||Another well-written story, especially
from the character point of view. The characters think about their
emotions, and they evolve somewhat throughout the story.
The theme of this book is that
appearances can be deceiving, but there is an undercurrent of trust,
showing that Obi-Wan and Anakin have not yet bonded the way that Master
and Apprentice should. Obi-Wan and Anakin have been sent to a
planet to evacuate some scientists after a cease-fire was broken and
they became stranded. They race through the abandoned towns, pick up the
scientists, and get them to their ship.
Anakin befriends one of the scientists
while they are awaiting the army's departure. It seems that the man can
see what's eating Anakin from the inside. Obi-Wan actually entrusts his
Padawan with protecting the scientists and an injured apprentice, Darra,
as he and the other Jedi go out to destroy all resistance in the camped
army that has besieged the town. Darra was injured because Anakin tried
to go help her when he thought she would get hurt by blaster-fire, but
she recovered in time and would have been able to deflect the shot if
Anakin hadn't been in her way.
So he feels responsible, and feels that
Obi-Wan is punishing him by not letting him in on the action of
sabotaging the army camp.
Back on Coruscant, Obi-Wan hands Anakin
over to Soara, a Jedi lightsaber-master, which is a further blow
to his pride. But it's his pride that Obi-Wan wants to make his
apprentice aware of. Anakin thinks he can do anything, but he has to be
aware of the others around him, and to learn to trust them, not always
trying to protect them from what he perceives that they cannot do.
Soara takes him all over the
city-planet, having other Padawans attack him with training lightsabers,
but never complementing him, especially when he thinks he deserves it,
which frustrates him further. Soara sees this, and declares that she can
no longer teach Anakin, because of the darkness inside him. I think the
author is pressing the Dark Side within Anakin too much. He is a loving
person who thinks of others all the time. But he is used to his
independence and not relying on others. And he still hasn't unlearned
Obi-Wan, for his part, finds out that
Granta Omega was also on the planet, and probably scouting on his own.
Using all the facilities at his disposal, including Jocasta Nu of the
Jedi Archives and a visit to the always unpleasant Sano Sauro, who was
the one who questioned Obi-Wan as a Padawan in the death of Bruck back
in The Captive Temple.
He discovers that Granta Omega is very
likely the lead scientist that they rescued, and whom Anakin befriended.
Anakin finds this out a little too late, however, as he goes to visit
the man, thinking he can find Omega himself, proving to Obi-Wan that he
is a good Padawan. Somebody needs to tell Anakin that Obi-Wan doesn't
need proof that he has good intentions, but he needs to know he can
trust his Padawan to think of the greater good.
Omega drugs Anakin, and though his
plans go awry (he worships the Sith and wants to kill a Jedi to gain
favor with the Sith Lord he knows is out there), he does escape with
Darra's lightsaber. Anakin displays incredible skill, even able to duel
with a non-Force sensitive holding a lightsaber while he is fully
The Jedi want to stop Omega because he
might corner the market on Bacta, since that is the mineral that will be
expelled from a volcano soon, which can be used in synthetic bacta, and
he owns a majority share in bacta on Thyferra. Sorry to tell you,
Obi-Wan, but if he has a majority share on the only planet that produces
bacta, he has already cornered the market.
They go back to the planet, where they
try to tell some soldiers to leave the slope of the volcano, but they
won't abandon the land they just won in war. Obi-Wan and Anakin fight
Omega, but he uses some tricks (like a ship-within-a-ship, damaged
swoops, and so on) to get away again. They follow his trail back to his
home planet, where his home also has a room-within-a-wall, but the data
is erased as they watch, meaning he has gotten away again.
The book is well written, like all the
Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest books. I would like to see the author
stop calling any disturbance in the Force "the dark side". The Dark side
has nothing to do with something bad about to happen. It's a point of
view, and depends on the intention of a Force-sensitive individual.
Still, that's a minor gripe.
On the other hand, I'm impressed at the
depth of the characters in such short stories. Now its time to start
creating the larger bond between Master and Apprentice that will cause
Anakin to go to his master's rescue in Attack of the Clones.