January 24th, 2019

Kylo Ren

Vintage Book Reviews: Wildfire +Jedi Apprentice 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 +Episode 1 Journal: Darth Maul😊

Star Trek S.C.E Book 6: Wildfire by Keith R.A. Decandido, David Mack And J. Steven York & Christina F. York

The 'Star Trek: S.C.E' series was published online in monthly ebooks and some time later, collected into paperbacks. This book collects 5 ebooks into one volume.

ENGIMA SHIP
The USS da Vinci has to find a Starfleet ship which has become lost inside a giant holoship. This tale is rather boring and the resolution is a bit dumb. I am convinced the encounter with the giant space faring turtle is a reference to the Discworld series.

WAR STORIES 1&2
An enemy of the da Vinci grew gets his hands on old personal logs to find out what various crewmembers got up to during the Dominion War so he can find out a way to defeat them. This is very short and really beats you over the head with just how EVIL the villain is. It's an okay tale; the best part of which is the story of how Dr Lense had to save her shipmates during a space battle after her medical staff were killed when the sickbay was destroyed.

WILDFIRE 1&2
An extremely heavily hyped 2 part tale and it is good. The da Vinci is sent to a gas giant where the USS Orion was carrying out a test on a prototype weapon named Wildfire. The Orion has been all but destroyed and the wrecked ship and its deadly payload are lost in the turbulent atmosphere of the gas giant.

The da Vinci's salvage operation goes terribly wrong and soon the da Vinci is also trapped in the molten metallic hydrogen atmosphere which is decimating the ship and its crew. This is a non-stop action tale as the da Vinci crew desperately try to save their ship and then they learn the gas giant is home to a sentient race.

With the death of a major character and a body count in the double digits, this is a take no prisoners tale. The description of the evacuation of sickbay as it is torn apart by the planet's atmosphere is a breathtaking one, the evocative descriptions of how the surviving crew are slowly suffocating in stale air reeking with the smell of decaying bodies is nasty and a crew-members sacrifice to save the gas giant's inhabitants is almost tear inducing.

~
Jedi Apprentice 1: The Rising Force
This is the first in a series of prequel books to 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' which focused on Qui-Gon and a 12 year old Obi-Wan Kenobi. The events in this novel directly tie-into TPM and the later Star Wars movies themselves. I assume now they are non-canon.

When this book opens Obi-Wan is rapidly approaching 13 the age by which a Jedi learner must be chosen as an apprentice or he/she will be sent away from the temple to work in the agri corps. So the Jedi are into child slave labour, how classy. The competition between the Jedi learners is vicious and Obi-Wan's future as a member of the agri-corps seems certain. He wants to be an apprentice to Qui-Gon Jinn who definitely does not want him.

Qui-Gon constantly rejects Obi-Wan and as a result Obi-Wan is sent to the planet Bandomeer to join the agri-corps. Qui-Gon is not portrayed as a nice person which certainly ties in with his behaviour in the movie (rejecting Obi-Wan all over again in his desire to train Anakin). Anyway as this first novel ends, Qui-Gon is on the same ship as Obi-Wan heading to Bandomeer on Jedi business and still Obi-Wan keeps up his sadly pathetic attempts to impress Qui-Gon who he hero-worships utterly.

~
Jedi Apprentice 3: The Hidden Past
On their first mission as Master and Apprentice everything goes wrong. Obi-Wan gets captured by nasty people who want to erase his mind and Qui-Gon stages the most ineffective rescue ever (he sits in a room and does nothing to help) while having lots and lots of long interior monologues on why he can't trust his new apprentice after his previous protegee Xanatos went spectacularly off the rails.

Granted having one apprentice who almost wiped out an entire planet and then tried to blow up another planet should make you ponder on the validity of your training methods but instead Qui-Gon sits around wondering when Obi-Wan will go dark side as well.

In the end Obi-Wan saves the day while Qui-Gon broods. Their utter lack of even attempting to communicate with each other does not bode well for the future, making one wonder exactly what being a Jedi apprentice involves seeing as in Obi's case it seems to only involve being ignored and distrusted by his stupid master who he still inexplicably hero-worships. No wonder Luke messed up training Ben Solo.

~
Jedi Apprentice 4: The Mark Of The Crown
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan arrive on a planet to oversee a change from absolute monarchy to democracy and once again stuff hits the fan. Qui-Gon walks out on his apprentice to find a young woman who is the product of the late King's wild-oats sowing while Obi-Wan is left to contend with a possible coup and a truly whiny princeling who wants his throne and he wants it right now and if he doesn't get he'll scream and scream until he's sick. Or something.

Anyway even while running around the hills trying to avoid being killed by bad guys who can't shoot straight, Qui-Gon still has time for more long interior monologues on why he can't trust his new apprentice while Obi-Wan is getting really really sick of his Master's attitude toward him. By the end of the novel when all the trouble has been sorted out, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan have nothing to say to each other. Obi-Wan's eyes have opened a bit wider and his hero-worship of Qui-Gon has tarnished. Something has got to give.

~
Jedi Apprentice 5: The Defender Of The Dead
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are on the planet Melida/Daan which has been torn apart by millennia of unending civil war. They are there to rescue a captured Jedi and must absolutely not interfere. Once again ditched by his Master, Obi-Wan meets a gang of teenagers who are determined to end the civil war once and for all.

The gangs leaders are Nield and Cerasi and they are powerfully charismatic and Obi-Wan starts to sympathise with them and their determination to stop the Elders, the older generation who want the war to go on, finally finding friends and people he can talk to and relate to. Obi-Wan begins questioning his role as a Jedi, since he and his Master are so distant. Yes, once again Qui-Gon is having his long interior monologues on why he can't trust his new apprentice.

It all comes to a head when Nield and Cerasi and their followers find a way to stop the fighting. Qui-Gon decides its time to leave and Obi-Wan finally reaches his breaking point when he discovers there are some orders he cannot obey. Obi-Wan has transferred his hero-worship from Qui-Gon to the beautiful Cerasi whom he has a unrealised crush on.

He walks away from Qui-Gon and the Jedi. Qui-Gon, being a monumental unfeeling bastard takes umbrage at his apprentice wanting to help people when Qui-Gon said not to, so what does he do? He gets in a ship and leaves, abandoning his 13 year old ex-apprentice on a planet where a civil war is about to either finally end or annihilate every last living thing on the planet. You have to wonder how the man ever became a Jedi anyway. What sort of person abandons someone little more than a child on a war torn planet?

~
Jedi Apprentice 6: The Uncertain Past
Obi-Wan is on Melida/Daan helping his friends Nield and Cerasi oversee a fragile peace while Qui-Gon is in the Jedi Temple having yes you've guessed it: long interior monologues on how he just knew he shouldn't have trusted his now former apprentice.

So while Qui-Gon broods and insists on being a one-man pity party. Obi-Wan's life once again gets flushed down the great mother of all toilets when Cerasi (who he was half in love with) is assassinated. Nield goes insane with grief and decides the Elders are to blame so he vows to resume the war and kill everyone who doesn't share this belief.

Caught between the crazy teenage leader of the Young who wants to commit genocide and the equally crazy leader of the Elders who wants to commit genocide as well, Obi-Wan decides to call for help. He calls Yoda. Yoda summons Qui-Gon who upon learning that Obi-Wan (whom he dumped in a warzone) is seeking help decides to leave the room as he doesn't care what happens to Obi-Wan who Qui-Gon is now convinced is as bad as Xanatos. Yoda makes the self-obsessed Jedi Knight go to Melida/Daan where he and poor Obi have a tense reunion.

Eventually the peace is made permanent thanks to Cerasi giving a message from beyond the grave. Qui-Gon manages to get his head partially out of his ass and Obi-Wan decides he needs to return to the Jedi and make amends. that however turns out to be slightly problematical. No wonder Obi-Wan messed up Anakin's training so badly, seeing what a kind, caring, considerate, nurturing mentor Qui-Gon wasn't. I'm surprised he didn't kill Qui himself instead of waiting for Darth Maul to do it.

~
Jedi Apprentice 7: The Captive Temple
Obi-Wan returns in disgrace to the Jedi Temple and is given a long lecture by the Jedi Council. This is getting seriously annoying, he is 13 and they are a bunch of smug morons and Qui-Gon is just annoying. Anyway mysterious thefts and sabotage are bedevilling the Temple and Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, Thal and Bant investigate. Meanwhile a precocious, snotty young girl named Siri pops up to annoy. Bruck, Obi-Wan's nemesis comes to a deserving end and Qui-Gon's failed Apprentice Xanatos makes a long-awaited return.

~
Jedi Apprentice 8: The Day Of Reckoning
Qui-Gon goes off on a vigilante search for the evil Xantos and Obi-Wan (still in disgrace) follows along desperate for Qui-Gon to forgive his 'betrayal'. Qui-Gon is a terrible Master. Anyway the Jedi arrive on the world of Telos to find Xantos has set himself up as a tinpot dictator and enslaved the world by addicting them to gambling. No, really. Anyway there is a chase, a fight, more babbling and Xantos is finally disposed of. In the end Qui-Gon accepts Obi-Wan as his Apprentice again.

~
Star Wars Episode 1 Journal: Darth Maul by Jude Watson
This focuses on Darth Maul's training as apprentice to Darth Sidious, who is ruthless, abusive and downright terrifying as he moulds Maul into the psychopathic killing machine we saw in 'The Phantom Menace'. Unlike Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan Sidious actually trains Maul and actually does it right. Maul is a very efficient Sith. Inbetween musing on his nasty upbringing, Maul regularly goes on killing rampages. No wonder he is still around in 'Solo'.
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