Jedi Apprentice #18 - The Threat Within
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 2.5 out of 4
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent to mediate a dispute between the planets Vorzyd 4 and Vorzyd 5. The people of Vorzyd 4 are practically mindless drones whose entire life is centered around work. But recently acts of sabotage have caused delays in their work schedule and they blame Vorzyd 5 for it.
Obi-Wan, who is in the final stages of maturing into a Jedi Knight, discovers that the sabotage is being done by local teens calling themselves the Freelies. They are dissatisfied with the endless working of their parents. They execute the pranks as wake up calls to their society. However, the harmless pranks quickly turn dangerous and cause tensions between Vorzyd 4 and 5 to escalate. It's up to Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon to set things right.
This happens to be the last book in the main series. (There's a Special Edition coming up next that will lead this series into the Jedi Quest series featuring Obi-Wan and Anakin.) While not directly leading into Episode I, this book shows Qui-Gon finally realizing that Obi-Wan is at the peak of his training and is nearing status as a full Jedi Knight. Watson explores his feelings of regret at the prospect of losing his Padawan. It's interesting to see their relationship as master and apprentice developing into an almost father-son relationship. Qui-Gon also has an interesting premonition about not being there for Obi-Wan's future.
I again liked the fact that this book is a stand-alone story and is wrapped up by the last page. And while the series has been good, I think it's a good idea to end it and move onto a new series. Jude Watson is a good writer, but I think she explored every interesting aspect of the relationship between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon. It's good to end it and move on.
Oh, and it was a nice touch to see Episode II character Madame Jocasta Nu make another cameo appearance.
Besides ending this series, there's not much else remarkable about this story. It was fairly predictable and pretty much followed the pattern of many of the other books.
The aliens in this book were fairly ridiculous, too. They were simply humans with big eyes and antennae on their heads. In fact, Obi-Wan is able to infiltrate the alien group by simply placing a turban on his head. The antennae also lead to one of the worst quotes in the series: "The two Jedi did not need antennae to communicate emotions. Their bond was strong." On that note, it's definitely time to move on to something new.
Nothing to add here.