Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Book Review: Jedi Quest Series Books 1-5

Jedi Quest Books 1-5 by Jude Watson

Rating: PG (action violence and dangerous situations)

Recommended for: Star Wars fans ages 8 to Adult

Chosen by fate...tempted by evil...these are the early adventures of Anakin Skywalker, written by the best-selling author of JEDI APPRENTICE

Set between Episode I and Episode II, JEDI QUEST traces the emergence and education of Anakin Skywalker as a young Jedi devoted to the Force -- and tempted by its dark side.

The Way of the Apprentice

Technically a reread, but when I first read it about six years ago, I only read half the series. It's surprisingly well written. It's Star Wars, so theologically it's not fantastic, but there are still good morals. And Obi-Wan. And Jude Watson makes me like Anakin more than George Lucas ever did. And I like Darra. Well developed characters all round. 

The Trail of the Jedi

Another reread. I'm not sure about all of Obi-Wan's lessons in this book, there seemed to be more emphasis on anti-absolute. While it's true that statements like "I would never do that" are rarely correct, it's easy to extrapolate it to mean that there are no absolutes. And that is what Anakin's thought process tends towards when he considers Obi-Wan's suspension of judgement, with which he disagrees. However, it is consistent with the movies. I did really appreciate the lesson Obi-Wan learned from the training mission: "I am not Qui-Gon and you are not me." We learn from our teachers and mentors absolutely. We learn how to teach from them. But we have to understand that everyone is different. What works for one Master-Padawan team doesn't necessarily work for another. Things must be adapted to fit each different personality, learning style, weaknesses and strengths, circumstances... Stemming from A Wrinkle in Time, this is a concept that is very important to me, and I liked seeing it here.

Also, spending time with Obi-Wan Kenobi is always fantastic. My favorite Jedi.

P.S. Astri, why did you marry that guy? It's not going to end well. I know. I've read Last of the Jedi. I mean, things are going to be semi-okay in the end, but that was a bad decision.

The Dangerous Games
The Star Wars version of the Olympics, podracing, illegal gambling, corrupt politicians, quite an interesting book. I'd forgotten Didi, Astri, and Bog were in this one. I don't know how, they're rather central to the plot. I guess I just focused more on their part in Last of the Jedi. As always, I don't agree with everything in Star Wars, but there was a lot of good in the things Anakin learned in not letting past grievances cloud his judgement. He didn't exactly make the right decisions, but the point is to learn from mistakes. I have to mention how I love Obi-Wan's total ignorance about famous athlete Maxo Vista. That would totally be me. And I'm finding that I agree with Ferus's skepticism towards Anakin. Of course, I know what happens to him later...

The Master of Disguise
Oh, Anakin. Anakin is faced with a desire to protect his friends and the belief that he is more qualified to defend them than they are to defend themselves. Trouble is, this isn't always true, and acting on this instinct causes some problems. Anakin's ego is under attack in this book, and Soara Antana is the one to do it. And she sees his problems with anger. She shows him his flaws, and he understands with his head, but he knows how much harder it is to put into practice. Unfortunately, I know he never really does. This book isn't so much of a self-contained plot as the previous books in the series. It furthers Anakin's journey (which isn't exactly a good thing) and really sets off things regarding Granta Omega. Omega by his nature causes lessons about discernment to enter the book. Wolves in sheep's clothing are hard to spot and even more dangerous for that.

There's a little more about the Force here, which isn't always completely compatible with Christianity, but you expect that out of Star Wars. And honestly, Jude Watson's books do less in the way of Force lessons than the movies. But it's still there.

And Darra. She's my favorite Expanded Universe character. I love her sense of humor. She's in this book, though not enough, IMO. I'm glad to see her again, though. I finally understand some of the references in The Final Showdown.

The School of Fear
I read this before restarting the series from the beginning and without having read book 4, so it didn't make as much sense as it should have, but I still enjoyed it.

Anakin and Ferus go undercover at a prestigious school to investigate the disappearance of a senator's son. Anakin is faced with all his usual problems: ego, pride, lack of communication with his fellow Jedi, lack of discernment, tendency to want to help the wrong people, and of course his enmity with Ferus. Obi-Wan is still trying to figure out Granta Omega and Sano Sauro. I can't remember much of the themes in this book, reading out of order will do that, but you do continue to see Anakin slipping. He has so much potential for good, why must he throw it away? Well, because they'd already made the Original Trilogy, I guess.

Reviews of books 6-10 coming soon.

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