||Although the beginning of the book
meandered a little too much for my tastes, once Obi-Wan took charge,
this was an incredibly exciting adventure.
This is more like it. Just when I was
beginning to wonder if Obi-Wan was finished his development, or stuck at
some level, the author puts him in a situation where he has no choice
but to grow. He is also terrific at it.
It took about half the book for Obi-Wan
to take charge of the situation, and that's about the right amount of
time, given his hesitation in the previous few books. He has always seen
himself as Qui-Gon's apprentice, and never as a Jedi himself. So he sits
and broods helplessly with Astri in the waiting room, wondering if Didi
will survive. Even when he and Astri go to follow up some leads, he
allows others to call the shots.
Obi-Wan and Astri actually make a good
team. She has connections to the Coruscant underworld, and the fact that
she's Didi's "daughter" allows her to collect information for free. She
also knows how to cook on small food sources, which comes in handy when
they get to the bounty hunter's home planet, Sorrus. She gains the trust
of the natives by scrounging fungus and mushrooms, and creating a
delicious meal. I do wonder why Astri says there are so many Sorrusians
wandering the galaxy, when even Obi-Wan hadn't heard of them in the
Obi-Wan is the one with the instincts,
however, and he has had the guidance of Qui-Gon Jinn. I love the way
Qui-Gon's voice resonates within Obi-Wan, so that he is able to think
clearly, even with his master not around. Thus he is able to avoid the
misdirection from Ona Nobis and follow her to the planet where the
Senator's son died, from the last book.
Obi-Wan really shines when facing the
bounty hunter again. This time, he does not have Qui-Gon's help, but he
manages to disarm her and humiliate her. By saving the life of one of
Ren S'orn's friends, and offering credits to others, they gain one lead
after another. I love the way Obi-Wan stood up to the Senator,
interviewed the conference participants, and dealt with S'orn's friends.
He really took charge, and even though he had doubts, he let the Force
guide him. I guess that Obi-Wan hasn't had time to practice the Jedi
Mind Trick, though! Speaking of the dumb trio, Cholly, Weez and Tup were
perfectly hilarious! I was reminded of the Three Stooges for some
reason. They didn't seem to be quite "all there", and provided some very
funny levity to the story.
Obi-Wan even comes up with a plan to check
out the warehouse where he feels Qui-Gon is being held. It's risky, but
he knows that he has to offer himself as a potential hostage, with Astri
posing as the bounty hunter.
As for Qui-Gon, he spends the novel in
a tank with some sort of vapor that saps his strength and his life
force. When he uses the Force, he is rewarded by Jenna Zan Arbor with
some time out of the tank. He was right, and the Jedi figure it out, as
well, that this scientist is the one behind the whole plot. She is
studying the Force, trying to discover how to tap into it. He has a few
interesting conversations with her, and because she is not
Force-sensitive, she cannot understand that what she is trying to do is
Of course, in Luke's time, things like
this become possible, because they don't know any better. I kept
wondering why Qui-Gon didn't use the Force to break the syringe that
kept taking his blood. That's something Luke's students could do, but
apparently is not possible during this time. I don't know which I
prefer, but it's kind of refreshing to see that the Jedi are not as
powerful as they have been made out to be in the other, later-era
When Obi-Wan arrives and rescues him,
Qui-Gon is still trapped by the threat of retaliation towards another
hostage, a Force-sensitive that he never met, but whose presence he
could feel during his time in the cage. So although Obi-Wan could have
rescued him, the code of the Jedi, and their morality, doesn't let him
leave. Instead, in a great show of camaraderie, Obi-Wan gives his master
his comlink and lightsaber, and takes off to get a Jedi team to help
with the rescue.
Astri's motivation for coming along
with all this is because Zan Arbor holds the only vaccine known to what
is killing Didi. She obtains it with Qui-Gon's help, and will bring it
back to Coruscant.
The next book promises to be even more
action-packed. The bounty hunter is now after Obi-Wan -he's made the
hunt personal! Qui-Gon is free, but can't leave the lab, though he is
now armed, and will try to rescue the other person on his own.
Obi-Wan really seems to shine when he
is separated from his master. If I look back at the books that I enjoyed
most in this series, from The Mark of the Crown, where he had to deal
with internal politics, The Uncertain Path, where he was having a crisis
of his own, and in The Fight for Truth, when he has to escape a prison
of sorts with Siri, Obi-Wan is always growing on his own, without the
shadow of Qui-Gon on him. An interesting trend, I think.
The book was written in the style of
the best of these Jedi Apprentice novels, once again. The author has a
terrific style, that weaves the story in an interesting way, allows the
dialog and narration to flow. This book was a real page-turner,
especially as the action built near the end. I knew that the next book
contained the rescue (hence the title), but I began to wonder if both
Jedi would need rescuing!
This was a great read, and I eagerly
anticipate the next one.