5/5 Rancors - Rebel Stand, the concluding volume of Aaron Allston's Enemy Lines duology, picks up immediately where its predecessor left off. In fact, except for possibly violating some publisher-established rule of how long a Star Wars novel is allowed to be, there's really no reason this needed to be two books. Be that as it may, Rebel Stand does launch right back into the defense of Borleias and the exploration of the secret force inserted onto Coruscant. The plot elements from Rebel Dream are all picked up and resolved satisfactorily.
The standout storyline from Rebel Stand is the journey of Luke and his team through terraformed Coruscant. The atmosphere is ominous as they pass through mile after mile of crumbling buildings covered in alien vegetation, accompanied by the sounds of scurrying survivors in the shadows and dodging Yuuzhan Vong patrols. There are some nice comic moments with the members of Wraith Squadron who accompany the team as they gather intelligence about the extra-galactic invading force.
All of this is fairly straightforward fare, but there is a massively odd twist to the plot. A twisted, evil power has risen on Coruscant and Luke's group must figure out how to deal with it. A survivor informs them it is Lord Nyax, a mythical killing creature of Corellian legend. The truth is actually far stranger, as a hanging plot thread from Barbara Hambly's Children of the Jedi is unexpectedly resumed and completed. I recalled the details after spinning back through that prior volume a bit, but Lord Nyax is truly an element out of left-field. And a welcome one at that, as the relentless focus on the Yuuzhan Vong is lightened a bit while we take this side journey (and at that, Mr. Allston does not lose sight of the Vong altogether, just backburners them a tad).
Is Lord Nyax a necessary plot line? Not to my mind. But it is certainly entertaining and memorable. We also get appearances from traitorous Viqi Shesh interwoven throughout, and an interesting climactic battle set next to a wellspring of Dark Side energy. The ending battle between Luke, Mara, Tahiri and Lord Nyax is suitably epic and cinematic.
While all this is going on, Wedge continues to lead the defense of Borleias. It's well-written and engaging, flowing so naturally from the prior volume that I don't have a whole lot to comment on. The use of the Super Star Destroyer Lusankya in the final battle was creative and it is delightful watching Wedge and Vong leader Czulkang Lah strive to best each other tactically. Very solidly written space warfare, once again echoing Mr. Allston's earlier X-wing novels.
All in all, the Enemy Lines duology is a fun ride in the dark New Jedi Order. We are given a break from our heroes being beaten down and see the groundwork laid for future victories. The Vong are given an appropriate amount of focus and Lord Nyax provides an unusually memorable and strange twist to the plot. This is one of the most consistent and strongest efforts in the New Jedi Order paperback releases (originally the "key" books were released in hardcover while the "filler" novels were paperback only).