Jedi Apprentice #1 - The Rising Force
by Dave Wolverton
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the first book in the Jedi Apprentice series. It is by Dave Wolverton, who you may remember from The Courtship of Princess Leia. The story starts out when Obi-Wan is 12 and is finishing his training at the Jedi Temple. There, he is trained by Yoda. To become a Jedi Knight, he must become the Padawan learner of a Jedi Master. Unfortunately, there's only one Master available and he's not interested in taking on a new student. The Master is, of course, Qui-Gon Jinn.
Obi-Wan is unable to convince Qui-Gon to take him as a Padawan, so Obi-Wan is assigned a job as a farmer on the harsh mining world of Bandomeer. Fortunately, either by the manipulations of Yoda or the Force, Qui-Gon is traveling to the same planet on a diplomatic mission on the same ship as Obi-Wan. The transport also carries two rival mining factions. Through the story, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan must deal with the fighting factions, an attack by space pirates, and a crash landing on a strange and dangerous world. Qui-Gon begins to form a unique bond with Obi-Wan and they both learn valuable lessons from each other.....but Qui-Gon will still not take him as his Padawan.
I REALLY enjoyed this book. The story was great, the action was great, and it was overall a great start to the series. This book is also invaluable because it gives some insight into the early years of Jedi training, as well as what happens to the dropouts. And after watching Episode I, I'm sure everyone wants to know how Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon teamed up. This is a worthy tale in that story. I particularly liked the early scenes where Yoda trains Obi-Wan in lightsaber combat and the battle with the space pirates. Very exciting stuff! And, as usual, Wolverton does not let the heros or villians off easy. Since you already know how it ends, he throws some twists and turns your way and makes the characters suffer in the process. And having Qui-Gon turn down Obi-Wan in the beginning was a nice touch to throw the reader off. You just THOUGHT you knew how it started! Anyway, just because this is labeled a Young Reader novel, don't think it's kid's stuff. I'd call this more of a short story that Star Wars fans of any age can enjoy. After all, at a reasonable $5 price, it can suck and you're not out that much cash.
If I had any complaint, it's that the story was wrapped up rather quickly. I felt like Wolverton had a couple more good chapters of action to tell, but the book had some sort of page limit and he had to wrap it up. Fortunately, there's another book in the series to pick it up.
A minor gripe is that the paper quality is not that high. In the humidity here, the spine and pages are all warped so it is hard to open without cracking the spine wide open. (Yes, I'm an anal collector, but at least I read the books. :) ) But I realize that this paper type probably kept the cost down to a good range, so I can't complain.
Hutts being eaten by dragon creatures. A little fatty for my tastes.