SW Summer Reads – Jedi Quest #1: The Way Of The Apprentice

Today we continue onward with my Star Wars Summer Reads series, in which I ramble on about some of the first SW books I ever read (not to mention some of the best SW books I’ve ever read period). This week I’m super happy to introduce to you the first official book of Jude Watson’s Jedi Quest series: The Way Of The Apprentice. I’d like to hope I’m not the only person who’s reading them and enjoys them as much as the films! So if you haven’t read it yet, go read it, perhaps reread it if it’s been a while, and then join me in my observations and discussions as we dive into The Way Of The Apprentice! And just your luck, I don’t have any good Star Wars reading puns on the top of my head at the moment… πŸ™‚
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Jedi Quest #1: The Way Of The Apprentice, Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth, Episode II, Episode III, and TCW episode Deception (and the related episodes)
Cover artwork for Jude Watsons' Jedi Quest #1: The Way Of The Apprentice
The Way Of The Apprentice takes place a year or two after The Path To Truth, and our dear little Anakin’s fourteen now. The story opens up in about the most sentimental way everrr… in which Obi-Wan gives Anakin the best birthday gift ever: a river stone Qui-Gon had given Obi-Wan. Not only that, but it’s a stone that is a treasure to Obi-Wan. *Twilight wipes tears from her eyes* Anakin loves it dearly, and Obi-Wan recalls that he himself wasn’t that thrilled with it back when he’d first received it (Hard to believe right? Or is it just me?). And then we shift gears for a second as we see that Obi-Wan wants to give Anakin more than just this meaningful gift… he wants Anakin to have a friend. Now, as a seasoned TCW viewer, Anakin and Obi-Wan have always seemed so close that I often forget that there’s a ten-year age gap between them. In one particular series of episodes in TCW season 4, amidst Anakin’s assumption that Obi-Wan had been killed (when really it was all part of a complicated mission, if you recall), he referred to his former master as his “best friend”. And though neither of the duo ever really say it, you can’t not see that they’re truly like brothers (I suppose it’s worth bringing up that Obi-Wan referred to his former Padawan as his “brother” in Episode III; dang it, now I’m going to get all teary again!). Fact is, by the time I finally saw Episode II, I’d already caught up with at least one season of TCW. Remember when Anakin told Padme that “Obi-Wan is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a father” in Episode II? It took some time for their relationship to get from this father-son “thing” to a brotherly bond, and at this point, we’re still seeing them in a more father-son relationship. I can’t really make it clear just how much I love, in this series, watching Obi-Wan having to play the dad Anakin never had. The very fact he’s worried about Anakin having no friends his age is so much like what an actual parent would worry about, it’s scary. That, and as we see later, Obi-Wan finds himself comparing his Padawan to the others and his teaching to theirs. It’s not easy being a super-young Jedi Master; it’s even harder playing the role of a parent and a teacher at the same time. All the while having to watch your emotions. All the respect in the world to you, Master Kenobi!
So, the story’s official start takes us to the Coruscant underworld where we find Anakin doing a little after-hours junk hunting, looking for a new motivator for his latest droid project. The difference between us and Anakin is that, when we need stuff for our hobbies, crafting, and building projects, we go to Michael’s, or Wal-Mart, or RadioShack, while Anakin goes to dumps. But hey, Anakin spent the majority of his childhood doing that sort of thing, scrounging for droid parts and metal junk in pursuing his droid-making hobby. I love that we still see him doing it even as a Jedi Padawan! Anyway, I guess Anakin must enjoy, shall we say, the thrill of the chase, when it comes to buying and/or finding spare parts. It seems to help him get his mind off of his troubles and bring him back to a familiar place in his past. But is it really worth the risk? I guess so, but if I were him, I’d be going to RadioShack. Because seriously… did we mention the Manikons? Oh, and Anakin knew about that risk, what he didn’t see coming this particular evening was running into a certain acquaintance named Tru Veld.
Both Padawans wanted that motivator. Jedi are good at negotiating, buuuuuut they’re not exactly Jedi yet… so it could’ve gotten ugly. Enter the Manikons. Ah, nothing brings people together like a battle when you both have the same enemy and both have each other’s back! This is… one way to start a friendship; I don’t recommend it all the time, but in Star Wars, it’s never a problem. Anakin and Tru work well together in the long run, put up a good fight, and make it back to the Temple alive, with an agreement worked out and a better understanding of the other boy. Now, if Anakin can just get things on track with his future best friend/current Master… by the time they get back, Obi-Wan has some questions for them…
All that aside, the next day dawns with a new mission. And it’s a mission for the record books, from the looks of it as we get four POWER PAIRINGS of Masters and Padawans! I love that this book introduces such a nice number of newbies. I’ll chat more about the Jedi and Padawans in a bit. Their mission will send them to the planet Radnor to two cities, one desolated by a horrible toxin (That would be Aubendo) and the other in mortal fear of being desolated by said toxin (Better known as Tacto). Whoa, did this paragraph just get darker at the mention of this mission? Yup it did. This is kinda serious, you can tell.
So, I think it’d be worth taking a minute to get acquainted with the Padawans. You already know Anakin, but to break it down in my own words…
We have Tru Veld: Silver-skinned, silver-eyed Teevan. Super-flexible, looks mostly human, into mechanics like Anakin, very thoughtful. Padawan of Master Ry-Gaul, makes up second half of what I call TEAM GOLDEN (Called such because Ry-Gaul’s not much for talking, that and Tru is silver, so you can probably dig up my goofy puns easily). Also always has candy in his pocket πŸ™‚
Next we have Darra Thel-Tanis: Blonde, brown-eyed human girl. Amiable, energetic, and the voice of reason in a sea of young men. Padawan of Soara Antana, makes up second half of TEAM TUFFSTUFF (Dumb name, I know, but it works considering the intensity and focus that Soara brings to the table and the spark of energy that Darra is).
Then there’s Ferus Olin: Blonde-streaked brown-haired human guy. A couple years older than the others, extremely skilled, extremely smart, and the most popular youngling in the Temple. Padawan of Siri, makes up second half of TEAM FLAT-OUT AWESOME (Named of course in the fact that Siri is flat-out awesome and everyone thinks Ferus is considered flat-out awesome by almost everyone. More on that later).
We got that out of the way? Good. Moving on! Btw, there’ll be a quiz at the end of the post. LOL JK not really; don’t panic…
So to try and make this blog shorter than the last one, in a nutshell, Radnoran scientists Galen and Curi are in charge, each of the opposite sectors, and they both have some problems they could use a Jedi’s helping hand in. And both of those problems end up separating the Masters from their Padawans in the opposite sectors with their communication cut off. So this is where the story really kicks into gear as we swap back and forth between the first half to the second half. The Masters find themselves on a hunt for the toxin’s cure and the Padawans set out to keep the peace. And both of their journeys take some unexpected detours. Before getting into that, let me brief you on the other three Masters…
First up we have Ry-Gaul: Wise, thoughtful, fairly quiet, easily gains respect. First half of TEAM GOLDEN (You get it now? Because silence is golden? OK I know when I’m not funny…)
Next, Soara Antara: Focused, tough, blunt, strong, and supremely epic with a lightsaber. Has a good heart under all that stoic-ness. First half of TEAM TUFFSTUFF.
Then there’s the ever-awesome Siri: Short blonde hair, blue-eyed. Agile, a leader, quick-witted, not as much of a by-the-book Jedi as she used to be, excellent pilot, apparently a marvelous actor (You remember her from The Path To Truth, right?). First half of TEAM FLAT-OUT AWESOME (And she truly puts the “flat-out awesome” in TEAM FLAT-OUT AWESOME).
So then, while the Jedi continue their “walk toward death” (Dang, that’s a pretty extreme way to end a chapter, Ms. Watson, especially considering none of them die…) and find themselves questioning whether the toxin was truly an accident, the Padawans found themselves in a nest of raiders. Which leads from one thing to the next, and soon, the Padawans too start to wonder the same as their Masters. But perhaps the youth could work better together if it weren’t for the all-too-obvious friction between Anakin and Ferus. At their first battle earlier, Ferus acted like he had everything under control and no one else did — and that did not sit well with Anakin. And since then, Anakin hasn’t been overly fond of the “It” Padawan at. all. It doesn’t help that generally Tru and Darra are cool with whatever Ferus thinks, making Anakin somewhat of an outsider. Ferus seems to, despite being known for his overall awesome attitude, have trouble not being a jerk. It’s hard to say whether Ferus really is a snob or if Anakin’s just not enjoying being looked down on by him. Even if young Olin is somewhat likeable, I don’t see much admirable about him despite he’s calm, cool, and smart; you could say that it’s just Anakin’s point of view that makes it difficult to like him, but IDK… I’m very interested to see how this rivalry between the two will unfold as the series progresses, which will hopefully expose Ferus’ true colors (of course, he might be genuine and I’ll feel like a total idiot for assuming bad of him, but I don’t think it’s all that likely). Thankfully, it’s Anakin’s growing friendship with Tru that helps keep him level-headed. I love how the two think so much alike they literally finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. Plus, Tru seems to be really good at smoothing out Anakin’s frustration with Ferus, even if those two never really become friends. Tru’s just awesome. It’s as simple as that πŸ˜€
On the other side, the Jedi keep uncovering more and more proof that the toxin is a cover of sorts for an invasion. And it naturally leads to some near misses. For example: Obi-Wan and Siri’s near escape from an Avoni ship loaded with prototype battle droids. Never a dull moment, am I right? And then the discovery that the toxin died off, and then… the unearthing of betrayal… (Watch that Galen, people)
Which is exactly why the Padawans are the next ones to come to action (after, of course, Anakin and Ferus stop arguing for the moment).
Also, before we get on with the thrilling climax and the conclusion, I just have to make note of this quote from Siri. It’s awesome.
“When do I ever seem worried? I just hide it better than you, that’s all.” – Siri, to Obi-Wan. Remember how I referenced a similar TCW line in the last post? One that Obi-Wan said in Blue Shadow Virus?? Heh heh… and he was the one commenting on why she didn’t seem worried about their plan! Sorry guys that was just too awesome not to bring up πŸ™‚ And even further into their conversation, it’s interesting to reveal that Siri has just the same concerns for her oh-so-perfect Ferus as Obi-Wan has for Anakin. While I’m interested in seeing what continues to happen with Anakin and Ferus, I very much look forward to also seeing more out of the fantastic duo that is Obi-Wan and Siri.
Anddddd then there was a MTT above the Masters’ heads… uh-oh.
I won’t bore you with all the mundane details of how the Jedi nearly got killed, trapped in a canyon, and almost were rampaged by a new dangerous variety of battle droids. OK, I’m kidding it so wasn’t mundane, but I don’t want to spoil it all in case you haven’t read The Way Of The Apprentice in a while. And you know, Anakin and Tru snuck aboard a MTT in an attempt to rescue their Masters. And how finally, for just that minute, young Skywalker and young Olin agreed on something! (Btw, Happy Anakin And Ferus Actually Agreed Day! πŸ˜€ ) And while working together with Tru, Anakin gained a deeper understanding of fighting together instead of fighting for oneself (CONGRATS! Give the boy a big ol’ slice of humble pie!).
Oh, and the Padawans saved their Masters in spectacular fashion. That too. Anakin and Tru broke through solid rock in that MTT! I kid you not!
And thus, the invasion failed, Galen got busted, got a few choice words from Curi, and Radnor now has a chance. And when I say Galen got some “choice words”, I mean some real CHOICE. WORDS. Curi accused him of nothing but the truth, and it had to hurt like crazy, but it was true. Obi-Wan really summed it up for our little traitor friend;
“Your planet is in ruins. Your family is destroyed. Thousands are dead. And still you blame others. You have not learned anything.” Remember what Siri said in the last book about Obi-Wan always saying the truth when you least wanted to hear it? So Galen didn’t learn anything, but did Anakin? Yes… mostly, from what we see, it was more of Tru than it was Ferus who taught him the “working together” thing. So Anakin did learn something right? Leave it to Ferus to yet again play Mr. Perfect. He accused Anakin of lying, among saying some other harsh-sounding things! Now, I know that really and truly Anakin wasn’t entirely right, I mean, we know where Anakin ends up in another twenty years, but Ferus… he wasn’t entirely right either! I honestly am pretty mad at him; I get Anakin in this situation. But I have to remember that neither side is all right or all wrong. I don’t know where these stories will go (especially considering that the second Jedi Quest book at my library should’ve been returned years ago and I won’t be able to read it unless I get a copy from another library), but I wholeheartedly look forward to where they take me. The Way Of The Apprentice is a great, five-star book that continues to fill us in on this lesser-known SW era.
So, until next week, when we’ll crack open another SW Summer Read!
Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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