Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories (Star Wars) - John Jackson Miller Yaru Korsin and his crew on the ship, Omen, crash land on the planet, Kesh. At first, they think it will be no problem to return to their Sith mission in the stars, but quickly they realize that they are stuck on Kesh to stay. These series of stories cover the initial landing to a couple of thousand years later.

I'm not going to mince words: this is the best Star Wars book (or collection of short stories--whatever you want to call it) I've read all year. It has everything I love in a Star Wars book: great characters, interesting stories, a lush world, a setting that actually feels several thousands of years older than the one we see in the Original Trilogy. This book has its hiccups--the stories in the beginning are rather rough around the edges, and a couple of the stories don't seem to mesh with the overall storyline that great--but I haven't had this much fun reading a book since Timothy Zahn's Choices of One.

I was first introduced to John Jackson Miller via Star Wars: Knight Errant and its comic tie-in, Star Wars: Knight Errant, Volume 1: Aflame. You can read my reviews to get my full opinion of those works, but I felt that, overall, the stories just weren't very interesting and the writing wasn't very compelling. And, to be honest, I wasn't too thrilled about reading The Lost Tribe because of that.

But John Jackson Miller shows he can write with this collection of works. I feel there is more cohesion, overall, in the overarching story in these separate works, compiled into one novel, than there was in "Knight Errant" (with the minor exception of Ori and Jelph, whose stories aren't as critical as the rest--which doesn't mean they are pointless). Each story can stand alone; several stories work as a whole; and all of them together fit nicely in the Tribe's timeline. I can't emphasize enough how much this impressed me.

Roughly, the stories could be separated into three distinct chapters of the Tribe's life: the "Crash", the "Rot", and the "Revival".

"The Crash": Precipice, Skyborn, Paragon, Savior. This follows the crew of the Omen and the Keshiri tribe, and how the Sith establish their rule.

"The Rot": Purgatory and Sentinel. This follows Ori and Jelph and how the Sith rule breaks down completely and groups begin to fight amongst themselves.

"The Revival": Pantheon, Secrets, Pandemonium. This follows a time where the Sith nearly destroy themselves and how they overcome their differences for one goal: domination.

My favorites are Paragon, Savior, Pantheon, and Secrets. I can't make a list for least favorite, because the rest are all equally good. If I were to choose one, it would be "Precipice" because it is a rough story and the setup for the rest of the series.

The characters are absolutely amazing. I loved some of them to pieces (such as Hilts), hated others viscerally (Seelah), and wanted to know more about each one. I think it's great to see so many flawed, realistic characters. Yaru, who likes to pit Seelah against Adari. Adari, who realizes too late the evils of the Sith. Seelah, who wants to purify the race and is on the cusp of wholesale genocide. Ori, not-quite a Sith, not-quite a Jedi. Hilts, a man more interested in history, who wants to keep his people together and learn about the past, even if it puts his life in harm's way. Edell, who enjoys building and creating more than fighting and killing. Quarra, who contemplates committing adultery and struggles to figure out her place. All these characters are vivid and well-written. All these characters engaged me and made me interested in their own story.

A complaint I've had frequently with these pre-prequel Star Wars novels is that they don't feel as if they are thousands of years before "A New Hope". This isn't true with Lost Tribe at all. I think setting back the technology, having the Tribe lose that knowledge as the years past, was excellent. I enjoyed seeing the Tribe through the years, seeing them having to use their wits to get out of scrapes instead of hopping on an airspeeder and whipping out a blaster.

About the only complaint I have in this entire book (collection of short stories--whatever) is that the first few stories are pretty rough writing wise. Scenes jump from one to the next with little to bind them together. Some of the wordplay was confusing, and I had to reread sentences over and over to figure out what was going on. Also, it was a little challenging each time the story jumped in time. It took time to establish relationships with characters, to get a feel for the new surroundings and people and events.

I cannot say enough good things about The Lost Tribe of the Sith. It truly is one of the best Star Wars books in recent history and showcases the true talents of John Jackson Miller. Now that I'm done, I'm more than a little sad to leave these people behind. Hopefully, Miller will get a chance to go back and write more stories about these people. I would welcome the addition to the Star Wars world.

Heartily recommend for Star Wars fans, either new to the franchise or old.