Jedi Apprentice #14 - The Ties That Bind
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the fourteenth book in the Jedi Apprentice series. Six years ago, Qui Gon and Tahl helped supervise a peaceful yet controversial election on the planet Apsolon. In particular, they guarded the twin daughters of the newly elected leader. Now that leader has been killed and Tahl worries that the twins she grew close to could be in danger. She secretly goes to the planet to protect them.
After she is late in returning, Qui-Gon has a horrible vision. He decides to rush to Apsolon to aid Tahl. Obi-Wan tags along. There, they find the planet on the brink of civil war and plagued by scheming factions. There's also no sign of Tahl. Qui-Gon's fear goes beyond that of friendship. Could he be a Jedi in love?
The thing this book will be known for is it is the first one that shows Qui-Gon falling in love with his fellow Jedi Tahl. It's an interesting thing to explore considering how the Jedi always seem to operate like celibate monks. It would only seem natural that some students, through their relative isolation, would fall in love with each other. The same goes for the Jedi Masters. But to have it be Qui-Gon, who we're intimately familiar with, fall for her makes it a bit special. Unfortunately, since she wasn't around in Episode I, we know one of two things must happen - she's either killed or they break up. What a tragedy.
Besides this big development, it's a standard Jedi Apprentice adventure. Jude Watson gives the story the right mix of action, adventure, drama, and political intrigue. The people of Apsolon have interesting similarities to post-WWII Jews in that they were once tortured by their oppressors. There are also some similarities to Cold War Russia. It adds a touch of realism to this culture.
Only one thing pops out to me. In one scene Tahl is unable to protect herself from flying probe droid blasters because she can't see them and they aren't living beings that she can sense through the Force. However, in ANH, Luke was able to defend himself from a flying remote even though he wasn't able to see it with the blast shield down. Based on that, a Jedi should have no problem sensing blaster bolts from a flying droid. Tahl shouldn't have needed help, I would think.
Nothing to add here.