||This was a strange and depressing tale
about Anakin, showing his dark side, at a time when he was trying to
figure out who he was. The signs of his darkness have been shown in
other stories like Rogue Planet, where he
kills with the Force, or in Deceptions and
The Followers, which allow him to feel
frustrated and willing to embrace the Dark Side. Here, he deals out
revenge without even pausing to try and be a better person.
I had complaints right from the beginning
of this book, when Obi-Wan and Anakin fight the animal gorgodons on the
planet where they obtain the crystals for their lightsabers. Most
authors are unimaginative in the way they approach Jedi fights, and I
suppose it is because the Jedi would otherwise seem invincible. However,
with the Force, they should have been able to detect the dangers that
were approaching them; they should not have been surprised by any of the
movements. More imaginative writers would allow them to see ahead of
time that danger was approaching, but not allow them to move out of
harm's way in time. Surprise should not be part of the fight.
The visiting vision by Darth Maul,
telling Anakin that he will become a Sith, is also unimaginative and too
unsubtle for a Force vision. If Anakin got this warning so early in his
training, then why doesn't he heed it- he has many opportunities to at
least face the person he could become. Instead, throughout the book,
when he actively searches for the pirate Krayn, he never revisits the
The book centers upon revenge, for
years ago the pirate Krayn had attacked the Mos Espa slave community
where Anakin had lived, scared Anakin's mother more than he liked to
admit was possible, and stole the mother of one of his good friends,
among others. In the present, which takes place between
The Phantom Menace and
Attack of the Clones, Obi-Wan and
Anakin are charged with protecting a diplomatic ship from Krayn's
pirates. Anakin, of course, desperately wants to go after the pirate and
deal out his revenge, while Obi-Wan hesitates when he detects the
anxiety that his Padawan feels. When Obi-Wan states in
Return of the Jedi that he wasn't as
good a teacher as Yoda, notwithstanding the fact that Yoda's Padawan
also became a Sith Lord, the obvious reason is lack of communication.
Obi-Wan doesn't talk to Anakin like a friend, even though they obviously
become good friends by Revenge of the
The transport is attacked by Krayn, of
course, and the two Jedi launch a shuttle to board his ship! It was not
obvious to me when Obi-Wan said that the only way to stop the pirates
was to board them. The technical hurdles they had to face were huge.
Flying through the exhaust blades seems to be a very strange way of
going about doing this, too. How did Anakin manage to get behind the
pirates, when it was performing such aggressive and erratic maneuvers?
It seems strange that the attacking craft didn't monitor a shuttle
launch. The shuttle itself must be extraordinarily maneuverable, and the
exhaust ports must also be huge, as the shuttle as described seemed to
be similar to the one seen in Return of the Jedi.
Obi-Wan's past comes into play when we
encounter one of the pirates and it turns out to be Siri, former Padawan
of Adi Gallia. I wondered if I had missed a book in this series when I
learned the story that led to Siri becoming a pirate, and I wondered if
we would encounter the story later. After meeting her, however, I came
to the conclusion early on that she was under cover. But to do it for so
many years seems very tedious, and might make her sympathetic to the
pirates. After all, she would undoubtedly have to do some very nasty
stuff, which would bring her close to the Dark Side herself.
When Anakin is captured and made into a
slave again, he takes to it remarkably well, even though both he and
Obi-Wan state that he wouldn't. He tries to help his fellow slaves,
resulting in slightly better morale. I wonder that he didn't use the
Force except for once in his time there.
Obi-Wan still uses Astra and her father
as an informant, last seen in the Jedi Apprentice series. I want to know
when he meets Dex, the knowledgeable four-armed "man" he goes to see in
Attack of the Clones. It seems to be
a big cliché that Obi-Wan could infiltrate the pirate's organization so
quickly, especially after Siri had done the same thing. I suppose that
if Luke and Lando could do it, then why not the older Jedi...
Fortunately, his undercover work did not require too much convincing,
though. The Colicoids bought into it just by his fake referrals, and
Krayn trusted their that they had researched him -which they apparently
The Colicoids were the ones that
Obi-Wan and Anakin were charged to protect in the first place, but it
turns out that they were part of the slave trade in the first place,
helping Krayn process spice on Nar Shaada. I guess that's before it came
under the jurisdiction of the Hutts -but doesn't it orbit Nal Hutta?
Regardless, Obi-Wan, dressed as a bounty hunter of sorts, is hired to
inspect the processing center, and is nearly killed by Krayn's Wookie
partner because of it.
After Anakin and Siri are imprisoned
when Krayn discovers that Siri was once a Jedi, they escape through the
daughter of a prisoner that Anakin helped in the mines, who works in the
kitchens. Their final deception in organizing a prisoner riot, while
Siri convinces the Colicoids that they would be better off without
Krayn, was entertaining, but way too easy.
The payoff comes when Anakin finds
Krayn and kills him in cold blood, then lies about it to Obi-Wan.
Anakin's first kill was in Rogue Planet,
and I'm sure he has had others between that book and this one. We never
got to see Obi-Wan's first kill in the Jedi Apprentice series, which is
disappointing, because I think the author could have written more than
one story about it. Just look at the grief the unintentional death of a
fellow Padawan did in Deceptions.
I am not certain that Anakin's path is
actually the one shown by these books. The Anakin that we knew in
The Phantom Menace didn't have revenge
in his personality. He has twisted to bad boy too quickly in these
novels. I would have liked to see more of a transition of his
personality between Episodes I and II, something that would lead to his
conscious decision to take out revenge on the sand people in
Attack of the Clones.
Based on Anakin's decapitating of the
unarmed Count Dooku in Revenge of the
Sith, killing a person rather than allowing him to be taken prisoner
is a chronic problem that Anakin has. He is too righteous, but he is not
evil (at least not yet).
Nevertheless, the book was
well-written, and I enjoyed the adventure. I tend to be harder on Star
Wars books, because I have a certain belief in how the Jedi acted and
behaved, whether it is right or wrong. I am still not enjoying the
Anakin stories nearly as much as the Luke stories, and I can't figure
out why. I just don't find Anakin's adventures are as inspired. I
suppose that because Luke was looking for his path, rather than knowing
what a Jedi should be, makes the search more interesting. However,
Anakin is also searching for his own path, trying to become a Jedi. It
shouldn't be this hard to like the guy.