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Dark Journey: Star Wars (The New Jedi Order) Mass Market Paperback – Jan 29 2002

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: LucasBooks (Jan. 29 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345428692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345428691
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #377,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

A former music and history teacher, Elaine Cunningham has written more than a dozen fantasy novels and many short stories. She is best known for the Songs & Swords books, particularly Elfshadow, a mystery in a fantasy setting. She lives with her family in a coastal New England town.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter Two

Anakin is dead. Jacen is gone.

These thoughts resounded through Jaina Solo's benumbed senses, echoing through an inner
silence as profound as that of the watchful stars.

These thoughts drowned out the sounds of battle, and
the frantic, running commentary of the seven young Jedi
who struggled to fly the stolen Yuuzhan Vong ship. Like
her companions, Jaina was battered and filthy from days
of captivity, and from a battle that had lasted too long
and cost too much.

Only eight Jedi had fought their way out of the world-ship
and onto this smaller ship, bringing with them the
body of their young leader. The survivors had taken the
Yuuzhan Vong frigate analog quickly, with astonishing
ease. Jaina had a dim recollection of searing anger and
killing light, of her friend Zekk pushing her away from
the pilot's seat and into the Yuuzhan Vong equivalent of
a gunner's chair. She perched there now on the edge of
the too-large seat, firing missiles of molten rock at the
coralskippers pursuing the Jedi and their stolen ship.

Jaina watched with a strange sense of detachment as
the alien ship released plasma at her command, as the
death of coralskippers and their Yuuzhan Vong pilots
was painted in brief, brilliant splashes against the dark
canvas of space. All of this was a fever dream, nothing
more, and Jaina was merely a character caught in her
own nightmare.

Jacen is gone.

It didn't seem possible. It wasn't possible. Jacen was
alive. He had to be. How could she be alive if Jacen
was not? Her twin brother had been a part of her, and
she of him, since before their birth. What they were could
not be separated from what they were to each other.

Her thoughts tumbled like an X-wing in an out-of-control
spiral. Jaina's pilot instincts kicked in, and she
eased herself out of the spin.

Reaching out through the Force, she strained beyond
the boundaries of her power and training as she sought
her brother. Where Jacen had been was only blackness,
as unfathomable as space. She went deep within, frantically
seeking the place within her that had always been
Jacen's. That, too, was veiled.

Jacen was gone. Jaina did not feel bereft, but sundered.
A burst of plasma flared toward the stolen ship. Jaina
responded with one of her own. It streamed toward the
incoming plasma bolt like a vengeful comet. The two
missiles met in a tidal wave.

Zekk threw himself to one side, straining the umbilicals
on the pilot's gloves in his attempt to pull the ship
aside from the killing spray.

Fortunately for the Jedi, their Yuuzhan Vong pursuers
were also forced to turn aside. This bought them a moment
of relative peace--no immediate danger, no obvious

Jaina twisted in her seat until she could see the world-ship
where Anakin had fallen, where Jacen had been
abandoned. It seemed odd, and somehow wrong, that
such a terrible place could be reduced to a small lump of
black coral.

"We'll be back, Jacen," she promised. "You hold on,
and we'll come for you."

I'll come for you, she added silently. She would go
after Jacen alone, if it came down to that, as Anakin had
gone to Yavin 4 to rescue Tahiri.

Now Anakin was dead, and a battered and heart-broken
Tahiri watched over his body. The small blond
girl blazed in the Force like a nova--Jaina couldn't help
but feel her anguish. The severed bond was different
from that shared by twins, but perhaps no less intense.

The realization hit her like a thud bug. Anakin and
Tahiri. How strange--and yet it felt right and perfect.

Tears filled Jaina's eyes, refracting an incoming streak
of molten gold into lethal rainbows. In the pilot's seat,
Zekk muttered a curse and wrenched the frigate's nose
up and hard to port. The alien ship rose in a sharp, gut-
wrenching arc. Plasma scorched along the frigate's underside,
sheering off the irregular coral nodules with a
shrill, ululating screech.

Jaina jerked her left hand from its living glove and
fisted away her tears through the cognition hood that
covered her face. Meanwhile the fingers of her right hand
slid and circled as she deftly brought her target into
focus. She jammed her left hand back into the glove and
squeezed it into a fist, releasing a burst of plasma at the
attacking coralskipper--an instant before it launched a
second plasma.

Jaina's missile struck the Yuuzhan Vong ship in that minuscule
interval between shielding and attack. Shards of
black coral exploded from its hull, and the snout heated
to an ominous red as molten rock washed over it. Cracks
fissured through the Yuuzhan Vong pilot's viewport.

Again Jaina fired, and again, timing the attacks with
skill honed through two long years and too many missions.
The coralskipper's projected gravity well swallowed
the first missile; the second proved to be too much
for the severely compromised hull. The ship broke apart,
spilling its life out into the emptiness of space.

"I know that feeling," Jaina muttered.

A small, strong hand settled on her shoulder. She felt
Tenel Ka's solid presence through the Force--there, but
profoundly different. A moment passed before Jaina
realized why: her friend's emotions, usually as straight-forward
and unambiguous as a drawn blaster, had been
carefully shielded.

"We are doing the right thing for Jacen," Tenel Ka said
stoutly. "Because they have only one twin, they will harm
neither. We suspected as much, but now we have proof.
They are not trying to destroy this ship."

"Couldn't prove it by me," Zekk muttered as he jinked
sharply to avoid another plasma blast.

"Fact," the warrior woman said bluntly. "Zekk, for
two years you've flown cargo ships--a true contribution,
but poor training for this escape."

"Yeah? Here's another fact: I haven't gotten us killed

"And here are several more," Tenel Ka retorted.
"Jaina was in Rogue Squadron. She had access to New
Republic intelligence on enemy ships. She has survived
more dogfights than anyone here. If we are to survive,
you must let her fly."

Zekk started to protest, but another barrage cut him
off. He zigzagged wildly to avoid incoming fire and then
put the ship into a tumbling evasive dive. The force
threw Tenel Ka into the seat behind the pilot. She muttered
something in her native language as she struggled
into the restraining loops.

Jaina braced her feet against the irregular coral floor
and steeled herself for the punishing buildup of g-force.
She expected her cognition hood to bulge out like the
jowls of a Dagobian swamp lizard, but it remained comfortably
in place. She filed the data away for future use.
In any New Republic ship, this maneuver would have
been punishing; apparently, the internal gravity of a Yuuzhan
Vong ship was far more complex and adaptable.

Even so, for several moments speech was impossible.
Jaina quickly ran through the list of survivors as she
considered Tenel Ka's words. Nine Jedi remained, just one
more than half of their original strike force. Tahiri was
only fifteen, and no pilot. She had been terribly wounded
in body and spirit, and Tekli, the Chadra-Fan healer, was
busy attending her. The reptilian Tesar, the sole survivor
of the Barabel hatchmates, was working the shielding
station in the stern. Lowbacca was needed everywhere,
and since their escape he'd been dashing about patching
the living ship's wounds. When his efforts fell short, he'd
alternately cajoled and threatened the ship in Wookiee
terms so vivid that Em Teedee, the lost translator droid,
would have been hard-pressed to come up with genteel

That left Tenel Ka, Alema Rar, and Ganner Rhysode.
Jaina quickly dismissed Tenel Ka. Yuuzhan Yong ships
were not designed with one-armed pilots in mind. Forget
Alema. The Twi'lek female was emotionally fragile--
Jaina could feel her teetering on the edge of mindless,
vengeful frenzy. Put Alema in the pilot's seat, and she'd
likely plot a suicidal plunge directly at the worldship's
dovin basal. Ganner was a powerful Jedi, an impressive-
looking man whose role in this mission had been to serve
as decoy for the real leader--Anakin. Ganner had his
points, but he wasn't enough of a pilot to get them out
of this.

Tenel Ka was right, Jaina concluded. Anakin had died
saving the Jedi from the deadly voxyn. He'd left his last
mission in Jacen's hands, not hers, but she was the one
left to see it through. The Jedi--at least the Jedi on this
ship--were now her responsibility.

A small voice nudged into Jaina's consciousness,
barely audible over the screaming dive and the thrum
and groan of the abused ship. In some dim corner of her
mind huddled a small figure, weeping in anguish and
indecision. Jaina slammed the door and silenced her
broken heart.

"I need Ganner to take over for me," she said as soon
as she could speak.

A look of concern crossed Tenel Ka's face, but she
shrugged off her restraints and rose. In moments she re-
turned with the older Jedi.

"Someone has to take my place at gunner," Jaina explained.
She stood up without removing either the gloves
or hood. "No time for a learning curve--better work
with me until you get the feel of it. The seat's big enough
for both of us."

After a brief hesitation, Ganner slipped into the chair.
Jaina quickly settled into his lap.

He chuckled and linked his hands around her waist.
"This could get to be a habit."

"Hold that thought," Jaina told him as she sighted
down an incoming skip. "It'll k...

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
With the previous book of the New Jedi Order series, Star by Star creating so much havok in the Star Wars Universe, Dark Journey is a welcome reprieve from the massive undertakings described in Troy Denning's novel.
Written mostly from Jaina's perspective, but allowing for Kyp, Jag, Tenel Ka and Lowie to also develop, the novel basically tells of Jaina's wandering towards the dark side after the loss of both her brothers. Becoming nearly obsessed with playing out the role of Yun-Harla the Yuuzhan Vong goddess of trickery, she continually baffles Harrar, the Warmaster's favorite priest, and the commander of Harrar's naval force.
Though the characterization of Jaina was better than most, it still seemed a bit construed and misguided at times, and for a book with a very obvious central character (much like Jacen's, Traitor, by Matthew Stover) it seemed to meander through too many other character's own personal motives. In the end though, Jaina's travels seem well documented, and add a good focusing point for other characters as well, most importantly Kyp and Jag Fel.
Extra points go to Elaine Cunningham for finally pointing out what most readers of the Young Jedi Knights series knew all along - Tenel Ka and Jacen were in love and are meant to be together. I personally enjoyed seeing Lowie and Tenel Ka recieve some more important roles, which they deserved after Kevin J. Anderson's great portrayal of them in the Young Jedi Knights books.
All in all not a bad book by any stretch, though not a great one either.
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By Nom de Guerre on July 27 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Enter woman author #2 in the New Jedi Order series, Elaine Cunningham. Unlike Kathy Tyers, who essentially handles a typical sort of Star Wars story involving all the major characters, Cunningham focuses on Jaina in order to create what she must have envisioned as a women's Star Wars book, by a woman and about a woman. Romance and powerful, consuming emotions take center stage, with Jaina as the sassy vixen around whom it all revolves.
I am a woman, and I am offended by this insult to the maturity and intelligence of my gender.
Where to begin? Cunningham's writing is atrocious. She has neither a sense of continuity nor of how characters should be expected to react emotionally to events. Han and Leia have just lost one, maybe two children, so they joke around and flirt. Then, later, we get a few sentences about how profound their sadness is. How trite, Ms. Cunningham. It's good to know that the Solos were officially upset while fooling around on the Falcon. Similarly, every male in the galaxy seems (completely irrationally) to have the hots for Jaina Solo, who, sassy vixen that she is, is not adverse to indulging their fantasies. The book opens with Star Wars Spice Jaina sitting on Ganner's lap and making lewd comments about it. In the middle, she manipulates the usually practical Kyp Durron with her womanly wiles and unbelievable Force powers. The book closes with a gushingly sentimental Kyp "saving" his soul mate Jaina, who's taken her sassiness a little too far. This is as over-the-top as Moulin Rouge, but with only a fraction of the emotional depth.
Cunningham's treatment of the Force is as simplistic and flawed as her treatment of human emotions. In a series that focuses on questioning the nature of the Force, this novel is completely out of place.
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By A Customer on Dec 2 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've been keeping my distance from the New Jedi Order books ever since I heard about the deaths of Chewbacca and Anakin, but I noticed recently that my library had "Star By Star" so I said "What the heck" and took it out. It was reasonably enjoyable, and made Anakin's death a little more tolerable. It would have done very well to include much more interaction between the characters, but it was a solid book on the whole. To make a long story short, I figured I might as well read the rest of the series, and bought "Dark Journey".
I was engrossed but disappointed. Dark Journey starts off well enough, but then the plot just stops. It never got boring, but when I looked back on what I had just read, it seemed like approximately nothing had happened. Jaina's dark side issue was vague throughout the whole book, which was extremely disappointing. As I neared the end, it seemed like the author had suddenly said, "Oh crud, I need to wrap this up soon and I've gone absolutely nowhere!" Suddenly things started happening again, there was a battle, and Jaina had a conversionary experience. All very vague still, but tolerable. The epilogue is satisfying, and conveyed the appropriate sense of relief, though my imagination created more than a few the emotions in this book.
Dark Journey's primary crippling problem is vagueness. Even with my limited skills at narrative, I'm pretty sure I could do better on that count. I'm not sure what Ms. Cunningham was thinking, but Dark Journey just doesn't deliver. My rating is good because the story did have a satisfying emotional flow - if I couldn't quite tell what was going on with the characters, I could get a sense of what they were feeling. Because of this I don't feel entirely cheated... but it's a near thing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had been looking forward to this book since the day I finished the cracking "Star By Star" many months ago, unfortunately it didn't live up to my anticipation. The plot was quite involved, but I don't think that it was as hard to figure out, as Elaine Cunningham believed it was. Without giving anything away, the fact that the whole book was focused on Jaina made it quite predictable as to which way the story would move.
Fast paced as the story was, Jaina's dark side battle was far too cerebral to be exciting, my feeling was she was flirting with the dark side more than actually being tempted by it. Where were the displays of Dark Side force powers that happened at the end of the previous book? I wanted people being fried with force lightening, not a "Will I, Won't I" discussion in Jaina's head! Her attitude change wasn't very believable and came across as forced, the climax was disappointing, a sterile portrayal of the battle scene, which was unfortunate as these are the very scenes that have made this series so enjoyable, but there were enough developments in the Yuuzan Vong war effort, to make this still worth buying.
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