Jedi Quest: The School of Fear

April 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

schoolJedi Quest: The School of Fear by Jude Watson

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The son of a popular senator has gone missing at his private school, and the Jedi have been asked to investigate the disappearance. Anakin and Ferus are sent to infiltrate the school as students, and what they find is something more than just a kidnapping. Of course. Because this is the Star Wars universe, where nothing is ever as simple as it seems on the surface.

It’s taken me a while to realize it (half the series, in fact), but the brilliance of this series of novels is in showing how Anakin’s ego is what causes his fall to the Dark Side. It seems pretty clear that it wasn’t even an issue until Qui-Gon discovered him and started believing he was the Chosen One. After years of being told that he was the best, most powerful Padawan, he started to believe it, and it suddenly became important to him to be the best, to the point where he sacrificed his training to better his own reputation. Watson started showing us that conflict in Path to Truth, but it took me until now to see how she’s developed it over the course of the series.

It’s a subtle development, but it works well. The stories highlight how skilled Anakin is, but also how immature he can be, and as the series has progressed, Watson makes it clearer how he’s disappointing the Jedi Masters. She shows how he doesn’t get it, how he keeps making the wrong decision. The only thing that keeps him in the temple, it seems, is Obi-Wan’s promise to Qui-Gon to train Anakin.

As much as I like how Watson has developed Anakin’s character, the stories aren’t always that interesting. After reading so many of Watson’s books in a row (seventeen in this month alone), I’m starting to see the formula she uses. An innocent request turns into something larger and more consequential, and there’s always someone pretending to be someone they aren’t. I’ve started looking for the plant early in the story, and I managed to peg that person in this book as soon as they were mentioned. It seemed the most unlikely person, in context to the story, and I turned out to be right.

I’m curious to see how Watson will wind up Anakin’s character development. He’s made several Jedi Masters angry and frustrated with him up to now, but the relationship he and Obi-Wan have by Episode II seems pretty strong. We’re halfway through the series now, which is about the right time to put her main character at his lowest point, so maybe from this point it will start to take an upward trend. I’m here for the long haul, so I’ll let you know what I find out.

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