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A novel by Jude Watson (2004, Scholastic Paperbacks)
Jedi Quest, Book 9
23 years before and Star Wars: A New Hope

Still chasing a dangerous galactic criminal, Obi-Wan and Anakin are called back to Coruscant to investigate a law to dismiss the Jedi from service to the Republic.




Read July 5th to 17th, 2012, in paperback  
    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.

Full spoiler review:

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 left behind.

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 The Dangerous Games.

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 Attack of 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.


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