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A novel by Jude Watson (2007, Scholastic Paperbacks)
The Last of the Jedi, Book 8
19 years before and Star Wars: A New Hope

While a resistance movement begins to take shape, an important member of the Eleven is rescued, while Ferus investigates the medical facility where Vader was created, and a boy is taken to the Imperial academy.




Read February 26th to 29th, 2016, in paperback  
    The story was written with the author’s usual impressive descriptions, while avoiding many of the simplistic resolutions that were used in previous books. By now, however, I am tired of Ferus’ obsession, which has taken most of the series, and has dulled the impact for me.

Spoiler review:

In the last book, while Ferus was imprisoned and Roan was killed, one of the Eleven was also captured. Inexplicably, the Emperor still thinks Ferus will make a good Sith, probably just waiting for the proper temptation. Or maybe he’s using Ferus to root out the resistance movement. In any case, Ferus knows that he is being scrutinized, even for apparent coincidences. So he leaves Belassa for Coruscant, to be out of the way when the Eleven mounts its rescue, using members of Ferus’ own resistance and some help he provides (such as the tunnel under the lake). The rescue goes off with only minor problems, but the key question still surrounds Flame –is she trustworthy or not? Everybody now thinks that she is, except Clive, who still has a nagging feeling that something about her is wrong. Personally, I think she is being used by the Empire, and doesn’t even know it. We get her point of view for a couple of chapters in this book, and none of her thoughts seem to be malevolent –in fact, they appear to be quite sincere. It’ll be a big disappointment if she was intentionally misleading us, in which case the author should have kept her point of view hidden.

Clive and Astri go to a secret bank, posing as potential investors, and turn up information about who she might have been before the Clone Wars. This plot will likely be continued in the next book.

Meanwhile, Trever infiltrates the Imperial Academy on Coruscant, and is bullied from the moment of his arrival. If he didn’t have to rescue Bog Divinian and Astri’s son Lune (for Astri’s sake), I’m sure he would have gotten himself killed. The administrator didn’t seem like a nice guy, which I guess is how the Imperials choose their administrators, anyway. After losing a lot of points in various situations, Trever decides to smuggle Lune out. Unfortunately, the administrator catches them, and sends Lune to a secret project of Darth Vader’s, while sending Trever to punishment. However, the administrator has a change of heart, something he has apparently been struggling with, as he also decides to leave the Academy to go into hiding. Trever offers him the use of the Disappeared to create a new identity, and they fly off over the city.

Bog Divinian was manipulated into sending his son to Vader, who wants Jenna Zan Arbor to create a serum that will erase parts of his memory –specifically the ones involving Padme. But Bog doesn’t know this; he simply wants the prestige involved in participating in Vader’s projects. The project happens to take place at the same location where Anakin Skywalker was installed into his suit after being severely burned at Mustafar. Ferus infiltrates this facility, getting a night-shift job. He almost immediately leaves his post and inspects the building. He finds a secret level at the top, and uses the Force to gain access. He does manage to find the room where Vader was healed, but more important to his well-being, he discovers that Lune is also being held there, and he considers this to be more important than the revenge he is planning for Vader.

Throughout, Ferus is tempted by the Dark Side, and while he occasionally uses the Dark Side, he does not slide too far down its slippery slope. A voice inside his head urges him to use his anger, and he does, but always feels violated afterwards. Still, the Emperor seems to trust him, and Vader is told to stay out of his way. In the end, Ferus and Lune jump from the top story of the medical facility, and are conveniently caught by Trever speeding away from the Academy.

There is a small subplot where one of the Emperor’s Inquisitors shares a list with Ferus of potential Jedi sightings, based on coincidences that seem too convenient. One of these involves a toddler on Alderaan, but Ferus dismisses it. I’ll bet that’s Leia. Nothing is done about the list in this book, so it’s likely setup for the next one.

The book was well-written, as always, and the story elements did work, though they felt a little overly-simplistic. Given the intended audience for these novels, I can forgive that. I am, however, getting tired of Ferus’ obsession with Vader’s identity and his planned revenge. It’s gone on for too long with no payoff, and we know by definition that the payoff isn’t going to result in Vader’s death.

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