Jedi Quest #5 - The School of Fear
by Jude Watson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 3.5 out of 4
This is the fifth book in the Jedi Quest series, the sequel to the Jedi Apprentice series.
When the son of a senator is kidnapped from an exclusive private school, the Jedi Council sends Anakin and Ferus in to investigate. Undercover as transfer students, the two Jedi Padawans begin to settle in with their classmates. As Ferus befriends a student who is a loner and a hacker, Anakin infiltrates a secret group of students. The kids have formed into a band of mercenaries and they undertake shady missions on behalf of select clients. Believing they are involved with the kidnapping, Anakin follows their every move. But as he learns more about them, he finds he agrees with their rebellious attitudes. Will he be able to stay true to his master and his training?
I liked this book because it begins to seriously lay down the foundations of Anakin's disillusionment with Obi-Wan and his distaste for the Jedi Council. It also shows his growing stronger and stronger in the Force and becoming the "Chosen One" the Jedi have been expecting. The book takes a while to get really rolling, but it has an impressive finish showing Anakin in solo action. It's in this finale that all of this comes together. Watson does a good job of emphasizing that Anakin most of all seeks approval from Obi-Wan. It's not getting that approval which starts to push him to the Dark Side as we saw in Episode II.
Ferus continues to be an interesting character in the series. He's everything that Anakin feels he SHOULD be but isn't. Ferus is essentially the perfect Jedi Padawan, and it drives Anakin nuts. This is yet another foundation in his willingness to wipe out the Jedi Order. The new character Tyro is also interesting because he helps Obi-Wan and the Jedi navigate all the intricacies of the Senate. It's nice to see the Jedi needing a little help from a regular being in order to deal with the miles of red tape involved in politics.
If "The School of Fear" has any weakness, it's that it is predictable. I had the plot figured out within the first 20 or so pages. It's not terribly difficult to figure out what happened. That being said, this is a children's novel and I'm willing to ignore this.
The covers are also usually impressive, but this one just didn't do it for me. I think something more impressive could have been created possibly featuring one of the dramatic action scenes towards the end.
Nothing to add here.