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DARK WARNING

A novel by Jude Watson (2005, Scholastic Paperbacks)
The Last of the Jedi, Book 2
19 years before and Star Wars: A New Hope

While hiding from Boba Fett, Obi-Wan and Ferus find a planet from which to launch a secret base, and go in search of another lost Jedi.

                                                                                     

 

 

Read June 30th to July 8th,2014, in softcover  
    This book, the second in the series, lacked focus, seeming to go everywhere haphazardly, from one star system to another in minutes without a hyperdrive, in a rush to get where it needed to go for the rest of the series. Still, while the plot moved around a lot, it did stabilize more than halfway through, and the characters were true-to-form, as usual with this author.

Full spoiler review:

I don't know why Boba Fett is in this book at all, except probably to get him upset at Ferus and Trever and hunt them down at a later time. They spend an inordinate amount of time in the opening chapters trying to evade Fett and his colleague, the droid-like guy with a rotating blaster for a head. Obi-Wan and Ferus use their lightsabers in what would certainly attract the attention of the Empire, but they leave the people of this planet with no defense against that, only trying to get away.

Trever uses his street sense to trade for another starship, but it has no hyperdrive, and Fett follows them anyway. So what was the point? At least their former ship had interstellar capability. But no matter, because they decide to lose Fett in a nebula that is suddenly nearby, even though the planet and star around which it orbits would have to be inside for them to get there so quickly. I know that Han and Leia travelled from Hoth to Bespin in The Empire Strikes Back with no hyperdrive, and it probably took them months (Luke had enough time to gain an understanding of the Force, after all...), but this is the same complaint I had about the Kessel system and the black hole cluster in Jedi Search. They do manage to lose Fett within the nebula, incredibly out-flying him so that he crashes, while they, low on fuel, don't. Then they go through some sort of tunnel of stars -I have no idea what that means- to a secret asteroid planet (which appears to have a breathable atmosphere). Escaping that, they go to a nearby planet, which is being attacked by the Empire. How did they do all this planet-hopping, low on fuel, no hyperdrive, and blind inside the nebula?

On this planet, Ferus decides to take a stand against the Empire, something I guess he has to get out of his system before he settles down to become a serious Jedi. Obi-Wan watches from the control center as the planet's final defenses crumble, and Ferus needs to retreat. He, Trever and Obi-Wan take the surviving husband-and-wife team (Toma and Raima) to the mysterious asteroid, which Ferus plans to use as a secret base to start a Rebellion against the Empire.

The planet they just escaped from also happened to be the planet where Obi-Wan's long-time friend Garen was a general in the Clone Wars, and he finds that the Jedi did not perish there. Obi-Wan drops Ferus off at Ilum, a Force-filled planet where young Jedi are brought to face their fears (in the form of visions), and build their first lightsabers. This planet interestingly also shows up in the Clone Wars TV series, with pretty much the same purpose, which was really nice to see (considering all of the history they destroyed in that series). Somehow the Empire, which is covering the front of the temple there, doesn't see another starship arrive and leave again.

Ferus enters through a back entrance, and faces some of his own demons, such as Siri telling him he wasn't good enough, and Anakin morphing into Darth Vader. By the end of the book, Obi-Wan still hasn't told Ferus what happened to Anakin, but here is Ferus' first hint. I wonder if he'll find out by the end of the series. Ferus does meet Garen, while Trever tries to pilfer supplies from the Imperials and is caught, though he manages to steal one of their cruisers and escape, for the moment. To show how bad the Empire is, they follow Ferus through the back entrance, but kill the nests of the sleeping but very dangerous creatures that Ferus tried to hard not to disturb. So Garen gives Ferus his lightsaber, and they face off against the forces guarding the main entrance together. Garen is very weak, so Ferus does most of the manual labor, and Trever shows up from behind the enemy's lines to save them -again.

Obi-Wan, meanwhile, travels to Polis Massa, where Luke and Leia were born at the end of Revenge of the Sith, and an Imperial Inquisitor is investigating. He and the station manager try to trick the Inquisitor, but it amounts to nothing when at the last minute he sees that Obi-Wan is not the same as the person he thinks he is talking with, and Obi-Wan has to kill him. Obi-Wan leaves satisfied for the moment, but worried that another Inquisitor will come, especially to investigate this one's death.

But he leaves anyway, and asks Ferus to drop him off on Tattooine -whatever happened to keeping that a secret? Ferus and Trever head to Coruscant after learning the Garen's fellow Jedi went there after leaving him on Ilum.

While the plot left something to be desired, the characters of Ferus and Obi-Wan were well-written. Ferus has a little more joviality to him, but in these dark times, I'm not sure how long that will last. Obi-Wan is holding back, and although he feels terrible for what he has to allow come to pass, he knows his true responsibility is to Luke, and he has to leave the fighting to Ferus, no matter how upset the younger man becomes with him. And he discovers that he is finally ready to start learning Qui-Gon's training.

Once the book gets on track and has Ferus go to Ilum while Obi-Wan investigates Polis Massa, the story does a much better job than the jumble at the beginning. It's almost as if the author had to clean up the business with Boba Fett leftover from an unnecessary cliff-hanger, before getting started on the real story. I guess there wasn't enough of that real story to cover an entire book, though.

So the rest of the series should, I believe, focus on Ferus and Trever, almost a Master and Apprentice binding, though Trever has no Force-Sensitivity. I hope the series can come back into focus for the next book.
 
   

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