Jedi Quest #1
The Way Of The Apprentice
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the first book in the Jedi Quest series, the sequel to the Jedi Apprentice series. Anakin is now 14 and well into his Jedi training. Despite being the Chosen One and one of the most promising Jedi Padawans, he still has two major problems. He's emotional and hot headed and he has yet to make any friends at the Jedi Temple. Both problems are confronted when Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent on a mission to Radnor.
A virus outbreak has occurred on the planet causing the population to go into panic. Looting and riots take place as everyone tries to evacuate the planet. Four teams of Jedi are sent in: Anakin and Obi-Wan, Siri and Ferus Olin, Ry-Gaul and Tru Veld, and Soara Antana and Darra Thel-Tanis. Their mission is to calm the people there and escort them in an orderly evacuation of the planet. After arriving, the Jedi Masters split with their Padawans to tour the "hot zone". However, the end up being temporarily separated and it's up to Anakin and the Padawans to maintain order and discover the hidden truth behind the virus outbreak. But can Anakin find a way to work with these other Padawans as well as become their friends?
This is the first book in the new series and it looks promising. Obi-Wan and Anakin have such a different dynamic from that of Padawan Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon that it makes it much more interesting. But Jude Watson explores things beyond that. She points out the fact that everyone at the Jedi Temple views Anakin as an anomaly. They either look at him with reverence as "The Chosen One", with respect for his mastery of the Force, or with jealousy as someone who is favored. This last point is especially interesting. While the other Padawans had to train almost from birth to be Jedi, Anakin is handed it at a late age. While they have to be selected by a Master over time, Anakin is stuck with Obi-Wan almost immediately. This jealousy not only explains why Anakin is a bit of a loner, but it shows why he might not have much of a problem with wiping out his fellow Jedi - he was never emotionally attached to them.
The main focus of this book is Anakin's interaction with his fellow Padawans. They are fairly interesting characters, too. Ferus Olin is basically the perfect Padawan, a fact that makes Anakin a little jealous. He's well liked, level headed, and skilled. This of course annoys Anakin who feels obligated to be the greatest Jedi ever. Tru Veld eventually becomes Aankin's buddy and his first Jedi friend besides Obi-Wan. They become fast friends mainly because of a mutual interest - machines. These characters help to round out a colorful cast.
This series still has strong ties to the Jedi Apprentice series. Siri makes a reappearance and previous stories with Qui-Gon are referred to. Anyone who loved the old series will definitely love this one.
The cover is also nicely done. Interesting to see Qui-Gon in beserker mode.
I really only had two minor gripes. The first is the cover. Both of the Jedi besides Anakin are simply depicted with stills of Obi-Wan from Episode II with kids' heads pasted onto them. And at that, Tru is just shown as an Asian kid with his face turned blue. It's not very impressive.
My second minor gripe is that there's nothing unique or special about the planet or aliens. It's yet another generic Star Wars planet for an adventure to take place on. It would be nice to see some more notable backdrop for the story to unfold in front of.
Nothing to add here.