Episode I Adventures #12
The Bongo Rally
by Ryder Windham
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 2.5 out of 4
This is the twelfth 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.
In this book Captain Swagg returns to Naboo to recover his ships and his captured droids. He sneaks into Otoh Gunga and reactivates the droids. But before he leaves, he's determined to get revenge on the Gungans by blowing up the packed dome holding the Bongo Rally. Essentially NASCAR with Gungan Subs, the Bongo Rally is a very crowded event. Jar Jar and two Gungan Bongo racers discover the sneak attack and attempt to prevent it, but is it too late?
This book leads directly into Episode I where Jar Jar is wandering aimlessly through the swamps. We find out exactly why he's there and why he was exiled from Otoh Gunga. It's nice to see these books tied together with the movie and have the offhand remarks from the film be elaborated on.
The Bongo Rally was fun. I liked the similarities between NASCAR and the races here. The racers are treated like celebrities, the events are held at big stadiums, and other such things. It was an interesting concept.
Captain Swagg, remains ineffective and uninteresting in this book. A more sinister pirate would have held my attention better. A nasty pirate character could have been used to bring out the warrior aspects of the Gungans. In this book they are fairly tame.
In the movie Jar Jar mentions that he was exiled for sinking the Bosses "heyblibber". Another book mentions that Jar Jar flooded the Bosses mansion. This is really only thrown in as an afterthought toward the end of the book. I was hoping for something a little more elaborate since this ties in so directly with the films.
And in this book Jar Jar is portrayed as fairly competent. Not only that, but he's "poonished" even though he just saved thousands of Gungans and there were plenty of witnesses. The story just didn't seem to fit well.
Jar Jar is ditched by Major Fassa, the one Gungan chick who liked him. Bummer for Jar Jar.