Legends of the Hydian Way – The Approaching Storm

I recently managed to put into words a phenomenon in fantasy or science fiction fandoms that has bothered me for a long time, and I call it The Cantina Theory. It goes like this: early on in the life of a fictional universe, everything is new. Just like the Cantina scene in A New Hope, all these interesting creatures and aliens are just there. Anything goes. Later, subsequent entries in the series cement and define what was previously established. That’s a Rodian. This is an Aqualish. Etc. From that point forward it’s very rare to see many new creatures being introduced, because these original “cantina dwellers” have become signifiers to consumers that what they are watching or reading is a Star Wars story. We like the familiar, it makes sense.

Today’s story, however, spends a relatively short amount of time up front making sure we feel comfortably Star Wars before setting off to an adventure in completely unknown territory. We’ve gotten too comfortable at the bar, so Alan Dean Foster’s here to throw us out of the Cantina.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Outbound Flight

Despite my love of all things Star Wars, I haven’t kept up as much with the new books and shows coming out of Lucasfilm and DelRay recently. Honestly I think I’ve held myself back, wanting to use this project as a farewell cruise through the Star Wars I grew up on before diving into the fresh and unexplored waters of the Disney canon.

Because of this lack of exposure, I am now in the strange position of talking about Grand Admiral Thrawn without having any true idea of what many fans think of the character now that he’.s been reintroduced in Rebels. What little research I’ve done while avoiding spoilers for new canon media I’ve yet to consume indicates that creating author Timothy Zahn does not consider the two incarnations separate characters and that those of you coming to this from a Disney-canon-only background should have a fairly good idea of who Thrawn is. So without any more hedging, let’s dive in to Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Jedi Quest Books 7-11

Up until now in our look at Jedi Quest the series has largely followed Jedi Apprentice’s pattern of one or two off books with an overarching villain lurking in the background. Much to my surprise and delight, the latter half of the series becomes a continuous storyline dealing with the hunt for villain Granta Omega.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Jedi Quest Books 1-6

You would be forgiven for thinking that the Anakin Skywalkers of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones were entirely separate people. Most of this is easily explained by the ten year time gap, but just what happened during those ten years to amplify Anakin’s anger issues and wear away at his gentle, compassionate side?

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Rogue Planet

When I started this project, I wasn’t expecting to have to keep asking all of you readers out there to do quite so much remembering and pin-sticking. Legends has so many call-forwards and retroactively written tie-ins to events that happen later in the timeline it can get a bit exhausting. Two weeks ago with Lockdown we had a very minor call-forward (more of an in-joke reference, really) to the New Jedi Order series with Maul’s boxing match against a Yuuzahn Vong. This week, the whole book is an NJO tie in!

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends Of The Hydian Way – The Phantom Menace

We have, at long last, reached the first film in the Star wars franchise. 20,000 years of galactic history in under a year ain’t bad! Today we’re looking back at the novelization of The Phantom Menace. I plan to take a slightly different approach to the film novelizations in this project. Since most of you reading this have seen the films, I’m going to be focusing more on where the novels differ. Do they add new scenes? Do they recontextualize parts the film? And do these changes add or detract from the story? Let’s find out!

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

This week’s novel takes us right up to the the cusp of The Phantom Menace. In fact one of the final scenes in this book is Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan departing for Naboo. However, our Jedi duo is not the focus of this book, and honestly neither is its titular character. Instead, today’s story introduces us to Darth Maul as a force of nature. An unstoppable juggernaut that will not stop pursuing the book’s true protagonists until he is certain they cannot reveal what they know.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Maul-Lockdown

Although not aware of this when I started reading it, today’s offering is, as far as I can tell, the second-to-last book published under the Legends canon. Though quite early in our reviews since we’re going chronologically and not by publishing order, the book was released a scant 3 months before Disney officially discontinued Legends.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Cloak of Deception

We pick up with Legends where we left off: the Outer Rim Mining world of Dorvalla. When last we left this project, Darth Maul was earning his stripes as a Sith saboteur by ruining the prospects of two independent mining companies and forcing them to crawl to the Trade Federation to ship their cargoes of lommite ore.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends Of The Hydian Way: Darth Maul – Saboteur

Leave it to James Luceno to reignite my enthusaism for this project. As you may have noticed the past month or so was rough for me reading wise, cramming in 20+ young adult novels about Obi-Wan Kenobi to the point that my phone can now write entire coherent sentences about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon using only autocorrect. Watch:

“Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon discover that the Jedi Temple and Siri herself are going to be attacked by the Offworld Xanatos Company and I don’t know what to do about it.”

It’s unreal. Anyway, after all of that, it has been refreshing to dive in to James Luceno’s short story Darth Maul: Saboteur and remember that Star Wars is for grown-ups too.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Secrets of the Jedi

I really should have seen this coming. Today’s book really could have been a part of last week’s look at Jedi Apprentice Special Editions because although it does not bear the Jedi Apprentice branding it most definitely is a third special edition for that series. What makes this one different? It’s all about Jedi in love, at least ostensibly.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Jedi Apprentice Special Editions 1 and 2

The Jedi Apprentice series was a natural fit for a young adult novel collection just after the release of The Phantom Menace. Obviously Obi-Wan was a popular character and his teenage years in the Jedi Order provide a fertile field for adventure stories about someone the age of the target audience. Equally natural then was the decision to do a sequel series about Obi-Wan and Anakin in the wake of the events of The Phantom Menace, called Jedi Quest.

It’ll be a bit more time before we get there, but Jedi Quest was also written by Jude Watson and has two crossover specials with Jedi Apprentice. Since these books are both published under the Jedi Apprentice name, it feels appropriate to review them now.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Jedi Apprentice Books 13-18

With the Xanatos saga well and truly over, Jedi Apprentice has pivoted from a series of one-off adventures all connected by the looming threat of Qui-Gon’s former apprentice to a series of character-developing arcs with cool-down one offs before and after. I think it’s a change for the better, as we’ll see this week when we finish of the main series of Jedi Apprentice!

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Jedi Apprentice Books 7-12

Obi-Wan Kenobi has had a pretty rocky start to his life as an itinerant Jedi. In fact, he’s been a Padawan for all of a few weeks at best and already he’s decided to quit the Jedi Order and then changed his mind. Currently we find him learning it’s not so simple to undo such a declaration.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Jedi Apprentice Books 1-6

This week led to one of the more difficult decisions I had to make logistically about doing these reviews. Legends canon contains a number of series aimed at younger readers that are still techincally part of the canon. The first of these chronologically is Jedi Apprentice by Dave Wolverton and Jude Watson. There are eighteen books in this series, but each book is very short, so instead of spending 18 weeks on a kids series we’re going to spend three and just do a third of it each week.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Darth Plagueis

Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise? I thought not. It’s not a story the Jedi would have told you.

Friends, today we march boldly into a very long, very involved book. A book which begins thirty-five years before The Phantom Menace and ends just after that film does. Most importantly, it’s one of the best books in Legends canon.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Legacy of the Jedi

We’ve finally reached the prequel era! If you’ve only ever seen the actual Star Wars movies you’re going to start recognizing names now and to start with we have Count Dooku!

Wait a minute…what?

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Darth Bane – Dynasty of Evil

Fun fact about Darth Bane, he’s actually one of the only characters we’ve seen in any of these books so far who is confirmed to have existed in the new canon. Revan showed up in a deleted scene from one of the episodes of The Clone Wars, but because it didn’t make it into the final cut his canonicity is dubious.

Bane, however, shows up quite clearly in the final episode of season six of The Clone Wars, played by Mark Hamill no less! Zannah too is referenced, but doesn’t actually appear in the episode. All that to say, it’s nice to see new canon taking good bits from Legends. Today we tackle the end of the Darth Bane Trilogy with Darth Bane – Dynasty of Evil, by Drew Karpyshyn.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends Of The Hydian Way: Darth Bane – Rule of Two

Last week I praised Path of Destruction for going out of its way to set up plot threads for a video game that came out twenty some years ago. I also criticized it for seeming slavishly devoted to Darth Revan above all other Sith. It almost feels like Drew Karpyshyn somehow heard me, because book tells of the Darth Bane trilogy reaches even further back to 1993’s comic series Tales of the Jedi and ties the legacy of Bane’s Sith Order in with some of the older Sith that came before.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Darth Bane – Path of Destruction

If you’re coming into all of these reviews having only ever watched the Star Wars films before, you might be confused by a lot of the stuff that’s happened so far. Specifically, you may be wondering why there are so many dang Sith running around. After all, doesn’t Yoda make it pretty clear in The Phantom Menace that “Only two there are, a Master, and an Apprentice?” Why are there whole empires and families full of Sith running around. Today, we learn the answer to how the Sith of the past came to be the Sith of the actual Star Wars films.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way: Knight Errant

You may remember back at the beginning of all of this I that I remembered really loving a lot of the old Legends books back when I was growing up. So far, we’ve had some decent books, some interesting ones that didn’t quite measure up, and one really disappointing one. Today, my friends, we reach the first really, really good book in our Legends read-through thus far.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me

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Legends of the Hydian Way – The Old Republic: Annihilation

We come full circle in The Old Republic this week, ending as we began five weeks ago with a novel by Drew Karpyshyn. Now, if you’ve read my review of Revan you may think that’s a bad sign considering my thoughts on that one but honestly, I tend to really like Karpyshyn’s work, so let’s see how we fare with The Old Republic: Annihilation.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me

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Legends of the Hydian Way – The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance

The Old Republic setting provides a unique opportunity for Star Wars storytelling. Set against the backdrop of a cold war between Jedi/Republic and the Sith, authors can play both sides off of the other in a time of tenuous peace. Most other times in Legends the Jedi and the Sith are aware of one another pretty much go down like Mace Windu marching on Palpatine’s office. In order words, this is one of the only settings where both Jedi and Sith have to play nice and smile at each other instead of immediately going for the lightsabers.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me

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Legends of the Hydian Way – Red Harvest

I suppose it was inevitable that even Star Wars would get caught up in the zombie fad that held most of Western media captive for more than a decade. The result is two books, one which we’ll get to down the line a ways, and this one: Red Harvest by Joe Schrieber.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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Legends of the Hydian Way – The Old Republic: Deceived

After last week I did not have high hopes for the rest of The Old Republic tie-in books. However, while Deceived is nothing groundbreaking, it is a nice, self-contained story that does an admirable job of setting up plot for the MMO while still telling a story in it’s own right.

Welcome to Legends of the Hydian Way, the chronicle of my attempt to read through and review all the novels that make up mainline Legends canon in chronological order. May the Force be with me.

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