The book opens with Zek, which is fitting, since the authors
seem to have become bored with the original four Young Jedi Knights.
In this book, Zek still plays a minor part, but he is constantly around.
Raynar and Lusa, who became major players in the last story arc, are also
featured, though not as much as Zek. Anakin joins the gang, in a
welcome introduction, but he doesn't get much time, either. Finally,
they have introduced a new girl, Anja Gallandro, the daughter of a man
from Han's past.
The regulars, Jacen, Jaina, Tenel Ka and Lowie, don't grow through
this book. As much as I enjoy sharing in their thoughts, they need
some more development.
I think Jaina gets the most development here, as she grows up.
She is permitted to fly the Falcon, and she is good in a firefight.
But the book is 125 pages long. Divide that up by seven
main characters (including Han), and a few minor ones (including Kyp Durron
-what's he been up to?) and there are not many pages here per person.
The story is simple, as always. Han has been invited to
be Grand Marshall at a race near Ord Mantell. He is taking the twins
and Anakin with him. The Grand Marshall is always the first to go
through the race, but they are interrupted by a cluster of space mines,
from which they barely escape.
The race is delayed by one day, and Zek, Tenel Ka and Lowie secretly
win it. Now the young Jedi are together again. While studying
the debris of the mines, they are attacked, and Anja helps them fight off
their attackers. She is carrying a lightsaber, but apparently has
no Force sensitivity. But that doesn't stop Jacen from inviting her
to join the Jedi Academy near the end of the book.
We learn quite early on that Anja is playing to humiliate and
kill Han, because she believe he killed her father. This happened
in the book Han Solo and the Lost Legacy.
She has teamed up with a bounty hunter from the graphic novel In
Deadly Pursuit, who is now running Ord Mantell, to this end.
She convinces them to go to the planet where she grew up, caught
in a civil war that started when the Rebellion was in its infancy.
Han goes there as a New Republic representative. She intends to get
him killed there, but when he seems to have a good chance to stop the war,
she seems to have second thoughts.
She double crosses them once on the planet, but when one of her
close friends from childhood is killed by her own bomb, Anja changes her
mind once again. She decides that she will join Luke's Academy.
It is clear that there is some setup for lots of betrayal here.
Jaina is uneasy about Anja because her brother and her closest friend (Zek,
whom I expect to become her boyfriend by the end of this) seem to be drawn
to her. She is older, after all, and very attractive. I guess
that's all it takes to get Jacen's eyes off Tenel Ka.
The run-in with the lizard creatures who attacked the farmers'
village took up way too many pages. It was also inconsistent, with
the Jedi able to sense the mines, and later having trouble. The lizards
could easily outrun them all, then, in the minefield, being slower than
The traps in the woods were neat, as was the effort to remove
them all once the truce was achieved. But what about the rest of
the planet? They set up a truce between two villages, and the whole
planet sets down their weapons? There was no mention of any other
villages once the leader's brother was killed.
I'll see what the next book holds. Obviously, the boys
will fall deeper for Anja, who will then betray them. I hope the
characterization gets better, and that our heroes get more to do.
There are too many people for a short novel already.