Waru Express: Young Jedi Knights – Diversity Alliance

The adventures of Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca continue!  And by adventures, I mean they get into a lot of trouble because that’s how things work for them.  This time, they’re going up against bounty hunters and the new Diversity Alliance.  On the bright side, no one loses any limbs or goes to the dark side this time.

Shards of Alderaan
Just like with the first arc, KJA and Rebecca Moesta take the first book to set the stage for the new story.  Raynar Thul, the annoying brat from the previous books, gets the chance to move towards the forefront.  Unfortunately, it’s because his father has disappeared and Boba Fett is hunting him but nothing’s perfect, right?

It always amuses me that it feels like everyone gets a spaceship in this book.  (Editor’s Note: And you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship!  And none for Jaina Solo.)  Granted, by everyone, I just mean Zekk and Tenel Ka but still.  Poor Jaina still doesn’t have her own ship but she gets to be the Rock Dragon’s pilot so I guess it evens out.  And then Zekk gets the Lightning Rod.  I actually think it’s pretty cool that Zekk decides to become a bounty hunter and doesn’t immediately try to become a Jedi.  The poor boy deserves some time to try and figure out who he is.

On top of that, it’s actually incredibly sweet that the twins decide to give their mother a piece of Alderaan for her birthday.  Obviously things inevitably go wrong but it really is a nice gesture.  Oh the Solo children. ❤  (Editor’s Note: I can’t decide if it’s also a little morbid.)

Diversity Alliance
I’m finally realizing that I probably left my Raynar mocking and teasing a bit too late because he actually gets character development in these books.  I can’t help but like him and the rest of his family during that Alderaanian Water Ceremony.  Tyko Thul might have to be the exception though because that man just comes off as mostly being infuriating.

The plot certainly gets a swift kick forward in this book.  Zekk stumbles into an incredibly dead planet and that foreshadowing from Darkest Knight comes into play.  Lowie’s friend Raaba, who had disappeared and was presumed dead, turns up as a member of the Diversity Alliance.  While it’s great that she’s alive, she has unfortunate taste in affiliations although I can see how at least the idea of the Diversity Alliance is appealing to aliens as a safe haven.  Too bad Nolaa Tarkona didn’t listen to that wise man who once said “Killing people doesn’t make them like you.  It just makes them dead.”  (Editor’s Note: On further reflection… this is a kinda unfortunately named evil group.  Oof.)

I’m also starting to question Luke’s qualifications as a teacher.  He’s letting a bunch of 14 year olds fly around the galaxy on their own?  Come on, Luke.  You watched your niece and nephew grow up.  You know they get kidnapped all the damn time.  This will inevitably end badly.  Han and Leia might be the worst parents in the galaxy but Luke is probably the worst teacher.  Way To Go, Skywalkers.

Delusions of Grandeur
First things first since I’ve apparently failed to mention it before now: Jacen’s massive crush on Tenel Ka is ridiculously adorable.  He’s always so worried about making a good impression and trying to make her laugh with his corny jokes.  It is really cute and now I’m bitter that it will all go up in flames one day.  Likewise, Jaina’s slightly less obvious crush on Zekk is also adorable.  That one will also eventually go up in flames but those shall be the flames of the great shipwars to come.

But I digress from the actual book.  It turns out that Tyko wasn’t actually kidnapped… he just faked it.  I’m not sure if this is a great or a horrible plan to try and find his brother.  Actually, given that it almost got Bornan captured, I’m going to go with a horrible plan.  This was probably my favorite of the book in this arc so far because it was action packed.  I’m not even a big fan of bounty hunters and I liked how the authors brought back and used a lot of the bounty hunters from Empire Strikes Back.  I always thought IG-88 was kinda cool.

Poor Lowbacca though.  JUST SAY NO TO THE EVIL DIVERSITY ALLIANCE.  I don’t remember what happens to Raaba but I sincerely hope that this doesn’t all end in tears for Lowie and Sirra. (Editor’s Note: Star Wars always ends in tears.)

Jedi Bounty
Huzzah Lusa is back!  Well, she actually made her return in the previous book but she gets to be awesome in this book and seems to be the only person with good sense at times.  Running off to Ryloth without telling anyone really isn’t that great of an idea which is probably why they got captured. Seriously though: do the Solo kids not understand how a school works?  You’re not supposed to just leave whenever you want especially without telling anyone because then you get captured and sent to the mines of Ryloth which are only a step or two about the mines of Kessel.

Our young heroes certainly get put through the wringer during this book.  First they have to deal with the mines and then half of them end up in the freezing cold and the other half end up in a horrid desert.  Trouble finds them like no other.  The good news is that they end up being rescued.  The bad news is that the human killing plague is still out there somewhere.  I bet this will be important in the next book.

The Emperor’s Plague
Remember that embarrassing confession from last post?  Here we go with part two.  Darkest Knight was the first Expanded Universe book that I read and this one was the second.  Sure there was a list of the books in the front but apparently that didn’t seem to matter to me and I just read the second book that my grandmother handed me.  Yes, I recall being very confused about what the heck was going on.  (Editor’s Note: It’s fine though.  Everything’s fine.)

On a random side note before we really dive into the book, I love that the Thuls use music as a form of coded communications.  That’s just cool.  I also love that we got a political glimpse in this book.  It was nice getting to see Cilghal in her role as Ambassador again.

The arc comes to an explosive end and the good guys triumph once more.  I always find the ending to be very bittersweet though.  Sure, they eradicate the Emperor’s biological weapons and the Diversity Alliance is disassembled and peace reigns in the galaxy again but it comes at a cost.  Poor Raynar is reunited with his father only for Bornan to die shortly after.  Raaba also ends up being exposed to the plague and although her immune system wins, she decides to quarantine herself for an indefinite amount of time.  Somehow, I think that she and Lowbacca never end up being reunited and that’s rather sad.

And with that, another bad guy group has been defeated!  Next up are the final three books of the Young Jedi Knights series.  Literally all I remember about them is that Zekk makes an orange lightsaber and that the plot revolves around a Spice Head.  This’ll certainly be an interesting ride.

Originally posted on Tosche Station on March 21, 2013

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