A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
The young adult novels continue, delaying my return to the conclusion of the original Thrawn Trilogy written by Timothy Zahn. This short novella, the third in the series that follows the adventures of a young jedi prince, known as Ken (possibly after Kenobi) as he travels with the heroes of the Original Trilogy shortly after the events of The Return of the Jedi.
Like the two previous stories, this one has an environmental theme at work as well. This time, it seems the imperials, still led by the horribly named Trioculus, who is posing as the Emperor’s son, have a factory barge working near the molten core of Bespin, and consequently giving off lots of pollution, ruining the view and the tourist trade, as well as Han Solo’s recently finished air mansion (of all the things this storyline has thrown at me, this has got to be the worst).
Meanwhile, Zorba the Hutt, Jabba’s father has returned to Tatooine to see his son, only to learn of his death at the hands of Princess Leia. He vows vengeance, and sets off in search of her. His search brings him to Bespin, where Han is holding a gathering at his new home.
But Trioculus is there as well, working from the factory barge, and intent on hunting down Ken because of the dark side prophecy that the jedi prince will bring about his downfall. He’s also intent on making Leia his wife, and empress of the galaxy.
Zorba and Trioculus come into conflict with one another, because, momentarily, each has what the other wants, Ken and Leia. But the Hutt gets the upper hand, Trioculus is encased in carbonite, Zorba believes Leia is dead after he destroys the factory barge, and Han decides maybe he doesn’t need a home quite yet, and leads the group off, as the credits roll, to another hideaway.
I get that these stories are meant for younger readers, but some of the things that occur are just a little too childish, and silly (Lando loses Cloud City to Zorba in a game of sabacc, which could potentially tie in nicely with where we find him in the Zahn series, but he mentions he might want to open a theme park – um…. okay).
Still, there are some cool bits, and the stories are short enough that they don’t require a huge engagement on the part of the reader. This instalment puts us halfway through the series. With three volumes to go, I do wonder how things will play out for Ken. I guess, I’ll just have to wait and see.
May the Force be with you.