Jax Pavan had barely made knighthood when Order 66 or ‘Flame Night’ went down. Now in Jedi Twilight, he’s finding that being on the run has compromised his morals as well as his ability to access the Force. To top it off, Vader for some reason is looking for him, him personally, with more interest than is shown to other Jedi. Jax’s struggle is an interesting reflection on what the Jedi must’ve gone through as they fell from grace and power. For him it truly is a Jedi Twilight, where things he took for granted are no longer so clear cut and easy to hold to.
This is the first book of a trilogy, but the adventure actually stands alone fairly well. Jedi Twilight incorporates characters and elements from other books by Michael Reaves and the Expanded Universe. It’s an edge of your seat adventure as one of the few remaining Jedi finds himself racing to find a droid at the behest of his Master, Evan Piell, who died in this book doing the same.
Previous events from the Michael Reaves stories in Jedi Twilight are mentioned, enough that when you dive in you know what perspective the older characters come in with, and what drove them to where they are now. Even the main focus, Jax Pavan, was mentioned in Darth Maul Shadowhunter, as a child.
I5 and Den Dhur’s story continues as they had finally reached Coruscant after their time on the Rimsoo with Jedi Knight Barriss Offee to search out Jax, only to find it wasn’t the happy meeting with Lorn Pavan’s son I5 might’ve hoped. Jax is trained as a Jedi and has no interest in either unusual droids or knowing about the past. I5 of course, and wants to carry out the last wish his friend had, for I5 to look after his son. As for Den, he’s finding his previous takes on the war have landed him on the black list where journalism jobs go. He’s finding sharing I5’s loyalty to be very inconvenient too, under the circumstances.
Kaird of the Nediji also picks up his story here of wanting to be free of Black Sun to go home. This story shows his struggle and just how great a challenge (seemingly impossible) a dream that is. Not only is Black Sun itself in the way, but Prince Xixor in particular.
Two complicating factors to the story are Prince Xixor of Black Sun (in the way of both missions) and Nick Rostu, of Haruun Kaal, who rather than pledge allegiance to an Empire that killed his friend Mace Windu, because a downlevel resistance fighter. Unfortunately, Nick is going to be forced to make a terrible choice between saving Jax or saving his people.
Xixor’s role is one that should disabuse anyone who ever thought he had moral high ground over Vader. It’s very clear from this that he was already working his way up in a brutal, ruthless fashion long before Anakin Skywalker fell to the dark side.
Two new characters are Harinum (elomin) and Laranth Tarak, a Jedi Paladin of a sect of Jedi (censured by the main order). I really love Laranth, a tough as nails Jedi Twilek who isn’t going to just roll over for the Empire. Her sect has far more chance of surviving now that the Jedi are outcast since they were espoused the belief Jedi shouldn’t limit themselves primarily to lightsabers.
Harinum cast more light on Vader at this point, in my opinion. Vader’s gotten past the need to kill every Jedi (as in some stories, especially comics) or regret that he turned. He’s a bit complicated still though, as Harinum would’ve been basically a slave had Vader not given him this job, yet it sounds like he’s implanted another character with something very similar to a slave chip. This is the first Elomin we’ve seen close up in a novel (outside the brief mention they prefer order and structure in Heir to the Empire.)
Jedi Twilight Continuity
As mentioned, earlier, Jedi Twilight progresses the stories of several other of Michael Reaves characters. But Jax Pavan’s only previous mention was as a baby taken in by the Jedi Order. You can read the full story in Darth Maul: Shadowhunter reviewed here. In short, his parents did not realize the high price they themselves would pay for allowing the Jedi to take him for training.
This story has two more books in the trilogy, Street of Shadows, Patterns of the Force and one follow up book called the Last Jedi. Yes really. (which I didn’t care for as much, but that is another review, it is affected by The Clone Wars being forced into the Expanded Universe. You can see the continuity issues on that here. It effects this book, Jedi Twilight in particular, as that series kills off Evan Piell before Order 66 and Flame Night. Therefore damaging the very start of this series.)
Shadows of the Empire introduced both Black Sun and Prince Xixor. Xixor is also in the Bounty Hunter Wars (Mandalorean Armor, Slave Ship, Hard Merchandise) and his impact, and Black Sun’s are far reaching both before and after this story.
While the sect Laranth is in appears nowhere else that I know of, the general idea of sects that disagreed with the Jedi Council is fairly common. Djinn Altis for instance, of Children of the Jedi was a sect that didn’t believe in only training children, or the ban on marriages. Master Aquinos was censured for his belief that droids were sentient and his aid in training the Shard.
Elomin in general (of which Harinum is one) had this base characteristic we see in him established all the way back (or ahead if you will) in Heir to the Empire.
I5YQ was first introduced, along with Lorn Pavan (Jax’s father) in Darth Maul Shadowhunter. These events are mentioned in Jedi Twilight. His loyalty to Lorn and desire to keep his promise to look after his son are driving factors here as I mentioned earlier. I5 meets Den Dhur in the Medstar duology alongside Barriss Offee. This is also reiterated in Jedi Twilight.
Previous stories that got Darth Vader to this point post Return of the Jedi are the “Purge” jedi comic series, Darth Vader and the Lost Command, Darth Vader and the Ninth Assassin and Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison graphic novels. For novels, Dark Lord, Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno and the Last of the Jedi YA series are also in this time (the latter might even be going along concurrently, it has similar themes, including a group trying to help political dissidence, resistors and Jedi to reach safety.)
Other Jedi that we know were trying to survive includes Dass Jennir, K’kruhk, Traa Saa, Tholme, (Dark Times comics), Roan Shyrine and Olee Starstone (Dark Lord, The Rise of Darth Vader), Ferus Olin, and a few others. For some, we only know the end of their tale, for others, we know nothing at all.