Jedi Apprentice: Deceptions

February 8, 2017 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

deceptionsJedi Apprentice: Deceptions by Jude Watson

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I’m not going to lie: I got confused about where in the chronology I should have read this. Technically, this is volume nineteen of the Jedi Apprentice series, but it falls right after The Shattered Peace across the timeline of the books, and it falls right after The Dangerous Rescue according to the publication schedule. I now see that these books are intended to bridge the gap between Jedi Apprentice and Jedi Quest, so I expect I should have waited and read this in series order. Oh, well.

Deceptions is split into two parts, the first involving a senatorial inquisition into the death of Bruck Chun, who fell to his death during a fight with Obi-Wan in The Captive Temple. Bruck’s father has hired a lawyer to determine Obi-Wan’s culpability in the death, and the first half of the book covers that inquisition. Bruck’s father and his lawyer have an agenda, and Watson does a great job of highlighting how unfair the inquisition is. Obi-Wan is cleared, but still feels guilt over his involvement in Bruck’s death, even though he isn’t the one who caused the death. It doesn’t help that Bruck’s brother, who has been a witness to the inquisition, tells Obi-Wan afterward that he holds him personally responsible.

Twelve years later, Obi-Wan is a master himself, with his own Padawan, Anakin. It’s three years after Qui-Gon’s death, and they go on their first mission together, and of course it involves Bruck’s brother. He’s started a Utopian society on a massive starship, his intent being to live outside of society and governments. The only problem is the Jedi Council gets word that not everyone is there willingly, so they’re sent to investigate.

The book ends a bit too neatly for me. Everything is resolved, grudges are cast aside, and characters realize the errors of their ways. That’s par for the course when it comes to Star Wars, but it doesn’t feel earned in this book. I think it’s because each portion of the book is relatively short, and the characters aren’t given enough room to develop.  Instead, Watson seems more focused on Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, giving us hints toward what we know is its conclusion. In addition, in the first half of the book, Qui-Gon doesn’t support Obi-Wan the way he had in earlier books. The whole thing felt tone-deaf.

The story is engaging and compelling, but Watson falters here. I think her trying to force the two series together is the cause, but the two foreshortened stories that make up the book don’t help, either. It’s certainly not the worst Star Wars book I’ve read so far, but it’s far from the best. Based on the earlier books in the series, I know Watson can do better than this.

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