Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review: Jedi Quest Series Books 6-10

Jedi Quest Books 6-10 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 Shadow Trap

I can see things hurtling towards Attack of the Clones. Anakin's decisions in The School of Fear have caused his and Obi-Wan's relationship to be strained. Anakin feels that he has lost Obi-Wan's trust. And perhaps he has. There's a good bit about facing temptations in this book. About staying strong in the face of them. And about doing your duty even when you want to do something else. Then there's ifs. It can be hard not to feel responsible for things sometimes, as Anakin learns. If I hadn't done this, then this horrible thing would not have happened. But ifs can't be changed. What happened happened. All we can do is focus on the future, not dwell on the past.

I did enjoy this book. My rusty memory allowed anew the shock of Granta Omega's identity. (Plus it makes more sense when you don't skip books 4 and 5.) I randomly remembered in the middle of reading that Omega is also the name of a Classic Doctor Who villain. Time Lord pioneer of time travel, stuck in an anti-matter universe, determined to do anything to come back. Yeah. So I did start thinking a bit about DW while reading this. Oh, and Obi-Wan can't sing. That part amuses me.

The Moment of Truth

The nest of gundarks! "You fell into that nightmare, Master, and I rescued you, remember?" I loved the, um, reference to the reference? Fulfillment of the reference?

Anakin and Obi-Wan are still dealing with the aftermath of the mission to Andara and Yaddle's recent death. They're struggling with blame and guilt and a damaged relationship. This wasn't my favorite of the series, the mission itself felt kind of disjointed, but I loved the section where Anakin was in the Zone of Self-Containment. Well, loved isn't exactly the right word. It was significant to me. Because of A Wrinkle in Time, The Giver, and the book I'm writing myself right now. The removal of emotions. The calm and serenity. The peace. But while it takes away the turmoil and the things that haunt, it takes away love. It takes away true happiness. It's easier, but is it worth it?

The Changing of the Guard

Anakin hit a breaking point in the last book, spilling out his fears to Obi-Wan, and it's the best thing that has happened for their relationship. This Master-Padawan team is finally what it should be, but things in the galaxy are only getting worse.

Obi-Wan and Anakin have been attempting to track down mad scientist Jenna Zan Arbor. Finally, they know where she is, but capturing her will require them and Siri and Ferus to impersonate a gang of criminals. Anakin and Ferus finally come to a decent working relationship, but Ferus's forebodings continue to foreshadow Revenge of the Sith. The Jedi have to make some tough decisions, where there is no clear right way. It's difficult for them, but, as Obi-Wan says, they have to make the best decision they can with the information they have at the moment. It kind of reminds me of what the Doctor said in "Mummy on the Orient Express": "Sometimes all the choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose." Ferus gets more character development in this book, which I liked. It's easier to see how he journeys into the person he has become by Last of the Jedi, easier to see who he really is underneath his "perfect Padawan" exterior. While impersonating criminals is a questionable tactic, it's not treated lightly. Mace Windu has a clear dislike of the whole thing. But again, "sometimes all the choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose."

The False Peace
Pretty good. Warning signs for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith all over the place, but maybe that's just because I've seen them so many times.

They're still trying to capture Granta Omega. Man, is that guy good at getting away! And he is his father's son. There's a lot more focus on the political side of things in this book, which I really liked. That'll come as no surprise to my friends. Things are getting so corrupt. And Palpatine is taking steps to get to Anakin and fan the sparks of the Dark Side into flame. Unfortunately, Obi-Wan is too focused on Granta Omega to notice that there's something fishy about Palpatine's involvement. Though truly, all of the Jedi are blind to him. I always knew Palpatine was evil, but I watched the originals first.

Not sure about Obi-Wan's advice to Astri to leave Bog. Sure, he's a corrupt politician, and she's scared of the things he'll do as a senator, but I don't think he was actually abusing her or their son, so I don't know. She just never should have married him. But then Lune wouldn't exist.

It did bug me where Darra's last name was printed incorrectly. Hopefully that was just my edition.

The Final Showdown 

"I know . . . who [the Sith] is. You will wish . . . you did." --Granta Omega

The Jedi are spread thinly across the galaxy. There is much unrest as the Clone War approaches, and there simply aren't enough Jedi. The Council has decided to try speeding up the process of Padawans becoming Knights with one test case. And his name is Ferus Olin. Not Anakin Skywalker.

The Jedi have finally truly located Granta Omega . . . on Korriban, the ancient home of the Sith Lords, the place where their tombs still rest. And it is a place very strong with the Dark Side of the Force. It's a creepy place on its own, what with Dark Side induced visions and Sith zombies (yeah, don't really love that part). But beyond that, it wears on the Jedi, especially the Padawans, and ends very badly.

Ego runs strong in this book. Anakin's rivalry with Ferus turns to resentment and hatred. Even the civil working relationship they recently gained is gone. Ferus is ever the perfect Padawan towards Anakin, but even he makes some grave errors. And even Tru is caught in the competition to enter the acceleration program. Only Darra is not, but even she has to suffer the consequences.

It's a very sad book. Friendships are fractured irreparably. Characters are gone forever. And Anakin slips even further towards the Dark Side. We saw him as a sweet little boy. At the beginning of the series, we saw him as an ambitious young teen. Now we see him become the man who could slaughter an entire village of Sand People in a fit of anger with no regrets. Now he is the man who will abandon his duty willingly to do what he thinks the proper mission is, even though it violates his orders from someone wiser and to be trusted. Now he is the man who lets his jealousy turn to rage, who will do anything to get what he wants. He is becoming Darth Vader.

P.S. Do not read this book for the first time in the middle of the night after being totally freaked out by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. BAAAAAAAD idea. It wasn't so bad the second time around, though.

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