Jedi Apprentice #8: The Day of Reckoning
By Jude Watson
44 years before ANH

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This is the eighth 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.


At the close of Jedi Apprentice #7, The Captive Temple, the evil mastermind behind all the nefarious goings-on at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant is revealed to be Xanatos, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn's gone-to-the-darkside former apprentice. In a climactic duel, Qui-Gon defeats Xanatos, but in order to save the rest of the Temple, must allow Xanatos to escape.

Which brings us to Jedi Apprentice #8, The Day of Reckoning. Qui-Gon has decided to go the beginning of Xanatos' history: his birthplace, his power base, and the beginning of his turn to the darkside. Qui-Gon journeys to Xanatos' home planet of Telos. His goal is to track Xanatos via his business dealings and his scheming, and then to bring Xanatos back to Coruscant for punishment for his many crimes against the galaxy, and against the Jedi order. With Qui-Gon is Obi-Wan Kenobi, still on probation as Qui-Gon's padawan due to his brief leave of absence from Jedi training during Jedi Apprentice books 5 & 6. As the plot on Telos rapidly thickens, and as Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan quickly find themselves fugitives from the Telos law-enforcement authorities, they must find Xanatos, find proof of his misdeeds, and somehow deal with their own fractured teacher-student-friend relationship. And all with only grudgingly tacit approval of the mission from Yoda and the Jedi Council.




At the risk of seeming repetitive in these Jedi Apprentice book reviews, The Day of Reckoning is another Grade-A effort on the part of author Jude Watson. It's entertaining, witty, fast-paced, and just plain fun. Yes, the plotting and language is more simplified than in one of the "grown up" novels. Yes, the reader is required to suspend disbelief a wee bit more to allow for some strained coincidences moving the story along to its somewhat predictable conclusion. (How convenient that our heroes just happen to fall under the wing of the one con man who happens to know the one political malcontent who happens to be the one person on Telos who can really help them). None of that detracts from the enjoyment factor. Xanatos, is a good bad-guy. His earlier, complicated association with Qui-Gon makes for suspenseful narrative. It gives Qui-Gon genuine pain to overcome, and a believable reason for his reticence and fear with Obi-Wan. And Watson has really allowed Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon to grow and change. Over the course of these Jedi Apprentice books, we've gotten to see a lovely, gradual evolution of their alliance, gotten to see them collectively and individually mature. In fact, the epilogue of Day of Reckoning has a touching, beautiful little scene with these two connected souls, finally truly communicating with one another, and finally beginning to work towards being equals.

The Phantom Menace is a super movie, and if you watch it carefully, it is easy to see in Liam Neeson's and Ewan McGregor's graceful performances all of the elements of Qui-Gon's and Obi-Wan's fellowship and past struggles. But one of the benefits of the Expanded Universe literature…when it's well done, as these novels are…is that it vastly deepens the tale. Every time I read another of these Jedi Apprentice yarns, I feel even more acutely the sharp pain of Obi-Wan's impending loss at the end of their road. Their partnership in these books was hard-won. The movie and the actors started the process, but these novellas flesh it out and make it a human story of camaraderie and sharing and heartache.