||This story didn't resonate with me as
I think it was intended. I found the characters to be shallow, and the
plot rather predictable. Finally, the writing was not as good as in the
Judging from the
way the author constantly brings up the topic of Obi-Wan's torn
loyalties on Melida/Daan in Defenders of the Dead and
Path, I think we were supposed to see this story in that light, but from
the outside. Instead of Obi-Wan being torn between his duty to the Jedi
and his desire to help his new friends, Obi-Wan is now on the outside,
watching the Prince of Rutan decide between his duty to lead or his
desire to stay with the people of Senali.
Unfortunately, we don't see enough of
the story from Obi-Wan's perspective to gain a new appreciation of what
he learned from his personal crisis. Most of the story is told through
Qui-Gon, and even then, we don't see much of his emotional state,
Mainly, he watches events unfold. That's fine in a story, but it doesn't
make for compelling drama.
This is especially true since most of
the people we meet are quite one-dimensional. King Frane is a
mean-spirited tyrant, from the looks of it. He believes his kingship
gives him complete control of the people, that his word is law. At least
if Leed became ruler, he could bring some compassion to the land. It's
too bad that we don't see any of the common people of Rutan, to give us
a better perspective on the type of ruler he is. Aside from hunting and
eating and drinking, I don't think there is any more to him.
Leed is right that he isn't a ruler. He
could be, as I mentioned, and I thought it would have been a good idea
for the author to put him on the throne, and maybe revisit the planet in
a year, to see if anything has changed. All Leed wants to do is rest in
the idyllic society on Senali, where families are very large, and there
appears to be no real distinction between the people who live there. He
has a responsibility to show his people that these are not the terrible
enemies they think the Senali are.
His brother Taroon had me fooled, for
at least part of the book. He was so much like his father that I didn't
think he was much more than a buffoon. However, when he responded to
Drenna's teaching, I really thought he had developed some sort of
compassion, though it was rather quick. I never thought he and Drenna
had emotions for each other. I suppose he was turned from his path just
a little because of her. The love seemed to come out of nowhere, given
to us by the author, instead of the characters. Taroon's true nature was revealed the next morning,
when Leed was captured by unknown forces. As he said to Drenna, there
was no reason for him to resort to kidnapping Leed. His plan was way too
convoluted, since he had the rebel band go from Rutan to Senali, with
their modified probes, then back again. It doesn't make sense at all.
King Frane's reaction to Taroon's
desire to lead is quite funny, but what happened to the tradition of the
first-born being ruler of Rutan? I suppose it was only something more to
try and get Leed back to his home planet.
War is narrowly averted, because of
Leed's acceptance of his duty, before Taroon tries to discredit him with
the modified seekers. The daughter of the Senali leader was imprisoned
when Leed refused to come home -Frane figured his son had been coerced
or brainwashed, because why would anybody not want to return to Rutan? I
have several reasons, but none that he would have believed. Qui-Gon,
Obi-Wan and Drenna get themselves arrested, similar to what Obi-Wan and
Siri did in the last book, so they would have access to Yaana's cell.
They succeed in rescuing her, but fall under fire from King Frane's
troops. Thus Leed capitulates and agrees to become King when his time
This book didn't really do much for me.
The writing style was a little stilted, which made following it more
difficult than in the last books. I didn't find most of the characters
to be very interesting, and I felt that Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon didn't have
much to do. They managed to use their lightsabers to good effect at the
beginning of the book, when they were targeted by the seekers of the
hunt, on the backs of animals, but otherwise, they simply twirled their
weapons to avoid getting hit by darts, or by the seekers.
Several plots came out of nowhere, and
the fact that the author was forced to resort to long speeches by the
characters to explain everything tells me that the complications were
not really necessary. It would have been better to show us evidence,
rather than hide it in Qui-Gon's head.
I really wonder how the first-borns survived on the other planet. Did
Yaana participate in the hunts, or was she summarily ignored? Did Frane
enjoy his decade on Senali when he was young -I doubt it, given the way
he acts, here. The plot twists could have been confusing, if they had
meant anything. Mostly, they didn't, which made the book rather
uninteresting. Hopefully the next books will pick up
the pace a little.