Meetings on a long gone mad planet are destined to fail, I would say!
Cover Art By: Steven D. Anderson
Written By: Sean Stewart
“The truth is, you do care that this one is dead. You should. The truth is, you would be less than alive if you didn’t. The truth is, the principles that seem right to an eight-hundred-odd-year-old hypocrite who may live forever make no sense for the rest of us who live and suffer and die in this world. Our time here is so short: so precious: so sweet. To turn your back on it, to crawl into your monastery and teach yourself not to feel. What a waste,…what a… blasphemy.” – Sith Acolyte Asajj Ventress
I was weary of revisiting Dark Rendezvous, after all this is a novel focusing on the Star Wars character I loathe most of all. That’s right, if you’re new to the blog or just stumbled across this post, I loathe Yoda. I don’t like the Jedi because of their dogmatically limited view of the Force, and how over and over again they refuse to learn from their mistakes and truly accept the Force and other Force beliefs. No one person better embodies how out of touch the Jedi are with the Force than Yoda. Sure, he’s a fan favorite of most, he says a lot of cool things, he fights like a bad ass, and he looks like a cute stuffed toy. But none of those things really affect me (okay, I’ll admit, I do dig watching him in battle) because I can never get past how Yoda adheres to a view of the Force that limits the Force infinitely Yoda always came across to me as nothing more than a posturing leader of a faith group who are slowly losing their foothold because they refuse to reassess the base of their religion. That view did not change in Dark Rendezvous, but I did come away loathing Yoda a little less.
The reason I gained a modicum of appreciation for Yoda came down to the way that Sean Stewart handled his character. Yoda was still dogmatic in his view of the Force, and he was still piloting the Jedi on a course to ruin. But at the same time he was presented as very human, or Whill if that is his species. He was funny, he grieved, he even showed some anger and disappointment. In the end Yoda moves away from these emotions and does what Asajj Ventress accuses him of in the quote above. But, for the brief interlude that is Dark Rendezvous Yoda showed a side of himself that was easier to accept and far easier to not loathe as much.
Moving away from my Yoda rant, it is in the characters where Dark Rendezvous really struck a chord with me. All of the main characters are given their moments to grow, show progress, and ultimately change themselves or those around them in some way. There is genuine character growth in Dark Rendezvous, and even when growth is not on display there is simply put, some nifty character building. Perhaps the best example of the character building taking place in Dark Rendezvous is found in Asajj Ventress. She comes across not as the bumbling sidekick in this novel. Rather, she is a mighty foe, with words just as cunning as her lightsaber. I believed that Ventress was a formidable enemy to all those she opposed and I felt the fire that drives her. By spending time on her and allowing the readers to understand her a little better Mr. Stewart made Ventress into a much more believable and interesting character.
There were certain turns of phrase, such as consistently referring to Yoda as a goblin or gnome, that rubbed me the wrong way. But, those instances were the only minor grievances I can bring to bear against Dark Rendezvous. I had a lot of fun reading this novel, and I drank up the characterization like a healthy goblet of egg nog. Mr. Stewart’s novel moves along at a great clip, and manages to bring forth both an intriguing cat and mouse game as well as exciting action entries. In Whie Malreaux and Tallisibeth Enwandung-Esterhazy, aka Scout, he has created two characters I am very keen on following wherever the Force may take them. He gave new life to a character like Asajj Ventress, and tackled the philosophical side of the Force with great aplomb. For the most part Dark Rendezvous is a fiery good read, and what a great bonfire its flames produce.