New Jedi Order is a Star Wars Expanded Universe series set twenty-five years after Star Wars: Episode IV--A New Hope. The galaxy is at peace. The Rebellion has become the New Republic. The Empire is reduced to a shadow of its former self, its surviving leaders much more reasonable (still authoritarian but not outright dictatorial), and a treaty exists between the Empire and the Republic. Luke Skywalker's new Jedi Order is still small, but growing—about a hundred all told. He also got married four years ago to a wonderful woman, also a Jedi and who happens to have once wanted to kill him. Their courtship was adorable. Han Solo and Leia Organa have been hitched for seventeen years, and have three teenaged children, all prodigies and strong in the Force.Then the Yuuzhan Vong come, at first on a small scale in the form of weird biological ships, carrying warriors that scar and tattoo and mutilate themselves, attack a few nothing worlds on the edge of known space. They're turned back, but then more come, and more, enough to conquer a galaxy, it seems. Fearless and fanatical, they crusade against the infidels and their machines and all of them, seemingly, do not exist in the Force. In their numbers and philosophy and ferocity they promise to take a greater toll than the entire Galactic Civil War.They do.And then things get really bad.The New Jedi Order was the first novel series Del Rey Books produced once they acquired the license to produce Star Wars Expanded Universe novels from Lucasbooks after Bantam lost it. Originally intended to have twenty-five books, it ended up as a still-sprawling nineteen-book series over five years of both in-universe time and real time, composed mostly of hardcover one-shots and softcover miniseries, written by several authors. It was embroiled in controversy from the start, with the killing of a major movie character—one of the seven characters to appear in all three movies of the original trilogy and survive.*
It's Chewie, alright? Chewbacca dies. Are you happy?
It continued by killing a small host of minor, secondary, and non-movie major characters, including several fan-favorites, and ended up exploring the very meaning of the Force, and whether the Dark Side existed at all. (Short answer: Not really. Long answer: Yes, it does, but not as previously thought.) The published novels are in chronological order as follows (hardcovers with a indentation, softcovers with two, even though they aren't necessarily direct sequels).
Vector Prime (1999)
Dark Tide I: Onslaught (2000)
Dark Tide II: Ruin (2000)
Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (2000)
Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse (2000)
Balance Point (2000)
Edge Of Victory I: Conquest (2001)
Edge Of Victory II: Rebirth (2001)
Star By Star (2001)
Dark Journey (2002)
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream (2002)
Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand (2002)
Destiny's Way (2002)
Force Heretic I: Remnant (2003)
Force Heretic II: Refugee (2003)
Force Heretic III: Reunion (2003)
The Final Prophecy (2003)
The Unifying Force (2003)
The series also featured several short stories and e-book novellas set in the duration. These include:
"Recovery" (2001) - an e-book later reprinted in the paperback edition of Star By Star and set sometime after the events of Balance Point.
"Emissary of the Void" - a six-part story published in various issues of Star Wars Gamer and Star Wars Insider magazines, set after the events of Rebirth.
"The Apprentice" (2002) - a short story published in Star Wars Gamer #4 and set during the events of Dark Journey.
"Ylesia" (2002) - an e-book later reprinted in The Joiner King and set during the events of Destiny's Way.
Additional stories set during this era, but not published concurrently with the series include:
"Revenants" (2003) - a short comic published in Star Wars Tales #18. As with all Tales stories published in issues #1-20 it was considered Canon Discontinuity.
"Or Die Trying" (2004) - a short story published in Star Wars Insider #75 and set sometime after Refugee.
"Equals and Opposites" (2004) - a short comic story published in Star Wars Tales #21.
"A Practical Man" (2006) - an e-book later reprinted in the paperback edition of Sacrifice.
The series is considered polarizing. A lot of old school Expanded Universe fans hate it, while a lot of new Expanded Universe Fans love it. Aspects of the series that have drawn criticism include the role of extragalactic invaders who cannot be detected in the Force as antagonists instead of the old, dependable Imperial and Sith stand-bys and the perceived discrepancies in the characterization of pre-existing characters, the rather high death rate of pre-existing characters, and the noticeably uneven feel produced by so many writers working on one project. However, other fans enjoy the series for examining aspects of the Star Wars Universe, for providing fresh antagonists and a plot that wasn't simply a rehash of the movies or other EU works, and for its ambitious and epic scope, which is arguably unmatched in the entire franchise. Recently it has become rather more favorably regarded among fandom (though still polarizing) after the twonext big series were considered to be of far lower quality.
Provides Examples Of:
Aborted Arc: Several, unfortunately, as a side-effect of the multi-author format. The Great River, the droids' sentience/rights, the Insiders, and Tahiri's destiny were probably the most notable.
Actually, two series later Fate of the Jedi: Conviction, Han, Leia and their granddaughter masquerading as their adopted daughter travel to a planet where a small-scale droid rebellion is brewing over the use of restraining bolts.
Ikrit prophecies something great between Anakin and Tahiri. Given his death in Star by Star, this never comes.
Action Girl: Jaina is this throughout the series. Tenel Ka also qualifies as one of these, at least until after Dark Journey.
All Myths Are True: In-universe, Zonama Sekot. There are many legends about the wandering, living planet. Danni Quee says, "Every astronomer who's worked the Outer Rim knows about Zonama Sekot. They know it doesn't exist, for starters."
All There in the Manual: "The Apprentice" and "Ylesia" are akin to missing chapters belonging to Dark Journey and Destiny's Way respectively. It is much more jarring in the case of the former.
They also have similarities to the Tyranids and Zerg (extragalactic invaders with organic technology), the Dark Eldar (aliens with a religion centered on pain and death) and the Drow elves (highly organized and intelligent race of fanatical villains who are also prone to infighting).
Official artwork sometimes, particularly in the Invasion comic, depicts them with very Klingon-esque ridged foreheads (in the novels, Vong are described as having long, sloping foreheads but no ridges are mentioned). Both cultures happen to be Proud Warrior Races and significant enemies of their setting's primary protagonist faction. And like the Klingons, down the road they end up allies of the protagonists.
Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. The Vong are introduced as being this, but it is gradually revealed to be a function of their totalitarian government and toxic religion rather than something inborn. Later on, several Vong characters are given sympathetic character arcs- Harrar, Vua Rapuung, Nen Yim, and even Nom Anor to a degree.
Subverted with Nen Yim and Tahiri. They have very personal reasons to hate each other (Nen was part of the team that experiemented on a captive Tahiri; Tahiri killed Nen's mentor while escaping) but when they actually meet up again they're initially antagonistic but end of letting go of their hate for each other and end up in something of an Odd Friendship.
Arc Welding: Supposedly, a lot of Palpatine's actions were to prepare for the coming invasion.
It's more likely Palpatine was aware of the Vong, but did not take over the galaxy to save it from them, but rather because he always wanted to rule due to his own hunger for power. Palpatine's ascent was the culmination of a thousand-year Sith plot, before the discovery of the Vong. Conquering the galaxy was always the goal, the Yuuzhan Vong were simply a rival that had to be taken care of.
Battle in the Rain: Prior to being rescued by Luke and Jacen in Onslaught, Mara and Anakin do battle with a number of Yuuzhan Vong warriors who are chasing them in the rain. Additionally, while the text of Ruin did not set Corran Horn and Shedao Shai's duel during a thunderstorm, an illustration in The New Essential Chronology did so.
The tactics adopted by New Republic pilots to take down Yuuzhan Vong fighters is to fire a large number of lower-powered shots to exhaust the coralskipper's dovin basal, before switching to quad-fire mode (which involves firing all their guns at once) to punch through its heavy armor.
Upon reverting from hyperspace in the middle of an enemy fleet in Rebel Dream, the Lusankya does this immediately and in all directions (seemingly at normal power, too). Its ability to do this as a matter of course proves quite useful for the requirements of Operation Emperor's Hammer later in that book, too.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Mara Jade, despite suffering from a wasting disease, is nonetheless always described as having "timeless beauty".
Although by Rebirth her health and appearance have degenerated at an alarming rate (she's described as "sickly" about midway through), and Mara points that out herself.
Becoming the Mask: all along, Ganner Rhysode is only a conflicted Glory Hound, trying to fight his own "glory sickness" and fearful of not living up to what he is supposed to be—a hero. It is not until the events of Traitor that he finally learns his lesson, with Jacen's help, and makes his choice: he accepts his role as a sidekick, buying time for what Jacen has to do. His None Shall PassDying Moment of Awesome is the direct result, earning his title of hero among the Yuuzhan Vong.
Big Bad: Supreme Overlord Shimmra is not this, but merely a puppet of his jester Onimi, the true Big Bad.
Big Damn Heroes: Kre’fey swooping in to save the fighters and refugees on Dantooine.
In The Unifying Force, Caluula Station is defended by Boba Fett and the Mandalorians. Han was speechless.
Bittersweet Ending: The Vong are defeated, and the Galaxy is FINALLY at peace, but the damage the vong caused is not going to heal, and the future of everyone is so uncertain
Black Cloak: Nom Anor wears one of these in Vector Prime with the intent of reminding Leia of Darth Vader.
Yuuzhan Vong warriors. Some priests have interpreted that their millennia long voyage through the intergalactic void was because the gods banished them for enjoying it too much. They're right.
In Destiny's Way, Admiral Kre'Fey requests more Jedi Knights to boost his forces. It is made almost explicit that Luke and the Council agree partly because the presence of Jedi around will keep Kre'Fey from straying into Blood Knight territory.
Blue and Orange Morality: What makes the Vong so scary- they do horrible things, but they do them with the unshakable belief that it's all not only morally justified, but morally required. At least until later in the series, when they start to realize that there are other ideas out there that might have merit...
Body Horror: A number of examples are present, such as the coral seed implants used to enslave and modify the physiology of non-Yuuzhan Vong. In the case of the Yuuzhan Vong themselves, implants are marks of honor. Failed implants are dishonorable and tend to rot while still attached. Other bad things can happen, as in the case of Tsavong Lah's sabotaged radank arm implant, which threatened to transform him into a radank.
Bond Creatures: Yuuzhan Vong ships, their amphistaffs, Jacen and the World-Brain
Brainwashed and Crazy: The Yuuzhan Vong's slaves, especially the Chazrach but some captive humans as well. A more subtle version of this was what the shapers had in mind for Tahiri, but that future was averted by Anakin- most likely. Pity they dropped that arc, even during Legacy of the Force when it could have very strongly been tied in...
Bus Crash: The last survivors of the Firrerreo species from The Crystal Star are mentioned to have had the planet that adopted them attacked by the Vong off-screen, and the species is now functionally extinct.
The Caligula: Supreme Overlord Shimrra. Some of this is probably a side-effect of Onimi's mind control, but a lot of it is implied to be his real personality.
Brick Joke: This was attempted in the Enemy Lines duology but due some text being dropped from Rebel Stand, the punchline did not materialize. It had to do with Face claiming he had met Luke prior to meeting him on Borleias. The missing text revealed that Face had never met Luke before then. It also made reference to a joke that started in the X-Wing Series (something about the Jedi technique for scratching that inaccessible spot in the middle of the back while one's stuck in a starfighter cockpit).
Cold-Blooded Torture: Most Vong are seriously into torture, though it's a bit hard to call it "cold-blooded" when they see it as an act of religious devotion (not that this makes it any less Squicky). Then there's Duman Yaght, the commander of the prisoner transport from Star By Star, who goes out of his way to make his captives suffer just because he's a titanic Jerkass.
Colony Drop: In the very first book, the Yuuzhan Vong drop Sernpidal's moon onto the planet itself, killing thousands in the process (including Chewbacca during the half-successful evacuation attempt). This is actually a military tactic called Yo'gand's Core, named after the first Supreme Overlord of the Yuuzhan Vong. It gets used again at least once during the war (against the planet Kalarba), and Shedao Shai at one point threatens to use it on Ithor. During and after the fall of Coruscant, the Vong bombard the planet with its own orbital defense stations.
During their assault on Borleis the Yuuzhan Vong use a dovin basal to sweep the planet's orbital defense platforms out of the sky and plunge them into the planet's atmosphere.
Combat by Champion: The fate of planet Ithor is decided by a single battle between Corran Horn and Shedao Shai, the Big Bad of the Dark Tide arc. And then ignored by his subordinate, who torches the place even after he's lost.
Combat Pragmatist: The YVH droids. When the demo unit discovers that its lasers, normally capable of being dialed up to take out a starfighter in one shot, are powered down for the demo, it simply strangles the Yuuzhan Vong infiltrators watching its demonstration.
The last book has a ship infected by a Vong-destroying plague head towards Zonama Sekot. This is bad. Wedge Antilles jumps into an X-Wing and takes off after it, comparing the two to Luke Skywalker and the Death Star. He needs to pick a call sign. He picks "Vader". Unfortunately he never even gets close and his part in that sequence of events is entirely superfluous.
Covers Always Lie: There were no Trade Federation vessels in Ruin; Jedi Eclipse did not feature Han Solo and a Yuuzhan Vong warrior in the buddy novel of the year; Wedge didn't fly an X-wing in Rebel Dream; X-wings were not present in Traitor and nothing resembling the cover of Remnant happened in Remnant.
Also, the main characters' appearances change a lot between covers. Shimrra's portrayal in particular looks nothing alike on the covers of Destiny's Way and The Unifying Force, except for his trademark multicolored eyes. Really, those eyes are the only real way to tell it's him.
Also, elements of the Yuuzhan Vong culture including the number of their gods and just how repulsive they find technology - most books have them go Ax Crazy at the mere sight of it, while the James Luceno ones have Harrar mildly apologising for showing Nas Choka a hologram on a captured enemy projector.
He did mention he didn't have much choice until they could convert the data. One infers that in the case of Obroa-skai, a library world, intelligence gathering concerns overrode religious ones.
Disastrous Demonstration: Subverted when Lando demos the YVH droids. He ends the demonstration and the droid promptly opens fire on the crowd. Specifically on the ooglith masquer-wearing Yuuzhan Vong infiltrators watching the event.
Disney Death: At the climax of Onslaught Corran Horn is considerably injured and poisoned by one of his Yuuzhan Vong opponents. Resigned to his fate, he experiences a floating sensation and concludes that this must be what it must feels like to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Later, Corran is revealed to be alive, and that floating sensation is revealed to have been his companion using telekinesis to lift Corran out of his sticky situation. It should probably noted that Michael Stackpole appeared to love doing this sort of thing to Corran in his X-Wing Series books.
Does Not Like Shoes: Tahiri Veila used to provide the page quote for that trope. It is explained as liking the cool floors after feeling only hot sands she previously lived with.
The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Yuuzhan Vong's leader is Shimrra, the Supreme Overlord, a god king who truly looks the part. At the liberation of Coruscant, it's revealed that he's been controlled through the Force by his jester Onimi a being so far beneath him, he was considered little more than a pet.
Drives Like Crazy: Wonetun of the Wild Knights Squadron tends to fly his Skipray blastboat with the same sort of abandon usually reserved for starfighters whilst keeping the inertial compensator dialed down low enough that hapless crewmembers struggle between avoiding either falling unconscious or throwing up.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Luke's saved the galaxy how many times and he's still not trusted by some people in the middle of a war where he and the Jedi have the few resounding victories against the invaders.
There's smaller details as well, particularly in Vector Prime- Nom Anor is initially presented as being very highly ranked (when later books establish him as middle-ranked but with a knowledge of "infidels" that makes him disproportionately useful to the Vong cause), Prefect is presented as being in the same chain of command as the warriors (later books have prefects as high officials of the intendents, an entirely different caste that serves as the bureaucracy), and shapers are called "alchemists" (probably a throwback to when the Vong were supposed to be Sith; Sith Alchemy has existed as part of the EU for years).
Alternately, one could argue that Unifying Force originally worked fine as this, but Legacy of the Force makes it impossible to really appreciate it. Of course, there's a solution for that...
Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Way the hell averted. It's not until the Galactic Alliance readopts the asymmetric warfare strategies that helped the Rebels beat the Empire and combines them with such Imperial tactics as Orbital Bombardment that they start to gain the upper hand.
Eldritch Abomination: Several different species of Vonglife, most notably yammosks and their cousins, dhuryams. Picture a giant octopus with hundreds of tentacles, a keen but utterly alien intelligence, and tremendous telepathic powers, and you have some idea of how freaky these things are. They're generally not as outright evil as their masters, but their alien-ness can be every bit as dangerous. Many of the Vong gods also have this feel to them.
Elite Mooks: An ordinary Vong warrior is a match for a Jedi.
MORE than a match. According to Vergere, one of the major faults of the New Jedi Order fighting the Yuuzhan Vong is that the New Jedi are far too reliant upon the Force. Their Force doesn't work on the Yuuzhan Vong, cueing Oh Crap moments when first encountered. Subverted somewhat when the Dark Jedi encountered in Star By Star discover that Force lightning works fine.
Whether they're actually a match varies depending on the specific warrior and Jedi in question, but it always takes effort to take a Vong down. Their coralskppers are also a lot more durable than TIE Fighters.
A large part of Yuuzhan Vong warrior effectiveness against Jedi is that they use a melee weapon capable of blocking lightsabers. They have few long-ranged personal weapons (a few types of beetles that act like grenades, and amphistaffs can be thrown like spears), and the warriors are often shown not to wear helmets, making them vulnerable to headshots.
For a heroic example, we have the Yuuzhan Vong Hunter droids. Self-healing metal hull, laser cannon equally capable of killing humanoids and downing starfighters, and with a sensor package capable of detecting Yuuzhan Vong disguised with ooglith and gablith masquers. They're too expensive for regular use, but lethally effective nonetheless (they end up being integrated into the Alliance army as heavy infantry and shock troops). The Dark Nest Trilogy has them get repurposed to fight the Killiks after modifying the aforementioned sensor package.
Even Evil Has Standards: Tsavong Lah is disgusted when he hears about the familial dysfunctions the Solos go through while Han is grieving for Chewie. Justified because the Vong considered loyalty to one's family (err, domain) to be of paramount importance.
Everything's Better with Rainbows: Subverted after the Yuuzhan Vong remake Coruscant in the image of their lost homeworld Yuuzhan'tar, Jacen (stranded there) sees the beautiful rainbow-hued planetary ring dominating the sky and realises how it inspired the Vong's brutal mindset by appearing to be a bridge to the gods.
Also, Shimrra has rainbow-hued eyes.
Eviler than Thou: The Yuuzhan Vong share a lot of similarities with the Yevetha, genocidal xenophobia and love of pain and bloody deaths among them. About halfway through the war, in exchange for having a group of planets that feared a Duskhan League resurgence surrendering without a fight, the Vong dispatch a battle group to N'zoth and glass it, wiping out the whole species.
Evil Overlord: the Vong's god-king is actually called the Supreme Overlord, though he's pretty much a mindless shell Onimi's using
Expy - Organic technology, comes from outside the galaxy in numbers that rival the stars, strips worlds bare; A Yuuzhan Vong invasion is but a Tyranid Attack in all but name. Perhaps the best way to put it, Vonglife is Tyranids with Dark Eldar as the commanding master race.
Also, Onimi was basically the Star Wars incarnation of Kefka Palazzo from Final Fantasy VI.
Or, for that matter, The Mule from Asimov's Foundation.
The Ryn are pretty much just Space Roma.
Eye Scream: Vua Rapuung's method of taking out an opponent involves gouging out his eyes with his fingers and then lifting and throwing him aside by his eye sockets.
Fantastic Slur: The Vong call all other species "infidels". The inhabitants of the galaxy develop a number for the Vong, notably "scarheads", but the worst is actually the word "Vong" by itself- since the Yuuzhan Vong are named after their premier god, Yun-Yuuzhan, they get really touchy when his name is removed from theirs. Doesn't stop the fandom from using it for convenience's sake, though (although some of the bigger Vong-fans use the abbreviation YV instead).
Full Name Basis: The Vong always go by their full names, which are compose of their personal name followed by their domain (extended family) name. So for example, Tsavong Lah is Tsavong of Domain Lah, and omitting the "Lah" would be incredibly insulting, implying he has no standing in his family (though members of the same domain seem to be allowed some leeway here). Notable exceptions include Priests (who rarely use their domain names) the Supreme Overlord (who has transcended his domain) and the Shamed Ones (whose domains don't want them).
Genre Blind / Poor Communication Kills: After all this time, the characters should have learned that the more you ignore C-3PO's frantic warnings, the higher the chances that said warnings are vital... and yet, they keep doing it again, and again, and again...
A God Am I: Invoked by both Jacen and Jaina at various times to mess with or deceive the Vong. Played straight with a twist by Onimi- he believes that the twins (and several other Jedi) are gods, but that if he kills them he can become a god himself.
Groin Attack: Both of Aaron Allston's books have one somewhere. Vong warriors wear skirt-plates, but don't seem to have anything under them. Lando just shoots one and lets his terminator dispatch it while it's screaming in more pain than even a Vong can handle, and Mara...
[...] in the middle of a quite elegant snap-kick against Mara, was receiving her lightsaber thrust up and under his skirt plates.
Guilt Free Extermination War: The Bothan cultural practice of ar'krai, introduced in this series and which enlists every able-bodied Bothan to not only defeat their foes, but exterminate them altogether and grind their homeworld to dust. It's only been declared three times in their entire recorded history. After the fall of Coruscant and Borsk Fey'lya's Heroic Sacrifice, the Bothans declare ar'krai on the Vong, and the Dark Nest Trilogy mentions that there are still extremists trying to carry it out.
Half-Human Hybrid: As a result of a Shaper's experiment, Tahiri ends up half human, half Yuuzhan Vong. Her coming to terms with this is a huge part of her character development- pity Legacy of the Force wound up ignoring it apart from a few snide comments.
Happily Married: Briefly averted by Han and Leia in the early part of the series following Chewie's death, but soon rectified; played straight with Luke and Mara.
The Heavy: Though not the Big Bad, Nom Anor gets by far the most face-time and development of the major villains. For a stretch in the middle of the series he shares the spot with Warmaster Tsavong Lah.
Heel Face Turn: Most of the Vong in the end, most notably Nen Yim, Harrar, and Nas Choka. Subverted with Nom Anor, who sides with the heroes in the final battle but does so for his own selfish reasons. And then tries to kill them after the conclusion of said battle.
Hero Killer: The Yuuzhan Vong in general and literally, in Chewie and Anakin's cases.
The voxyn, bio-engineered servants of the Vong, are Jedi killers.
Heroic BSOD: Many, most memorably Jaina when her brother dies.
Han spent most of the first part of the series (up until the Agents of Chaos mini-series, at least) going through one over the death of Chewie. Among other things, he grows a Beard of Sorrow and for a short time becomes estranged from his family (the narration implies that he briefly became abusive towards Leia and left for her sake).
Heroic RROD: Anakin Solo dies of this in Star By Star, leading to the above.
Heroic Sacrifice: Practically every good character who dies and is important, and quite a few who aren't, probably a few villain characters, too.
Improbable Piloting Skills: Blackmoon Eleven: The Greatest Pilot Of All Time. Did he just shoot down an entire squadron's worth of coralskippers? All by himself? Yes. Yes, he did. Possibly helped by the fact that he's better known as Wedge Antilles
Incendiary Exponent: Han Solo, speaking of the Vong's yorik volcano cannons in the New Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology:
"During the civil war, the Imperials just chased us into asteroid fields. Now the enemy shoots the asteroids at us. And they're on fire."
Info Dump: In the last chapter of the final book, particularly, you can tell the author figured that he didn't need to have graceful prose; a lot of it is just lists of charaters in attendance at the scene.
Knight Templar: Most of the Vong are like this, viewing the inhabitants of the galaxy as corrupt infidels who need to be converted or exterminated, and some on the New Republic side become like this against the Vong. Lampshaded by Nom Anor in Traitor- "The problem with fanatics was that they had a tendency to take everything ten steps too far."
Loads and Loads of Characters: It's a nineteen-book epic space fantasy series linked into dozens of other novels from the same universe; that's longer in at least one way than the freaking Wheel of Time, so imagine how many characters there are.
Love Epiphany: Tenal Ka finally realizes she loves Jacen after he's captured by the Vong, and she mistakenly believes he's been killed.
Mile-Long Ship: The series adds several more to the franchise's collection. These include the New Republic Viscount-class Star Defender battleship originally designed as a counter to the likes of the Executor-class star dreadnought; the Yuuzhan Vong koros-stronhatranslation "worldship", primarily generation ships but fully capable of defending themselves; and the Yuuzhan Vong kor chokktranslation "grand cruiser", warships such as Shedao Shai's Legacy of Torment that serve much the same command-and-control and heavy battleship role as super star destroyers.
Moral Dissonance: The first half of the series has the Jedi making sure that no one uses superweapons to kill the Yuuzhan Vong...you know, the superweapons which just might be the galaxy's one chance of stopping a genocidal species from twisting the galaxy into their own image; apparently using leftover Imperial projects and Centerpoint Station is evil...killing scores of Yuuzhan Vong with lightsabers and turbolasers? Not so much. However, a better argument against the use of superweapons would be Han's speech in Destiny's Way, pointing out that superweapons have always been colossal and ineffective wastes of resources.
Nom Anor, of all people, has one after he sics a bunch of warriors on a gathering of Shamed Ones (Shamed Ones who were following his teachings, no less) and saw them get slaughtered. It didn't really lead to a full-on Heel Face Turn, but it did show he was starting to develop standards.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: A couple of Vong examples, most notably Nom Anor (who is utterly evil in a way completely different from his fellows- they're fanatical Knight Templars and he's a manipulative power-grabber) and Nen Yim (who is too coldly logical to go along with the more... crazy beliefs of her people, though she only starts openly going against the grain near the end)
Never Found the Body: Nom Anor, leading to many fans speculating that he actually survived. So far, canon has neither confirmed nor denied this, but it's been so long since The Unifying Force in-universe that it's becoming increasingly unlikely.
Given how many (dozens/hundreds) of Jedi survived the Great Jedi Purge only to pop up decades later, perhaps fans shouldn't write him off entirely.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Under normal circumstances, the arrival of the Lusankya and its subsequent pasting of the Yuuzhan Vong task force in at Borleias near the beginning of Rebel Dream would have been a Gunship Rescue moment. However, prior to its arrival, the New Republic forces at Borleias were counting on stringing along a merely average Yuuzhan Vong commander and fleet in order to fulfill their goals. When the Lusankya killed the commander and wiped out his forces, the Sorting Algorithm of Evil dictated that the Yuuzhan Vong send a more wily commander with a stronger task force.
A particularly cruel variant appears in Agents of Chaos II: Jedi Eclipse. The heroes are considering using Centerpoint Station to attack the Yuuzhan Vong fleet, but Anakin is torn over whether or not such participating in such a brutal attack would go against his Jedi training. Meanwhile, his evil cousin Thrackan Sal-Solo is all for using the station, and tries to push Anakin into pulling the trigger. In the end, Anakin steadfastly refuses, so Thrackan jumps in and fires the station himself—proceeding to wipe out most of the fleet that the Hapans had sent to aid the Republic. Even worse, Anakin realizes that if he had pulled the trigger, he probably could have successfully wiped out the Vong without hitting the Hapans, since his control over the station is much better than Thrackan's.
No OSHA Compliance: Just when the Empire starts caring about workers' rights, along come some aliens who think that torture is a good thing.
Not So Different: Brought up metaphorically by both sides, but also seen literally in their military technologies. Take the YVH droid and the voxyn, for instance - both are carefully engineered for their targets, both are horribly beweaponed and Made of Iron, both can sense the difference between their prey and regular humans. Later on, there are the Slayers, who consciously attempt to mimic the Jedi. In neither case does this end well for the Vong, though, since their culture and technology prevent them from mass-producing their elites.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Onimi is Shimrra's court jester and personal slave- he's obnoxious, has a cruel sense of humor, and is something of a pervert but is largely harmless except when acting on Shimrra's direct orders. Except that he's actually the Big Bad, a ridiculously powerful Force-user, and an Omnicidal Maniac- Shimrra was never anything more than his tool.
Obstructive Bureaucracy: Responsible for problems with refugees, governmental mingling of head with sand, and the page quote.
It may have been the reason the series wasn't half as long.
Oh Crap: Everyone but the Bothans have this reaction upon learning that Alpha Red was deployed on Caluula, and an infected Yuuzhan Vong ship is heading to Coruscant. The Bothans start to act a little more nervous when they finally accept that the virus mutated and is able to attack other lifeforms.
Omnicidal Maniac: Onimi, who explicitly tells Jaina during his Motive Rant that he's going to kill everyone and everything in the galaxy. As he believed this would let him become a god, though, it's possible he intended to create a new universe to worship him afterwords, but as he never gets that far we don't know for sure. He's nuts either way.)
The Yuuzhan Vong use the conventional ships-firing-on-planets form a few times, but they're also inordinately fond of the Colony Drop.
Operation Emperor's Hammer in Rebel Dream, also known as Operation "Infantry Can't Do Shit About a Super Star Destroyer".
Operator Incompatibility/Phlebotinum Handling Requirements: The New Essential Guide To Vehicles and Vessels mentions that the Skywalkers modified the bridge airlock on the Jade Shadow so that it could only be activated from outside if one used the Force to operate the internal mechanisms.
The Power of Friendship: Jacen's befriending and mind-bond with the World Brain not only saves his life and that of the Brain, but also sets in motion the events that topple the Vong from their rule.
Privateer: Han and Talon Karrde go on a series of raids against Vong-allied shipping transporting supplies and captives. He mentions to one aggrieved captain that since he's only targeting the Vong, he's a privateer, not a pirate. (Technically he's not, since nobody in the New Republic authorized it.)
The Reptilians: Both the Chazrach and Barabels are examples. The Chazrach were enslaved by the Yuuzhan Vong and serve as cannon fodder, so their role, when present is primarily antagonistic. The Barabel Jedi, such as Saba and Tesar Sebatyne, fight alongside the heroes in a brutal manner and tend to confuse them with what is viewed as a rather offbeat sense of humor, indulge in Sssssnaketalk and refer to themselves in the third person.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Yuuzhan Vong's Chazrach slave army will lapse into a killing frenzy when their connection with their masters' influence over them is disrupted. Bossk's cameo in Hero's Trial also follows this trope. Subverted with the Barabel Jedi in later installments — young Ben Skywalker even seems to take a shine to Saba Sebatyne in Remnant.
Retcon: A few early inconsistencies were explained away in later books. Stackpole's Vong being even more masochistic than the other writers' Vong was described as being a particular characteristic of Domain Shai.
The Reveal: Several, but the most prominents occur in The Unifying Force, where we learn that Shimmra was merely a puppet of Onimi, who had regained a link to the Force by grafting yammosk tissue to his brain, and that Zonama Sekot was the seed of Yuuzhan'tar, the Yuuzhan Vong's original homeworld which they destroyed after it stripped them of their connection to the Force for going genocidal on their home galaxy.
Rousing Speech: Leia gives one of these during the fall of Coruscant. Many of those in the New Republic are moved by her words, but it fails in its goal to prevent senators from using badly-needed military vessels to flee the battle.
Scars Are Forever: In Ruin, Ganner consciously chooses to heal an injury to his face in such a manner that it will leave a scar, as an admonition to himself concerning the arrogance that led him to be injured in the first place. In Rebirth, Tahiri says that she refuses to allow the scars on her forehead to be removed because she "earned" them from injuries inflicted on her in Conquest.
Both of which are rather disturbing when you realize that the Vong believe the exact same thing. In the case of Tahiri in particular, it was a very deliberate sign that the Shapers' attempts to turn her into a Yuuzhan Vong (her scars are Vong clan markings) was at least partially successful, something further books would build on in greater detail.
Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Yuuzhan Vong seem to be a combination of the Nazi and religious forms of this trope. Their culture has a rigid caste system, each of which has a patron god, allows only the use of biotechnology and they harbor an extreme revulsion towards "built things." Rites of passage involve the sacrifice of body parts, the grafting of new body parts, tattooing and mutilation which leaves scars that they view as attractive. They also exhibit a more or less religious devotion to pain, and enslave or kill anyone who does not adhere to their beliefs.
Honestly, the Vong seem much closer to the Imperial Japanese than the Nazis, with their emphasis on fighting to the death, willingness to die for their cause over anything (averted only by Nom Anor), Emperor-worship, semi-caste system (with warriors who seem a lot like samurai), and polytheistic belief system that places their Supreme Overlord as the conduit from the Gods to the Vong.
They can also be seen as very Aztec, what with the religious emphasis on pain and sacrifice as driving forces of the universe, the exaltation of the warrior class, and the general imperialistic nastiness. Really, if you took all the worst aspects of hellish Real Life cultures and put them in a blender, you'd probably get something not unlike the Vong.
In Vector Prime, Sernpidal apparently orbits its star at the same distance our moon orbits Earth. While this could potentially work were Sernpidal's star a White Dwarf it is also the third (or fifth; there are conflicting accounts) planet of that star system.
The estimated death toll for the war of 365 trillion lives was accused of this, but it's probably an aversion: the galaxy is populated heavily enough to have over 20 million sapient species, many planets were completely depopulated, and it's the first war in the canon where the entire GFFA is fighting. It's also mentioned that 365 trillion was the agreed-upon figure, a ballpark estimate by a grieving galaxy rather than the actual number.
Star by Star has the Vong take a fleet of refugee ships containing millions hostage, as opposed to the billions you'd expect. The likely explanation is in how many people didn't survive long enough to become refugees.
Shocking Defeat Legacy: The Fall of Coruscant. The Yuuzhan Vong inflict a lethal blow to the New Republic and, for the first time in several thousand years, the lights of The City That Never Sleeps are going out.
"We were hoping to get a Yuuzhan Vong commander of average skills, with an average fleet, and I suspect that we did. We were going to string him along for as much time as we could, but circumstances today dictated that we wipe him out right away. The next one they send is going to be much tougher, and that's going to make things more difficult for all of us."
Starter Villain: Prefect Da'Gara, the Vong leader from Vector Prime, seemed to exist for the express purpose of giving the Jedi a taste of what to expect from the galaxy's new bad guys and then to be killed off without seriously damaging his superiors' plans.
They are the advance fleet for the main Vong force...
Stepping Stones in the Sky: The final battle of Luke, Mara, and Tahiri vs. Lord Nyax had this, though they had both the Force and the fact that the "stepping stones" were building size making things easier.
Take a Third Option: Vergere tells Jacen that he, as the one with the power, is the gardener; he must decide if the ones around him are flowers or weeds. The first time we hear this, it is in the context of Jacen trying to treat the wounds of the other slaves on the seedship, and with no way to save them all; naturally he interprets this as his responsibility to choose who lives and dies. But as time goes by he realizes Vergere's true meaning: all the slaves are worth saving. The warriors who kill them? The dhuryam who use them as tools? They're the weeds, and boy howdy do they have lessons to learn.
Take That: Destiny's Way launched a scathing but funny Take That at the Bantam era's overuse of superweapons.
Teen Genius: Nen Yim is somewhere in her late teens/early twenties (or at least the Vong equivalent) and as far and away the most brilliant Shaper in the whole series. Of course, a lot of that comes from her being one of the few willing to practice a certain heresy that we "infidels" like to call the scientific method.
To Hell and Back: symbolic example. Jacen is told early on in his captivity by Vergere that he is dead; that story arc, Traitor, focuses on his maturation as an adult as he journeys through the hell of the Yuuzhan Vong worlds—and his eventual ascent and rebirth.
Unusable Enemy Equipment: Justified, in that despite its usefulness (who wouldn't want a weapon that could coil up out of the way, spit poison, be used as a whip, cut up metal, and block a lightsaber blade?) using Yuuzhan Vong equipment generally results in a lot of pain even (or especially) if you do it right.
And that's not even counting things like the Vonduun Crab Armor, which will usually try to kill anyone but a Vong who wears it.
In the chronologically later Star Wars: Legacy, several characters, most notably Jariah Syn, do use Vongtech regularly, and it is pretty useful, especially against Jedi or Sith, though by that point the Vong were much friendlier and more willing to share their secrets- Jariah had a Vong warrior as a mentor who taught him a lot.
Values Dissonance: In-universe example. The Vong see themselves as noble heroes purging a terrible taint from the galaxy, but their culture is so plain whacked that it's difficult for either the audience or other characters to have any sympathy for them whatsoever. This has the added bonus of making negotiating with them nearly impossible.
The Virus: Alpha Red, a virus developed by New Republic Intelligence and the Chiss to destroy the Yuuzhan Vong and their biots at a cellular level. Every character the audience is supposed to sympathize with is against it, and those who insist on using it are portrayed as monstrous. Turns out the protagonists were right, as the Chiss failed to make it perfect and it started attacking other lifeforms.
War Is Hell: Probably one of the most brutal examples in Star Wars.
Wasn't That Fun?: Tahiri's reaction after a hair raising insertion (only for the adults, naturally) into a fallen Coruscant.
We Have Reserves: Yuuzhan Vong combat doctrine teaches warriors to sacrifice their lives and their subordinates is the highest honor. Tsavong Lah follows this trope until they eventually run out of reserves.
We Will Not Use Stage Make-Up in the Future: Played straight in the Vong's ooglith masquers. Also averted: in addition to the captured masquers and actual vonduun armor, the Coruscant insertion team used liberal amounts of makeup and synthetic armor.
Wham Episode: Several, many of which involve major character deaths. Notable ones are the death of Chewbacca in Vector Prime, and the fall of Coruscant and the death of Anakin in Star by Star.
Onimi: Shimrra was Shimrra. I am I. Jacen: The Supreme Overlord.
What the Hell, Hero?: A number of characters criticize Jaina for her use of Force lightning after her brother's death, spending too much time with Ta'a Chume, providing a test subject for a Mad Scientist, abusing a life debt and sending pilots on suicide runs, to name a few in Dark Journey.
The Worf Effect: There are times when it seems Jaina Solo's only reason for existing is to highlight how much more awesome the rest of her extended family is.
Early in the series, Leia's Noghri bodyguard, Bolphur, takes out a Yuuzhan Vong warrior, but is clawed to death in return. Leia's reaction: "If the Yuuzhan Vong are powerful enough to take out Noghri with their bare hands ..."
In Star by Star, Viqi Shesh, a stuck-up Kuati noble with no known battle training gets attacked by Adarakh, another of Leia's Noghri bodyguards. Despite getting the drop on Viqi and having several seconds to tear into her, Adarakh still ends up with a vibroblade in his chest, while Viqi survives for another three books.
Worthy Opponent: Shedao Shai to Corran Horn. In spite of being perhaps the most sadistic Vong in the series (and by far the most fond of torture, to the point of repeatedly forcing his subordinates to enter the nightmarish Embrace of Pain) and crossing the Moral Event Horizon in a big way by repeatedly torturing, then strangling to death a Camaasi guest (whom he personally admired), just to send a message to Horn, he still qualifies; His actions are 100% consistent with his honor code, he openly admires the enemy when they live up to his high standards, sticks to his ethics even when they put him at a disadvantage, and in spite of being even more fanatical than usual for his species is both affable and a pretty good strategist.
Wronski Feint: Wedge Antilles pulls one of these off in Rebel Stand. Pursued by a coralskipper during the evacuation of Borleias while protecting a New Republic freighter from a rakamat (essentially the Yuuzhan Vong equivalent of an AT-AT), he flies his X-wing through the rakamat's legs and the enemy pilot impales the rakamat with his craft.
Yo Yo Plot Point: The position of Kyp Durron's overzealous faction of younger Jedi zigzags back and forth. They seem to have learned their lesson to respect Luke's authority and not be jerks as early as Ruin, but Aesop Amnesia and different writers complicate this.
The Yuuzhan Vong strongly favor these tactics, which gradually bites them in the ass as the war goes on and they can no longer adequately defend their territory; following the Battle of Coruscant Shimrra furiously berates Tsavong Lah for having "earned your victories by sending your troops over a rampart of our own dead!" and the Galactic Alliance estimates that nearly a third of the warrior caste has been destroyed by that part.
Played with in that while "charging full-tilt at the enemy with amphistaffs raised" may be the Vong's favorite tactic, but that doesn't mean it's all their capable of doing. They're actually quite canny if the situation warrants it.