? Funny? Oy that got old quick. Probably the biggest problem with the entire trilogy is it's too ambitious. Too many subplots so that the main plot or the overarching theme gets muddled in a bunch of unsatisfying and poorly executed conflicts. I'm going to continue to read Star Wars novels, but I think I'll keep my distance from Mr. Anderson unless one of his books or trilogies comes HIGHLY recommended to me.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    This one started out promising, but weakened as it went. I agree with other posters that it was like he couldn't figure out who he wanted the bad guy to be. I'm fine with multiple bad guys, but this was Batman level of bad guys with the same issue that many Batman shows/movies/comics have; when you have too many characters or villains, the plot weakens because you can't focus on any one in particular. The result is a weak ending to everyone's story instead of a nice fleshed out story for a handf This one started out promising, but weakened as it went. I agree with other posters that it was like he couldn't figure out who he wanted the bad guy to be. I'm fine with multiple bad guys, but this was Batman level of bad guys with the same issue that many Batman shows/movies/comics have; when you have too many characters or villains, the plot weakens because you can't focus on any one in particular. The result is a weak ending to everyone's story instead of a nice fleshed out story for a handful of characters. Coupled with the short chapters and constant back and forth, it didn't do justice to the characters we had been introduced to in the previous two books. He also relied heavily on movie quotes and repeated them relentlessly instead of creating new dialogue. I definitely recommend the entire trilogy as the general story definitely contributes to the Star Wars universe. Just don't expect a great ending. Instead, expect a Return of the Jedi type ending :P

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