||I hope that I am not losing touch with
my kid side, and what constitutes a good kid's adventure. I didn't think
this was such an outing, as I was bored through most of it, and found
the rest to be quite predictable, and the villains quite stupid.
The first half of the book has Boba
searching for Jabba the Hutt, as he was instructed to do by his father's
advice in the book he left his son. Of course, Boba doesn't know
anything about Tatooine, or about how to find and enter the service of a
crime lord. That means he has to be very lucky, and to be in the right
place at the right time.
As is always necessary during a young
reader novel, Boba has to meet up with a bunch of kids. One girl, Ygabba,
steals his Mandalorian helmet. He chases her to a small building where
her co-thieves are, and whom Boba easily bests. Ygabba tells him of
their Master, a Nemoidian who gets them to steal from Jabba so he can
sell weapons on the black market.
Boba wants no part of theft, even though
he was willing to steal food from the cantina when he was so hungry.
Instead, he wanders around the podracing stadium until he is found
loitering outside Jabba's tent. Jabba takes him in for fun, but Boba is
really good at flattery, which earns the Hutt's reprieve from death
-though he talks of death at every turn.
At Jabba's palace we meet Durge -have we
met this bounty hunter before? I don't recall. He is apparently the best
bounty hunter in the galaxy, and has hunted down many Mandalorian
warriors. Boba, who doesn't want to reveal his face to anybody for fear
they won't take him seriously because he's just a boy, again uses
flattery to win some extra time to live. Durge takes offence at
everything Boba says, and eventually attacks him, but the boy easily
dives out of the way and is said to have defeated the bounty hunter. It
didn't seem like defeat to me, and if this is the best the bounty
hunter's guild has at this point, then it's a pretty sad lot.
While Durge is forced to battle some
arachnids because of his humiliation, Boba escapes on a jet-pack given
to him by a friendly dessert baker. Although it took the sail barge all
night to get from Mos Espa to Jabba's palace, Boba, after piggy-backing
with a convoy for a little while, has enough fuel to get him back to the city. Even when he
himself says he has just enough fuel to get there, he wastes some trying
to throw Durge off his trail, and searches the entire city for Ygabba
before he runs out.
Jabba had sent him on a mission to find
and kill the Nemoidian who was stealing from him, as well as all of the
minions. It is actually Durge who kills Gilramos, after missing every
single opportunity to kill Boba, which simply makes him look really
foolish. Durge then stupidly fires his weapon at a bunch of ammunition,
which explodes. Presumably, Durge was killed, but it's always possible
that he survived. Boba has then freed the children who were forced to
work for Gilramos, and returns with the Nemoidian's hat (which a
Nemoidian will never part with while he is alive) and Ygabba. Jabba also
takes the circumstantial evidence that Boba completed his mission, but
never asks about the others Gilramos was using to steal from him. He
never even asks who Ygabba is.
Of course, Ygabba happens to be the
daughter of the pastry chef he met as the only friendly face in Jabba's
palace, so there is a nice reunion, as well. Except that it was
perfectly predictable after the man wistfully said he was saving some
stuff for his firstborn...
The author uses a nice mix of species to
populate Tatooine, however, some species shouldn't be there at all. The
Noghri were discovered by Darth Vader some time after their planet was
poisoned by a Clone Wars battle, as described in
Dark Force Rising.
Before being taken by Vader as secret protectors, they were a primitive
species. Also, people should be really worried if there are witches from
Dathomir strutting around on Tatooine. They are supposed to have no
space-worthy craft, so they can't escape their planet, because they are
so dangerous. There are other instances, as well, but nothing as glaring as
So after being swindled out of his fortune
in Maze of Deception, Boba has now made some money, and he has a
benefactor in Jabba. I wonder how much knowledge the Hutt will give him,
and how much he will learn on his own. Although he has collected his
first bounty, he didn't actually do the job he was asked to do. He was
lucky, in that he knew where to find Gilramos because he had spent time
with Ygabba, and that Durge killed his target before he had to, and that
Jabba only asked about half the job.
To me, that's clumsy writing. And if it
takes such stupidity to destroy a book's main villain, such as Durge, it
means the villain is too powerful for the hero, and should be reduced.
Considering that three bounty hunters failed to get at Gilramos, it's
extremely lucky that Boba managed to get him within a few hours.
Better luck next time, hopefully.