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Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial

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Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived--and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul ba Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived--and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul back together before he loses everything: friends, family, and faith. Refusing help from Leia or Luke, Han becomes the loner he once was, seeking to escape the pain of his partner's death in adventure . . . and revenge. When he learns that an old friend from his smuggling days is operating as a mercenary for the enemy, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han's investigation uncovers an even greater evil: a sinister conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the New Republic's will and ability to fight--the Jedi. Now Han must face down his inner demons and, with the help of a new and unexpected ally, honor Chewbacca's sacrifice in the only way that matters--by being worthy of it. Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!


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Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived--and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul ba Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived--and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul back together before he loses everything: friends, family, and faith. Refusing help from Leia or Luke, Han becomes the loner he once was, seeking to escape the pain of his partner's death in adventure . . . and revenge. When he learns that an old friend from his smuggling days is operating as a mercenary for the enemy, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han's investigation uncovers an even greater evil: a sinister conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the New Republic's will and ability to fight--the Jedi. Now Han must face down his inner demons and, with the help of a new and unexpected ally, honor Chewbacca's sacrifice in the only way that matters--by being worthy of it. Features a bonus section following the novel that includes a primer on the Star Wars expanded universe, and over half a dozen excerpts from some of the most popular Star Wars books of the last thirty years!

30 review for Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    For this they killed Chewbacca?! This was awful. Pointless. The whole Yuuzhan Vong thing is interminably boring. Cover art is supposed to make you want to buy the book. The art on the covers of this series is so bad, it makes you want to look for a plain, brown wrapper. Is the guy on the left supposed to be Han Solo?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    The following review contains spoilers, so be forewarned. Actually, it contains one major spoiler, which---to fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe---isn't really a spoiler, since, apparently, everyone in the world knew about it except for me. In any case, I'm trying to be respectful to those fans who may have not caught the news and haven't read the books in this series yet, so, if you're one of those, you may want to skip this review as I will be revealing some big secrets of the SWEU and th The following review contains spoilers, so be forewarned. Actually, it contains one major spoiler, which---to fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe---isn't really a spoiler, since, apparently, everyone in the world knew about it except for me. In any case, I'm trying to be respectful to those fans who may have not caught the news and haven't read the books in this series yet, so, if you're one of those, you may want to skip this review as I will be revealing some big secrets of the SWEU and the New Jedi Order series. When last we saw Han Solo, he was pretty despondent about losing his best friend and partner. He wasn't dealing well with grief, hopping cantinas and drowning his sorrows in alcohol, all the while his wife and children were off fighting in a war against an alien race bent on destruction of all life in the galaxy. So, yeah, he was being a bit of a dick. Understandably so, I guess, but still a dick. In the last two books, Solo barely even made an appearance. Thankfully, author James Luceno had the audacity and temerity to slap Solo in the face and tell him to snap out of his funk. Mourning-time's over, Han. Quit whining and get back in the fight. It's what Chewie would have wanted… "Hero's Trial", the first book in Luceno's Agents of Chaos duology, is all about Han Solo, which is great, since he has been flagrantly absent from the New Jedi Order series. I'm not sure if Michael A. Stackpole purposely decided to omit Han from his "Dark Tide" duology or if he just wasn't sure how to deal with the tragedy of the death of Chewbacca and what that would do to Han, but his omission was felt tremendously. Not that the "Dark Tide" series wasn't great despite the loss. It was an excellent duology, don't get me wrong. It simply lacked a vital component of the Star Wars universe. Luceno appropriately begins "Hero's Trial" with a funeral scene for Chewbacca. Set on Chewie's home planet, Kashyyk, the scene is handled deftly and is quite moving. It is emotionally uplifting without becoming too maudlin. All in all, Luceno handles an extremely important scene like a pro. It also helps to set the tone for the rest of the novel. The funeral is closure on a particular chapter in Han's life. While still sad deep in his soul, Han knows that he has to man up now. When an old smuggler buddy shows up with an opportunity to both help out in the fight against the Yuuzhan Vong AND possibly get into a hell of a lot of trouble, Han can't pass it up. Apparently, a group of pirates and smugglers calling themselves, ironically, the Peace Brigade have been secretly selling information, supplies, as well as slaves to the Yuuzhan Vong. If there's one thing Han can't stand, it's slavers. So, without telling his wife and kids or anyone else (of course), Han sets off on a solo adventure. (See what I did there?) Adventure, of course, ensues, including a giant Yuuzhan Vong space creature that attaches to ships like a lamprey and sucks out the passengers; a luxury space cruiser being used to transport refugees that gets taken over Die Hard-style by space pirates; and a beautiful Yuuzhan Vong "defector" who may not be exactly what she pretends to be. This book seems to be a temporary return to the pulpy B-movie fun of the original "Star Wars", but Luceno never quite lets the reader forget how serious the situation is for Han and the galaxy. It's just really nice to see Han back in the saddle again.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lance Shadow

    Special thank you to my goodreads pal Crystal Starr Light for sending me this entire book series! *UPDATE: After reading Jedi Eclipse and taking into account feedback I received from other EU fans on Facebook groups, I am going to slightly bump up my final rating for this review. I will also change some of the harshest wording in this review because my opinions have changed a little bit. Remember how I mentioned in my review of Dark Tide II: Ruin that it took longer to read simply because I star Special thank you to my goodreads pal Crystal Starr Light for sending me this entire book series! *UPDATE: After reading Jedi Eclipse and taking into account feedback I received from other EU fans on Facebook groups, I am going to slightly bump up my final rating for this review. I will also change some of the harshest wording in this review because my opinions have changed a little bit. Remember how I mentioned in my review of Dark Tide II: Ruin that it took longer to read simply because I started working again? Well with Agents of Chaos I, it took twice as long as Dark Tide II because I just did not want to read it. I had so much trouble building up the motivation to finish this book that I decided to buck up and read it during the week after a 10 hour day of working outside. Even when I sat down to read it, I could not get through more than one chapter at a time. Now that that little rant is over, lets go into more details. I have to confess that I'm not the biggest fan of James Luceno's star wars work. I think he is a good writer and I can respect why other people love his books, but for me his style just isn't my cup of tea. He's great at getting inside a character's head and exploring every facet of that character, but his writing is a little dense for my tastes, and his action sequences are dull as sin. I can understand why the stories he writes are seen as refreshing and unique by not focusing on the usual star wars elements, but for me it tends to be to much of a slow burn. I can also see why others feel so rewarded by all the Expanded Universe references Luceno makes, but for me it often comes off as pointless and detracts too much from the story. The one time that I think Luceno's distinct Star Wars style landed pretty perfectly was his most popular Star Wars novel Darth Plagueis (with Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel coming close), but even Plagueis left me bored for many stretches of it. THE STORY: This is finally the point in the series where we get to dive into how Han Solo gets over his grief after the galaxy-shattering events of Vector Prime. Han went through a drastic character shift in the first NJO book, and Michael A. Stackpole pretty much pushed Han aside in the Dark Tide duology. This book is the reason for that. It opens with a big funeral scene that leaves Han even more depressed than he already has been. Then he goes on a quest with an old smuggler friend that involves going after a group called the Peace Brigade that is actually in league with the Yuuzhan Vong. We also are introduced to a new villain in the Vong faction named Harrar, a high ranking priest. Nom Anor also comes back and continuously proves to be a pointless villain. We also have bit parts for Luke/Mara and Leia because we always need the rest of the Big 4 just for the sake of it. THE BAD: I only need one single word to describe why I didn't like this book: BORING. Holy crap this was a slog. I had some level of interest in this book because it was about Han and his mental state following the death of someone close to him, and James Luceno was the perfect choice for such a story. Another interesting behind the scenes bit is that this is Luceno's very first Star Wars novel ever. Sure he would go on to write such beloved entries in this universe like Labyrinth of Evil, The Rise of Darth Vader, and the aforementioned Darth Plagueis, but the New Jedi Order was where it all began for him. And like i said above, given the types of books he is known for, an introspective character study about Han Solo after a traumatic turn of events for him is a perfect story for Luceno to tell within the New Jedi Order Narrative. Unfortunately, and also surprisingly, the book just doesn't spend that much time exploring Han's inner thoughts, and rarely allows for Luceno to play into his biggest strengths. Instead, most of this book is spent with Han simply going through the different beats of this very boring plot with pretty boring characters. Which brings me to another big problem, all encompassed in the character of Roa. I know what Luceno was trying to do here: Brian Daley, the writer of The Han Solo Adventures, was one of his best friends, and he wanted Agents of Chaos to be a tribute to Brian Daley and those novels. But that really doesn't work here. Luceno writes Roa in a way that expects you to have read the Han Solo Adventures, not really catching you up on the character at all. I would be more forgiving if he had a memorable personality like Corran Horn or Elegos Ak'la in the Dark Tide novels, but he doesn't. So I couldn't help but get annoyed that this book ran on the assumption that I read a series of Star Wars novels from the 80s that otherwise didn't really connect to what has been going on in the NJO. At least Gavin Darklighter was the commander of Rogue Squadron, an important group of New Republic Pilots. At least Corran Horn was a high ranking Jedi. Roa just feels shoehorned in for the sake of it. None of the other characters left any sort of mark. We get to learn some interesting stuff about the Yuuzhan Vong through Harrar, but otherwise he has no personality in this novel. Nom Anor is even more boring and useless here than he was in Vector Prime, and Luceno decided to take away anything that he could have to do and gave it to Elan and Vergere, two other boring characters associated with the Vong. Reck Desh and Droma were also really boring. The worldbuilding is also kind of messy, as well as how this plot connects to the bigger story. I'm honestly ok with the idea that Han Solo spent 6 months completely toasted and drunk due to his depression. That's actually the most compelling idea in this settup, as alcoholism is an oppressive addiction that can completely destroy someone (check out YouTuber Sean Chandler's video on his personal experience with Alcoholism, it was highly informative and eye opening). But why the kriff did the funeral for the character that was killed off 6 MONTHS AGO in the in-universe timeline of these books take this long to happen?? More importantly, I understand why they wanted to set everything in this book AFTER the dark tide books- one of the stated goals of the NJO was to have the timeline of the story coincide with the release order of the novels. But wow does it mess with the pacing here. It's rather jarring after the huge defeat at the end of Dark Tide II: Ruin to have this meandering plotline that doesn't even focus on the Yuuzhan Vong War at all. THE GOOD: Based on my shear boredom, I would have rated this book lower had it not been for a couple of great moments. *UPDATE*: Also, because I legitimately understand why Luceno's Star Wars work connects with other readers, I also want to try to acknowledge why people seemed to like this book more than me. When the book actually focuses on Han Solo trying to process his emotions and what he has been going through, it works great. He gets two scenes with Anakin Solo and I loved both of them, the first one in particular. It did a great job showing that the loving family man that Han Solo has grown into is still deep down in there, but most importantly for me it shows how much Anakin has grown from the start of this series. He demonstrates in his interaction with Han that he has taken the lessons to heart that he has learned both from Mara Jade in Dark Tide 1 and from Deshara'cor in Dark Tide II. I can't elaborate enough on how much I love Anakin in these books and so far I've been impressed by how consistently great his character is. The other scenes where Han Solo thinks back on his past and tries to work through his emotions work pretty well too. There's a scene towards the end that I didn't mention when I first wrote this review concerning Leia and her little arc in this book- while overall I don't think Leia was interesting in this book, she did have good moment that connected with Han's story towards the end where she comes to a nice little revelation that helps to tie the other subplots together, if only a little. We also get a pretty interesting POV moment from C-3PO and a nice Luke/Mara scene. I also really liked the funeral scene despite the strange timeline of it. It does do a good job setting up Han Solo's story in this book even if it plays out in a bland manner. Finally, I did like the opening with Harrar and the Vong. We get to learn about the fascinating Yuuzhan Vong religion, as well as learning about why they are invading the galaxy beyond just wanting to take it over. THE CONCLUSION: *UPDATE*: Final rating is 2.5 stars. I think my initial rating of a straight 2 was to low upon reflection, but I'm still rounding down on the goodreads scale because I personally didn't connect with this book and I stand by all of the problems that I mentioned in my review above. This is the first NJO novel that I did not enjoy reading. Even though I've always found luceno's Star Wars books to be a bit slow for my tastes, I always found something interesting to latch onto. This one didn't give me anything substantial in that regard, despite the glimmers of greatness that occasionally rose out of the dry, dense writing that weighed down basically the entire book. The funeral scene really should have been done in a flashback taking place before the Dark Tide books, but even the other aspects of the plot probably could have worked better had this story taken place concurrently with Dark Tide 1 and/or Dark Tide 2 instead of after. Instead of a refreshing change of pace that offered a smaller scale, introspective character study, I got a dull story that didn't feel as important to me as it should have. I can definitely spot the elements of this book that other people latched onto, but all I got was a disappointing dud full of squandered potential.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Welcome back, Han Solo! We missed you! The Yuuzhan Vong have a new plan to kill the Jedi: send Elan, a priestess of the Deception sect, into their midst as a defector and poison them. Meanwhile, Han Solo finally comes around and starts to come to terms with his grief. NOTE: Based on audiobook and novel. I find myself at odds trying to rate this book. On one hand, when I first read this, I was bored stiff. The language was too heavy, the plot too invisible, the characters too mediocre. On the other Welcome back, Han Solo! We missed you! The Yuuzhan Vong have a new plan to kill the Jedi: send Elan, a priestess of the Deception sect, into their midst as a defector and poison them. Meanwhile, Han Solo finally comes around and starts to come to terms with his grief. NOTE: Based on audiobook and novel. I find myself at odds trying to rate this book. On one hand, when I first read this, I was bored stiff. The language was too heavy, the plot too invisible, the characters too mediocre. On the other hand, the abridgement outdid the actual book (rare praise indeed!) and trimmed away the fat of Luceno's writing and left a pretty darn decent book. Let me stop you now and say this: this review does spoil who died in Vector Prime (which you probably already know by now). So if you haven't heard who died and don't want to know, skip to the last paragraph. The book opens with Harrar, a priest Yuuzhan Vong, debating life, religion, and the Jedi with a Gotal priest. It was really well done scene and definitely made me interested in the rest of the novel. The Gotal struck a nice balance of being independent, yet hopeful of the Jedi. The introduction of the new character, Harrar, also opens the galaxy to religion, something that really hadn't been very prominent before (unless it was them crazy whackos kidnapping Leia's kids or somesuch galactic mischief). The Yuuzhan Vong have a very violent religion, and this is our first peek at it. Then we move to Kashyyyk and Chewie's wake. I loved the ceremony but...why did it take 6 months to get around to his wake? Most religions have the wake sometime within the WEEK of a death. Is this a Wookiee thing? Were they unsure of his death? Luceno, tell us! Not to mention, Mara's absence because of her illness was stupid. Mara is family; she should have been there to commemorate Chewbacca's death. It's about this time that I pick up on the Luceno-isms. Strange words like "arboreal" and "polyglot". Info-dumping (though I did like the continuity nods in some respects). And none of the characters, from Han and Leia to Luke and Mara feel authentic. Let me be frank: this book is about Han coming to terms with Chewie's death. I am not going to diss too much on how long it takes for him to grieve (though 6 months of doing NOTHING does seem a bit excessive), but I will say this book should not have come after the Dark Tide duology. It should have been concurrent. While Leia is doing her shame dance to get Jaina into Rogue Squadron (btw, if you are a Jaina or Jacen fan, skip this book, they are barely in it), Han should have been out there with Roa, trying to find Reck, not at home at Coruscant drinking himself to oblivion. FOR SIX MONTHS. Apparently. Han and Chewie were close, but I can't imagine him drinking for 6 months, suddenly becoming sober and THEN deciding to leave to avenge his partner. Talk about delayed reaction! While I liked how Han and Leia endured difficulties in their marriage, both characters felt like they had to be warped in order for the separation to occur. I kept wondering why Leia was so sedate and meek; why doesn't she snap out at Han for his behavior? Yes, he is grieving and she knows this, but have people act like people! Lovers say mean things to each other, sometimes at their lowest points. Don't ruin Leia's character just to split our couple apart. The other "couple" in this book is Luke and Mara, who are really only present to provide "tension" to the whole infiltrator plot. Oh, nos, Elan has poison and wants to meet the weakened Mara! Whatever will we do?! Their character is nothing like what has been established and Mara appears even more of a wimp than Leia. But, let me stop stalling. Let me just get to the character everyone wants me to talk about. Droma. Ah, a more thinly veiled excuse for a sidekick replacement I have never seen! Firstly, Droma's species is the least convincing and most disturbingly similar depiction of a real world ethnicity (the Roma, more often known by the more derrogatory "gypsies") I have ever seen. Colorful, odd dress? Check. Fortune telling? Check. Nomadic? Check. Dancing and singing? Check. We can now add it to the following list: Neimoidians -> Asian Toydarians -> Jews Gungans-> Blacks Ryn-> Roma Many apologies to all of the above ethnicities. I am embarrassed for each and every one of you. If it makes you feel better, remember: whiny, bratty, immature Anakin is Caucasian. As if that weren't bad enough, I don't like how hard Luceno tries to make Droma Chewbacca's replacement. Han is taking Chewbacca's death so hard, he is separated from his wife and kids. Why do we need a poor excuse for a sidekick? Why can't we honor Chewbacca's memory without the chirpy insanity of a poorly drawn character? Harrar isn't a bad new character, Vergere is great to see (love her bit of deception!), but does Elan have to be YET ANOTHER sexy female? Why is Yuuzhan Vong beauty so similar to human acceptable beauty? Shouldn't she be hideously scarred? But, oh, no, can't have anything like that! Women are objects meant to be manhandled and oogled at. I still have yet to learn my lesson. As the fourth entry in the NJO, Hero's Trial is a great example of "too little, too late". We should have seen Han grieving much earlier. We should have had fights between Leia and Han earlier. We should have seen the priests a little earlier so it didn't feel like, once again, new author = new enemy. But still, it's got a decent story, and it's not often I can say that an abridged audiobook improved my perception of the book. I should probably rate this higher, as it is one of Luceno's best books in Star Wars EU, but I will knock down for all the above stated reasons.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Hero's Trial is a mediocre book in what has otherwise been a decent series to date. The first three books (written by R.A. Salvatore and Michael Stackpole) were quite decent, which makes the shortcomings in Hero's Trial even more disappointing. The book isn't horrible; it's just not fun to read. With the exception of Droma, a new buddy Luceno introduces for Han, nearly every character in the book is painfully boring. The Yuuzhan Vong, who were engaging in the first three books, became nothing mor Hero's Trial is a mediocre book in what has otherwise been a decent series to date. The first three books (written by R.A. Salvatore and Michael Stackpole) were quite decent, which makes the shortcomings in Hero's Trial even more disappointing. The book isn't horrible; it's just not fun to read. With the exception of Droma, a new buddy Luceno introduces for Han, nearly every character in the book is painfully boring. The Yuuzhan Vong, who were engaging in the first three books, became nothing more than the obligatory bad guys. Description of their biological technology became long passages of text which the reader couldn't care less about. This is quite different from the first three books, where the novel and menacing threat introduced by the Yuuzhan Vong is really what made the story work. Following the same trend, Luceno's space battles are very dry. There is nothing in the way of tactics, skill, or strategy conveyed to the reader. There are lots of action words and quite a few adjectives, but in the end they add up to nothing. You could skip over the entire battle and not be worse off for it. Lastly, Han was given a new sidekick to replace Chewbacca. Luceno tries to write some witty dialog between the two, attempting to deliver on some of the charm Han Solo displayed in the movies. Unfortunately, this too falls rather flat - and at times seems much more slapstick than it should. As a stand alone book, it really isn't worth reading. As part of a larger storyline which to date has been good, it is tolerable.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    The new Jedi order completely outpaces anything in the Starwars genre. This series was Dark, exciting, fast paced, and inspired. The writing was fantastic and the level of philosophy and force history was unparalleled. If your a fan at any level of the Starwars Universe than this series is a must read. It is on my top 5 of all time for a series and I treasured every moment I spent in that time. But beware, this isn't your typical Starwars book, be ready for a level of intensity that you've never The new Jedi order completely outpaces anything in the Starwars genre. This series was Dark, exciting, fast paced, and inspired. The writing was fantastic and the level of philosophy and force history was unparalleled. If your a fan at any level of the Starwars Universe than this series is a must read. It is on my top 5 of all time for a series and I treasured every moment I spent in that time. But beware, this isn't your typical Starwars book, be ready for a level of intensity that you've never seen. May the force be with you.!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darryl Dobbs

    The enjoyable Yuuzhan Vong war story continues and this time the tale veers away from the Jedi and instead revolves around Han Solo. He had been missing from the last couple of books other than cameos, because he was mourning the loss of Chewie. He discovered, from an old friend, that a former colleague was helping out the Vong and he may have inadvertently helped the Vong destroy the planet in the event that killed Chewie. While hunting this colleague, Han discovered a plot to eliminate the Jedi The enjoyable Yuuzhan Vong war story continues and this time the tale veers away from the Jedi and instead revolves around Han Solo. He had been missing from the last couple of books other than cameos, because he was mourning the loss of Chewie. He discovered, from an old friend, that a former colleague was helping out the Vong and he may have inadvertently helped the Vong destroy the planet in the event that killed Chewie. While hunting this colleague, Han discovered a plot to eliminate the Jedi. He also discovered a possible cure for Mara Jade's illness. It was good to read a Solo story. A nice way to shake things up. I will say, however, that Luceno did not do a good job conveying the starship battles in space. I found them confusing and they often lost me, to the point that even re-reading sentences didn't help.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tony Griffin

    Way too focused on Han's recovery, and the effect the invasion would have on ordinary folks. You can only capitalize on the emotional trama of chewy dying so much, and nearly a whole book being devoted to it was overkill. There was an overarching sense this was coming from how little a part Han played in books 2&3, and that sense of foreboding came to fruition in this one. It was hard to get invested in the plot and we were teased with only two chapters having anything to do Jacen, and the other Way too focused on Han's recovery, and the effect the invasion would have on ordinary folks. You can only capitalize on the emotional trama of chewy dying so much, and nearly a whole book being devoted to it was overkill. There was an overarching sense this was coming from how little a part Han played in books 2&3, and that sense of foreboding came to fruition in this one. It was hard to get invested in the plot and we were teased with only two chapters having anything to do Jacen, and the other solo children were also relegated to bit part roles. I recognize that having the story rely too much on force users can make it seem cheap, thus the need for grounding characters who don't benefit from special abilities, but this one and from my progress in the next book, spend too much time telling the story of the war from the perspective of people who will only play a bit part role in repelling the Vong. Sorely dissapointed with this and laboured to get through it in the hopes I'll be rewarded down the road.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Will

    Welcome back Han Solo, who has been out of action the last two books, due to what happened in the 1st book of the New Jedi Order series. This novel centers around Han Solo and Luceno captures his mannerisms and personality perfectly. This story continues the Yuuzhan Vong challenge against the New Republic, as they try to infiltrate the Jedi, by sending a female Yuuzhan Vong as a defector. The Jedi are not as much involved with this story, as Han, along with some new faces and alien species. Namel Welcome back Han Solo, who has been out of action the last two books, due to what happened in the 1st book of the New Jedi Order series. This novel centers around Han Solo and Luceno captures his mannerisms and personality perfectly. This story continues the Yuuzhan Vong challenge against the New Republic, as they try to infiltrate the Jedi, by sending a female Yuuzhan Vong as a defector. The Jedi are not as much involved with this story, as Han, along with some new faces and alien species. Namely, a Ryn, named Droma, who assists Hans for at least half the book. Will Han and Droma, along with the New Republic be able to withstand the Vong as they edge closer to the Core. Another alien species, is also introduced, called a Fosh, resembling a bird-like species, which accompanies the female Vong. This Fosh, named Vegere actually may have something special, that could help someone close to Luke. Overall, a fast paced story, with more dialog. Main issue, is all the different Yuuzhan Vong names, and titles, and trying to keep them straight.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Worst one of the series so far but that doesn’t mean it was bad. I still enjoyed it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Markiewicz

    3.5 out of 5 I thought the story was interesting but a lot of chapters near the end were way too short.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Meggie

    For 2021, I decided to reread Del Rey’s first attempt at a multi-author book series in the Star Wars universe: The New Jedi Order, which was published between 1999 and 2003. This shakes out to 19 novels, two eBook novellas, three short stories, and a tangentially-related prequel era novel. This week’s focus: the first book in the Agents of Chaos duology, Agents of Chaos: Hero’s Trial by James Luceno. SOME HISTORY: Brian Daley was the author of the Han Solo Adventures, the original Han Solo trilogy For 2021, I decided to reread Del Rey’s first attempt at a multi-author book series in the Star Wars universe: The New Jedi Order, which was published between 1999 and 2003. This shakes out to 19 novels, two eBook novellas, three short stories, and a tangentially-related prequel era novel. This week’s focus: the first book in the Agents of Chaos duology, Agents of Chaos: Hero’s Trial by James Luceno. SOME HISTORY: Brian Daley was the author of the Han Solo Adventures, the original Han Solo trilogy from 1979 and 1980 that detailed Han and Chewbacca’s escapades in the Corporate Sector. He also adapted the original trilogy into three excellent radio dramas, but died in 1996 of pancreatic cancer shortly after Return of the Jedi finished recording. James Luceno wrote the Agents of Chaos duology as a tribute to his late friend, and you can find many references to Daley’s books within Hero’s Trial and Jedi Eclipse. Agents of Chaos: Hero's Trial made it to number twelve on the New York Times paperback bestseller list for the week of August 20, 2000. MY RECOLLECTION OF THE BOOK: I have to admit, I remembered the ugly cover but none of the book’s actual content. Um, Mara got magic healing tears, I guess? PRINCESS LEIA COSTUME COUNT: We’ve got Leia wearing a “flowing skirt and sleeveless blouse” at Chewie’s funeral, but the most detailed costume description has to be Droma: “this one was sporting a soft, brimless cap of bright red and blue squares, worn at a rakish angle. [...] Han took in the rest of the alien’s brightly colored outfit of vest, culottes, and ankle boots.” (Chapter 15) It’s a look. A BRIEF SUMMARY: In these dark times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered life back together. Refusing help from his family, Han becomes a loner again, seeking to escape the pain of his partner's death in revenge. When he learns that an old smuggling acquaintance is operating as an enemy mercenary, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han's investigation will uncover an even greater evil, aimed directly at the Jedi... THE CHARACTERS: After spending very little time with Han Solo in the Dark Tide duology, Hero’s Trial turns the spotlight on his progression through the stages of grief. If the Dark Tide books showed a Han who was drowning his sorrows in alcohol and lashing out at others, Hero’s Trial shows Han completely disengaging from his family--both his biological family as well as his adopted Wookiee one. He absolutely won’t condone Waroo and Lowbacca assuming Chewbacca’s Life Debt; his relationship with Leia is decidedly strained, and he doesn’t believe that she can empathize with his loss (Han...she lost her whole planet…); and he still continues to blame and push away his youngest son. After running into Roa, an old smuggling buddy, Han heads off to get revenge on the Yuuzhan Vong by uncovering the Peace Brigade, mercenaries turned Vong sympathizers. He leaves everything behind: his family, his friends, even the Millennium Falcon. He’s bitter, he’s snappish, and he’s frankly rude to a lot of people he meets. He’s going through a lot, though, which makes me sympathetic to his plight even when he’s being nasty. Han heads off with Roa, who we last saw happily settled down in the Corporate Sector with his beautiful blonde wife. She died because of the Peace Brigade and the Yuuzhan Vong, though, so Roa is also out for revenge. He disappears halfway through the story, in a scene that mirrors Anakin’s pivotal decision during the destruction of Sernpidal, and Han swears that he’ll rescue him. In the meantime, Han gains a new traveling companion in the form of Droma the Ryn. The Ryn are new species to us the Star Wars reader, and they’re blatant GFFA analogues to the Romani: their homeworld is long forgotten, they’re despised and mistrusted by the galaxy at large, they have a vibrant artistic/musical community, and they also play up their fortune-telling/clairvoyance skills as well. I say blatant analogues, because Luceno admitted that he came up with the Ryn after watching a documentary about the history of the Romani people. Droma ranks towards the bottom of Han’s traveling companions for me (Chewbacca is clearly #1, and Muuurgh the Togorian from The Paradise Snare takes second place) because he mostly serves as Han’s punching bag in this book. Han is frequently verbally abusive to him, and Droma just takes it. By the end Han is more accepting of his new copilot, which will hopefully lead to a more equitable relationship between the two. Leia continues to devote herself to the diplomatic side of things, and in advocating for other worlds to take in the Outer Rim refugees, she ends up in the same place as Han at the same time. C-3PO is having an existential crisis and questions his mortality. Anakin tries to make peace with his father, gifts him something from Chewbacca that ends up saving Han’s life, and has a nice short conversation with Han in the end. Luke & Mara’s plotline is wrapped up in Mara’s illness, which I’m getting a little tired of; fortunately some climactic developments temporarily fix that. But the whole book can’t focus on Han and his family, so we also have a substantial subplot involving a Yuuzhan Vong defector, the Yuuzhan Vong forces, and New Republic Intelligence. The Vong decide to dispatch a “defector” to the NR, to ultimately murder the Jedi with a biological toxin (essentially, killer breath). The chosen defector: Elan, a priestess of the deception sect, and her familiar Vergere. We get no sense here that Vergere is a Jedi of the Old Republic; she goes along with everything Elan says, but she visibly responds to the mention of “Jedi Master Skywalker,” Droma shares that he’s seen her species before, and she provides the temporary cure of Mara’s illness. Her exact allegiance and status, though, remains unknown. Elan is less interesting, mainly because she strikes me as a stereotypical pulp fiction villainess: beautiful, falsely good, but ultimately murderous. There’s not a lot of depth there. There’s a whole slew of New Republic Intelligence officials, both ones I remembered (Belindi Kalenda from the Corellian trilogy) and others I didn’t (Major Showolter). They’re not sure they can trust the Vong defector, but they also would have let her murder Jedi, so they don’t come off particularly well here. The Yuuzhan Vong (the priest Harrar, Nom Anor, and the various Vong military figures) have a plan, enact that plan, and then everything goes awry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I found the Peace Brigade more intriguing: residents of the GFFA who have decided to ally themselves with the Vong, and in the process are selling their own people into slavery, helping planets fall, and showing distrust about the Jedi. ISSUES: This is probably a contentious opinion, but I’m not super fond of James Luceno’s Star Wars books. I know Star Wars fans who love Luceno’s writing, love that he’s a walking encyclopedia of Star Wars knowledge, but! To me, his worldbuilding and continuity nods tend to overwhelm the story. In Hero’s Trial, we get sooo many throwaway references to Brian Daley’s trilogy, which is a nice gesture towards his friend but ends up bogging down the story. Instead of making me say “oh yes, Big Bunji, I remember him,” I was just reminded of the fact that I’m not as familiar with The Han Solo Adventures as Luceno seems to be. He also seems to have a penchant for big thesaurus words. In my reviews of the Dark Tide duology, I ragged on Stackpole’s dialogue, but here my issue was more with the actual narrative. Since I was mainly reading Hero’s Trial as an ebook, this meant that I kept clicking on Luceno’s more esoteric choices to get a definition; when reading the paper copy, I mostly skipped over them (because they were primarily adjectives). In On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King suggests that “the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful," and I think that’s great advice. I had some questions about the timeline as well. I can understand why the initial books of the NJO occur chronologically, but that means that six months elapse between Chewbacca’s death and his memorial service. With Han sidelined in the Dark Tide duology, I wonder if it might have worked better for the Agents of Chaos duology to happen concurrently with the former. Instead of Han hiding out on Coruscant, he could have been off on his revenge quest while the other characters fought the Vong on Dantooine and Ithor. It would have taken some rejiggering of the various battles, though, and at this point is useless speculation. I felt Luceno did a good job depicting Han’s internal thoughts: his grief, his desire for revenge, his distance from his family, and his reluctance to open up to anyone. I found Han’s discomfort at Chewie’s funeral very poignant, and I liked his conversation with Anakin at the end, where he apologized to his son for the way he’d been treated. But I also felt like Han often took a backseat to New Republic Intelligence drama and Yuuzhan Vong plotting, and what plot we did get for him was pretty basic. IN CONCLUSION: Hero’s Trial featured some great insights into Han’s grief and emotional state, but it also came loaded with (at times) unnecessary references to other Star Wars works--which I found tedious in the end. Han’s made a little bit of progress on his emotional journey, but I’m not sure how often I’ll be revisiting this book. Next up: the second book in the Agents of Chaos duology by James Luceno, Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse. My YouTube review: https://youtu.be/Cy9dJ_0g9eQ 2001 interview with James Luceno: https://web.archive.org/web/200502050...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After 2 books of off-screen grief, moping, and light alchoholism, Han Solo finally is put front and center. Overall Luceno captures his characterization well, but there are just a few more blatant references to the original trilogy than was strictly necessary. Yes, we all know who this character is, no need to bludgeon is over the head with it. That said, it's nice to see a character actually confront grief in star wars. From his turbulent relationship with Leia to (finally) mending things with A After 2 books of off-screen grief, moping, and light alchoholism, Han Solo finally is put front and center. Overall Luceno captures his characterization well, but there are just a few more blatant references to the original trilogy than was strictly necessary. Yes, we all know who this character is, no need to bludgeon is over the head with it. That said, it's nice to see a character actually confront grief in star wars. From his turbulent relationship with Leia to (finally) mending things with Anakin, there felt like there was actually character growth achieved. The introduction of Hrarrar, Elan, and more Vong players continues to flesh out their culture and we begin to get a look at the different factions and politics involved. And while I know she's going to be important later on, Vergere was basically just a Pokemon this book. Even more so by playing Pikachu to Mara's Ash at the end. Yet Han is still soul searching, so hopefully that will be mostly wrapped up in the follow-up book, because I don't want another 5 books of him trying to figure his life out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Shane Amazon

    Hero's Trial is a perfect example of what James Luceno is capable of as a writer. With incredibly rich character depth and compelling action sequences, Hero's Trial explores Han Solo better than any other book out there. As we saw in the two books prior to this, Han has been racked by the death of his longtime friend and copilot, Chewbacca. Full of angst about the future ahead without Chewy, Han lashes out against his family and friends, and especially his son, Anakin, whom he partially blames fo Hero's Trial is a perfect example of what James Luceno is capable of as a writer. With incredibly rich character depth and compelling action sequences, Hero's Trial explores Han Solo better than any other book out there. As we saw in the two books prior to this, Han has been racked by the death of his longtime friend and copilot, Chewbacca. Full of angst about the future ahead without Chewy, Han lashes out against his family and friends, and especially his son, Anakin, whom he partially blames for Chewie's death. Here, in Hero's Trial, Luceno is tasked with bringing Han out of the shadows of depression. The Vong are still out there, taking and reforming everything in their path. One of the people the Vong have steamrolled over is the wife of Han's old buddy, Roa. But the Vong are not solely responsible for Lywll's death, a mutual friend of both Han and Roa has turned his back on the New Republic for both profit and extended life, and now it is up to Han and Roa to stop him before the trail of bodies is extended. What I like most about Luceno's writing in this book is that he was able to give Han someone to latch onto without making the "new guy" a replacement for Chewie. It would have been easy for Luceno to mold Roa into a Chewie-like figure to soften up Han on his path to recovery and acceptance. However, Luceno never makes Roa a carbon copy of the big guy, rather a fellow pirate that Han can relate to and help bring some light to his darkened mood. But the Han storyline is only one of many great story arcs in this book. The Vong continue their march across the galaxy and towards the core worlds, but Luceno delves deeper into the Vong intelligence and molds a story of deception by defection. Two enemy Vong break free and defect to the New Republic, but is it true, are they really defectors? Luceno also opens the door for Mara Jade as well, as a little known species of avian-like race may hold the cure for her disease. The New Republic fleet is handed some much needed victories. Anakin makes progress on his road to forgiveness from his father. And C3PO explores what it means to be alive and dead. Hero's Trial is a study in how to balance a book. Plenty of character depth offset by compelling and meaningful action sequences. Historical facts embedded into the story instead of just blurted out in the author's narrative. A linear layout that pulls the reader along without losing them. All-in-all this is my favorite Luceno book and one of the better Star Wars books I've read. Read it. Today.

  15. 5 out of 5

    William Ristau

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really enjoyed reading “Star Wars The New Jedi Order Agents Of Chaos I” by James Luceno. The book’s action really brings out the characters’ traits in the book. When I read this book, I always wanted to continue reading, because I wanted to know what's going to happen next. This book showed me the different viewpoints of the character. The book went through the emotions Han Solo felt after losing his beloved partner Chewbacca. Han Solo went all over the galaxy by himself in despair and wouldn I really enjoyed reading “Star Wars The New Jedi Order Agents Of Chaos I” by James Luceno. The book’s action really brings out the characters’ traits in the book. When I read this book, I always wanted to continue reading, because I wanted to know what's going to happen next. This book showed me the different viewpoints of the character. The book went through the emotions Han Solo felt after losing his beloved partner Chewbacca. Han Solo went all over the galaxy by himself in despair and wouldn’t let anyone help him. During his journey he gained a new friend named Droma. They ended up getting themselves in between a fight without even trying and fooled a plot that the Yuuzhan Vong tried to create to kill the jedi. Luke Skywalker was a jedi master and leader of the jedi. Leia Solo was Han’s wife and also a jedi in training. Han Solo was Leia’s husband and he was in deep sorrow after losing his beloved partner. Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin were Han and Leia’s kids and also jedi knights. Mara Skywalker was Luke’s wife and also a jedi Master. This book took place half of a year after the invasion of the Yuuzhan vong. One of the major setting of this book took place in the outer rim and some of the smaller ones took place in Ord Mantell and Coruscant. The time period this book took place in is 9 ABY. The theme of this book was despair and bravery. Even though Han Solo was in complete sorrow after losing his best friend, he saved many jedi. Han saved many lives by being brave through all his sorrow and fooling a plot set by the Yuuzhan Vong. I would recommend this book too both genders ages 17-32, because it has a very good story line. This book is very adventurous and action packed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    James Luceno always does a amazing job in the Star Wars universe.So many positives about this book ill take the time to list a few.One is the transformation of Han Solo after Chewbaccas death.Just as he was settling into the role of husband and father the loss of his best friend sends him into a tailspin and vengeance is what is foremost in his mind. Also liked how C3PO explored what can only be explained as feelings.His views on death were surprising and insightful for a droid.The author gave hi James Luceno always does a amazing job in the Star Wars universe.So many positives about this book ill take the time to list a few.One is the transformation of Han Solo after Chewbaccas death.Just as he was settling into the role of husband and father the loss of his best friend sends him into a tailspin and vengeance is what is foremost in his mind. Also liked how C3PO explored what can only be explained as feelings.His views on death were surprising and insightful for a droid.The author gave him a real sense of being and it was impressive to see him clearly upset about Han Solo depressive state post Chewie. Lastly loved the grace and poise Mara Jade shows battling her mysterious illness.Her character alone is intriguing as they come former Hand of the Emperor to now the love of Luke Skywalkers life. Thank you Mr Luceno for another impressive effort.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    This book effectively deals with Han's grief over the death of a friend, going back to his roots as a smuggler while unable to fully avoid his new life as a leader and father. This book effectively deals with Han's grief over the death of a friend, going back to his roots as a smuggler while unable to fully avoid his new life as a leader and father.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kasc

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. First off, I'm not one to skip books in a series. Having finished this one, however, I feel I could well have skipped the Dark Tide series. Everything major that has happened in these novels is mentioned here and while the others were often quite unnerving in their conveying of the main characters, this novel was rather enjoyable throughout. Don't get me wrong, main plot wise nothing much happens here. We learn little new about the Yuuzhan Vong (only that they have a religion and their actions se First off, I'm not one to skip books in a series. Having finished this one, however, I feel I could well have skipped the Dark Tide series. Everything major that has happened in these novels is mentioned here and while the others were often quite unnerving in their conveying of the main characters, this novel was rather enjoyable throughout. Don't get me wrong, main plot wise nothing much happens here. We learn little new about the Yuuzhan Vong (only that they have a religion and their actions seem to be - at least in part - motivated by it). Compared with the previous installments there are only small conflicts and no huge devastating battles. Instead of an open military attack on some planet, the Vong aim to carry out a rather intricate, yet pretty obvious ruse that is meant to harm the Jedi whom they consider a real threat. It is almost funny to read how far they get with this plan as apparently everyone in charge expects the Vong defectors to be two-timing them and still they all seem to be waiting how things turn out instead of taking some action. Despite this novel getting us no farther in the Yuuzhan Vong plot, it is my favorite of the New Jedi Order series so far. Quite frankly, I don't really care so much about this conflict but more about the main characters whom we have gotten to know and love through countless installments of the Star Wars series. Here, finally, Han is dealing with Chewbacca's death (this is something that should have happened two novels ago). He does so by going out on some wild goose chase across the galaxy with an old smuggler pal, which sounds exactly like something he would do. Now we get to see something other than a useless grief-stricken Han who is drowning his sorrow and personally I really enjoyed being able to take a look inside his grieving head. On top of that the strain this tremendous loss has put on the entire Solo family and the tension Han's actions (or lack thereof) have caused are shown. As for the conflict between Han and Leia, I think it has been a long time coming and was bound to happen sooner or later. Just the way it finally happened felt a little weird to me. In this whole conflict I think neither of them was acting in line with their character. First off, there is Han's secrecy about his trip. I don't think Leia would have tried to stop him from going had she known what he was up to (not that she could have succeeded), so why not put her mind at ease and just tell her? At the same time it seems weird that she never snapped at him. His behavior definitely asked for it and it's not like she had never done so before. Also, her being so against his going to rescue his friends doesn't seem like her. Going on a rescue mission is the obvious thing to do and even something she probably would have done herself. And finally, they have been separated very often for longer stints of time throughout many years, so what makes this separation at the end of the novel any different? Why is it all of a sudden a problem to Leia? I certainly am curious how this separation pans out and of course hope they end up patching things up. Overall, I enjoyed this novel more than its predecessors. It was superior in its portrayal of the main characters and on top of that I enjoyed Luceno's style of writing. His language is much more sophisticated than that used in many Star Wars novels, which I enjoyed a lot. Now I am excited about getting started with Jedi Eclipse and hope it will be a worthy successor to this novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Anderson

    It may not be the absolute worst Star Wars novel ever written but I’ll go ahead and say that Hero’s Trial is bad. It’s amongst some of the duds of the EU and is, up to this point, easily the worst of the NJO story arc. I could maybe, just maybe, give it a little slack as this was Luceno’s first Star Wars novel, so growing pains and some minor issues are to be expected. The problem is that those issues become far bigger than minor. You see, Luceno has this annoying tendency to over-describe damn n It may not be the absolute worst Star Wars novel ever written but I’ll go ahead and say that Hero’s Trial is bad. It’s amongst some of the duds of the EU and is, up to this point, easily the worst of the NJO story arc. I could maybe, just maybe, give it a little slack as this was Luceno’s first Star Wars novel, so growing pains and some minor issues are to be expected. The problem is that those issues become far bigger than minor. You see, Luceno has this annoying tendency to over-describe damn near everything. Conversations are inane lessons in unnecessary dialogue tags. Space battles read like a beginning creative writer trying to impress their professor. Just describing settings and locations takes run on sentences that reach paragraph length. I’m all for literary writing and I do appreciate the effort, but in a Star Wars novel, I don’t see the necessity or even the value of such overwritten explanation. The worst part about this is, now, just shy of 2 decades later, Luceno continues to be one of Star Wars’s most prolific writers, penning a good amount of canon stuff that still reads like contemporary, literary fiction. My other complaint is that, overall, the story told here just isn’t very good. It has its moments, though those are few and far between, sandwiched amongst an otherwise boring attempt to being Han Solo back into the Yuuzhan Vong crisis. Ham continues to act like a spoiled emo child, despite nearly 6 months after Chewbacca’s death. His moping and angry angst is increasingly annoying, especially when it comes at the cost of completely disregarding the precious novels’ depth and characteristics of Jaina, Jacen, and Anakin. It’s basically like the kids don’t even exist aside from a brief mention in which Han is treating them like crap. Continuing with Han’s story, adding Droma as the new replacement of Chewy and a potential sidekick is a slap in the face to readers. Salvatore went out of his way to make Chewbacca’s death heartbreaking and gut wrenching and then Luceno comes in, disregarding all of that and places some horribly designed and even worse written character in Chewy’s place. Lastly, the Yuuzhan Vong, who were so well described and made to be legit evil aliens back in Vector Prime have been delegated to just requisite bad guys. Their cunning and intelligence is replaced by bumbling mistakes and badly believable arguing in their ranks, making them weak and not nearly as unstoppable as previously written. The problem I’m quickly coming to realize about the NJO series is this: lack of consistency. 21 novels spread across about 10 authors leads to such a disparity between stories that it’s impossible to keep things feeling cohesive. Different writing styles and general ideas about the overall arc have made such an up and down reading experience that it makes it really difficult to take in this epic story as one unit, even after a measly 4 books in. I know the series does pick up and start to exhibit the cohesiveness it needs, but that’s not for another 4 books. At this rate, it’s gonna take a while to get there.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark Oppenlander

    Han Solo returns and he is not happy. After attending (view spoiler)[ Chewbacca's funeral on Kashyyyk (hide spoiler)] , Han runs into an old friend from his smuggling days, Roa, who informs him that some in the New Republic are starting to collaborate with the invading Yuuzhan Vong, forming a coalition known as the Peace Brigade. Han decides to investigate their actions on his own. Along the way he picks up a new sidekick, Droma, who is a member of a much reviled alien species known as the Ryn. L Han Solo returns and he is not happy. After attending (view spoiler)[ Chewbacca's funeral on Kashyyyk (hide spoiler)] , Han runs into an old friend from his smuggling days, Roa, who informs him that some in the New Republic are starting to collaborate with the invading Yuuzhan Vong, forming a coalition known as the Peace Brigade. Han decides to investigate their actions on his own. Along the way he picks up a new sidekick, Droma, who is a member of a much reviled alien species known as the Ryn. Little does Han know that one of the main actors in the Peace Brigade is Reck Desh, another of his old smuggling contacts. Meanwhile the Vong have come up with a new plan to infiltrate the New Republic and destroy the Jedi. They will have one of their priestesses, Elan, pose as a defector. Along with her familiar, a strange creature known as Vergere, she will seek an audience with the Jedi and then release a deadly biological weapon, destroying as many of them as she can at once. Eventually these two storylines overlap, as the Peace Brigade attempts to capture Elan and Vergere and Han and Droma find themselves protecting the defectors without realizing that they are double-agents. This book continues the plot-heavy ways of the whole New Jedi Order series. There is a lot of complexity in the macro-level story and of course, none of these writers have the time to handle all of the angles or characters in one volume. James Luceno wisely limits his scope to just a few major storylines. However, he introduces new heroes and villains and the sheer number of characters and relationships (who knew Han when and in what context?) make this book a bit hard to follow at times. Still, Luceno's interpretation of Han strikes me as pretty spot-on. This is the happy-go-lucky yet mildly unhappy loner we first met in a cantina on Tatooine. In addition, the marital tension Luceno describes between Han and Leia in this book reminds me a lot of the tension we see expressed between the long separated couple during The Force Awakens. And the final space battle and confrontation with Elan and Vergere felt like a classic Star Wars scene to me with the action flowing on multiple levels. Naturally, nothing is really resolved here. This is just another middle chapter in a long series of middle chapters. I am curious to know how I will feel about this series when all is said and done. Will it feel like a satisfying epic or will I wonder what the point was? There's only one way to find out . . .

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christian Santos

    Hello Han. And welcome to the world of accepting that Chewie is dead. I have enjoyed enough James Luceno outtakes to nearly brand him as one of the most creative if not expansive writers of the Star Wars EU, and thank the maker he summed up what Han was doing right now that Chewie's dead- by his duology Agents of Chaos. Hero's Trial is an easy read. No doubt about it. But what got me hooked in this novella is that James Luceno proudly links old New Republic plotlines to the liking of my flair- mos Hello Han. And welcome to the world of accepting that Chewie is dead. I have enjoyed enough James Luceno outtakes to nearly brand him as one of the most creative if not expansive writers of the Star Wars EU, and thank the maker he summed up what Han was doing right now that Chewie's dead- by his duology Agents of Chaos. Hero's Trial is an easy read. No doubt about it. But what got me hooked in this novella is that James Luceno proudly links old New Republic plotlines to the liking of my flair- most especially the inclusion of one of my fave trilogies in the novel, the Black Fleet Crisis. (Don't judge me. I liked that trilogy). This is the third novel I have seen Vergere included (first being Cloak of Deception and Rogue Planet by Greg Bear for me), but in a more enigmatic position as she was throughout the series. And James Luceno proudly bats all the references in little cameos...you'll definitely like that. I also like Han having a sort of sidekick in the form of the nomadic Ryn named Droma, who is like a Steve Buscemi-ish character than ever. Read all you want, this novel will suffice your thirst for more Yuuzhan Vong action.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anja Braun

    Han is grief stricken by Chewbacca's death and is reminiscing about him and days gone by on the Falcon. A old friend appears needing his help..so away Han goes on another adventure. Also 2 Vong are captured (or are they?) The story is not as it first appears.. The Vong have their own plans..Mara is still suffering from the illness . It was great reading about past memories of Chewie..It was great seeing Han in his element again..Not the rat version of Han.. U know some people might fault Han for Han is grief stricken by Chewbacca's death and is reminiscing about him and days gone by on the Falcon. A old friend appears needing his help..so away Han goes on another adventure. Also 2 Vong are captured (or are they?) The story is not as it first appears.. The Vong have their own plans..Mara is still suffering from the illness . It was great reading about past memories of Chewie..It was great seeing Han in his element again..Not the rat version of Han.. U know some people might fault Han for how he is dealing with Chewie's death but I think that would have been the only way he could have dealt with it.. I'm not a fan of to be continued books but it did have a positive ending of sorts (for one character) Han's story on the other hand will be continued in another book when he goes searching for Droma's sister. I loved the banter between the two..It was a worthwhile read and I do want to read more about Droma and Han's adventures..:)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Arlene Kellas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hero’s Trail, I’m guessing this is a trail for Han. We start at Chewbacca’s funeral. As Han has to say goodbye he’s told that Lowbacca and Waroo will take on the Life Debt. They give Han some time before they start. Han runs into Roa for back in the Nar Shadda days and with him goes on a hunt for the leader of the Peace Brigade. Meanwhile the Yuuzhan Vong have got Preistess Elan and her familiar Vermeer seeking asylum with the New Republic. Elan has special knowledge of a illness and must speak Hero’s Trail, I’m guessing this is a trail for Han. We start at Chewbacca’s funeral. As Han has to say goodbye he’s told that Lowbacca and Waroo will take on the Life Debt. They give Han some time before they start. Han runs into Roa for back in the Nar Shadda days and with him goes on a hunt for the leader of the Peace Brigade. Meanwhile the Yuuzhan Vong have got Preistess Elan and her familiar Vermeer seeking asylum with the New Republic. Elan has special knowledge of a illness and must speak to the Jedi. Luke and Mara hope it is a cure for what has ravaged her. But will she be kept safe long enough to get to them? Or is she a plant? As usually happens our hero ends up on the same ship and gets pulled into everything. When the ship is attacked Roa is taken hostage and Han meets Dromo a Ryn that ends up saving his life. Anakin and Han mend their relationship and Now Han’s off to try and find Roa and to assist Dromo find his clan mates.

  24. 4 out of 5

    diane skinner

    A refreshing story Another great legends book from the author of Plageusis. I have to say, it was refreshing coming back to a story centred around one character. I knew it was right for the story after spoilers death and everything, I was wondering when Han would be a big part of the story. I always liked Han of course but I never thought he would get as much depth as he did in this book. It was one great adventure that surprisingly didn't require the falcon, that invested me in the characters ( A refreshing story Another great legends book from the author of Plageusis. I have to say, it was refreshing coming back to a story centred around one character. I knew it was right for the story after spoilers death and everything, I was wondering when Han would be a big part of the story. I always liked Han of course but I never thought he would get as much depth as he did in this book. It was one great adventure that surprisingly didn't require the falcon, that invested me in the characters (like Droma) and was well done. Speaking of Droma, he never felt like he was taking spoilers place and I liked that (if they tried it probably wouldn't have worked at all) Out of the authors who were writing, I was looking forward to Luceno the most and he didn't disappoint. His writing was descriptive and never dragged even for the yuuzhong vong chapters.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pagan

    Rating: 5/10 It's Readable Sure...But Not Memorable Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Again, as with the initial novels of The New Jedi Order, Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial suffers the same problems as it's predecessor. A lackluster story, a story that is very short with no real depth, sense of excitement and with villains that neither excited or interest you. The audible narration again, makes a very lackluster novel even worse. I am not sure what the voice narrator is like with other b Rating: 5/10 It's Readable Sure...But Not Memorable Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Again, as with the initial novels of The New Jedi Order, Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial suffers the same problems as it's predecessor. A lackluster story, a story that is very short with no real depth, sense of excitement and with villains that neither excited or interest you. The audible narration again, makes a very lackluster novel even worse. I am not sure what the voice narrator is like with other books, but he certainly doesn't being the Star Wars books or characters to life in any aspect. I am going to keep reading the Star Wars: New Jedi Order series, but sadly can't see it improving.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris Munro

    I can return to a galaxy far away, and these characters, over and over and never get bored. James Luceno really nails the pace of a Star wars adventure here, and this Han-focused tale doesnt disappoint. My favourite so far of the NJO series, and although I previously kept up with SW novels in the 90s, I didnt read the New Jedi Order series and beyond, so it is interesting to read where the character development went with these, now that they're no longer canon, as the new Disney canon unfolds be I can return to a galaxy far away, and these characters, over and over and never get bored. James Luceno really nails the pace of a Star wars adventure here, and this Han-focused tale doesnt disappoint. My favourite so far of the NJO series, and although I previously kept up with SW novels in the 90s, I didnt read the New Jedi Order series and beyond, so it is interesting to read where the character development went with these, now that they're no longer canon, as the new Disney canon unfolds before us. Some of the new authors Disney has chosen need to take note: THIS is how its done.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Kelland

    Another Star Wars Extended Universe novel. It is pretty much as good as the previous ones. It is good to see Han Solo beginning to claw himself out of his despondency, but I am not sure that I like where his character arc is going. There is a fair bit of action of this book and I found the space battle chapters hard to envision and follow. The author also uses some unnecessarily obscure words. I have no problem with an author sending a reader to a dictionary, but the number of them in this book Another Star Wars Extended Universe novel. It is pretty much as good as the previous ones. It is good to see Han Solo beginning to claw himself out of his despondency, but I am not sure that I like where his character arc is going. There is a fair bit of action of this book and I found the space battle chapters hard to envision and follow. The author also uses some unnecessarily obscure words. I have no problem with an author sending a reader to a dictionary, but the number of them in this book seemed too much. All in all, another easy, entertaining Star Wars read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alfred

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is great! The Solo family is on Kyshykk for Chewie’s funeral. Itchy and Lumpy try to fulfill the rest of Chewie’s life debt but Han refuses. Malla shows her teeth and asks Han not to dishonor her dead husband. Han says he needs time then he will let them join him. The Wookies agree. Then Han goes on a mission to find an old friend that’s working for the Yuzong Vong and gets in a bar fight with old Bossk!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Hero's Trial is a herky-jerk of slow and exciting moments. Under anyone else's hand the hardscrabble pacing of the plot would suffer but Luceno's experience is a bolster. Han's personal journey more than makes up for any inadequacies as the plot is always engaging when it's focused around him; even C-3PO gets a few beats to shine in. However, when the spotlight deviates, it's tough to stay focused. 3 1/2 villips Hero's Trial is a herky-jerk of slow and exciting moments. Under anyone else's hand the hardscrabble pacing of the plot would suffer but Luceno's experience is a bolster. Han's personal journey more than makes up for any inadequacies as the plot is always engaging when it's focused around him; even C-3PO gets a few beats to shine in. However, when the spotlight deviates, it's tough to stay focused. 3 1/2 villips

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    I liked this book but the feel is more like the episodes of clone wars on tv which I think is a good thing. I think they might even be better as graphic novels, they just seem short as a book, I guess if you read them all together it becomes a pretty big book. I am hook and I will keep reading. They are still better than a lot of stuff out there.

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