I found this to be one of the most interesting Star Was novels that I have ever read. This is primarily because of the new things that Into the Void is able to bring into the Star Wars universe, while still maintaining the spirit and mythos of the saga. It’s not a perfect novel, but the originality is what really makes this book special.
The book switches back and forth between Lanoree, the main character’s, present and past. The flashbacks are presented as present tens, however, which makes those moments seem more relavent to the storyline and the main character’s development. Apart from these flashbacks there is a tiny bit of characterization that lacks in the character of Lanoree. There are many aspects of her that are extremely interesting, particularly the alchemy of flesh, but these aspects are introduced and not expounded upon. It would be interesting to see more of this and how it impacts her psyche.
The other characters, particularly Tre, are surprising well fleshed out for the novel. I found myself just as invested in Tre as I was in Lanoree, and I’m not often that invested in a side character.
Tim Lebbon does an excellent job of maintaining the, for lack of a better term, ‘spirit’ of the Star Wars mythos, despite the fact that these stories are so far removed from the films. In fact, the only thing that remains relatively consistent is the use of the Force, though even that is surrounded by different view points. The creators behind the Dawn of the Jedi series have obviously spent some effort to create a system that stands on its own. You could almost consider this to be part of a separate series, with the only similarity being the Star Wars logo.
The plot is interesting, but not overly captivating. Much of the way it is written provides easy breaks and stopping points. It doesn’t pull you through the pages without stopping like some other stories. However, that isn’t to say the plot isn’t good, it’s great! It’s very consistant with a Star Wars classic story: involving family, drama, and larger than life events surrounding them. I thought it was very well done.
Chronology Note: This book is the first chronological novel set in the Star Wars universe. As such it bears little resemblance to what happens later. The Jedi are known as Je’daii, lightsabers do not yet exist, and the planets are different from the one’s we are familiar with. The planet Tythos is the only one that has a significant role in other stories. Even though it takes place roughly at the same time as the comic story arc Force Storm, there is only a passing reference to that storyline, and very little connection at all. Although it’s nice to see them fleshing out multiple areas of the same universe, it would also be nice for it to fit together a little better. Perhaps in future stories.