||Considering that these books are meant
for young readers, they are written better than some adult books I've
read. The author focuses on Anakin's fears and uncertainties in his
relationship with his master, and Obi-Wan's continuing struggle to be a
teacher with his own style. The author has backed off from Anakin's
overly-dark persona here, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the end
of the story suffers from some questionable logic and internal
For much of this book, I was confused
about the title, but by the end, it actually reinforces what we know
about Granta Omega from the previous books. He wants to impress the Sith
he knows is out there, so he baits the Jedi so he can kill one, thinking
to gain favor with the Sith.
The book starts in the Jedi Temple, as
Anakin gets a vision from the Force. He thinks he is supposed to free
his mother and the other slaves on Tatooine, but Yoda interprets it
differently. He sends Obi-Wan and Anakin to Mawan with Yaddle, in order
to reach a diplomatic settlement between the three crime-lords who have
taken control of the planet after the civil war.
After what happened in the
Anakin is unsure of how his Master feels about him, because Obi-Wan is
pretty much silent about how he feels. At one point, Obi-Wan compares his
behavior to what Qui-Gon used to do, even though he knows that he is not
like Qui-Gon and Anakin is not like Obi-Wan was at this age. Every time
he wants to comfort Anakin, things get in the way. So all throughout the
book, Anakin feels like he is disappointing his master, especially when
someone sacrifices her life to save the Mawans, and he could do nothing
to stop it.
Obi-Wan states that he's been to this
before, but it doesn't seem to have been recorded in any of the novels,
especially not from the Jedi Apprentice series. The capital city of Nataan is really the only place of worth on the planet, and it is this
city that has been divided by the crime lords. Of course, Anakin and
Obi-Wan get to visit all three of them.
The first is the most benign, Feeana, a
native of Mawan, who has been selling goods and security to the people.
She seems like a reasonable-enough person, who was very good at stealing
just to get by, then picked up followers and became a gang. It's easy
enough to convince her to agree to support a provisional government and
user her gang members as security forces as the Jedi try to get the
power grid under their control.
Next they go to Decca the Hutt,
disguised as band members for a celebration she's having (after winning
a key location in the city from Striker). There's a funny moment when
Anakin and the others discover that Obi-Wan can't sing -at all, so they
tell him to keep his mouth shut!
An attack on the party by Striker's gang leads to Anakin's capture when
a thermal detonator goes off, and Anakin ends up in Striker's bunker-
and Striker, of course, ends up being Granta Omega. From here on,
incomprehensibly, everybody starts calling Striker "Granta" or "Omega"
-even Feeana and the others who said they knew nothing about him, and
they've obviously known this mystery man as "Striker" for far longer.
Anakin is tempted by Omega's offer to
actually go to Tatooine and free the slaves there, work as a freelance
Force-user, even though he hates Omega for betraying him a
books ago. Instead, he refuses, which I think Omega was waiting for all
along, because he then demands to see Yaddle, to negotiate his way off
the planet. Yaddle agrees, even though she knows it must be a trap. So
when it becomes obvious that Omega will not negotiate, and offers her a
terrible choice, Anakin and Omega are shocked when she cuts off Anakin's
stun-cuffs and charges into a launch tube to chase after the toxic bomb
Omega just launched. She catches it, but Anakin watches in horror as
Yaddle gathers the Force to her while she implodes the bomb into her
being, sacrificing herself for the inhabitants of Mawan.
This pushes Anakin over the edge toward
hate, and even though Obi-Wan doesn't blame the boy, he can only offer
hollow words of encouragement, and Anakin sees through him -his
disappointment. Luckily, Yoda comes to Mawan to finish Yaddle's
diplomatic mission of setting up the government. He gives Anakin some
good words of wisdom, which Anakin tries to take to heart, though he
still feels guilty. I wonder what kind of guilt he would later feel after the
battle of Geonosis in Attack of the
Clones, where more than a hundred Jedi died to save two Jedi
from the arena.
The story doesn't end, of course, as
the three crime lords team up to overthrow the Jedi in an attempt to
take back the planet. Yoda and Obi-Wan come up with a clever idea, which
shouldn't have worked. They have their contacts, Swanny and Rorq,
reroute wastewater into the fuel supply lines. Apparently none of
Decca's people has fueled a speeder or starship before, because they
don't notice that the fuel smells like waste or looks different as they
do so. Of course, none of the vehicles can start, and Decca blames
Striker, who sent her the fuel.
The Jedi go find Striker, who was
apparently so impossible to find that nobody had ever seen him before,
but Feeana has easily found him now, in order to betray the Jedi and
join him with her gang members, and Decca also easily finds him. Obi-Wan and Anakin with Yoda easily
defeat them all by somehow turning on all of the flame-throwers as they
simultaneously upend the box the weapons are stored in. I think that's
quite a feat, even for Yoda.
But we finally get a confession from
Omega as he begins his escape. He is apparently the son of Xanatos, who
was killed on Telos in The Day of Reckoning, when Obi-Wan was still a Padawan! Was Xanatos
that old? I remember him being portrayed as only a few years older than
Obi-Wan, but I could be mistaken. But to have a wife and child whom he
could send into hiding when Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan hunted him down seems
like stretching things a little.
The only real question that doesn't get
answered in this book is a big one: how did Granta Omega know so many
details of Anakin's vision? He must have spies or recording devices
inside the temple, specifically in the room where Obi-Wan had been
meditating. And that, for certain, is troubling, to say the least.
The tension between Anakin and Obi-Wan
progresses naturally, especially after what happened at the end of the
last book, and the immature relationship the two have at the moment,
where they are still learning to be teacher and student. Obi-Wan needs
to learn that Anakin is fragile emotionally, in that he needs to feel
that he is doing things as he is supposed to, and for that, he needs
lots of praise, which he is not getting. I hope they can reconcile their
feelings naturally over the course of the rest of this series.