||Decent enough, but not truly engaging.
Once again, I felt like Obi-Wan was
tagging along for the ride, but I suppose that was true for both main
characters. For the most part, they were reacting to what was around
them. I don't expect them to be in control of the situation all of the
time, especially in an investigation where they know nothing at first.
However, Qui-Gon went in without a plan, and Obi-Wan simply followed
The planet they visited is New Apsolon,
a world where Qui-Gon and Tahl oversaw the first free elections only six
years before. The society doesn't seem to have evolved much since then.
I wonder how much of that is because of the wealthy Civilized part of
the population. Not to say that the other part is not civilized. They
are simply Workers, and the distinction is still made. If they truly
wanted to grow as a society, the distinction should be abolished.
It's no wonder the former head of state
was murdered, as both sides seem to have had reason to hate him, even
though he was elected for a second term. The Civilized probably disliked
him because he rubbed his victory in their faces, with all the parks and
monuments to the fallen Workers from the revolution. That is no way to
treat the population, even if they didn't do anything to relieve the
oppression of the Workers. The Workers probably disliked him because,
although they were given the right to vote, their lifestyles don't seem
to have changed. They still live in cheap, run-down houses, and most of
them still cater to the Civilized. Only people like the security officer
and a few others have been able to get prestigious jobs. This isn't the
first time in this series that we've seen memorials to the fallen so
publicly displayed; we saw it before in
Defenders of the Dead, for one.
Of course, the population loved their
for the most part. The most monumental thing he did was abolish the
secret police, the Absolutes, so citizens -probably both Civilized and
Workers- felt safer.
The author barely mentions much of
this, but it is fit into the descriptions and moods of the people and
places throughout the book. This is how well the author writes, even
when the story is less appealing to me, so that it is an enjoyable read,
Tahl is actually sent to this place
alone, because of a plea from the twin girls of the former, murdered,
leader. They felt that the new leader, Roan, was the murderer, and that
they were no longer safe in their own palace. However, when Tahl fails
to report in after three weeks, Qui-Gon decides that he must follow. He
goes against the wishes of the Jedi Council, and this once again shows
how he can take actions into his own hands, defying the Council, as
Obi-Wan said in The Phantom Menace. It's a wonder that he did say
something like that, though, because he is just as headstrong as his
master, and disobeys the Council just as often! Obi-Wan is not the
play-by-rules type that we (later) see in the movie.
Qui-Gon is in love with Tahl, which,
because it is unfulfilled and uncertain, is what has been causing the
tension between them lately. I don't remember too much tension from
previous books, except that Qui-Gon did seem to fawn over her a little
too much when they were together. It's good to see that the authors of
the Star Wars universe think as I do on this matter- that there is no
reason for a Jedi to be forbidden love. It seems like an illogical plot
machination for Attack of the Clones.
Tahl managed to infiltrate the
Absolutes, the survivors of which have regrouped. There is a similar
group on the side of the Workers. Both have plans on replacing the head
of the government by force.
I don't understand why Roan was opposed
to calling new elections, since he was not the elected leader. The
author appears to be too caught up in an American style government,
where the second-in-command can take over unilaterally if the President
is killed. In British and Canadian systems, the new leaders are normally
expected to call for elections if they unexpectedly take power (though
they don't always do so). It lends credibility to the new leader.
The main point of the book is the
relationship between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, though that is not at the
forefront. While Qui-Gon is distracted, it is very nice to see Obi-Wan
giving suggestions and his master accepting them. He also makes up for
Qui-Gon's lack of attention by his exceptional observation skills, so
that they don't fall into obvious traps.
Obi-Wan still jumps to conclusions,
though, something he has to work on. I like the way Qui-Gon is slowly
teaching him to keep multiple perspectives, reminding him to be patient,
while he can't be patient himself.
For a good part of the later book, I
wondered if the Jedi were being played by the twins, or by somebody
else. I recognized this before the Jedi did, and it appears that the
chief of security, Balog, is responsible. They might still be wrong,
though I doubt it. I still think the twins, sixteen year old girls, have
a part in the plot, but I can't even speculate about how. I wondered if Tahl was found out in her position among the Absolutes because the twins
either told somebody, or were tortured using some devices similar to
what was in the museum. Nobody asked how the twins escaped.
The author also often points to
somebody who might have the means to be guilty, but who is simply
innocent, and I think that belongs to Roan's brother, Manex, though I
have my doubts about him, too. He was pretty funny in his luxurious
apartment, wanting only wealth, and enjoying it fully.
And so this book ends as a
cliff-hanger, once again. Balog obviously lied about the meeting, and
Tahl was once again taken prisoner. It is up to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan to
rescue her. I wonder how much of Qui-Gon's vision will come true,
though. Judging by the titles of the next couple of books, I wonder if
the author is going to kill her off. Only time will tell.