Since I’m here, I may as well finish up with the books I’ve read to date.
The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi
A 214-page novel by Ryder Windham – and I thoroughly enjoyed it. First off, after four months of reading mostly about the Sith (early on) and Obi-Wan (lately), to see Luke Skywalker’s name in a book was …exciting? Very cool. Those my age can relate, as I was a little boy when I first met Luke on the big screen and have watched Star Wars (later dubbed A New Hope) at least once per year ever since. The story takes place after Empire Strikes Back but before Return of the Jedi. Luke returns to Tattooine and Obi-Wan’s hut in hopes that he can find some clue in how to build a lightsaber (since he lost his at the end of Empire…remember?). He stumbles on Obi-Wan’s journal and from there we are taken on a journey through Obi-Wan’s adventures. Just brief snippets, but snippets that go over and above what we saw in the movie or read in other books. And I always wondered how they would explain away Ben Kenobi saying “I don’t recall ever owning any droids” to Luke. They were clever to have the droids memories wiped at the end of Revenge of the Sith…but they couldn’t explain away that quote. But this book takes care of it. And it even describes how Kenobi put the journal in a place where only Luke could access it!
Fun scene – the battle with Darth Maul, from Obi-Wan’s perspective. Loved it. Just like I loved reading that same battle from Maul’s standpoint in The Wrath of Darth Maul.
Secrets of the Jedi
This one is a tale of two generations and forbidden love – and addressing the ramifications of that same forbidden love in a third generation. Early on, Qui-Gon is still grieving the loss of his love (which plays a part in what makes us so attached to him and thus makes his death in Phantom Menace more powerful). He and Obi-Wan are sent to protect a boy from bounty hunters and they are joined by another Master-Padawan team Adi and Siri. The two duos have worked together a few times before, only this time Obi-Wan and Siri develop feelings for each other. Later, well after Qui-Gon’s death, Siri and Obi-Wan are again sent to protect the boy (who obviously has become a man at this point) and Anakin and a Senator – Padme Amidala – join them. Of course, you know from the movies that Anakin and Padme are secretly married. An easy, fun read that takes you a little deeper into this new angle of the Jedi and the rules that they must follow.
Darth Maul: Saboteur
A quick, 54-page short story about Darth Maul sent out to sabotage two mining companies on a distant planet. Well worth the easy, fast read, because it gives some background on some of the machinations put in place by Palpatine (Darth Sidious) in his slow, patient plan to throw the galaxy in turmoil. This story really helps you appreciate Episodes 1, 2 and 3 (and we all need help there). Hundreds of years of Sith planning, staying hidden while they pull on this string and that string, gradually setting the Republic up for a fall. And of course – there’s Darth Maul. And who doesn’t enjoy reading about him?
Cloak of Deception
A novel (342 pages) by James Luceno, who also penned Saboteur, above. This one takes Saboteur further – going deeper into the background as Palpatine sabotages the Republic and the Supreme Chancellor Valorum. Fascinating interaction between Senator Palpatine and Valorum. Palpatine is friends with Valorum – friends with everyone, in fact, as he cleverly maneuvers the Senate into the direction he needs it to go while at the same time maneuvering the Trade Federation towards gathering an army of droids and slowly having them position themselves towards a blockade of Naboo. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan foil an assassination attempt on Valorum…but that was exactly how Palpatine planned it. The actions…and the reactions were all planned out in advance as Palpatine positions the Sith for Galaxy domination.
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter
A great novel (320 pages) by Michael Reaves. Another Darth Maul adventure, this one takes place almost immediately before Phantom Menace. A key member of the Trade Federation flees, looking to sell information on the secret plans for a blockade of Naboo and then disappear to live a comfortable life. Palpatine sends Darth Maul to hunt him down. Some great characters were introduced here – a droid who actually had a personality, a shady trafficker of goods, a bounty hunter and a Jedi Padawan do well to draw you in. Of course, you know that since the blockade caught everyone by surprise and the appearance of Darth Maul in the movie was also a surprise – that anyone who sees Maul either dies or is somehow incapacitated and prevented from telling the Jedi. But even with that conclusion known, this was an entertaining read. Obi-Wan played a big role in the final quarter of the book even though he didn’t make his first appearance until after page 200. A wonderful set up for the movie Phantom Menace. And now I feel as though Episodes 1, 2, and 3 make a lot more sense. But of course, movies should do that on their own.
The next book, the one I’m halfway through as I type this – Phantom Menace. Yes, I’ve made it.