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A novel by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta (1998, Berkley Science Fiction)
Book 3 of Young Jedi Knights: Under Black Sun
24 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

The Young Jedi go looking for Anja on Kessel and Calamari, and discover Black Sun's plan to take over the galaxy.



1 star

Read March 3rd to 5th, 2000  
    So the Young Jedi Knights save the galaxy once again.  I for one never doubted them. 

This finale was once again a tribute to short thinking.  The story was very simple:  Anja steals Zek's ship, so the young Jedi go after her.  She leads them to Kessel, but leaves before they get there.  She makes her way to Calamari's Crystal Reef, where a large stockpile of spice is being held, waiting for Black Sun's takeover. 

The young Jedi split up.  Knowing that there is something afoot, Jaina and Lowie stay on Kessel to try and root out the traitors.  Jacen, Zek and Tenel Ka go to Calamari in search of Anja. 

On Kessel, Jaina and Lowie watch as Czethros takes over.  They do what they can to sabotage his efforts, and finally release his hostages, who take up arms against him.  He is finally frozen in a vat of carbonite.

On Calamari, the young Jedi meet with Cilgal, the Mon Calamari Jedi and ambassador and healer.  They find Anja and go under the polar ice cap and destroy the stash of spice, only to be attacked by a sea creature.  They spend many pages fighting and running from the creature, effecting repairs on their sub, and then freeing it from the ice.  In that time, Cilgal also cures Anja of her spice addiction. 

They all return to the Jedi Academy, and are honoured at a celebration involving all sorts of dignitaries, where Anakin discovers a way to root out all the Black Sun infiltrators in the galaxy. 

The end is emotional as Jacen gives Tenel Ka a home-made necklace, and she gives him a hug.  Zek and Jaina hug, too.  It is clear that they will be together for a long time -or at least until the next set of books, which may need them separate. 

The problems with this book are numerous, but worst of all is that the book is boring.  Through all the action, space is given to small details of the fights, so that a skirmish takes several pages.  If it was boiled down to a normal treatment of the battles, the book would be half as long.  It is uncharacteristic for Jaina and Lowie to nearly die of laughter after reversing the flow of the waste plumbing units, especially since it has absolutely no effect on the story.  It is an annoyance, and would perhaps lead Czethros to discover them before they could destroy the transmitter (although he doesn't). 

Czethros already admitted that he was simply an arm of Black Sun.  That his superiors would track him down and kill him, even in prison, if he lived through this exchange.  So taking him out still leaves the main problem.  To say that Czethros is the only one who could set up what he did (as he states many times throughout) is nonsense.  He would have to report to his superiors, and they would know who to signal, and how to do it.  The superior minds behind Black Sun would still be out there. 

Anakin's plan to flush the infiltrators out group by group is a pretty good one, but it would only work once, maybe twice.  Once the traitors heard about a failed coup on another planet, they wouldn't fall for the same trick also.  And keeping something like that a secret would be impossible. 

The young Jedi didn't have much to do here.  Anja was cured of the physical addiction of spice, and gets a job from Lando, so she gets closure.  The relationships between male and female humans get the only kind of resolution they can get -you can't have Jacen and Tenel Ka engaged, or lovers, at their age, at least not  in a young reader novel.  So they end up close friends, and possibly "going out". 

But other than that, they get no development.  They didn't do anything stupid, but nothing interesting, either.  Zek got to be mad that Anja stole his ship.  Jaina got to be concerned and jealous (in a small way) about Anja.  Jacen got to chitter from the cold.  Only Em Teedee got to be really useful, beyond his normal duties: he flew out the explosives that destroyed the transmitter.  But even that went off without a hitch. 

The ceremony at the end was neat, in a way, because it provided closure to the series of fourteen novels about the Young Jedi Knights.  It was obviously written to bring about memories of the closing scene in Star Wars.  That was nice closure, but the rest of the book is forgettable.


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