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Menace Of The Sith: A Closer Look

I know it’s been a couple of weeks now since the newest Lego SW special aired, but due to technical difficulties, I was unable to get a digital recording of it sooner. But hey, better late than never, am I right? Anyway, the second installment of The Yoda Chronicles proved once again to be delightfully entertaining, exciting and at the same time heartwarming, and outrageously funny as all Lego SW specials are. So c’mon and let me give you a little commentary of mine on Menace Of The Sith!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Menace Of The Sith, The Phantom Clone, The Padawan Menace, Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, TCW Episodes Brothers, Revenge, Revival, Eminence, Shades of Reason, The Lawless, and Ghosts of Mortis (and the surrounding episodes)

“WAR!”
“…Now that I have your attention…”

Um… let me just say that was potentially the best recap in Star Wars TV history. Kudos to you, Tom Kane and your narrating voice! You have my everlasting respect 🙂
Anyway, you meet back up with our heroes in an all-too familiar Geonosian battle arena, where Palpatine/Sidious and his comrades Dooku and Grievous are about to show just what their new Sith Clone JEK-14 can do to an intrigued crowd of Star Warsian bad guys. But naturally, there’s something in this picture that doesn’t belong… that would be Obi-Wan and Yoda, but don’t tell the other bad guys. For all they know, it’s just another Dathymir and what looks to me like a Boba Fett-style Mandalorian guy (seriously, what is it with Obi-Wan and armor suits? They’re like, always his first choice for some reason!).
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And yes… Yoda just spoke a full sentence in imitating Palpatine. I love how completely weirded out Obi-Wan is. His awkward “Oh…kay…” says it all, doesn’t it? But if I’m not mistaken, hasn’t Yoda said a normalish sentence at least once or twice? Like when he’s all “You are reckless!” to Luke in Episode V? Of course, I could be wrong since it’s been a few months since I last watched it, but still I don’t think it’s entirely new to Yoda to speak with Basic syntax. But not the point! It was sooooo funny.
So the eventual Emperor proves the haters wrong when he gives them a dose of JEK’s awesomeness. And IT IS AWESOME. I mean, I know he’s a Sith tool, but… still, he’s cool! I mean, look what he made out of Lego bricks with the Force!
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And to add to it, Dooku and Grievous show off the fantabulous Clone-cloner (you guys caught the THX1138 reference, right??) and its epic abilities to make… well, tiny Sith Clones (Oh, there’s something downright hilarious about the voices of high-pitched angry men 😆 ) And that was when Master Kenobi ripped his helmet off and Master Yoda got that red-and-black makeup off his face and they both lit up their ‘sabers. BOOM! Chaos!
Now, I know we’re all wondering the same thing… how is it, since this obviously takes place in the earliest days of the Clone Wars, that Darth Maul showed up in his new fancy-shmancy Nightsister-made legs to this thing… and nearly got his revenge early?
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My theory is kinda weird, but since we don’t know how Maul got those creepy robotic spider legs and how he got on that creepy planet, going insane, I think it might work. Basically he somehow managed to buy a quick pair of legs before he left Naboo and then took wayyyy too long to figure out he how wanted his revenge (not too different from what seemed to me like an overly complicated series of plans of his in TCW Seasons 4 and 5). And so, ten years after he got knocked in half, he finally got a chance to be face-to-face with his old foe. But see, in TCW Season 4’s Revenge, Obi-Wan himself didn’t really believe it was Maul he was facing until Maul’s like “Dude, I killed your master back on Naboo, remember?”. ‘Cause, yeah, we all assumed he was dead. So Obi-Wan was cool with it this time around because he didn’t realize it was him. And thus, Maul is really wishing now that he’d bought a nicer set of legs that he wouldn’t literally get knocked off of. Then he got the freaky arachnid legs and spent the next few years going insane. I know you guys are going to try and disprove me on this, but hey, it makes sense to me!
Meanwhile, it seemed that JEK finally had the chance to finish what he’d started on Kamino and kill Yoda. But this time, JEK questioned Dooku. And he still probably would’ve done it if it had been for Yoda’s interjection. The fact is, JEK is sorta half-Jedi, half-Sith; made by Sith with Jedi lightsaber crystals. And so Dooku and Yoda are like argumentative parents (forgive me for the disturbing comparison) who both want what they think is best for their “kid”, and like teenagers often do, JEK decides he doesn’t want to do anything his “parents” do. And then he runs off, grabs a ship, and flies off Geonosis and heads out to find a place for him. Cue the wild goose chase on both ends.
On the other side of things, Threepio is getting a day off from helping teach Padawans, and for good reason, after all those kids have put him through. So he’s working in the Jedi Temple kitchen for a change, and guesssssssss who’s substitute teacher nowwwwww
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I was pleasantly surprised to see not only Obi-Wan, but Anakin too, playing larger roles in this episode. Considering The Padawan Menace and The Phantom Clone only gave them cameos, I found it super-cool to really see them again, and this time in that lesser-known early Clone Wars era. And gosh, the guy playing Anakin (who’s also playing Grievous for this venture) is doing awesome with an excellent somewhere-between-Hayden-Christiansen-and-Matt-Lanter voice, bringing back the angsty Padawan and a bit of the cocky Jedi we’re familiar with. So yeah, Anakin absolutely does a horrible job at hiding his frustration with this job. He doesn’t yet have Ahsoka hanging around him to give him a sense of responsibility, so he’s not enjoying this one bit. And the Padawans are totally aware of it.
Speaking of Padawans, I briefly want to correct myself on a name mistake. I found out that the togruta girl is actually named Vaash Ti, so she’s different from Ashla in The Padawan Menace. It’s hard to tell, but their voices are different, even though they seem one and the same. Anyone else wonder if the “Ti” in Vaash Ti is a last name or just a two-part name? ‘Cause then that would mean she’s related to Shaak Ti, right? Or is it just like being named Mary Jane and the “Ti” is the “Jane”? It’s anotherr SW mysteryyyyy… ooOoOoOOoOOoOOo…
Also, I have found that I still love the human boy youngling, Bobby. Who really has been hanging around with Yoda and Threepio since The Padawan Menace. He’s just so darn cute and his lines make him even cuter and just stinkin’ funny! (To Grievous from the previous chapter: “GIVE US BACK OUR LIGHTSABERS, YOU BAD ROBOT!!“; To Ventress in this one: “YOU’RE NOT A NICE LADY!!!” XD ) Okay, moving on…
So with JEK on the run, the Jedi, I kid you not, hire bounty hunters to help them in the search for the Force-Sensitive Clone. I really almost can’t imagine them doing it, and even Obi-Wan questions “Do we really need these unsavory fellows?”, but hey, it’s kind of a big deal, I guess. Those bounty hunters certainly become a handful for Threepio. Mental note: Cad Bane prefers light mayonnaise on his sandwiches. And with no bounty hunters up for grabs for Dooku, they send out the probe droids.
Also, love the little nod to the SW Holiday Special they stuck in 🙂 Still need to see that…
So as you can imagine, Anakin was all rant-rant-rant-“I’m-the-Chosen-One”-rant-rant-rant-“I’m-totes-awesomer-than-any-Jedi”-rant-rant-blah-blah-blah like he usually was as a very young apprentice. And not to hate on him or anything since most of us would probably do that if we had to let a bunch of kids play with our robotic arm to keep them interested (Rako’s comment: “Hey Anakin! Wouldn’t it be great if your whole body was like this?!” Oh sad, but slightly funny, irony…). Oh, and the fact they’re on a field trip on Hoth doesn’t help. Poor guy, just wanted to help save the day! And then alas! JEK had chosen to find a hiding place on the same planet, and he got a chance to meet the kids. Anakin’s like “YES!”
But as JEK makes Lego flowers, stars, and bunnies with the Force, he explains to the Padawans that he wants to make things, not fight for either side. But then you all know what happened next… young Skywalker scared him off, accidentally alerted probe droids to his presence, and Grievous and Dooku carted him off, ready to now make legit Sith Clones. D’oh, that wasn’t supposed to happen. So naturally, Anakin does the thing where he tries to redeem himself and help clean up the mess he made even if it puts others in danger.
Watching this, Yoda and Obi-Wan start playing the blame game in the middle of the Council. And even Qui-Gon’s spirit gets involved! Long before he’d show up in Mortis and even longer before he’d do a little extra training with his former apprentice on Tatooine, he apparently wanted to make sure that he didn’t take the blame for Anakin’s rashness. Dude, Anakin makes his own choices, it’s no one’s fault, really! I’m sure if Qui-Gon hadn’t zipped out so quickly, the conversation would’ve gone on a bit… longer…
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“What’d you mean I was the one who messed up? You’re the one who thought he was the Chosen One!”
“Uh, again, Obi-Wan, he is the Chosen One. And I say it’s your fault because Anakin’s just like youuuuu were when you were a Padawan!”
“What? I wasn’t brash and irresponsible and whatever!”
“Yeah, you were. Maybe not as moody, but other than that, he totally got it from you.”
And all the other Jedi in the room are like “Yuuuuup.” XD
I would’ve figured that their first meeting since Qui-Gon’s death would’ve been a bit less like… this, but I bet they had their fair share of arguments like this back in the day.
So with Dooku and Grievous on their way with their new cloned-Sith-Clone army, the battle’s on. And upon running into the dear Chancellor, we get a chance to see the two sides of Palpatine again, and again we sit there and say “HOW IS IT THEY DON’T REALIZE THAT HE’S SIDIOUS?!?! HE’S SWITCHING PERSONAS RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM!!!“.
“An odd twitch, that man has.”
“The pressure must be getting to him, poor man.” 😆
Again, really? All that Episode III grief could’ve been spared…
So the space battle began as Anakin and the younglings… had their ship blown up! And somehow, they’re still alive (If they’d done this in TCW, they would’ve at least been wearing pressure suits). Oh, and if anyone wondered about the sense that Bobby’s line “My mom says I’m not supposed to get sucked into space…” makes, my theory is that Bobby’s mom was a Temple worker whose son just happened to be Force-Sensitive, so they get to see each other routinely (I bet Anakin’s jealous). She’s probably pretty protective, considering she knows that her little boy is getting involved in the Clone Wars at his age. But with a little JEK-14-style creativity, the gang makes a bunch of awesome Lego vehicles to get back home, and to help save the day! And all it should take is a little mirroring of Episode IV. Anakin does a little trench running on Dooku’s ship and hits just the right spot with his laser annnnd… nothing happens. Irony. The little weak spot on the ship is, as he finds out, an obviously marked spot. Just add lightsaber and then, BOOM!
No one would’ve survived onboard if it hadn’t been for Palpatine helping their crash-landing not crash-land. And again, RIGHT UNDER THE NOSES OF THE JEDI! With JEK-14 weak from the cloning and an armada of deadly, full-sized Sith Clones, all hope seems lost… but then JEK gathers the strength to take down the entire Sith Clone army AND make “Team Dooku” go “blasting off againnnn!!!” (Sorry I couldn’t resist throwing that in there)! But all the same, JEK peacefully leaves the Jedi behind, off to find his own destiny. I bet he’ll become either an artist, an architect, or a pacifist politician (if you want to stick to something really Star Wars-y).
And so, Yoda and the Masters give their congratulations to Anakin and the Padawans, Threepio gets his old job back (and is totes relieved), and even Qui-Gon gets to give Anakin a thumbs-up… which results in Obi-Wan chasing his former master around the room, wanting to give him a few choice words about his taking credit when no credit is due. And everyone laughs. All is well for the moment 🙂
So of course, the only thing to say about this awesome special is…
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It seems like The Yoda Chronicles is all tied up neatly, but I heard this was supposed to be a trilogy, so now I really really can’t wait for the next part! Let’s hope the wait won’t be nearly as long as it was for this one. And certainly, I won’t be waiting that long to write my next post. At least we have Lego SW shorts to keep us busy until then! Anyway, hope the wait for the Menace Of The Sith blog was worth it 🙂
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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