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A novel by Rebecca Moesta (1997, Berkeley Science Fiction)
Book 6 in the Junior Jedi Knights
22 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

The junior Jedi chase Uldir, who has stolen Ben Kenobi's lightsaber and the holocron.



1 star+

Read on May 13th, 2001  
    As with the previous book, I found this one to be less about the main characters and more about doing a job, tracing the character that we don't really know, with a laser-filled background full of strange things and silly bad guys.

And Mage Orloc sure was silly. Every time Anakin or Tahiri would say something, they were able to confuse him. And what was the purpose of setting himself up as a Mage on an abandoned space station? He could impress anybody he brought to the station (provided they weren't killed), but beyond that, where was his power? He couldn't practice his "magic" (actually electronic gizmos built into the walls of the station) elsewhere. I don't understand how he could feel powerful at all. He sure was lucky that Uldir asked for the power to make rain, and that he had such a setup ready.

Unfortunately, Uldir was the best developed in this book. He justified to himself why he needed to borrow the holocron and lightsaber, hoped for the best, was extremely impressed by Orloc and his training, and then realized when he was betrayed. But didn't he notice that whenever he tried to do things on his own he failed? Only when Orloc was around could he have performed his "tricks". Didn't that make him wonder?  Thankfully, at the end, he realizes that he doesn't need to be a Jedi to experience excitement and adventure, and decides to be a pilot on a meaningful cause -search and rescue on Coruscant.

Anakin and Tahiri were just along for the ride in this book. They seemed to learn about friendship, but they already knew a lot about that. They learned that climbing ladders can be just as exhausting as climbing stairs (see Vader's Fortress), not exactly college level. Ikrit seemed to do most of the work. He scouted ahead, helped save Tahiri when she was caught in the metal grate, and leaped onto several of the Ranats who were scavenging the station. I thought perhaps, since the Ranats were a native Tatooine species, that Tahiri would be able to at least speak to them, perhaps in their native language. As it turns out, they were just thugs, and didn't play much into the story.

I have always liked the way Tahiri talks on and on. She has lots to say, and not enough time to say it. But here, she rambles on with question after question. She never did that in the Golden Globe trilogy, where she was introduced. I think the author realized that she didn't know what words to put in Tahiri's mouth. And so she would ramble, and finally ask "aren't you going to say anything?" As if that was supposed to be funny. 

Finally, we have Tionne, who seemed to be well-used, even if she was taken out of the action in order to let the kids battle Orloc. What I cannot understand here is why she didn't want to use the holocron. She used the other holocron (before it was destroyed), and Luke gave her permission to use this one, also. Her excuse that it was meant for Jedi Masters is not valid (along with Ikrit's cop-out that Luke was the master here, so he would defer to him). 

That's pretty much the story. The book ends with a big battle between Orloc's "magical" gadgets and the young Jedi. Anakin finally figures out what I knew from the first few chapters -that Orloc uses controls on his robes to control his magic, and so he takes control of Kenobi's lightsaber and slices Orloc's robes to tatters. Of course, everyone thinks that Anakin is going to kill the mage, but that thread (that Anakin might use the Dark Side of the Force) is not followed up on. 

In fact, though they use the Force in this battle, they barely use it any other time in the book. As I mentioned in the last book, this trilogy was not about the main characters. Previously, they had to rely on themselves and the Force to do what was right, to improvise and devise their own strategies. Now, Tionne and Ikrit were with them all the way, and they are being shot at constantly. That makes this series less enjoyable than the character studies we saw previously. 

Strangely enough, despite all that happens, I found the book to be very readable. When reading this book, I expected it to pass.  It was only while writing this review that I realized I didn't like so much of what happened.  Nothing really annoyed me so that I was ready to put the book down, but nothing really stood out, either. It was an okay, if not particularly compelling, way to end the Junior Jedi Knights series.

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