||While a story set around the Senate
could have been interesting, this story feels more like setup for the
finale. Anakin is invited to join Palpatine at various meetings and
learn from them, but there is no evidence that he does learn. All the
while, they figure out what is really happening just in time, each time.
It's too bad there is no evidence of the Senate slaughter in the movie
that soon follows, and the Separatist movement is treated with only a
couple of words.
I was confused when this book started,
as at the end of The Changing of the Guard, Obi-Wan and Anakin were
following Granta Omega. This book doesn't start where the other one left
off; instead, it picks up months and months later. Presumably we've
missed many near-misses that don't bear knowing about, because we
learned exactly nothing about what Omega and Jenna Zan Arbor might have
The Jedi finally catch up with the
criminals on the world of Falleen. This could have been any other planet
in the Republic, because the author doesn't use any of the pheromone-types
that the Falleen are known for. Instead, Obi-Wan and Anakin get jobs at
a secret factory, where they work after-hours and go to investigate the
water delivery system that Zan Arbor wants to use to transmit her Zone
of Influence. When they get there, it starts collapsing on them -quite
conveniently, of course. That simply means Omega and Zan Arbor are one
step ahead -again.
The main part of the book takes place
on Coruscant, where the Jedi have been recalled, because a senator is
trying to pass a law that makes it illegal for the Jedi to do Senate
business. One of Obi-Wan's senator friends discovers that Palpatine is
the Sith, but he dies before he can tell anybody. Several senators are
actually in league with Granta Omega, including Sano Sauro, an old
enemy, and Bog Divinian, husband of Astri and last seen cheating on
There are many senate hearings where
Obi-Wan's words are twisted around and the good guys get frustrated. But
Palpatine is correct when he tells Anakin that the Jedi have been wrong
to stay out of politics. It is actually what gets the Order destroyed,
as they don't realize the manipulation that is going on even at the end.
He says that the Senate is not interested in the truth, which is not
absolute -it is interested in the interpretation of the truth, and
that's what he has been taking advantage of all these years.
When Obi-Wan meets Astri, she is cold
toward him, and I thought for sure she was under the influence of the
Zone. But no, her husband senator was holding her son as blackmail for
her to support him. I can't believe three years have gone by since The
Dangerous Games. It makes me feel like we're missing all this
interesting time with Anakin and Obi-Wan. But Obi-Wan has another Jedi
go get her son, so she can leave Divinian and lead a new life.
In the end, Omega is too smart for
Obi-Wan and Anakin. There is a funny scene where they go visit Dexter
Jetster, and he complains that somebody left a speeder in front of his
back door. The speeder was even
parked over a water main, the perfect place to administer the Zone, and
have a getaway car. For a grand ceremony takes place where various
systems are giving funds to a refugee relief organization, and it looks
certainly like a place where Omega would strike.
So while the Slams do try to strike at
the funds transfer ceremony (and are captured), there is no sign of Omega or Zan Arbor.
Obi-Wan raced back to the Senate, where he goes through the water ducts,
and finds no trace of them there, either. But then something he saw in
the factory on Falleen triggers the realization that Zan Arbor will use
the air ducts instead, and he is right. He foils their plan, but as
Omega escapes, again, dozens (or hundreds?) of hunter droids are
released into the Senate. More than 20 senators die, but the Jedi are in
time to save hundreds more, and Palpatine, as well.
And here is where Anakin's journey
reaches a turning point. He is starting to think on his own, encouraged
by Palpatine, of course. Obi-Wan tells his Padawan to remain with the
Chancellor, but when Ferus arrives, Anakin goes to help his master,
disobeying a direct order. Palpatine's comments are echoed in
the Clones, where he says the Jedi are finally giving him a mission of
his own. But ironically, when the attack in the senate comes, Ferus is
there to protect Palpatine, not Anakin. And Anakin is extremely jealous,
especially when Ferus gets a commendation, and he doesn't. That jealousy
will result in his rage in Attack of the Clones, where he claims that
Obi-Wan is holding him back, even when it is readily apparent to
everybody, every viewer and reader, that although he is good at wielding
a lightsaber, he is not mature enough to be a Jedi Knight yet.
This series culminates in the next
book, where the story of Omega will finally come to an end. I think too
much time was spent on Omega, even though only half this series dealt
directly with him. I'm a little disappointed at the series, though it is
written well, it doesn't lead up to Attack of the Clones -but then
again, it probably wasn't meant to.