Jedi Quest #4 - The Master of Disguise
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This is the fourth book in the Jedi Quest series, the sequel to the Jedi Apprentice series.
Obi-Wan, Anakin, Soara Antana, and Darra Thel-Tanis are sent to the civil war torn planet of Haariden. Their mission is to rescue a group of Republic scientist trapped in the middle of the conflict. During the rescue, Anakin makes a mistake during a battle and gets his fellow Padawan Darra hurt. Along the way, Obi-Wan learns that the Sith cultist Granta Omega was behind the conflict.
Returning to Coruscant, Obi-Wan begins to try and track down the elusive Omega with the help of Jocasta Nu, the Jedi librarian. Meanwhile, Anakin is put under the guidance of Master Soarana Antana. Her unique style of teaching causes Anakin to rethink his views of the Force and himself, as well as become a more efficient swordsman. But as he attempts to track down leads on Granta Omega himself, he quickly finds himself in over his head.
I continue to enjoy this series because it breaks away from the "Jedi save the planet" formula that became established in the previous series. Not only do the Jedi NOT save the day every time, but they even occasionally watch the people they try to save die as in this story. It's good to see this series chronicle the begin of the decline of the galaxy that we see in Attack of the Clones.
Watson also has the characters of Obi-Wan and Anakin separate from each other for solo adventures. It gives you a chance to see other parts of the galaxy and it allows the characters to grow on their own. I enjoyed the lightsaber training scenes with Anakin and Jedi Master Soarana Antana. Not only is she a change in pace from Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, but she exposes the dark side of Anakin that we'll eventually see in Darth Vader. (It was interesting to note that Soarana was training Darth Vader himself, the very person who would probably kill her later on.)
I also like the fact that the Sith are brought into this storyline, although through a non-Force powered cult. It allows us to see Anakin's view of the Sith be shaped and it gives us a little more insight into the Sith legend. By bringing Granta Omega into the storyline, Watson provides readers with a Sith related character that we'll see through several books rather than being thrown away after a couple of stories. This brings a nice bit of continuity to the storyline. I also liked the fact that Anakin views Omega in part as a friend. It shows how he might believe that a bad guy is not entirely bad, just misunderstood. Is that how he views himself as Darth Vader?
Crossfire continues to offer a fun and exciting look into the origin of Boba Fett. So far the results are worthy of this character who has been risen to cult icon.
I have no major gripes about this book, but I will mention one thing. During the action at the end of the story, I was a little confused and disoriented. I lost track of where the characters were and what they were doing. This is a rare thing in a Watson story, so I'll chalk it up to problems with my own perceptions as a reader.
This book has the same title as a Dana Carvey movie that was utterly horrific and appropriately bombed at the box office. How unfortunate for Jedi Quest!