Children of the Jedi - Barbara Hambly The great Jedi Master Luke passes out - Times Four!
Han, Luke, and Leia are on Ithor, enjoying the beautiful Time of Meeting, when an old associate of Han's appears and leaves them with a cryptic message. This message leads Han and Leia to the mysterious world of Belsavis, and Luke and his students, Cray Mingla, brilliant scientist, and her fiancee, Nichos Marr, head to the Moonflower Nebula. Both quickly uncover a plot by a former Emperor's Hand to destroy Belasavis.
NOTE: I read this book years ago and recently listened to the audiobook.

I Liked:
This time around I caught a small line that said that no one was quite sure who the Eye of Palpatine was created to attack, but it was a large enemy. Could that be the Yuuzhan Vong, whom Palpatine may have seen? Did he rise to power to prevent the galaxy from falling into their hands? No one knows, but it's interesting.
Another tiny part that recurrs is the Emperor's Hand. In the Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn tells Mara she wasn't the only Emperor's Hand. Here, we get to see another, Roganada Ismaren.
Seeing Callista and Altis reminds me of the books by Traviss where they make cameo appearances. Kinda interesting to see how they have been tied in. I hope we get more stories of Callista from the prequel era.
Lastly, Han and Leia's investigation of Belsavis isn't that bad.

I Didn't Like:
On one hand, I didn't feel the revulsion for this book that I had felt for it when I read it as a teen (surprise, I know!) or for the Jedi Academy trilogy. On the other hand, it doesn't mean it was an amazing book.
The first thing I noticed was the pervasive flowery language. I've noticed audiobooks can cut out some of that (which I appreciate), but this book opened with a particularly flowery passage that I had to listen to more than once to get an idea what the heck was going on. There are several other parts where things are happening, and Hambly just stops to detail everything in the scene. And really, for this story, there is no need for over-describing.
I appreciated how Hambly didn't try to shoehorn everyone into the book, but none of the characters quite felt themselves. One of Han Solo's first lines is a particularly nasty line about Cray, which comes out like "you mean the blonde with legs?" Uh, excuse me? What Han is this? Not the Han Solo that is happily married to Leia. Speaking of Leia, I don't think she would be particularly impressed with Han buying her a dress that cost 30% of most planet's incomes. Leia has never been that kind of woman at all. Luke Skywalker is nasty, honestly, but I want to talk about him separately. The choice to continue the Mara and Lando subplot is hideous (at least it is easily retconned by Zahn--thank you!!). Nichos Marr feels too much like Data--a man with his own hands and head, but everything else is robotic? And they couldn't transfer his personality so he acted like a droid? What about Darth Vader? That guys was almost all robot and he still could love and think and emote. Cray was a stereotypical scientist, hot and sexy, yet brilliant and Force-sensitive too! And Callista, while good...well, let me talk about her separately too.
The concept of the Eye of Palpatine is one that has seen too much exposure in the novels of this time: the Empire creating superweapons. Number one, how did they have the money, after the TWO Death Stars, to build this? Number two, why so many superwepaons? If the Death Star was the ultimate power, why have the Sun Crusher, the Eye of Palpatine, the Galaxy Gun? And Number three, why make something as unwieldy as the Eye of Palpatine? Supposedly it is so big and secretive...only, how could something that big be so secretive? Why send your troops to random planets for this big, huge superweapon to pick up and attract attention to itself? Why make this thing so stupid it can't tell the difference between stormtroopers and Jawas, Gamorreans, and Tusken Raiders? If I were Palpatine, I would be getting my money back on this thing.
Another big beef I have with this book is the Luke Skywalker plot. He goes searching in the Moonflower Cluster, at the beckon of the Force, and basically does nothing but hobble around on the superweapon, getting into fights between two opposing Gamorrean (!) clans, and having literal cybersex with a computer. Actually, not a computer. This is Callista, who was a Jedi, but somehow learns to get into a computer (I have never met anyone who was actually able to explain how the heck this happens in Star Wars, but it must be related to how Palpatine keeps coming back as a clone). Luke meets her and two seconds later, they are in lurve, and he can't bear to part from her, and he is calling her "Baby" (BABY?!?! Not even Han says that to Leia!). What. The. Heck??? Talk about love at first sight! Their relationship is so slapshod, so hasty, so chemistry-less that I was gagging whenever I had to hear these two together.
Another part that really gets my goat is this: Callista imports herself into Cray's body and starts to CHANGE Cray's eye color and hair color to Callista's. I may have been able to believe Callista taking over Cray's body, but for her to change it?! No way!
Lastly, and I promise this is it, Luke Skywalker, the only Jedi Master, the man who destroyed the first Death Star, fought with the Emperor, and saved Darth Vader, passes out FOUR times in this novel. Almost every scene with him ends with him getting knocked unconscious or blacking out! It almost makes Eragon look tame (at least Eragon was an idiot and not a Jedi Master!).

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
A few cases of d*** and h***.
Cray and Nichos are lovers. Callista and Luke have cybersex (tee hee).
Lightsaber duels, explosions, violent Gamorreans, Luke walking around all day on a broken leg.

Probably more like a 1.5 or even (pushing it) a 2, this book has a good, solid idea and flounders in flowery writing, out of character experiences, and a horrendous love story. Fortunately, little to nothing in this book (or series) has any factor on later books, so I recommend you skip this one all together.