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A novel by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry (2004, Del Rey)
A Clone Wars Novel
Medstar, Book 2
Set 21 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

The medical team on Drongar continues to treat casualties, uncover a spy and make discoveries about the miracle medicine they are harvesting.




Read November 9th to 16, 2005  
    Jedi Healer was very similar to the previous book in this series, Battle Surgeons, dealing with character traits among a medical staff near the front lines. However, it was more focused on a few isolated storylines, rather than a broad overview, and it was less satisfying because nothing much happened, again.

The Ansion incident that the authors open the book with comes, of course, from Barris' mission with Anakin in The Approaching Storm. It highlights her continued apprehension about the mission on Drongar, and her actual purpose there. I agreed with her conclusions: she didn't seem to have any point, here. Her main purpose in this story was to struggle with drug addiction, which made her think that she could take on the whole Separatist army by herself. By injecting herself with Bota, twice, she is obviously addicted. She has some contrived Force-visions, which allow her to judge that the explosion on the Medstar was another act of sabotage. Everything else is just tenuously out of reach. So she knew that the camp was in imminent danger. She could have drawn that conclusion from the Force without the bota. When she overcomes the addiction (by saying "no" a single time -is that enough?), she judges that she has transitioned from Padawan Learner to Jedi Knight. So her Trials were very quiet and personal -they don't all have to be wide ranging like Obi-Wan's, but they seemed rather trivial. If she had given in to the bota addiction, she would not have become a Jedi, but closer to a Sith. She didn't have the option of not becoming something greater -for good or evil.

Jos and Tolk's relationship provides another of the small plotlines. Or should I say non-plots, because the whole thing didn't make any sense. Tolk is transferred onto the Medstar for a seminar that they both know won't happen. While she is up there, a large cargo bay explodes, from sabotage. She is forced to stay aboard for a few days, helping, and while an investigation is carried out. When she returns, she is cool towards Jos, and he can't figure out why. The reason she was sent up to the Medstar in the first place was because Jos' uncle, the new admiral in charge, wanted to speak with her. Jos' uncle also had a relationship with a woman whom his culture said he could not have. When she died prematurely, he was left ostracized. It was obvious from the moment Tolk returned to the surface that the admiral had convinced her that a relationship with Jos would ruin his life. Jos is so depressed throughout the book, first from losing his best friend Zan, then from Tolk's rejection, that it is rather frustrating.

Fortunately, we have Uli, the naive but brilliant new doctor in the camp, who provides us with some very interesting insights. I liked his semi-crush on Barriss, though she was obviously too much of a Jedi to return his affection. For her, he was more of a sounding board for conversations about the Force. Apparently everyone now knows about the Sith. I suppose it was inevitable after Count Dooku became so prominent. Uli also provided Jos with a new focus and room-mate. When he finally confronts his uncle, in a rage, about Tolk, everything is rectified, because it was more of a test than anything else. Yuck. Like in 'er', these relationships are too easy to form.

I think more alcohol was imbibed in this novel than in all other Star Wars novels combined. I suppose alcohol is a major ingredient in soldiers' lives, but I wonder if this was too prominent. I was not interested in Den's mission to get the droid I-five drunk. His efforts worked, and it was fun to see a Wookie pull his arm off, probably the first time since Han mentioned the idea in A New Hope, but that was the only part that I enjoyed. I fully expect to see this pair in the post-Revenge of the Sith series of books by the same authors. I am not sure if I should be excited or dreading that.

The next plotline is, of course, the spy. From nearly the very beginning of the book, we know that the spy has to be one of two people. Tolk and Klo Merit are the only two people that we know from the camp who travel to the Medstar before the explosion. When Tolk starts giving Jos the cold shoulder, we are supposed to think that she is the spy, so even if I didn't know that the admiral spoke to her about their relationship, I was more likely to believe that she wasn't the spy. Klo even suggested that she might be the spy to Jos, which seemed to me that he was shifting the focus. There was no mystery for me: of course, Klo turned out to be the spy, the saboteur, and was killed by Jos. His motivation was very sketchy, having had his planet destroyed by a superweapon experiment gone wrong. He blames the Republic, but doesn't seem to have done his research well on the Separatists -they are just as bad, if not worse.

The final plot involves the Nedji Kaird, who works for Black Sun. It hadn't occurred to me earlier that Steve Perry was the author of Shadows of the Empire, the original Black Sun novel. Of course it would have to crop up. Kaird discovers that the bota is mutating, making it worthless in the near future. This is what makes it irrelevant by the time of A New Hope. This was a strange plot point, however, as the Separatists get the information from the spy way before the Republic forces do, meaning that they push for an all-out attack on the republic medical facility. It would have made more sense for them to make another few pushes forward on the front lines of the war, like they did at the end of the last book, in order to gain as much bota as possible to be packed in carbonite. Only Kaird and Den got this information, though, so nobody else could even scheme about it.

Kaird, for his part, was constantly scheming, even hoping to retire from Black Sun after getting rich from his newly stolen bota. Kaird takes over an unusually large portion of the book, considering the lack of payoff. The people he was working with betray him, giving him an active bomb instead of carbon-sealed bota. Kaird neither gets rich, nor vengeance. Presumably this will be picked up again sometime in the future.

The book started out fairly interesting, rehashing a bit too much of what went on in the last book, but at least keeping it interesting by using tongue-twisting euphemisms and descriptions -all using a uniquely Star Wars flavor. After a while, though, it became overdone. Also overdone was the medical and military technobabble. Some people like this kind of detail, and I usually don't mind it too much. While watching er, I can tune out most of it. But in many cases, it was packed in much too heavily, making the operating room scenes some of my least favorite.

There were many interesting bits of scenery -things that didn't mean much, but were nice to see, nonetheless. One of these was the snow under the dome, and the way people coped with it. Jos, with a wardrobe meant for a planet with stifling heat, was cold and miserable.

All in all, this series was about a team of doctors on the front lines, with spies and thieves, and a bunch of small and barely significant personal problems. It was an interesting read, and the characters were mostly well defined. I like character stories, but I also like things to happen, or to be relevant in some way. Reading characters for the sake of reading characters is not as enjoyable as reading characters who interact with situations. These situations were just not very interesting.

So far, I can't say that I've truly enjoyed any of the Clone Wars novels. These were good enough, but better luck in the next one, I hope.


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