It’s time to get back to more Star Wars: Legacy, as I continue reading through the eleven-volume series, today getting to volume three: Claws of the Dragon!
Volume Three: Claws of the Dragon
This book forms a real turning point in the history of the Legacy era, as we get a lot of answers to a lot of the questions that may have been bubbling away up to this point, as well as seeing the storyline placed firmly on a new heading.
Cade, determined to make amends following his drug-induced vision on Ossus, and rescue Hossk Trey’lis from the Sith Temple on Coruscant. As it has been built upon the former Jedi Temple, he knows some secret ways in from the underworld, and makes contact with a Hutt information broker, Queen Jool. He finds his way into the chamber where Trey’lis is being held, but is set upon by Darth Talon, and captured. Darth Krayt then reveals that he wishes Cade to join the ranks of the One Sith, and we get a lot of exposition from him when he reveals his identity as none other than A’Sharad Hett.
The first time I read this book, my mind was utterly blown! Hett survived Order 66 and spent time on the galactic fringe, learning of the ways of the Sith before being taken prisoner by an advance party of Yuuzhan Vong, where he encountered Vergere. We learn that Vergere was trained in the Dark Side by Darth Sidious, and she attempts to further turn Hett to the Dark Side. However, Vergere is forced to move on when the priestess Elan is reassigned. Hett is experimented upon by the Yuuzhan Vong Shapers, and implanted with coral seeds that he has been attempting to resist the effects of since escaping from his captors. Hett formed the One Sith while the eyes of the New Republic were on Darth Caedus and Lumiya, and he needs Cade’s healing abilities to help rid him of the coral seeds. Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue are discussing options to rescue Cade when they are joined by Morrigan Corde, who comes up with the plan after explaining she is Cade’s mother. Cade refuses to heal Krayt, and duels both Darth Talon (wounding her) and Darth Nihl, before taking on the Sith Emperor himself. However, he is able to be rescued by Syn and Blue before Krayt is able to defeat him.
This is quite the pivotal issue, as I said, and covers a lot of ground with explaining what has happened to get us to this point. A good chunk of the trade paperback is taken up with Darth Krayt’s exposition of how he came to be at the head of the One Sith, of course, and it doesn’t feel too contrived somehow, given that Hett has basically been away from the main galactic events that we’ve seen covered by the novels following Order 66. It’s also useful to have a kind of bridge for readers to get the main beats of galactic history to show what’s been going on and help to provide some more context for the stories that we’ve had between the Prequels and this series. Of course, he is yet another Jedi who managed to escape the so-called Purge, which makes you wonder whether the Emperor could have done a better job.
Reading the series this time around, I feel really disappointed with Cade’s story arc. He’s forever being portrayed as the half-Jedi bad boy, and yet is able to go toe-to-toe with Darth Talon, who was previously built up as a deadly assassin, and survive. To say nothing of his later duel with Krayt, although that was on the back of his Sith training, so I suppose could be excused. I didn’t get the impression that he actually completed his training on Ossus, so not sure what to think of that. It’s almost like he’s being used as a tool to tell the story, and having all of these really interesting and cool scenes and interactions, but he is entirely the wrong sort of character to be in these scenes.
It also doesn’t help that he has a lot in common with Quinlan Vos from the Republic series, but Quinlan’s arc was much more in keeping with the character established for him!
I think I’ve found this re-read of the Legacy series a bit disappointing so far, as I have such fond memories of reading them the first time around! It’s actually in my top ten Star Wars comics, and I think that’s a reflection of the fact that it felt, at the time, like we were seeing the galaxy being brought together into a cohesive manner. Maybe I’m feeling like I want more from my Star Wars fiction, but I think Cade Skywalker just isn’t the right sort of character to be having this sort of adventure. There is still a lot to enjoy though, and there is a lot around the outskirts of the story that I did still like, such as the Coruscant underworld scenes, and a lot of the Imperial scheming is very engaging.
On to volume four!