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SW Reads: Jedi Quest #3 & #4

Hello, Star Wars fan-family! I had nearly a month’s worth of wireless issues keeping me from posting, but I have plenty to write about! Including, of course, some more Star Wars Reads! (No longer really Summer Reads, but oh well) Today we’re exploring not one, but two of Jude Watson’s incredible Jedi Quest series. If you like, you can read my posts on the previous books The Path To Truth, The Way Of The Apprentice, and The Trail Of The Jedi in the respective links. (Though I will warn you, they are old and not the same quality posts I write now.)

But yes, what more can I say on these lovely books? They are among my top top favorites! They’re so richly detailed and so masterfully written. Though I’ve never read a bad SW youth novel, these are so amazingly done that it’s hard to tell them apart from the full-length novels. Each chapter is full of deep intrigue, great character moments, and fascinating, totally-believable ideas of the state of the galaxy before the Clone Wars. Ms. Watson digs in deep on the Force, the Jedi, and Obi-Wan and Anakin’s long, sometimes-difficult road to true brotherhood. I have yet to read the recently-released Anakin And Obi-Wan comics to know what these years look like from a modern, canon perspective, but Ms. Watson’s works seem to line up with the canon stories almost flawlessly. And either way, they are amazing reads. I highly, highly recommend, especially if you enjoy the Prequels and TCW as much as I do, or if you want a better idea of what was going on between I and II.

Now, let’s dive into the fine details of these chapters. First, The Dangerous Games, an epic with both podracing and political scandal!
Contains spoilers from the aforementioned book, and some of the books prior. And if you haven’t seen Episode I you will be a a disadvantage.


(Image credit: Amazon.com)

– Traffic does happen in the SW universe, and not just in The Yoda Chronicles! That’s why there are spacelane officers.
– “I know, I know, feel my anger and let it go. But do I have to be a Jedi all the time, even in space traffic?” #Relatable
– Y’know I remembered a while back on one of my Rebels posts wondering if there’s a certain age you can start driving/flying in the SW universe. There’s apparently nothing out-of-the-ordinary about 14-year-old Anakin at the controls, so maybe there isn’t? Of course, I know this isn’t the final canon word, but it’s reasonable. Or maybe it’s different, depending on where in the galaxy you are.
– Ms. Watson paints the most vivid picture of this world and where the games are held. It’s fascinating and gripping! I feel like I’m there. I can feel the electricity of the busy crowds of the city, and imagining being there for a galaxywide sporting event is a thrill! Anyone else smelling hot dogs and pretzels? But at the same time, through Obi-Wan’s explanations and Anakin’s observations, we see that Eusebus isn’t as perfect and glossy as it makes itself out to be, giving me a sense of realistic caution, and a better understanding of why the Jedi’s mission is so important today.
– I just love Obi-Wan and Siri’s bond! Their conversations are so fun to read, and feel so natural and easygoing!
– I’m just now imagining Ferus Olin to have an Irish accent. Because Irish accents are cool, and it adds a little something more to his character than just the serious, unaccented voice I was giving him before.
– I also love Obi-Wan’s solid friendship with Didi and Astri. It’s one of those things that reminds me “oh yeah, Jude Watson wrote another SW series before this one and I really need to read it already”.
– Though Bog’s a bit of a blowhard, I still find him an highly entertaining character.
– I get it too, Ani. YAS PODRACINGGG!!
– Heheh ok so maybe “solid” isn’t a good description for Obi-Wan and Didi’s friendship, but it says much of Master Kenobi’s character that he’s still willing to help out the poor hapless charlatan.
– And Tru Veld is still one of my faves of her characters. His species is so cool, and he’s the most laid-back ball of sunshine in the Jedi Order! I hope he’ll come along the ride for more stories in the future 😀
– It’s so easy to agree with Anakin’s decision to help the Tyerell kids. Even though he disobeyed Obi-Wan to do it, I could see myself doing the same thing if I had the ability to do so. And of course, we all have to remember the Jedi are not right about everything. But then, at the same time, we know Anakin is doing this not just out of compassion, but also from a slight desire for vengeance. Not to mention his love of the game itself. There’s so many gray areas here, it leaves us readers with a lot to chew on.
– I absolutely can hear an Italian accent for Didi and a thick New York accent for Fligh. BTW if you didn’t read my last Reads post, you missed the part when I mentioned that I love reading Star Wars books out loud so I can do the voices.
– Seriously? Still no lap restraints in these things? Of course, maybe these air taxis are more like those little shuttles or golf carts they have in sports stadium parking lots and you’re just expected to hold on to something ’til you get there…
– Jedi have a seriously epic eye for detail and an amazing memory! This is why they’re so good at the peacekeeping game!
– I know there’s a lot of difference between them in reality, but this multi-leveled swoop bike obstacle course calls to mind the landspeeder race tunnels in the Droids series. Coincidence…?
– Aww! There was once a little yellow-tailed summerbird living in the Senate Building! Things you can learn from a good SW novel! 🙂
– Pretty sure Scorch Zanales has the coolest name of any podracer driver in the SW universe.
– And WHOAAAAA WHAT AN UNEXPECTED ENDING. Such good stuff!

Now for the next chapter, and possibly my new favorite in the series: the chilling mystery that is The Master Of Disguise!
Again, contains spoilers from the aforementioned book and some of the books prior.


(Image credit: Amazon.com)

– LOL the cover art totally threw me off. I kept thinking Anakin was dueling a changeling or something… I didn’t quite recognize Ferus from the back…
– Yeah when you put it that way, with such masterful, tangible descriptions, I can see why one might think sand is bleh.
– Wow! Darra and I are twins! She looked blonde to me on an earlier book’s cover art, but they’re describing it as copper-and-gold, which is exactly my color!
– I must try out her bright-ribboned padawan braid. If anyone knows of a good padawan-braiding tutorial I’d be forever grateful, because those tiny things are so strangely difficult to make… hehe sorry for all the hair talk.
– It’s amazing how these books can be both beautiful and heartbreaking in parts. Between the clear devastation of war and the regrets Anakin left behind on Tatooine, my reactions are definitely what you might refer to as “all the feels”.
– Oooh so many branches of science to study! It would be fun to be a scientist in the SW galaxy, ’cause with so many worlds, there are nearly infinite amounts of things to discover and study! Yes I am a science nerd. Did I forget to mention that?
– I really appreciate the moments with Madame Jocasta in this book and the last. I like the way Ms. Watson writes her, making her a tough old bird with a solid sense of humor!
– OK Yoda’s appearance in here was the highlight of my day. He may be my favorite voice to read out loud now.
– Whoa Tru’s lightsaber is orange? That is so cool. Could be orange ‘sabers are just for training here, but still. I think it’d be a good lightsaber color!
– Chapter Eight is so fun. Obi-Wan and Jocasta, Jedi mystery-solvers! Also glad to know that Obi-Wan likes tea, because so do I 🙂
– I’m actually starting to want Soara Antana to teach me lightsaber techniques, too. I might be a glutton for punishment, but I do love a challenge.
– OMG NOW I KNOW WHY THE BOOK IS TITLED WHAT IT IS. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.
– I am both wildly fascinated and horribly shook over these concepts. Granta Omega just got scarier. And non-Force-sensitive Sith cults? It just felt colder in here.
– I hope someday I learn to write plots this intricate and in-depth!
– YADDLE SPEAKS! That was really neat, because I’m 99% sure I’ll never read a SW novel giving her a spoken line again.
– Just when you think it can’t get any more intense, IT GETS SO MUCH MORE INTENSE! But that’s something I adore about this series. And this book I think may be the most intense yet!

Ahh, aren’t those just fantastic? Well, *does Yoda impression again* much to blog on, I still have. Look for one last Reads post next week, and then there’s this upcoming new series I must discuss, and also I received an amazing visual encyclopedia for my birthday, so… yep. Lots of Star Wars equals lots to write!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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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… 🙂
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
(Image credit: Amazon.com)
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 🙂
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 😀
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 🙂 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! 😀 ) 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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SW Summer Reads – Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth

If you’re wondering why there hasn’t been a blog in a while… I suppose you can blame it on all these crazy SW-related happenings happening on a day-to-day basis. Between rewatching TCW episodes I haven’t seen in forever, finally seeing The Ewok Adventures movies, and all this crazy exciting new SW news in general (including a rumored Clone Wars Soundtrack… aw yeahhhh!), it’s been difficult to figure exactly what to blog about! And by the time I finally got to rereading the book I’m blogging about, writing notes about it, and getting all prepped to make a post, I just had to catch a cold! 😦 Sigh… such is life oftentimes, but now at last I’ve got my creativity regained (I usually lose some of it when I get the sniffles and have to wait until I’m well again to get it back; To make it clearer, I stink at writing and drawing when I’m sick) and everything ready to make a fantastic new blog!
So, to explain this new series of posts I’m calling Star Wars Summer Reads…
As a SW fan, I love reading SW stories. Love ’em. After I finally got acquainted with the Prequel Trilogy in 2011, I was excited to read some SW fiction for realsies, because after all, watching Episode I alone helped me understand and have a greater appreciation for the Originals. But well, there’s something rather intimidating about the section of Timothy Zahn novels at my library… I didn’t know where to begin! To me personally, I prefer SW stories that involve the characters I’m familiar with in timelines I’m familiar with, that mainly feature the good guys and keep them good guys (I’ll be honest, folks, there’s small chance I’ll ever read Dark Empire), and are legit Star Wars without being confusing (as I am still a Padawan SW fan). So I found the best place for me to start was in my library’s children’s section. Not saying I’ll never read the “grown-up” SW novels (especially considering that I really want to meet this Mara Jade I’ve heard so much about), but for now, this is where my comfort zone lies. Anyway, my library have two shelves of just their SW young readers’ fiction… and I just ate. it. up! That day, a few weeks past seeing Episode I, I grabbed ahold of Grievous Attacks (a novelization of TCW Season 1 episodes Rookies, The “Droid” 2-Parter, and Lair of Grievous) and Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth. Since then, I have enjoyed three particular series: Jude Watson’s Jedi Quest, Paul and Hollace Davids’ Jedi Prince, and Ryder Windham’s The Clone Wars: Secret Missions. I thought it’d be fun to give you guys a Closer Look and my thoughts on each series’ first book. So now if you haven’t read them, you can read them and then read the following blogs and enjoy my random ramblings and spazzings on each. I’ll eventually get to the other chapters in each series, but until then, you can enjoy the ride! I’m writing a Closer Look on each of these books in chronological order of its happening in the SW galaxy, so it makes sense to start off with the series that meets in between Episodes I and II. Now, making the jump to LIGHT READ!
Ugh that was terrible… I’m sorry… (HyperCollinsSpace?) AGAIN. I’m SORRY. I’ve got too many SW reading puns… just you wait until Star Wars Reads Day! If you’re not annoyed now, you will be… 😛
Grievous Attacks was the first SW book I ever read, (I hadn’t really seen much of TCW at the time but I knew enough to feel comfortable reading it) but as for Jedi Quest… that was the first SW fiction I ever read! Rereading this past week has been fun, especially considering I barely remembered what happened in it. Bottom line, when I first read Jedi Quest, it was right around a difficult couple of days in my life and I barely remembered the book itself. Plus, it’s been over two years, so it was overdue for a reread anywayz.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode II, Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth, and various TCW Episodes Blue Shadow Virus, Deception, The Gathering (and the episodes that follow), Revenge, and The Lawless.
Cover Art of Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth
(Image credit: Amazon.com)
Jedi Quest: The Path To Truth, is written by the awesome Jude Watson and is the kickstarter for her Jedi Quest series. The Path To Truth is sort of the #0, as it precedes the events of the following series and can be read separately from the rest of the series, so it’s simply referred to as Jedi Quest on the cover. Just don’t want us get confused when I do my next blog on the actual series’ first chapter. Upon rereading this book, I was shocked that I had forgotten so much of this story’s intense fights, daring escapes, and raw emotions! At the time I’d first read it, I had only just seen Episode I, so it was a perfect bridge to seeing Episode II several months later. Ms. Watson has some serious skills when it comes to writing; the way she gets into the minds of Obi-Wan and Anakin is astounding… so if you haven’t read this yet, go and read it! It’s nothing new (in fact, it was written a year prior to Episode II’s release, 2001), so you shouldn’t have too much trouble digging it out of your library. But still, it’s so so worthwhile!
The story opens in a pretty planet-shaking flashback of a younger Anakin on what began as a perfect day on Tatooine. Perfect weather, no work, and a picnic with a friend… what could possibly go wrong, right?? Well, as any SW fan knows, peace and perfection will often be interrupted by something like war, battles, bounty hunters, explosions, etc… in this case, it was a very sad thing as Anakin’s community was hit by a slave trader named Krayn (using the term “slave trader” loosely here; the guy’s horrible! But you knew that). My heart breaks for dear little Anakin as he sees his friend lose a parent and his mom in mortal fear. Poor kid… it’s hard to ignore what exactly shaped his life. Give us about six years later, and the tides have shifted; Anakin’s a Jedi Padawan and he’s helping Obi-Wan drive through… Illum, of all places. It’s funny to think that Anakin’s only twelve and may I repeat HE’S DRIVING?! Not all the way of course, but dang. How must it feel for Obi-Wan here to admit that his very young apprentice can drive better than he can? XD
It’s like poetry reading what Ms. Watson wrote from Master Kenobi’s point of view. You see this side of Obi-Wan that we don’t see a whole lot; a more vulnerable, caring side. Not that he doesn’t ever come off as such (Anakin to Obi-Wan: “How can you be so calm?!” “I’m not; I just hide it better” – TCW Season 1 episode Blue Shadow Virus), but as my theory still states, a part of him is trying to be a “perfect Jedi” after all of the mistakes he’s made in his youth and his standing as the likely youngest Jedi to have a Padawan, so of course he sticks to his “focused Jedi” guns. This book, and the other Jedi Quest books to follow, give us a lot of time to see into this awesome guy’s heart and soul. And being a huge fan of Obi-Wan, it’s TOO MUCH AWESOME!! X3 It’s really something seeing the way these two work together, especially as what started out as a lightsaber-building excursion became an intense near-death fight with a herd of vicious gorogodons (don’t you just love when stuff like this happens?! 😛 )! I think to call the battle “nail-biting” would be the understatement of the century (I don’t know how it is but I spent a whole lot of reading this book crying, gasping, and spazzing); I mean, Anakin was knocked off his feet for a long enough time for us to figure that Obi-Wan, who was already in over his head, was a goner. And then, sweet victory, Anakin makes his move at just the right moment and they both lived! Gosh, that was scary! OK OK we’re moving on from all that drama. Can you believe that it’s only been a couple chapters at this point??
So as you know, this is how Anakin made his lightsaber. It’s always interesting to note how many different ways I’ve seen lightsabers made… some make ’em hands-free (Barris Offee in the Clone Wars miniseries), some make them with friends and a cool droid (the younglings in TCW Season 5), and some just buy a SW Science Lightsaber kit from Toys R Us (that’d be me) 🙂
My guess is that methods changed after the Clone Wars started so they could get it done faster, but IDK. This method is one I’m not entirely crazy about… it’s a pretty frightening, rattling experience from what this book exposes (and btw, this was one of the first ideas about this, as Illum and the lightsaber-making process are never seen in the movies). I never said it was easy, but this whole “shadows and visions” thing… that makes it a smidge harder. This particular chapter in the book was one of the hardest to read as it hits really hard emotionally, but its being deeply emotional is one of the things that make it such a great chapter despite its sadness. Obi-Wan’s vision is so heart-wrenching to read… this is one of those parts I really teared up reading. His vision was a repeat of Qui-Gon’s death. Ouch. No Maul involved, just the feeling of helplessness as Obi-Wan once again can’t do anything to help his dear master. And the vision repeats itself until it brings Obi-Wan to his knees in tears (you read that right: tears), even more so as the vision has some sort of message in it that our awesome Jedi can’t decipher. Exposing this side of Master Kenobi, like I said before, is one of the best things about the Jedi Quest series. But boy, is it hard to not get caught up in the emotion of the moment.
On the other hand, Anakin had two disturbing visions: one involving his mom getting kicked around by Krayn and another where he faced… Darth Maul. Obviously, the first vision is both heartbreaking and infuriating as images Anakin had tried to forget resurface in his mind, and young Skywalker takes it about as well as he um… usually does when someone hurts someone he loves (which isn’t very good, and especially not the case when he’s a Padawan). And while I could ponder on this vision and Obi-Wan’s for weeks and still wonder about their affect on the duo’s lives, the second one really deserves some conversation. When I read this first time around, the whole “Darth Maul returns” TCW episodes hadn’t aired yet; in fact, it was entirely unknown to me at the time. So the fact that Maul is not only challenging Anakin, but he’s doing a lot of talking, is absolutely surreal. I was all “When did Maul get so chatty??” Looking back, I’m quite shocked how accurate his dialogue is as compared to say, Maul’s disgusting taunting of Obi-Wan back on TCW Season 5’s The Lawless. And back when this book was written, it was still assumed that Maul was dead. Maul’s going on and on about how awesome Anakin would be in the Dark Side, and somehow Anakin managed to win this battle… for now, as Maul makes it clear that the little dark part of Anakin will always be there. Yikes. It’s certainly not the last future-foretelling vision Anakin would have, but it doesn’t make it any less of a harsh reminder. Creepier still, the lightsaber Anakin made seemed to be a gift from our Dathymir friend, just Anakin got a blue blade instead of the red one that Maul offered up in the vision. Again, yikes… how it is that Obi-Wan and Anakin just walked out of the Crystal Cave like nothing happened?! I guess the fact that they had themselves called for a mission before they even left the Cave.
It’d be worthwhile to take a minute and mention something I’d thought about as the duo gets their mission from the Council. Man, the reputation these guys must have around the Jedi Temple! Anakin being mostly distrusted and doubted and Obi-Wan being so young and all… the briefing went well in the long run, but it wasn’t without some serious awkwardness. Of course, that’s what comes from the fact that this mission involves one of Anakin’s least favorite people, Krayn. Obi-Wan sorta thought for ten seconds that maybe his Padawan wasn’t the one for the job, Anakin totes didn’t agree (that awkward moment when a Jedi Padawan speaks up entirely out-of-turn in the Jedi Council; see also Ahsoka Tano) and Obi-Wan had to backtrack his thoughts and try to pretend he didn’t say that. Boy, that’s a sour way to kickstart a mission. That and having to ride in a lovely, cramped, boxy Collicoid ship. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Don’t worry, it gets better. So, the ride begins and Obi-Wan has to take some time to reassure Anakin that he still trusts his abilities. You see through Obi-Wan’s thought process that it truly isn’t easy being a Jedi Master, nor is it easy living up Qui-Gon’s legacy. But the obvious (dare I say it) love he has for Anakin and for Qui-Gon is a constant motivator despite the difficulties.
We also learn a few intriguing things from Master Kenobi… a) he was once temporarily suspended from the Jedi Order at 13 (WHUT?!), b) Qui-Gon had a Padawan prior to him, Xanatos, who turned to the Dark Side, and c) An old Jedi friend of Obi-Wan’s has switched sides and is working for Krayn. I still don’t know all the deets on the first two, but the third one we’ll get into soon. Because thennnn Krayn ended up attacking the ship. You know how they say “be careful what you wish for”? Anakin’s learned the meaning of that one, big-time. Thankfully, the genius mind of Obi-Wan’s and the exceptional abilities of Anakin are on it. This is where the fun begins…
It would’ve been a much shorter, less complicated mission if Anakin hadn’t decided to go face Krayn… but I suppose it would’ve been a much shorter book then, too. Whyyyy do Padawans do this?? They just go off thinking they can fight anybody and then they get into trouble and their Master has to get them out of it! Of course, it’s not worth complaining about, but I was certainly ranting that right after Anakin did as such.
The trouble wasn’t Krayn this time, it was a girl named Zora. Obi-Wan knew her better as Siri; Adi Gallia’s Padawan and one of his best friends. She kidnaps Anakin, Obi-Wan outs her for leaving the Jedi Order, Siri fires back her distaste for the Jedi, and Anakin’s all “Master, could you just reprimand her over the internet and, I don’t know, consider SAVING ME?!”. #Awkward
So when one misplaces their Padawan and starts suspecting the Collicoids, it’s best to dig up some info, and Obi-Wan is especially good at digging up info. Somehow, he does a lot of it at eateries. We all know about Dex’s Diner in Episode II, but prior to that, he stopped at Didi and Astri’s Café. I love how Obi-Wan has so many awesome friends here and there and everywhere. We get the chance to meet Didi, a guy who initiated an unexpected mission for Qui-Gon a while back (uh yes, he is a guy despite the name), and his daughter Astri. What could be a better combo? Good food, good friends, and some good information delivered on the side 🙂 Oh, and free hugs! You’ll need ’em if the tip from your friend takes you to the seedy Coruscant underworld.
So getting back to that whole “Zora/Siri” thing… Obi-Wan, after some thought, believes now that she wouldn’tve abandoned the Jedi, and the Council proves his assumption to be true. Siri was indeed part of a mission spying on Krayn by masquerading as a pirate. Remember that Obi-Wan/Rako Hardeen craziness back in TCW Season 4? I get why the Jedi do things like this, but these are both situations when faking your death or pretending to go rogue don’t sit well with those left out of the plan. I for one was super happy that Siri was still a good guy; see, I somehow totally forgot her role in this book, but I remembered her better in her role in the first book of the Jedi Quest series The Way of The Apprentice from reading it for the first time last year, where she was a really cool, strong, and dedicated Jedi. So when I first read the stuff about Zora being Siri once, I had to question “Is this the same girl?!” She is, but she’d never truly been a bad girl to start with. Thank goodness… Siri is truthfully one of my fave SW fiction characters.
And what about poor Anakin? Yes, Siri is protecting him, but he’s also a slave in the Nar Shadaa spice mines. Under Krayn and his droids. A slave… again… that stinks beyond belief. The excellent description makes this terrible world a reality to the reader. But despite the horribleness of the situation, Anakin brings a little hope and an unexpected helping hand to the slaves around him, one of those being a Twi’lek woman named Mazie… and she was kind of a jerk to him! But that shouldn’t surprise us too much, considering what Shmi said about how generous and kind to others Anakin is in Episode I. In the long run, they become good friends. All the while, Anakin still holds out for his Master to rescue him
Not too far away, that’s what his Master intends to do, and he’s going to do so disguised as a slave trader. And he might also fight a wookiee henchman along the way (letting the wookiee win is out of the question; if he wins, Obi-Wan loses).
Meanwhile, despite getting into their own brand of hot water, unexpected friends Anakin and Siri have their own rescue to perform: that of Krayn’s slaves. I love how they mesh together; while some of Obi-Wan’s wisdom has rubbed off on her, Siri still maintains an understanding of both the awesomeness and frustration of working with him, in a way that relates well with Anakin. She has a good sense of wit and sarcasm amidst the insanity of it all.
“…He has this habit of telling you the truth just when you don’t want to hear it.” – Siri, on Obi-Wan in this chapter. That’s so true XD
So as they put their heads together to escape their cell, meet up with Master Kenobi, and free the slaves, it’s plain and evident they’re fast friends and work together awesomely, just as it seems was the case for Siri and Obi-Wan not too long ago.
Now, with the plan falling perfectly into place, you’d think everything would stay that way, right? But somehow, we find Krayn and Anakin staring each other down, and this time around, Anakin’s got his lightsaber. Hoo boy… this will get ugly… throughout the fight Anakin is fighting with himself as to why he’s doing this – for himself in anger or for others in justice. I mean, I’m personally glad he managed to defeat Krayn, but I do have to wonder if Anakin truly did the right thing. Anakin pushed away any thought that what he was doing was wrong with the thoughts that this was justice. But is his definition of justice correct? I myself am not entirely sure. D’oh, my head always hurts when I start going on these “Was this character truly right or wrong?” thoughts. I mean, we all know where Anakin ends up in the long long run in the SW universe and this had to have had an effect, but has Anakin always been wrong in his defeating of truly terrible villains? It’s worth some more thinking, but not right now.
It’s oftentimes a little jarring to have such a dark moment followed shortly by a light, victorious, satisfactory ending. Siri’s back to where she should be, the galaxy’s rid of Krayn, a ton of slaves are free, and the awesome threesome that is Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Siri are heading back to Coruscant in class and comfort by Senatorial escort. Even a sweet farewell between Anakin and Mazie. All is well for the moment. Yet we’re left with some concern from Obi-Wan, but he reassures himself he’ll continue to do his best to make a true Jedi out of his Padawan.
So of course, there had to be a whole series to follow this story, to tell more pre-Clone Wars tales of a younger Anakin Skywalker becoming a Jedi. Despite it may come off a tad dark in parts, Jedi Quest is an awesome awesome 5-star book and it remains a favorite of mine (even if all the SW books I’ve read have become favorites). And now you’ve managed to read through my longest blog to date, so that’s cool. So you can get excited for the next SW Summer Reads blog next week! Yayyyyy 🙂 Until then…
Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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