||It looks like the author had a good
idea that she could have explored, but she was constrained by the fact
that the Jedi Order was bound by certain unreasonable rules.
Unfortunately, instead of exploring what love means to the Jedi, there
was very little exploration done at all.
This story was mainly plot, with the love
story superimposed upon it. The plot involves a young boy who is a
superwhiz at computers and security. Out of boredom, he taps into
communications channels and overhears five bounty hunters describing
their plot to assassinate twenty planetary leaders. As a result, he
becomes a target of those same bounty hunters. Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Adi
Galia and Siri are sent to escort the boy to a Senate hearing.
As they move from place to place,
always just behind or just ahead of the bounty hunter, the Masters and
their Padawans are separated. Everybody had incredible insight into
where the bounty hunters were, or where the next move in this game would
take place. Yet other than that, the Jedi don't use their powers at all,
not to move obstacles out of their way, or to influence the fights they
find themselves in.
I liked the way Obi-Wan and Siri stole
the ship of the bounty hunter Magus, sneaking out from under his nose
while he was watching for them to board an outbound vessel. A final
trick of Magus', however, leaves them in a ship about to explode as it
exits hyperspace. Other novels have shown that it is impossible to
perform any communications from hyperspace -even emergency broadcasts,
so the author is breaking the rules with their plan to be pulled from
hyperspace. Also, if they were ready to leave hyperspace near Coruscant,
then the two extra hours they waited would take them way beyond their
Both Masters and Padawans magically and
independently come up with the location of the conference where the
assassinations will take place (though the Masters use the Jedi
Archives). The boy surrenders himself when Obi-Wan and Siri's ship is
boarded, knowing that he still has information that can keep him alive
until the Jedi can rescue him. I enjoyed parts of the fights against the
bounty hunters at the conference, yet once again, the Jedi hardly used
the Force at all. They also made some idiotic decisions, like leaving
the meeting undefended while two bounty hunters were still on the loose.
And how in the world did Magus escape from Obi-Wan and Siri? I wish we
could have had an extra chapter for that. The bounty hunters were pretty
idiotic and single-note themselves, as the one who managed to attack the
planetary leaders when the Jedi weren't around spent the whole time
throwing fire at a table, when they were unarmed and he could have
easily shot them.
Everything ended up fine, however, as
the Jedi eventually prevailed. The first part of this story, which takes
up the majority of the book, was not conceived well enough for my
tastes. However, I enjoyed the second half much more. The same boy, now
a man, has created his own security company, to nobody's surprise. He
has created a miracle code-breaker, and wants to sell it to the
Republic. But he is also willing to sell it to the Separatists, if the
Republic doesn't meet his demands. Senator Amidala is sent to bargain
for the Republic, and Obi-Wan, Anakin and Siri are sent to protect her
and the device.
The device is promptly stolen by a
member of Taly's closest staff, and sent to the Separatists through
Magus -but Taly placed a bug in it so that it wouldn't work. He had the
real device with him as they escaped. Anakin and Obi-Wan didn't know
that, however, and were "forced" to let Magus get away. This is a fine
example of how the rules change arbitrarily for the Jedi. Anakin can
easily find his way through a holographic screen to find the landing
platform, but takes forever to find the real door in a holographic
hallway. He and Obi-Wan think that by the time they get to a ship and
into the sky, Magnus will be in the stratosphere. That's not far. On a
nearly abandoned desert planet, they should have no trouble finding him
and forcing him down or destroying him. After all, Anakin found Zam
Wesell several sky lanes up in the crowded space above Coruscant in
Attack of the Clones.
At a secure Republic outpost in the
middle of nowhere, they turn the device over to specialists, and Padmé
is sent on her way, but the Separatists traced them and attacked.
Anakin led the space battle, while
Obi-Wan and Siri went to retrieve Padmé's crashed escape pod. Magus
finds them, however, and ground battle ensues, in which the Jedi
finally use the Force, if only to navigate a very tough route through
narrow channels. Magus, however, is also a good pilot. Siri figures the
only way to destroy him is to give him a great surprise, so she jumps
from her ship to his, and causes him to crash, which kills them both.
Her death was both in character and a justifiable sacrifice.
The code-breaker is destroyed instead
of being turned over to the Separatists, and it is doubted if Taly can
ever reproduce this super-code-breaker. Convenient.
Amid these plots is interwoven the love
story. Qui-Gon and Tahl's love from the Jedi Apprentice series is
touched on, though I wish the author had explored the meaning of that
farther. Mainly we are concerned with Obi-Wan and Siri's growing
attachment. As they find themselves working together more and more as
Padawans, they grow closer together, and they are, after all, in their
late teens by now. But although Obi-Wan is willful in the Jedi
Apprentice series, he is also made out to be a person who abides by the
rules. So when he is confronted by Qui-Gon and Yoda, he relents, and
both he and Siri agree that they are better off if they remain Jedi, and
suppress their feelings. In the later story, they haven't seen each
other for a long time, and their friendship has suffered because of
their decision. But they agree that it has been better this way.
Unfortunately, they don't back up their reasoning with examples or any
sort of rationale. Agreeing to resume their friendship makes it
inevitable that Siri would die.
The love story between Anakin and Padmé
is more straightforward, because we know that it actually happened, and
the author does not have to try and squeeze a love story into a
character that we know believes in the way of the Jedi. I think Anakin
and Padmé get to make love in this book, though it is only barely
suggestive. Is this the last time they see each other before
the Sith? (Is this when Luke and Leia are conceived?) Regardless, the author managed to get both of their mannerisms
and their tones of voices perfect. I felt like I was reading a
transcript when they spoke. It was great.
Unfortunately, the author does not
explore what it means to be a Jedi in love, and she certainly cannot
express why the rule was created, at least not to my satisfaction.
Distraction and loyalty to a love instead of the purpose of the Jedi is
true about anything, not just love. The Jedi were easily distracted by
politics and war. There must be many instances of young Jedi nurturing
romances, no matter what the customs. I would have liked to see the way
the Jedi deal with it properly. A promise to behave and meditate instead is not
good enough. There must be some sort of training program -or something!
Siri's Padawan was Ferus Olin, but he
left the Jedi order long ago. Was that in response to the Clone Wars? Or
does it occur in the Jedi Quest series? The author makes it seem like a
common occurrence, as Obi-Wan and Siri and Qui-Gon all consider leaving
at one point. In Attack of the Clones
(the novel), however, it was made clear that
only a handful of Jedi ever left the Order (which doesn't make sense,
either), and that Count Dooku was one of those. What do those non-Jedi
with potentially lethal Jedi powers do?
This book feels more like a juvenile
book than most of the Jedi Apprentice series did. Short, clipped
sentences, simple solutions to complex problems, and problems that seem
insurmountable but could be easily solved with more thought, (rather
than "I forgot I could do this" reasoning) are plentiful. Fortunately,
the second part works well enough to make up for some of the shortfalls
in the first part. Is that because everybody is an adult, now?
Regardless, I am still impressed that
the author manages to find (or create) such links between the three
generations of Jedi to create these crossover novels. I wonder if the
ideas are getting old, however.