Episode I Adventures #10
Festival of Warriors
by Ryder Windham
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 3 out of 4
This is the tenth book in the Star Wars Episode I Adventures series. It is a game created by Scholastic in which the reader follows the story, then plays the RPG game that supplements it. It is only available in one of three ways: by ordering it from the Scholastic school book fair or school order form, through the form stuck within Jedi Apprentice #3, #6, or #7, or by picking it up on the secondary market (eBay, used book stores, etc.). In any case, it is not easy to find at all.
Jar Jar decides he wants to live up to the expectations of Major Fassa, the female Gungan warrior who pledged a lifedebt to him. She believes he's brave and strong, so Jar Jar doesn't want to let her down. (Not to mention he has a secret crush on her.) He decides the best way to impress her is to enter The Big Nasty - a Gungan cross between a triathalon and American Gladiators. A large group of Gungans run an obstacle course through the Gungan city, in the waters of the lake, and in the swamps of Naboo. Only the toughest Gungans make it.
Major Fassa, Captain Tarpals, Jar Jar, and even Boss Nass enter the race. However, things get a bit hairy when robots are spotted in the Gungan territory. Not wanting to alarm the other Gungans, Boss Nass allows the race to continue. However, the "mackineeks" end up not only threatening the racers, but the whole Gungan race. It's up to Major Fassa to save the day.
This book features a Gungan sort of Olympics. It's a neat concept and the central part of the story.
On the good side, Jar Jar is not the central character of this book. The more interesting Major Fassa seems to take center stage. In fact, Jar Jar seems to disappear for the majority of the book, and when he does come back around he's actually bearable. Captain Tarpals also has significant appearances as well. We finally get to see why he's the Captain, and it's pretty cool.
Finally, the book introduces a pirate character at the end that has blue skin, red eyes, and black hair. Sound like a character you're familiar with? Is this pirate of the same race as Grand Admiral Thrawn? It will be interesting to find out! And it also promises to set up exactly why Gungans no liken da mackineeks.
As in the previous book, the Gungan language is rather tedious to read. You get used to it, but it is still annoying.
The rules of "The Big Nasty" are also rather unclear. It's a total free-for-all without any seeming set rules, yet one player is allowed to accuse the other of cheating and stop the race. That didn't make much sense. And then the name "Big Nasty" is kind of lame. No need to elaborate.
Finally, what was the point of having Boss Nass in the race? It is explained that he's there on an honorary status, yet he still finishes the race. The character waddled so much in the film that I have a hard time picturing him finishing anything physical like this.
Opening the mailbox each time one of these books arrives and seeing just how many ways it can be folded and jammed in.