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Tyrant's Test (Star Wars: The Black Fleet Crisis) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1996
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As was true in the first two books, we have three main stories going on. Lando, Lobot, R2, and Threepio are aboard the Teljkon vagabond and are trying to understand why such a mysterious craft is just moving aimlessly through space. Luke continues his mystical journey with Akanah in search of the Fallanassi. This section remains by far the weakest of the storylines in the trilogy, even though Luke and his new friends do play a major role in the conclusion of the book. It was refreshing to see that he finally got something useful to do, and his story does tie in with Leia's. Leia continues to have the best storyline. All of the political maneuvering is interesting, and her efforts to defeat the Yevethan and save her husband are strong.
One new storyline in this third book brings Chewbacca into the action, and he is a welcome addition. Chewie learns of Han's capture by the Yevethan, and he immediately springs into action. Chewie, his son Lumpawarrump, and some other Wookies head for the Koornacht Cluster to rescue Han. Nothing seems to hamper their efforts and they have a wonderful sequence on the Yevethan flagship as they work their way to Han.
Mr. Kube-McDowell is capable of writing an interesting story. He loves to introduce new alien species, and his descriptions of political maneuvering are excellent. However, he may have spread himself a little thin in making The Black Fleet Crisis a trilogy. He could have omitted a lot of Luke's story throughout the three books and obtained a stronger result. The Black Fleet Crisis is fun to read, but it is not a top-notch effort.
This is it, kids, the thrilling end to the gripping story that's been built up with twists, turns, board room meetings, long-winded conversations which ultimately go in concentric circles and end up nowhere. Clearly, "Tyrant's Test" is the best of "Black Fleet Crisis" trilogy for two reasons. The first of which I'll go into detail later, the second of which is the relishing fact that this book spells the end of this narcoleptic trilogy - and, oh, what a welcome conclusion it is! Not because it's done well, but because it's finally over! YEAH! SHOOT OFF THE FIREWORKS IN IMPERIAL CITY! BRING DOWN THE GIANT EMPEROR STATUE LIKE AT THE END OF "RETURN OF THE JEDI: SPECIAL EDITION."
LET'S BREAK IT DOWN:
Leia's doing some crap with politics, who knows, nothing happened in the last two books anyways.
MEANWHILE, Lando, Lobot, R2D2, and Threepio are stuck on the Qella vagabond. It's sentient, it's a museum-I guess? But wait for the most thrilling twist of all, remember the research team on that ice planet that they kept cutting to in the last two books? No? Oh, well, anyways, IT'S THE QELLA HOMEWORLD. ERRRGHHH. THE TWISTS. THE TURNS. THE CHAPTERS AND CHAPTERS OF EXCRUCIATING DETAIL DESCRIBING SAID TWISTS AND TURNS OF THE VAGABOND. Lobot unplugs his robot headband and plugs into the ship...that's it. Turns out the ice planet was an ice planet that was designed to be melted by the vagabond. In conclusion, the Qella were frozen in ice and the vagabond was set to thaw them. Why? Who knows. What was the point of drawing this out over the course of three books or even including it to being with? There is no point. NEXT.
MEANWHILE MEANWHILE; Luke goes to some planet with these Force witches or something-I don't know. I would normally be inclined to say that this whole plot point was entirely pointless, but that would not be correct, because it took us three books so that these Force witches could come in and do a fake puppet show with Star Destroyers to scare the Yevetha away. WHAT!?
MEANWHILE MEANWHILE MEANWHILE; Han is being held captive by the Yevetha, also he meets one of Akanah's kin who uses her magical powers to do a fake puppet show of a bunch of prisoners for some reason so Han could escape-ESCAPE, YOU SAY!?
That's right. All of three books was leading up to one single moment; the apex to this boring triumvirate of boredom. Remember how they shuffled Chewbacca off in the first book to go be with Lumpy in his rite of passage on Kashyyyk? That's right, you did! Because this seemingly insignificant and stupid little side plot ended up being the most interesting part of this whole d@mn book series!
Chewie gets word that Han's been captured by the Yevetha, so he's all like "Nuh-UH!" so he grabs his bowcaster, primes the Falcon and gets ready to break his old buddy out! Then his cousins are like "Chewie, we're gonna come with you" and Lumpy's like "Me too." Begrudgingly, Chewbacca allows them to accompany him in the most awesome prison break/escape/action sequence ever printed in a Michael P. Kube-McDowell novel. The Wookie crew manage to pry some stolen Yevethan Star Destroyer plans from an old smuggler friend, then fly the Falcon right into the thick of the fighting, shooting down a bunch of Yevethan tri-fighters before latching on to the ship holding Han. They blow open the hull and just start going literally @pe$h!+ blowing away any and everyone that gets in their way. Chewie goes around, he's p!$$ed, he keeps blowing up these gross Yevethan egg sacks, Nil Spaar's like "Aw, man!" Chewie and crew break out Han and fly away! Wow! Now THAT'S what I call action! That would make for a pretty thrilling conclusion to the trilogy, right? Right! Of course they have to ruin it by having that occur 2/3rds of the way through the book and have the rest be, what else? Boring tactical meetings and board room conversations. In conclusion; this series sucks, don't read it.