Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly Audiobook Review

I can safely say I am happy to be done with this ‘Callista Trilogy’.

‘Planet of Twilight’ finishes off this series, that Hambly started with ‘Children of the Jedi’ and followed by Kevin J. Anderson’s ‘Darksaber’. So far I haven’t been too thrilled with this run of (audio)books, finding the stories to really not have any sort of ‘Star Wars’ feel to them, and quite frankly have incredibly bizarre storylines.

Set around a year after the events of ‘Darksaber’, Hambly takes us to the planet of Nam Chorios, a veritable smorgasbord of problems. Killer bugs, disease and grouchy people fighting.

Leia is there to meet one of the political leaders, Seti Ashgad. After being drugged, Leia is kidnapped by the Force Sensitive Beldorion the Hutt. Her captors continue to keep her drugged until Ashgad’s aide, Dzim informs her and she manages to overcome the effects of the drugs.

Luke is also on the planet after receiving a message from Callista. After learning of Leia’s capture he makes his way to Beldorian’s stronghold, however, Leia manages to escape after killing Beldorion (Hutts are not so quick in a lightsaber duel it seems).

Luke arrives at the palace and finds out Leia has escaped but learns that Dzim is actually an evolved Droch, the killer insects I mentioned earlier and has been keeping Ashgad, Beldorion and Taselda, a Jedi who Luke encounters alive for centuries.

Leia meets with Callista during her escape and after Luke is imbued by the raw power of the Force the Droch and Dzim are defeated and their plan to use crystals mined on the planet to power weapons and fighters is thwarted. After Luke meets with Callista and they part ways forever, Luke and Leia escape the planet.

Not pulling any punches with this one. I didn’t enjoy it at all. The main villain being an evolved murder insect that has become sentient and can keep people alive? Way too far fetched for me. I appreciate the attempt to make a villain that isn’t just another Imperial Warlord or Dark Side wielding maniac but Dzim just wasn’t that compelling a villain. Murder bugs I can handle, and if they were being used as a weapon by someone then I could probably get behind that more, but yeah, this wasn’t one I could get behind.

I did like the idea of a Force Sensitive Hutt, that idea is incredibly compelling to me and it’s something I think would be very interesting to see again, especially in ‘The High Republic’ where we are seeing more and more Jedi, including Sskeer, the Trandoshan Jedi, a species that has until recently been exclusively villains.

The Callista storyline could have easily been removed from this (audio)book, she acts as more of a tool for exposition for Leia and her conversation with Luke was basically a less angsty version of her farewell hologram at the end of ‘Darksaber’. Of course this could have been down to the abridgement but I’m honestly not interested in picking up the book (I have a copy and was going to read it for this review, glad I didn’t) to find out. Even though Hambly worked with Anderson on how to write the love story between Luke and Callista out in order for Luke and Mara Jade to become an item (a decision that Lucasfilm had come to behind the scenes), the inclusion of the character here feels like Hambly wanting the final word on a character she created, in a similar way that Michael A. Stackpole essentially wrote an exit for Corran Horn in ‘The New Jedi Order’ series so that he wouldn’t get killed off by anyone else.

A disappointing entry into the EU, with very little to develop any ongoing stories. Easily one I would skip over in the future.

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