Jedi Apprentice Special Edition #1 - Deceptions
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
This book spans a period of 12 years and takes place before and after Episode I. It starts off with Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon facing the aftermath of their showdown with Xanatos. The family of Bruck, the young Jedi who Obi-Wan fought and who ultimately died, blames the Jedi for his death. Bruck's father and brother, Kad, bring charges against the Jedi and specifically Obi-Wan. While Obi-Wan faces the charges, Qui-Gon investigates some cases of sabotage among the new Jedi Knight pilot school. How are they connected? Obi-Wan is eventually found not guilty by the Senate committee, but Kad still holds a deadly grudge.
Flash forward 12 years later when Anakin Skywalker is now Obi-Wan's Padawan. They are sent to investigate a colony of space nomads. As the duo arrive, they discover the leader is now the adult Kad. This causes some tense moments and makes Anakin wonder about the past of his master. However, their investigation digs up more suspicious happenings that threaten the entire group of nomads. They also discover the troubles are linked to the past beyond Kad.
This book nicely ties together the original Jedi Apprentice series with the Obi-Wan / Anakin relationship we'll see in Episode II. It's interesting to see an adventure that goes on between a couple of generations. It's also entertaining to see Anakin interact with some characters seen in the earlier stories in the series.
One of the high points, though, is seeing Anakin after Episode I. We get to see him fly in a dogfight without R2 helping him (and without saying, "Yippieee!"). There are also some chilling moments that foreshadow the events in the classic trilogy. Anakin is baffled by the fact that Qui-Gon had a Padawan turn to the Dark Side and try to kill him. Anakin is also perplexed by a close father and son relationship and the forgiveness that takes place there. Those were some of the high points of the story.
Watson also gives us a glimpse of what it is like to be a Jedi Master in charge of a student. There's Qui-Gon who demonstrates confidence in the relationship. There's Tahl who represents doubt of making it work. Then there's Obi-Wan who slowly realizes he may be in over his head with Anakin. He struggles to balance his own learning with his instruction for Anakin.
Watson also explores an interesting question - how does a family react when their Jedi child dies? They hand the life of their kid over to these lightsaber weilding hippies, then they get them killed. How does a father react? A sibling? This answers that question. However, a greater question still remains - who is Obi-Wan's real family and where are they?
Overall this is one of the high points in the Jedi Apprentice series. I was ready to move on from the Qui-Gon / Obi-Wan stores and this was a welcome change.
First off, the cover has some great art featuring an Episode II shot of Anakin. However, the cover itself is holo-foil and it kind of ruins the art. It may attract the kiddies, but it adds nothing to the artistry of the piece.
I was a bit bored by the first half of the Qui-Gon story. The court scene was a bit slow. But the second half picked things up and got interesting.
I also wished to see the Jedi fighter pilot concept explored a little bit more. Maybe this is something that will be seen in later Jedi Apprentice books.
Finally, it is hinted that there's an unseen force manipulating the events of this story, but it is never confirmed. I would have liked to have seen a cameo by Sidious.
Another year to wait till Episode II. :( .