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Planet of Twilight (Star Wars) Mass Market Paperback – May 4, 1998
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Prepare yourself for a nonstop Leia-fest. The New Republic's new leader is back in bondage again, but at least this time she doesn't have Jabba the Hut slobbering all over her. Kidnapped after a clandestine mission to the former prison-planet Nam Chorios goes awry, Leia relies on her wits, her ever-developing Jedi powers (including some mean saber-swinging), and her pals to escape, survive, and resolve the conflict on the desolate planet. Han, Chewie, and Lando may get short shrift in Planet of Twilight, but Luke gets in some good scenes on the trail of Force-sensitive babe Callista, and the droids provide more than their share of laughs. While veteran writer Hambly doesn't subscribe to the admittedly entertaining shut-up-and-start-blasting school of Star Wars writing, her skilled characterizations and more literary stylings are a welcome addition to the fold. --Paul Hughes
From the Inside Flap
"New York Times bestselling author Barbara Hambly returns to the Star Wars(r) universe to tell a breathtaking tale of a mysterious world where the battle between the New Republic and the Empire takes a shocking new twist....
Nam Chorios is a barren backwater world--once a dreaded prison colony, now home to a fanatic religious cult. It is here that Princess Leia has been taken captive by a ruthless and charismatic warlord bent on destroying the New Republic. Meanwhile, Luke lands on a mysterious planet in search of his lost love, Callista, only to discover the Force is his own worst enemy. But worst of all, as Han, Chewie, and Lando leave Coruscant on a desperate rescue mission, a strange life-form, unlike any the galaxy has ever seen, awakens...a life-form so malevolent it will destroy everything--both Empire and New Republic--on its path to domination.
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Planet of Twilight represents a step up from Children of the Jedi thanks to a more original and involving storyline, but one thing it doesn't do is wrap up the Luke/Callista romance well. Their love truly ends with a whimper rather than a bang and it's hard not to feel it was a waste of time reading about it. That said, in real life some relationships go the same way, so perhaps it can be viewed as a small building block towards Luke's more meaningful relationships later in life.
Planet of Twilight focuses on the mad ambitions of Seti Ashgad to rule the galaxy by means of the hideous Death Seed plague, a feared disease wrongly believed to have been wiped out centuries earlier. Ashgad is isolated on the well-detailed planet of Nam Chorios. Hambly puts a great deal of effort into describing the locale and its many environmental quirks, most noticeably the vile insect-like drochs that lurk in every dark corner. While I can't say I found the planet exactly enjoyable to learn about, it was certainly memorable, no small feat in the vast Star Wars Expanded Universe.
Luke is portrayed with more strength than the last couple of novels granted him and it is a welcome change. There's only so much I can take of reading about a sickly, weak Luke barely able to put one foot in front of another (I'm looking at you, Children of the Jedi). However, this time around we do get a large number of chapters featuring a drugged and sickly Princess Leia, so the net effect is a wash. Most of the other usual film cast is present, but the Luke/Leia storyline is given precedence over the Han/Chewie/Lando and C-3PO/R2-D2 "B" plots. I found Han's adventures confusing and struggled with what he was trying to accomplish in some chapters.
Like Children of the Jedi, Planet of Twilight is overly verbose and I was glad to get to the end of it. Both novels feel curiously detached from Star Wars, almost as if Hambly had written original sci-fi novels and then simply pasted the Star Wars characters into them. There's little of the typical sweeping space opera adventure to be found in either book. Sometimes it's nice to have a change of pace in these stories, but this particular direction didn't do much for me. I was glad to see the end of the Callista storyline and look forward to reading the ninth book in the X-wing series next.
They also took the time to resolve (if a little clumsily) the matter of Callista, Luke's would be paramour. Afterall, they needed to clear the way for a certain firy-haired ex-smuggler to take her rightful place in that regard...