Episode I Adventures #5
The Ghostling Children
by Dave Wolverton
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the fifth 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.
As far as the plot goes, Sebulba the Dug leads a gang of slavers who kidnap a group of children. They are from an alien race known as "Ghostlings". Known throughout the galaxy for their beauty, and frailty, they are highly prized slaves. Sebulba intends to sell them to Gardulla the Hutt on Tatooine as "decorations".
When the shipment of children arrive on Tatooine, Anakin and Kitster discover them while snooping. The children do not have explosive trackers implanted in them yet, so Anakin and his friends conspire to rescue the children from Gardulla's fortress and return them to their home planet.
Dressed as Jawas, the Anakin and the children infiltrate the fortress and use their skills to set the Ghostling children free. Of course, chaos ensues.
This series continues with a Star Wars veteran author who is new to the series, Dave Wolverton. This is a kid's book and it is tied in with a game, so it would be a simple thing to write this off. Yet Wolverton manages to make it entertaining, rather deep in characterizations, and meaningful to Star Wars continuity.
In this book we learn a little more about Anakin and we follow him as he begins to discover his powers. Anakin also does some rather clever tricks with some spare slave trackers / detonators he find lying around.
Kitster is also a major character in this book, and he is given a surprisingly interesting background as well. He was a bit of an annoyance in the film, but here we learn that his father was a pirate and that he was separated from his parents at the age of 4. We learn about how Kitster had to struggle as a slave growing up.
This book also delves more deeply into the lives of slaves on Tatooine. The book even starts out with one of Anakin's friends being traded to a pirate as an assassin (even though she's only a child). Wolverton also manages to rip your heart out with the plight of the Ghostling children as they are stolen from their parents. All these are rather heavy plot elements considering this is aimed at elementary school kids.
There's other fun stuff here, too. The children wreaking havoc in Gardulla's fortress dressed as Jawas was a lot of fun. We also learn more about the disgusting female Hutt. There's a lot here for all fans and I highly recommend that you find a copy. I'm still hoping that Scholastic will compile all these books into a paperback for the mass market.
I really have no complaints about this book other than it was difficult to find and it arrived mangled in my mailbox (like every other book in this series) because of poor packaging. I also think Scholastic is wasting a bunch of great stories by only distributing them through mail order.
Having to wash Gardulla the Hutt's back. It's no fun being a slave!