||This series, like the Jedi Apprentice
series before it, keeps getting better. The author is getting
comfortable with Anakin, and I think she has highlighted a particular
trait of the character and is focusing on it in these books, possibly to
the exclusion of all else.
Anakin is a restless Jedi. He is not
content studying problems and finding political solutions to crises. He
wants to be doing things, and gets very frustrated waiting around for
things to happen. This is how the book opens, and how he remains
throughout, just as he has in the first four books of this series.
The first pages deal with Obi-Wan and
Anakin's request for information regarding Granta Omega, based on his
association with Senator Sauro in the
last book. The request is denied, which is strange
because they claim it is a very old law that allows them to do this, and
Obi-Wan's friend claims to know all of the old laws.
They are then given their new
assignment, which is to track down the son of Senator Tarturi. Obi-Wan
interviews the Senator, who doesn't give him any information, not even
that his biggest rival is Senator Sauro. They are locked in a battle
regarding the sharing of power among the other inhabited planet in the
same system. Rana Halion wants to be a second senator for that system,
and feels that Tarturi is neglecting her planet. Sauro is secretly
Anakin and Ferus, meanwhile, are sent
to the high-security school where Gillam Tarturi disappeared. Ferus
becomes popular with the high-profile students, while Anakin falls in
with the less popular, scholarship, ones. Anakin discovers a boy who is
able to circumvent the security, and tries to befriend him. Another
student, Marit, befriends Anakin, and from her, he learns that a special
group has been formed among the poorer students, which takes contracts
from outside sources. Anakin thinks that Gillam was kidnapped by these
students, so successfully joins them undercover.
It is interesting to note how Anakin
justifies his actions. He knows immediately that the group has been
involved in some illegal activity, but ignores it in the interests of
his own mission. He knows he might need to do some shady stuff until he
finds Gillam. It is to this that Obi-Wan later refers after Ferus
disappears, saying that Anakin chose wrongly in going with the group instead of
searching for his fellow Jedi, but I'm not so sure. He didn't have a
chance to communicate with Obi-Wan, though he should have done so when
he was left along with the fighters as they arrived. After Gillam, who
set up his own disappearance, captures Ferus, he has the team leave
immediately, so although Anakin had started his search, in order to keep
up his search for Gillam, which was his own mission, he had to leave as
well. After all, in the last book, he was told not to help a fellow
Jedi, because the Padawans should be able to look after themselves.
I think Obi-Wan is being too hard on
Anakin. While last book it was Anakin who felt like his master had
betrayed him or not trusted him, this time it's the opposite. I think he
felt betrayed when he had to hear from Ferus that Anakin had left without
telling him, and came down hard on Anakin for everything that came
afterward because of it. He also remembers when he left the Jedi Order
to fight for a cause on Melida/Daan in Defenders of the Dead, which worries him.
He doesn't even want to hear how
Anakin, when he learned that they were going to attack a spaceport
instead of a flyby, disabled the weapons on the fighter. Many of the
other students were betrayed by Gillam, as well. Marit doesn't know that
they planned to kill Anakin to substitute for Gillam's body, in order to
humiliate his Senator father, and cause a civil war in this system,
giving power to Rana Halion.
Once again, we see how Anakin's
connection to the Force is second to none. When Gillam and Halion find
out he is a Jedi, they send in battle droids, and Anakin destroys all of
them before Obi-Wan and Siri arrive, sporting Gillam's datapad with
detailed plans on it. Ferus found the pad in the old abandoned tunnels
below the school, just before he was locked in by Gillam, who had been
hiding in the same location.
If there is any problem with this
series, it's that Anakin is portrayed as too dark. He is headstrong,
yes, but is shown as being too tempted by the dark side. He simply needs
to be in constant motion. He doesn't like to think things through,
though I thought he did a good job here.
So although all the bad guys are captured,
and will presumably be imprisoned (at least the Jedi have more proof
than in The Dangerous Games), the fragile trust between Obi-Wan and
Anakin has been broken. Presumably that will lead into the next few
books, in which they will recover and bond closer than ever.