Patterns of Force doesn’t just wrap up the Coruscant Nights trilogy, but several plotlines from previous Michael Reaves’s stories and finishes in a satisfying way. It is a fun adventure, but a bit frustrating because it doesn’t so much explain all it’s own started threads as well. I love the general story I just do feel some things needed further explanation. I felt like it could’ve just used more polish.
The team of Jax and the gang has experienced a dynamic shift since Dejah joined them and Laranth left, though Laranth is still on the planet. It doesn’t have the same tight rhythm, even if the elomin wasn’t the most enthused team member. But now we have Inquisitors involved, and a force adept who can’t control himself. Top that off with Jax being in emotional personal turmoil and this adventure has taken a turn far more dangerous.
The relationships are satisfying and frustrating at the same time, it’s clear Dejah is a disruptive presence to many (including me, but then, she is supposed to be). This has serious consequences for them all. There is a lot of suspense and action in this one as the showdown with Vader finally awaits. I wouldn’t give that away, except the book the cover pretty much reveals that.
Patterns of Force Main Arc
We have a lot going on in Patterns of Force, the bota, Lorn’s legacy, the pryonium, and a new force user are all tied together in a path that leads to an inescapable collision. I’d say this one is more Jedi centered Whereas the first book was just them trying to survive, and the second was kind of a mystery, this one is an exploration of what a Jedi should do to move forward in these dark times, beyond mere survival.
The Patterns of Force plot threads that started with I5 and Lorn Pavan and the father and son relationship that never was is nicely tied up. The Bota quest entrusted to I5 by Barriss Offee is also wrapped up in a way that ties into the main quest. We also get a bit of resolution with Tuden Sal, the long lost ‘friend’ of Lorn that was supposed to deliver I5 to the temple. He has an ambitions plan that he figures, would be good for the galaxy, if the droid he betrayed will go along with it.
Our team is now pretty dysfunctional thanks to the Zeltron’s involvement, but they do still get the job done. But this story introduces the Inquisitors in there full power and threat. They are hunting Jax Pavan and any other rogue user. This is where Kaj comes in. While I do like the new kid, I do think his skills are overdone. No matter how powerful he shouldn’t have been able to do some of what he did with no training. Even Anakin Skywalker only was able to unconsciously use it to enhance his other skills. His explosive reactions though are well done and important to the plot.
The inquisitor gets a fair bit of characterization and my only puzzlement is how incredibly fast we have masters and apprentices set up for this group. Again, this is within a very short time after Order 66 so the Emperor either had teachers lined up (perhaps fallen Jedi, as mentioned in Dark Times comics) or he started before it all went down. The former seems more likely as Vader also hunted down any fallen Jedi that served under Dooku, under the Emperor’s orders.
What we don’t get in Patterns of Force is any idea on is what the pyronium that Jax was given by Anakin was for. We do get an idea why Vader wants it, but not why Anakin had it in the first place or why he bothered to leave it with Jax. We really get very little of there relationship at all, in fact, we probably get more out of the Republic “Jabiim” comics arc where he’s with the padawan pack. That seems strange since a comic has less room for such revelations!
Another bit of pyronium confusion is that Jax remembers Anakin gave it to him and asked him to hold onto it because he was going to Tatooine, at a time they were both padawans. This doesn’t work at all as Anakin never went back to Tatooine as a padawan, save when he spur of the moment straight from Tatooine. I’m not sure if this is a mistake and it was supposed to say Naboo, or an attempt to integrate the earliest The Clone Wars stories. If the latter it doesn’t work either, as in the show he’s already knighted.
There also seems to be a badly worded or mistaken paragraph where Jax, in the midst of considering the challenges of getting a new lightsaber, distinctly thinks about ‘Anakin’s pogram’ on the night of Order 66. I’ll let other readers find this but since the entire trilogy (and Patterns of Force finale) is built on him not knowing Anakin’s fate, this doesn’t read right. If he’d known Anakin was responsible he’d never have assumed he was dead and he’d have had an idea who Vader was.
Finally I’m sorry to say that there is still no ending here for Nick Rostu. We do get just a bit more on the Whiplash resistance movement, but its not really a plot arc. We do get more of Pol Haus the investigator and he comes with a few surprises, along with a Cerean male leading Whiplash. The latter bothers me a bit, not because it’s a bad character or contradictory, but because there is supposed to be a very low male Cerean birthrate compared to females, yet we get only males mentioned since the initial Star Wars comics introduced them, out and about the galaxy.
Patterns of Force Continuity
This is the final book of the Coruscant Nights Trilogy, the first was Jedi Twilight and the second, Street of Shadows. The following book is titled The Last Jedi, also by Michael Reaves along with co-writer Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. I haven’t reviewed that last and didn’t care for it, as the co-author (admitted in an interview) fridged fan favs to make room for what she wanted to do. It felt unnatural. It also shoehorned in The Clone Wars TV show’s drastic alterations – which of all places doesn’t work with Jax’s story arc as the show contradicts the first book.
This is the first mention of the planet Tython being where the Jedi first learned the Force. I was surprised to find a source predating Star Wars the Old Republic. In that game, it’s the Jedi starter planet. You can read my review of vanilla content here. The only written content so far as I know is otherwise in Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void, and the glimpses in the comic book series.
Asli Krimsan (fa Jedi rom the holocron from Junior Jedi Knights, Vaders Fortress) is mentioned.
Hal Leor and the Potentium Heresy – a perspective dismissed by the Jedi, from Rogue Planet by Greg Bear are mentioned.
This story suffers the same issue of claiming the Clone Wars ended 20 years before as the previous one did.