||While possibly the best written book
in this series, I had some serious issues with the plot.
I continue to be impressed by the writing
in this series. The book is very exciting, and forces the reader to turn
pages in earnest! The characters are all very interesting, and they each
have their own personalities, which is important.
Once again, Obi-Wan gets to shine in several scenes. I really like that.
His confrontation with Ona Nobis in the hospital was amazing beyond
words. I think it's great that the author allowed Obi-Wan to leave the
battle when it wasn't finished. He knew that he was outmatched, and he
also knew that he didn't have to fight. It's an important lesson to kids
these days, who are under so much peer pressure. It is an extremely
difficult decision to step away from a fight, since it is seen as
cowardly. But it was so logical!
What is not logical is the flow of this book, in terms of time. I was
ready to read an exciting battle of wits between Qui-Gon and Jenna Zan
Arbor. It was not to be, however, as he is rescued in only the second
chapter. I was happy to see Adi Gallia and Siri again (from
for Truth), but the whole plan didn't make sense. This time around, the
Three Stooges (Cholly, Weez and Tup) were annoying, except for unloading
the droids, where they acted like the real Stooges.
I can't figure out how Zan Arbor knew she was in a hurry to leave, was
able to order a bunch of droids, contact the Stooges (only a moment ago,
they were watching her warehouse, which was unknown to them, looking out
for the bounty hunter), have them collect the droids from
somewhere, and ship them, all since Obi-Wan broke into her compound?
This book began only instants after the last book ended. Add to that the
idea that Qui-Gon contacted Tahl before he lost communications, telling
her that Jenna had locked herself in with the other prisoner. Wouldn't
Jenna have had to disrupt communications before entering the lab,
especially since her controls didn't seem to do anything? She also
managed to move the prisoner to her ship, a ship that didn't have room
for the droids she ordered, killed her assistant Nil, and played pretend
with Qui-Gon. Why the act, unless she knew he was watching? More time
seemed to occur than can be accounted for in the text we get to witness.
Jenna didn't seem to be afraid of Qui-Gon in the slightest, even though
he was on the loose, and armed. She easily left the "cell" without even
checking the corridors for her escaped guest, to accept the shipment of
Although the Jedi medic found the transceiver that would have poisoned
the other Jedi, it appears that Jenna was either lying, or turned it
off. Otherwise, the other Jedi would have died after Qui-Gon left the
building, or when that prisoner was taken away.
More time discrepancies: by the time they leave Jenna's abandoned lab,
Astri has arrived at Coruscant, administered the antidote to Didi,
presumably stayed to make sure it worked and fawned over Didi, learned
that the restaurant has been repossessed, left and arrived on Sorrus,
the homeworld of the bounty hunter! Wow! That's mighty fast of her!
The best part of the book takes place on Sorrus, however, as Obi-Wan and
Siri were sent to investigate Astri's "illness", a trap. What I want to
know, however, is how the "doctor" knew Siri would go to fill out the forms, while
Obi-Wan would go alone to see his friend? That is the only way the
ambush would work. In any case, Siri disapproved of Obi-Wan backing out
of the fight, but would learn her lesson by the end of the book.
While on Sorrus, they learn that Astri and the Stooges are there, as
well. Investigating, they are trapped in Ona Nobis' hideout all
together, until they devise a plan to use the shiny cave supports to
signal through the landslide. I thought this was really silly,
especially when it worked. Once again, I must point out that in Luke's
time, he would have used the Force to move the landslide, grain by
grain, from the outside.
This section provided another bright spot, however, as the author seemed
to anticipate me. I was ready for Qui-Gon to be disappointed in Obi-Wan
for not contacting him before going off alone, but didn't think he
should have been disappointed in Siri. After all, Obi-Wan is the elder
Jedi, and is a lot more experienced. He also has a lot of Qui-Gon in
him, so he was able to get her to go along with his plan, much the same
way that Qui-Gon got Adi Gallia to go along with his! In the very next
chapter, the author provides us with a terrific conversation between the
two Jedi Masters describing exactly this!
The book slows down again once they reach Belasco, homeworld of the
former Senator Uta S'orn. I knew she would reappear, and that she was
more than just a little guilty. Being the parent of a Force-sensitive
child isn't brought up, unfortunately. But they discover that she is
still working with Jenna Zan Arbor.
Through an elaborate setup, and a bunch of plot machinations that I
didn't think were necessary, they discover that the water on this world
(all taken from a single source!) has been poisoned, and that the
antidote, which is found just when the Jedi arrive, comes from Arbor
laboratories. Hmmm. This was hinted at in the
last book. Another time
factor comes into play, here- how did it come to fruition so fast? In
The Evil Experiment, Jenna was bent on discovering the source of the
Force, and ready to abandon everything else. How did she think she could
make a fortune by poisoning the water of this planet? The attention it
would gather would certainly attract the Jedi, whom she knew were on her
trail. It seems as if this book was written only after the previous one
was published, so that nothing could be changed there. Because this
story takes a different turn, entirely.
I also think this book has entirely too many characters. I was very
happy to see Adi and Siri again, but when Astri and the Stooges showed
up, they took too much of the book. And then when Fligh turned up alive,
with S'orn's datapad, no less, I knew there had been too many pages
devoted to everybody except for the Jedi who are supposed to be the
focus of the series.
Like in The Captive Temple, lightsabers can't be used underwater. I
suppose the author is constrained, now that it was a plot point in a
previous book in the series, but I still think it's silly, and I
maintain that lightsabers have been used underwater before. The whole
scene, however, as I understand it, was supposed to show us how Qui-Gon
had not fully recovered from his torment in the last book, which it did
Another problem with several of these books is that the author pits the
Jedi against large numbers of battle droids, so that her narrative
speaks solely of deflecting blaster bolts and cutting off droid heads,
presumably something like in The Phantom Menace. I have trouble
believing that the two Jedi (or even four) could deflect so many blaster
bolts, and still cover their comrades. Those scenes are still
well-written, but are getting less and less interesting.
However, I did like the scene where Qui-Gon and Adi Gallia captured
Jenna Zan Arbor. I really enjoyed seeing Qui-Gon's fake attack,
capturing her in the tapestry behind her!
Unfortunately, the author once again took the easy way out with respect
to Ona Obis, having the bounty hunter fall to her death. It is even Adi
Gallia who cuts the whip. I really want to see Obi-Wan's first kill (not
of droids), because I think this author can really deal with the
emotions the way they need to be seen. However, we keep getting cheated.
Hopefully, by the end of the series, we'll see it. At least Siri got to
see how outmatched she and Obi-Wan were, allowing her to apologize for
thinking he was a coward.
Hmmm. I started out really liking this book, but when I look at it
critically, I realize that even excellent writing can't save something
that doesn't make sense. Still, there were two excellent moments, and
the writing was terrific. Even if I had to stop to scratch my head
often enough, the book was very exciting, and it does conclude the
rescue. I didn't realize, however, that it was not Qui-Gon who needed
rescuing, but the other prisoner, a retired Jedi.