||While I'm ambivalent of another
potential Sith cult popping up, the story that introduces it is quite
The main adversaries in this novel, as
in The Way of the Apprentice, are another young brother-sister team,
this time a pair of bounty hunters named Floria and Dane. I was afraid
that when they Floria was introduced, she would betray them, and I was
right. Fortunately, Obi-Wan saw through it right away, and Anakin wasn't
too far behind.
Obi-Wan and Anakin went to Ragoon-6 for
a training mission, in order to track a Jedi named Wren, a Force-user's
version of hide-and-seek. The mission is supposed to strengthen their
Master-Padawan bonds as the two try to find clues to the hidden Jedi in
the landscape. Unfortunately, as expected, Anakin doesn't take it too
seriously -even boasting that he could find Wren in a single day. But he
is so focused on what he wants that he rushes and things go wrong.
He takes a wrong turn into a pack of
vicious animals, then another into a cavern that floods as they get into
it. Obi-Wan lets his Padawan make these mistakes, and doesn't question
the odd circumstances, either. That's when they meet Floria, who
pretends to be weak and helpless. It turns out she is part of a group of
five bounty hunters trying to capture the two Jedi.
One by one, they take down the other
bounty hunters, using a variety of tricks, including having to rescue
Wren from booby-trapped treetops. I really liked that one, mainly
because Obi-Wan actually used his wits to outsmart the hunter, though I
thought he should have been able to use the Force to startle the birds.
With the last hunter, though, I was cringing, because they should be
using the Force more. There was no need to lasso the thermal detonators,
for example, when they could easily Force-push them away.
The new bad guy, with an unknown
motive, but in possession of a few Sith artifacts, is named Granta
Omega. He is cunning, and I liked the way he impersonated one of the
bounty hunters on the mountain, pretending to have stunned legs as
Obi-Wan and Anakin passed by, supposedly in the custody of the two young
We also get to meet Dexter, the cafe
owner from Attack of the Clones, who
bought the cafe from Didi and Astri, people we met in earlier Jedi
Apprentice novels, and who moved on in The
Path to Truth, which was really nice continuity.
The real meat of the story, though, takes
place in the heads of the two main characters. They are in a sticky
situation, and had to rely on each others' power of observation to get
out. Obi-Wan keeps listening to the voice in his head, hoping to hear
Qui-Gon's advice, which he passes on to Anakin. It's nice to see how
that advice frustrates Anakin more than anything, until Obi-Wan realizes
that his student is not himself at a younger age, and that he is not his
teacher when he was that age. He came to the planet because Qui-Gon
brought him there, just before Talh's death (was that in
The Death of Hope - I have no mention of
the planet in my review of that book).
Throughout the book, Obi-Wan does
things because his master did them, like withholding information, and
teaching lessons instead of answering questions, things adults do often
with children. But by the end, Obi-Wan realizes that his dynamic with
Anakin is different from his dynamic with Qui-Gon, and I think that will
make him a better teacher. He starts adapting to Anakin's thirst for
knowledge, his emotional attachment to everything, including situations
(where he characteristically charges right in). Anakin will never learn
to think before acting, but Obi-Wan will learn to read his Padawan's
mood. Anakin asks a lot of questions, mostly about why he didn't
recognize the dangers that Obi-Wan did. Obi-Wan's answers are mostly
"experience", which is realistic.
And so I expect that the story of the
Sith follower will continue in the next book. I hope the author can keep
up this kind of emotional challenge and thoughtfulness, while spinning
even more interesting and intriguing stories. Based on the previous
series, I am looking forward to it and expect nothing less.