Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Dark Apprentice and Champions of the Force

There will be two book reviews today, finishing up Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy.

Book: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson
Book II of the Jedi Academy Trilogy

Description: As the New Republic takes devastating losses in  the ongoingwar with the scattered remnants of the  Empire, the galaxy's future depends on three small  children -- among them the Jedi twins -- born to  incredible powers and perils, as an extraordinary new saga unfolds...

While the New  Republic struggles to decide what to do with the deadly  Sun Crusher -- a new doomsday weapon stolen from  the Empire by Han Solo -- the renegade Imperial  Admiral Daala uses her fleet of Star Destroyers to  conduct guerrilla warfare on peaceful planets.  And now she threatens the watery homeworld of  Admiral Ackbar. But as the battle for a planet rages,  an even greater danger emerges at Luke  Skywalker's Jedi academy. A brilliant student delves  dangerously into the dark side of the Force and  unleashes the spirit of an ancient master of the evil  order that warped Darth Vader himself. Working  together, they may become an enemy greater than the  New Republic has ever fought... more powerful than  even a Jedi Master can face. (from

This book was much better than the first book in the series, Jedi Search. The plot was much more together and felt much more focused. There is a strong theme of good vs. evil, with the Jedi as good and the Sith as evil. There is no ultimate reasoning, however, for why Jedi are good and Sith are evil. Jedi philosophy leads to inner peace and a "better" galaxy? One of the weaknesses of more secular books featuring good and evil.

Book: Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson
Book III of the Jedi Academy Trilogy

Description: Suspended helplessly between life and death, Luke Skywalker lies in state at the Jedi academy. But on the spirit plane, Luke fights desperately for survival, reaching out physically to the Jedi twins. At the same time, Leia is on a life-and-death mission of her own, a race against Imperial agents hoping to destroy a third Jedi child -- Leia and Han's baby Anakin -- hidden on the planet Anoth. Meanwhile, Luke's former protÚgÚ Kyp Durron has pirated the deadly Sun Crusher on an apocalyptic mission of mass destruction, convinced he is fighting for a just cause. Hunting down the rogue warrior, Han must persuade Kyp to renounce his dark crusade and regain his lost honor. To do it, Kyp must take the Sun Crusher on a suicide mission against the awesome Death Star prototype -- a battle Han knows they may be unable to win... even with Luke Skywalker at their side! (From

This was by far the best book of the trilogy. The plot was again much better than that of Jedi Search, and the ending was very good.  

The strongest aspect of this book, and the trilogy in general (although I noticed it most in this book), was all the minor characters that were portrayed. They were described in such a way that I grew attached to many of them, especially Qwi Xux, Winter, Terafen, and Cilghal. There was a downside to this--especially at the Jedi Academy, there were so many people being described that I found it hard to become attached to any single character. 

My favorite single scene was when a bunch of scientists were put in charge of a smaller, less functional Death-Star-like ship and then forced to go into battle. Anderson has obviously known some scientists in his time--the portrayal was spot-on and hilarious.

This book has a strong element of repentance throughout, a theme that I enjoyed. Some characters' turn-arounds felt a bit forced, however.

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