BalancePoint_Ca_AbrKathy Tyers
Del Rey

There is no place to channel the flood of refugees fleeing the murderous Yuuzhan Vong but the overcrowded planet Duro, poisoned by centuries of technological excess. Fortunately a deal is struck: In exchange for a new home, the refugees will work to restore the planet to health, under the watchful eye of Leia Organa Solo. While tempers flare between the Duros and the New Republic, Han Solo, his son, Jacen and the Ryne called Droma arrive to keep the peace. They are unaware that Leia is on Duro…and that Luke, Mara and Anakin are on their way, searching for a missing Jedi apprentice. And none realize that the Yuuzhan Vong have chosen this embattled planet as the next target in their brutal coreward thrust. Now, as the fragile stability on Duro threatens to collapse into violence, Jacen Solo must face his greatest dilemma: At what point does the use of power become aggression? Whatever he decides, his next step would tip the galaxy’s destiny toward the light or toward darkness–with the life of someone he loves hanging in the balance…

Continuing on with the New Jedi Order saga, the Yuuzhan Vong continue with their terror campaign to conquer the New Republic and shape the galaxy for their own purposes. And the New Republic is having a dickens of a time trying to hold things together. The refugees from the previous novel have been relocated to Duro, a planet essentially dead after centuries of over-industrialization, in an effort to fix things up and make it their new home. A few throw pillows here, some new curtains and a few dozen air fresheners to make the smog-poisoned air breathable, and good as new. Only, things are going about as well as you would think when you cram several hundred thousand displaced beings from multiple worlds and species under several large inverted Tupperware bowls, with a shortage of supplies and what I can only imagine is a big stench from not being able to shower. Add to this volatile melting pot a Yuuzhan Vong infiltrator stirring things up, Jacen (the whiney emo of the Solo children) deciding to give up using the Force entirely because of a dream he had, Mara and Luke finding out there’s another Skywalker on the way, and the so-called Peace Brigade and Duro officials about to betray the planet to Yuuzhan Vong invaders–who have now got a serious mad-on against the Jedi–and you’ve got another greatly amusing episode in this ongoing saga.

Author Kathy Tyers did well in keeping the story going along at a good clip, making even the moments of intimate interaction between the family members not as cheesy as they could have been. Also, lil’ Baby Skywalker’s a-comin’! But anyway, yeah, I’m familiar with Ms. Tyers’ Star Wars work by way of the short stories she’s done for a couple of anthology collections. As for Balance Point, it furthers the overall New Jedi Order arc well, and has a couple of surprises, and was well written with the action and requisite intrigue. Not the greatest entry in the New Jedi Order, but far from the worst, I think.