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Jedi Apprentice #1
Jedi Apprentice #1: The Rising Force
By Dave Wolverton
44 years before ANH
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This is the first book in an on-going series that shows us the "hows and wherefores" of the early years of the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn.


In this first Jedi Apprentice book, set 44 years before Star Wars: A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi is 12 years old and at the threshold of his career as a Jedi. It seems that at 13, Jedi-trainees must be taken on as a Padawan by a Jedi Master in preparation for their eventual knighthood, or if not apprenticed, must leave the Jedi Temple (on Coruscant) for service in the Agricultural Corps. This latter path means serving the Republic, but never as a Jedi Knight. It is on this precipice that Obi-Wan is perched, just shy of his 13th birthday, and still not accepted as Padawan-learner by any Jedi Master. And then the Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn visits the Temple. Qui-Gon, still tormented by a past failure with his apprentice Xanatos (remember that name….we'll see more of him later) refuses to take Obi-Wan on as his Padawan. So Obi-Wan is destined for the Agricultural Corps. But as fate, or Yoda, or the Force will have it, Obi-Wan's first "tour of duty" has him assigned to the same planet, and traveling on the same mining freighter as Qui-Gon. Can Obi-Wan still his frustration and impatience enough to work together with Qui-Gon? Can Qui-Gon ease his own fears and sense of failure over Xanatos enough to work together with Obi-Wan? Because work together they must: to stem a battle between rival mining factions, to fight off marauding pirates, and to ensure the freighter's safe arrival at their destination.


Jedi Apprentice #1: The Rising Force is a fine beginning to a series. Author Dave Wolverton just about redeems himself from that Courtship of Princess Leia debacle (see review of COPL). And for those of you who think this is just a kiddie book, think again. The print is a little bit larger, and the vocabulary is slightly "dumbed down", but other than that, this is an enjoyably told, tightly-written installment in the SW timeline. It is great fun to see Obi-Wan at his start. Not the old sage of SW 4,5, &6, and not the brash swash-buckler of TPM. This is a 12 year old boy, very much a naif in the world. To Wolverton's credit, he manages to capture the essence of the Obi-Wan character, but infuse it with the hesitancy and uncertainties of that same person as a 12 year old. And Qui-Gon's reticence to take on a new apprentice (which will be more fully explored in later installments in this series), and his almost unwilling growing admiration for and sense of connection to Obi-Wan, make the developments in TPM all the more poignant.

There is adventure here as well. There are several exciting fight sequences, and too a nice glimpse of the more plebian elements of the galaxy……..miners on a scow of a freighter, whose options in their underbelly of the cosmos are between indentured servitude to a Hutt cartel, or the constant scramble for the next hard-labor employment. This is the Star Wars universe pre-revolution. There is a galactic Republic of long-standing, and each segment of the population has an assigned role. There is bread-winning and profit-taking; higher Jedi calling, or farm service. This every day life was what was lost to Imperial rule, and how fascinating to flash back to it. Jedi Apprentice #1: The Rising Force is a fun, quick read and a very entertaining introduction to a series and to a time-period in the SW continuum