Episode I Adventures #11
Pirates from Beyond the Sea
by Ryder Windham
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 2.5 out of 4
This is the eleventh 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.
While the Gungans are all busy at the Big Nasty sporting event, a pirate named Captain Swagg attempts to steal sacred statues from the Gungan's sacred place. (It is hinted that Swagg is of the same species as Admiral Thrawn.) The pirate uses a group of droids to stand guard and haul the statues.
Boss Nass, Captain Tarpals, Jar Jar, and Major Fassa discover the plan and race to stop the pirate. As they arrive on the scene, the Gungans split up and attempt to suprise the pirate. Unfortunately for Jar Jar, this is easier said than done. Eventually Captain Tarplas saves the day and chases the pirate off Naboo.
Having the Gungans encounter outsiders and fight them is a very important part of the Star Wars storyline. It explains their distaste for anyone outside of their own species and gives greater insight as to why they are reluctant to get involved in things in Episode I. Because of that, this is an interesting book.
The book also has a healthy dose of action and we get to see Captain Tarplas at work again. Windham also does a fairly good job of making Jar Jar less annoying. One scene in particular in the story involves the Gungans trying to interrogate a captured droid for information. Though a little outlandish, it is still very funny.
Captain Swagg, the pirate, had a lot of potential to be a good character. After all, pirates are always ripe ground for evil. Everybody loves a good bad guy. However, when it is time to Captain Swagg to stand and deliver, he falls flat. The fact that he appeared to be of the same race as Admiral Thrawn made him interesting and mysterious, yet by the end he was yet another comical bad guy running away with his tail between his legs. Very disappointing.
This book is also based around a game, so it is required that the characters get in dangerous situations. However, in all of these Gungan adventures, it seems that something is trying to eat the characters at every turn. There are so many wild and dangerous beasts on Naboo that it's suprising that any civilized race could inhabit the planet. The almost-being-eaten close calls eventually become tedious.
Reading Gunganspeak too long can make things turn very ugly, mesa tink. Ack! What is mesa sayin?