FSFH Book Review

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Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
Collaborations G - M
Collaborations N - R
Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature
The Books of Jude Watson

Jude Watson is the author of several bestselling series', aimed at young adults, set within the Star Wars franchise.  She currently lives on America's eastern seaboard.
Average Review Score: 3.5 out of 5 (43 books)

Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Dark Rival
The second book of the series, following on from Dave Wolverton's 'The Rising Force', here we have the tale of how Qui-Gon Jinn finally decides to accept Obi-Wan Kenobi as his Padawan apprentice.  Both sent to Bandomeer, the two have very different missions, Qui-Gon is to root out a mining saboteur and Obi-Wan, having been passed over to become a Jedi Knight, has to join an agricultural team.  However, a man named Xanatos arrives on the planet and reveals himself to be none other than Qui-Gon's first Padawan, who quit the Jedi Order years before.  Xanatos is one of the best characters in Star Wars in recent years, having cunning, wealth, a powerful connection to the Force and an undying hatred of Qui-Gon.  Through a series of short flashbacks we learn the details of Qui-Gon and Xanatos' past and Watson shows how those events reflect on Qui-Gon's relationship with the headstrong Obi-Wan.  In true Star Wars style the book's tensions lead to a climatic lightsaber duel which is the highpoint of the story (although Obi-Wan's calm plan to sacrifice himself to save Qui-Gon and the mine is a great character moment).
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Hidden Past
The third JA book and the first step on a slippery slope.  This book sets a precedent, in terms of story, that will plague the series endlessly.  The two Jedi find themselves on a planet suffering under an oppressive regime and, linking up with local resistance forces, manage to topple said regime.  It's all fairly predictable (making the repetition in the later books all the more painful) and it just bugs me that the Jedi are doing exactly the sort of thing that I thought they tried to avoid.  The Derida brothers are endlessly irritating too, being something of a mix between a petty thief and Jar Jar Binks (the horror!).
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Mark Of The Crown
A slightly different premise for the fourth book of the series, but not different enough.  Although there's no oppressive regime to topple, as such, there are still oppressors and the spunky young rebels trying to resist them.  Enter the Jedi, commence meddling.  Not a great read, but I liked the fact that the ending turned out to be a bit different to what I had been (despondently) expecting.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Defenders Of The Dead
Book five of the JA series takes an interesting turn.  Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are sent to rescue the Jedi Knight Tahl on Melida/Daan, a planet wracked by civil war.  Watson manages to raise some fairly serious issues for a young reader novel about the nature of things such as inherited hatreds, the effects of civil war on the young and the twisting of truth through propaganda.  Perhaps most interesting is that Obi-Wan finds himself drawn into the war by the experiences of one of the factions, the Young, who profess to seek peace between their elders among the Melida and the Daan.  Obi-Wan's choice at the end of the book is a genuine surprise and I loved Qui-Gon's reaction to it after he had just gotten over the fear of betrayal caused years before by Xanatos.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Uncertain Path
Following directly on from 'The Defenders Of The Dead', Obi-Wan has left the Jedi Order on Melida/Daan and Qui-Gon, returning to the Jedi Temple, struggles to overcome the pain of the betrayal.  Qui-Gon and his friend Tahl are then tasked with investigating a series of minor thefts and vandalism within the Temple itself and soon discover that there is some sinister plot at work.  Meanwhile, Obi-Wan finds that being a revolutionary leader is far from easy and when his friend, and heart of the Young, Cerasi, is killed he finds himself alone between factions who wish each other's destruction.  Once again, a surprising adult series of issues cleverly dealt with.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Captive Temple
The seventh book of the series returns Obi-Wan to the Jedi Temple, but this time as an outsider.  As terrorist acts occur within the Temple itself, Obi-Wan finds himself shunned by Qui-Gon, berated by the Jedi Council and disliked by the other young Padawans.  However, he and Qui-Gon are thrust back together when they must face down Obi-Wan's rival Bruck Chun and his new dark master, Xanatos.  I can't get enough of Xanatos and to have him fight Qui-Gon whilst Obi-Wan simultaneously duels with Bruck was just a treat to read.  One of the better books of the entire series.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Day Of Reckoning
Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan track Xanatos to his homeworld of Telos, but find that, rather than confronting a hated criminal, they are confronting a man loved by the people as a benefactor.  The Jedi become the hunted parties and have to attempt to reveal the truth of Xanatos to the people.  Sadly this involves that depressingly familiar joining forces with the local rebels to overthrow the government stuff.  I will say that I really liked Xanatos' end, as it is entirely in keeping with his character.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Fight For Truth
Oppressive governmental regime, Jedi meddling, etc, etc.  The only new thing this book brings to the series is Adi Gallia and Siri Tachi.  I did enjoy reading about how Adi and Qui-Gon come to respect one another despite their differing methods and also how Obi-Wan and Siri become friends despite their initial rivalrly and dislike of one another.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Shattered Peace
The tenth book of the series and the worst one so far.  This book is so boring and mundane that I can't even gather the inclination to explain why it's rubbish.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Deadly Hunter
A bit of life is injected back into the series by the introduction of the nicely corrupt character Didi Oddo and his long-suffering daughter, not to mention the contortionist, light-whip wielding bounty hunter Ona Nobis.  I enjoyed a story largely set on the streets of Coruscant too, something that the series hasn't provided up until now.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Evil Experiment
As I constantly mention, I'm not a fan of imprisonment storylines and in this, the twelfth book of the JA series, Qui-Gon spends all his time imprisoned.  Boring!  Obi-Wan's desperate attempts to rescue his Master make for more interesting reading, however.  Ultimately, though, Qui-Gon's plotline and the irredeemably lame title of the book overshadow the good points.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Dangerous Rescue
This book starts off well, as Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Adi Gallia and Siri attempt to locate Jenna Zan Arbor and free the other Jedi she is holding captive.  However, as the book progresses it falls into many familiar patterns and I found my interest rapidly began to wane.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Ties That Bind
Book fourteen of the series sees Qui-Gon disobeying the wishes of the Jedi Council to seek out his friend Tahl, who he senses is in great danger.  On New Apsolon, a planet still divided by a civil war years earlier, he and Obi-Wan attempt to find Tahl before the nameless danger does.  Despite the urgency and the emotial imperative supplied by Qui-Gon's desire to find Tahl, this book still fails to break out of the mould from which all too many of this series are pressed.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Death Of Hope
Following on from the previous book, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan rush to rescue Tahl, who is in the hands of a cruel megalomaniac.  Much of the body of the text is identical to the previous book's, but there are some elements here that make this one stand out from the crowd.  The first is simply Qui-Gon's exploration of his love for Tahl, giving his character some much needed personal development.  The other great element is the flashbacks that tell the story of Qui-Gon and Tahl's friendship, running from their childhood in the Jedi Temple, through to their more recent encounters.  The book is spoiled somewhat by the fact that it's title kinda gives away Tahl's fate.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Call To Vengeance
I'm sorry, but I just couldn't credit this story.  It's just too much of a leap to have Qui-Gon on the verge of the dark side as he pursues a relentless quest for vengeance, forsaking Obi-Wan and the other Jedi.  Speaking of the latter,  it was nice to see Mace Windu play a larger role than just sitting on the Council and acting surly.  However, the combination of the incredibility of the plot and the fact that we get the chase across New Apsolon rehashed for the third time just ruins the book altogether.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Only Witness
Book seventeen of the series is pretty boring all round.  The only interesting element is Obi-Wan's crush on the 'only witness' of the title and that element is largely underplayed.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Enemy Within
The eighteenth and final book of the Jedi Apprentice series.  I thought that Watson would try to end the series on a high note or with a very poignant story relating to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's adventures together.  Seems I thought wrong.  What we get instead is not only the same old 'oppressive regime, rebels, Jedi meddling' crap, but there's also a subplot in which Obi-Wan begins to sympathise with one of the factions and which is almost a word for word retelling of parts of book five.  I don't whether Watson ran out of ideas, but she certainly seems to have run out of energy and interest in the series, concluding it with the worst book so far.
1 out of 5
Star Wars: Episode I Journal - Queen Amidala
The story of 'The Phantom Menace' told through the eyes and in the words of Queen Amidala.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from this book, figuring it to be a combination of cash-in and chick lit.  So, I was actually quite surprised to find that I enjoyed reading Amidala's take on the events and characters around her.  I think it's because she's never really been developed as a character (especially in the movies) and this is a rare glimpse into her motivations and thought processes.  I also like reading her thoughts on the other characters of Episode I, especially Qui-Gon and her future hubby Anakin.  Despite being surprisingly entertaining (and succeeding in it's intended goal of prompting me to watch 'The Phantom Menace' again) this book is too short and too underdeveloped, in the way of many younger reader books, to be great.
3 out of 5
'I am Amidala, Queen of Naboo.'
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - Path To Truth
A stand-alone prelude to the Jedi Quest series.  As a young slave on Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker witness a terrifying raid by the pirate Krayn.  Years later, as a Jedi Padawan, Anakin finds himself in a position to hunt Krayn down.  It's interesting to see Obi-Wan's attempts to rein Anakin in and I liked the way that they're only half-hearted because Obi-Wan is distracted by the fact that his old friend (and former Jedi) Siri Tachi is apparently working for Krayn as a slaver.  The real worth of this book is in having Anakin confront living as slave but as a powerful young Jedi rather than a defenceless child.  Plus I rather enjoyed Obi-Wan having a chance to get into trouble without Qui-Gon or Anakin there with him.  There's a great scene at the beginning where Anakin has to enter the crystal caves of Ilum to construct his lightsaber (which goes on to have an eventful life of it's own - "Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it.").  In the crystal caves Anakin faces several Force-visions and his reactions are interesting, not least to the one where he has the red-bladed lightsaber of a Sith.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Way Of The Apprentice
The first book of the series-proper.  A planet in the grip of an ecological disaster calls for Jedi aid.  The Jedi who are sent are an interesting mix that gives a good inter-character dynamic to the story.  There's, of course, Obi-Wan and Anakin, but joining them are the cool and confident Siri (from some of the Jedi Apprentice books and the Jedi Quest prelude) and her too perfect Padawan Ferus Olin, the quiet Master Ry-Gaul and his apprentice Tru Veld, Anakin's only real friend, there's also the skilled Master Soara Antana and her personable and lively Padawan Darra Thel-Tanis.  The most interesting element is Anakin's relationships with Tru and Ferus.  Tru and Anakin are fast friends, despite their different demeanors, but in Ferus, Anakin finds a rival he can measure himself against and conflict with.  Watson has really brushed out the cobwebs that had covered the Jedi Apprentice series towards it's end and made a book that's good fun to read (even though I can't stand Anakin's petulant whining).
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Trail Of The Jedi
The second JQ book.  Obi-Wan and Anakin are undertaking a tracking excersise (kind of like those corporate team-building excersises) when they find themselves targets by a series of bounty hunters.  This book is just a great excuse for some action, although it does develop the relationship between Master and Padawan somewhat.  We're also introduced to the series' major new villain, the mysterious, devious and deadly Granta Omega.  I really liked the epilogue of the book in which Obi-Wan introduces Anakin to Dexter's Diner (from Episode II).
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Dangerous Games
The third book of the series.  Obi-Wan and Anakin are once again teamed with Siri, Ferus, Ry-Gaul and Tru Veld to keep the peace at the Galactic Games.  There's the typical insidious plots that you'd expect, but what makes this book stand out is Anakin's return to Podracing.  The entire plot thread in which he disobeys Obi-Wan to take part in the beloved, but illegal, sport of his youth and to seek revenge against his old enemy Sebulba is great.  If you didn't like the Podracing in Episode I, then steer clear, but if you thought it was the best bit (well, after the duel at the end of course) then this is the book for you.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Master Of Disguise
The fourth book of the series.  It isn't a bad book per se, in fact I quite enjoyed Omega's plots within plots, but there just isn't enough substance to this book to make it stand out from the crowd of Watson's work.  Still, I enjoyed the concept of Anakin's own belief that he is more able than anyone else being what gets his friend badly injured.  I also liked that Obi-Wan finally gets shot of the irritating little git for a while!
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The School Of Fear
Anakin and Ferus have to go undercover in a school for priviledged youths in order to route out the secret of the kidnap of a Senator's son.  I'm afraid I found much of this book boring and wasn't even impressed by the cameo inclusion of Reymet Autem (a character from the 'Republic' comics).  There was one good bit, in which Obi-Wan, Siri and Ferus are all left dumbfounded by Anakin's sheer power when he single-handedly overcomes overwhelming odds.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Shadow Trap
A fair bit of familiar ground once again in the sixth book of the series, but a few features that redeem it somewhat.  The best thing about this book is that it features Yaddle heavily, a character used far too little to my mind!  I mean, a female Yoda, how much more interesting a character could you want.  Also, I was surprised by the fact that this book deals with a major event for a character from the movies (ever wonder why Yaddle isn't in 'Attack Of The Clones'?  No?  Oh.  Well, perhaps it's just us geeks then!).  There's also a bit of worthwhile development for Anakin too, as he is separated from Obi-Wan and tries to make important decisions for himself.  Finally, we discover Granta Omega's secret history and find out just why he'd got it in for Obi-Wan.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Moment Of Truth
The seventh Jedi Quest book falls back into the rut in which Watson found herself with the Jedi Apprentice series, with the same old rehashed story concept.  It has long been a tradition in the Star Wars EU to tell the story behind lines from the film and with this book Watson tells the story behind the Episode II line "I've not seen you this nervous since we fell into that nest of gundarks."  Astonishingly, Watson manages to completely fumble this most simple of concepts.  In her interpretation of the story behind the line Anakin is actually under the influence of a relaxing drug, meaning that he isn't at all nervous.  I mean, how can you make that sort of mistake?
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Changing Of The Guard
Another case of Jedi Apprentice syndrome here as the Jedi once again become embroiled in an uprising against a cruel government.  Yawn.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The False Peace
It's funny how Watson has her ups and downs isn't it.  After the tedium of the previous book, here she displays some of her best work.  Obi-Wan, Anakin, Siri and Ferus discover that Jenna Zan Arbor and Granta Omega are involved in a plot to assassinate Chancellor Palpatine and return to Coruscant in an attempt to stop the villains.  There are several noteworthy elements to the book and here's just a few that are especially good; Palpatine taking Anakin under his wing and teaching him things that Obi-Wan certainly wouldn't, Jedi battling swarms of assassin droids within the Senate itself and Tyro Caladian meeting an untimely end just before he can tell anyone the big secret he's discovered about Palpatine (hmm, I wonder what that could be?).
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Final Showdown
The tenth and, obviously, final book of the Jedi Quest series.  The eveil scientist Jenna Zan Arbor and criminal mastermind Granta Omega have been tracked to the Sith world of Korriban.  Obi-Wan, Anakin and all the Master/Padawan teams of the other books in the series set off in pursuit.  I've always loved Korriban with it's decaying ruins and air of dark side menace and Watson manages to capture that feeling perfectly.  She even utilises elements of the planet created for the 'Knights Of The Old Republic' computer game, making visualising the scene even easier.  There's a great moment when Anakin catches a glimpse of the Sith Lord that Zan Arbor and Omega are meeting, but is unable to identify him (he's described as tall, so it's got to be Dooku, rather than Palpatine).  The ending manages to tie up Anakin's varied relationships with the other Padawans, leaving him as the purposeful loner of Episode II and onwards.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - The Desperate Mission
The first book of the series and the first book set in the new Dark Times era following 'Revenge Of The Sith'.  Here Watson brings us the dynamic nature of the Jedi Quest series, but without Anakin's irritating petulance.  I'm a big Obi-Wan fan, so it was really cool to finally get a bit of genuine character development for him.  When the book begins he is living on Tatooine, watching over the infant Luke and mourning his dead Jedi friends.  He is despondent and lost in self-recrimination until he learns that the Empire is hunting for the former Jedi Padawan Ferus Olin.  Suddenly Obi-Wan's life is given a new purpose when he realises that Luke and Leia will need something larger to become a part of and so he sets off to rescue the last of the Jedi and sow the seeds of Rebellion.  I really enjoyed this book, not least because it features a Dark Jedi investigating Polis Massa (where Luke and Leia were born), as well as featuring the welcome return of Boba Fett.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Dark Warning
Following directly on from 'The Desperate Mission', Obi-Wan, Ferus and the thief Treever have to outwit and escape Boba Fett.  There's more welcome development for Obi-Wan here as he realises that his place is on Tatooine, securing Luke's future, and that he must place his trust for the recovery of the surviving Jedi in Ferus' hands.  Ferus too is developing nicely, no longer the irritatingly self-righeous Padawan of the Jedi Quest series, he has matured but the price is self doubt.  Reading about how Ferus finds his confidence to become a Jedi once more is more than just compelling, it's riveting.  It doesn't hurt that Obi-Wan confronts a Dark Jedi Inquisitor on Polis Massa and that Ferus has to battle a squad of elite Stormtroopers on Ilum.  So, the torch has been passed from Obi-Wan to Ferus (a brave move of which I'm glad - despite my love for Obi-Wan) and I can't help but feeling the series will continue to be great to read.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Underworld
The third book of the series begins with Ferus Olin and Treever Flume infiltrating the ruined Jedi Temple.  I really enjoyed this part of the book, as we get Ferus' flashbacks of his time there (including his first encounter with a certain Skywalker) as well as getting a clearer picture of the destruction we see in 'Revenge Of The Sith'.  It was an especially good touch to see that Inquisitor Malorum has decided to set up his office in what used to be Yoda's quarters.  The story then follows Ferus and Treever as they enter Coruscant's underworld in search of the Jedi Fy-Tor-Ana.  We then meet the Erased, a group of people hiding from the Empire.  The Erased are a great little group of misfits who, as Ferus states, are perfect candidates for being Rebels (they're also led by Dexter Jettster, Obi-Wan's four-armed friend from Episode II).  Although elements of the book are familiar from Watson's earlier books, the post-Episode III setting gives them an entirely different frame.  One thing that did disappoint me was the scene featuring Vader.  He just didn't seem to have the presence that he should do and I was amazed by the fact that he has a Jedi sat in front of him and, basically, isn't particularly bothered one way or the other.  Very out of character.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Death On Naboo
The fourth book of the series resolves the imprisonment of Ferus Olin (from the previous book) in a slightly rushed manner.  However, I've never been a fan of imprisonment storylines and we've read about Jedi escaping the inescapable a dozen times, so I didn't mind much.  Ferus and his allies then pursue Inquisitor Malorum to Naboo to protect a secret they don't even know themselves (ie Luke and Leia).  Although Naboo isn't the most dramatic of Star Wars locales, it does seem like an old friend and it's good to see things like the Theed Hangar, the Lake District and Otoh Gunga.  We're also given updates on the lives of a few Naboo notables, including Queen Apailana, Boss Nass and Captain Typho.  This book really begins to stand out from the crowd, however, when Ferus and Malorum engage in a lightsaber duel in the same power core where Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan once fought Darth Maul.  This bit of the book was so evocative of Episode I's best scene, that I instantly forgave any failing the book might have.  I also enjoyed the beginnings of rebellion shown here, which serves as a reminder that the bad guys won't always be ascendant.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - A Tangled Web
The fifth book of the series begins with Ferus verbally sparring with none other than Emperor Palpatine himself.  The story then splits among the various characters of Ferus' cadre.  Solace, Treever and Oryon have to rescue those whom Palpatine is using to manipulate Ferus, whilst Curran and Keets investigate the shady dealings of Senator Sano Sauro on Coruscant.  Meanwhile Ferus himself has been forced into undertaking a mission as an agent of the Empire.  It is Ferus' storyline which is the most interesting as he attempts to locate a saboteur for Palpatine whilst still trying to free himself from serving the Empire.  As well as the aforementioned Sano Sauro, other returning characters include Dexter Jettster, Bog Divinian and Astri Oddo.  The discovery that the latter's son is Force-sensitive opens up interesting possibilities for the later books of the series.  Whilst generally a good read, the book is made by the return of the rivalry between Ferus and Vader (although Ferus doesn't know who Vader used to be yet), this time for the favour of the Emperor instead of the approval of the Jedi Council.  A nice twist.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Return Of The Dark Side
The blurb of the sixth book of the series plays up the rivalry between Ferus and Darth Vader, but sadly the book fails to cash in on that rivalry.  There are a few good scenes, such as when Vader lets slip "I know you" and Ferus realises his enemy was once a Jedi, but the interaction between the two characters seems fairly marginalised.  Instead the book focuses on the story of Ferus continuing to work for the Emperor on Samaria whilst trying to aid the local resistance.  Unfortunately, this storyline is pretty boring and largely seems to be a rehashing of previous events.  There is the overall theme of the rebels starting to gather together, but the way it's presented (just as a bunch of people organising meetings and having discussions) is far from inspiring.  Another thing I didn't like was the fact that Ferus' search for Jedi survivors, which got me into the series in the first place, has all but disappeared from the books since 'Underworld'.  It seems to me that Watson is very good at getting a new story going, but after a while falls into the trap of writing filler novels.  I think that if they commission another series from her, it should be much shorter.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Secret Weapon
Although the cover of the previous book dropped the first 'the', this is the first book of the series to carry the new abbreviated name through to the title page.  Obviously Jude Waston read my review of 'Return of the Dark Side' and took notes (ha!) because this book corrects all the things that let down that last one.  The rivalry between Ferus and Vader is the central theme of the book and begins to escalate from the moment Vader catches Ferus casually snooping in his quarters.  This tension reaches a head when, just to goad his enemy, Vader murders one of Ferus' friends.  Another element corrected in this book is the discovery of another Jedi who escaped Order 66; Ry-Gaul from the 'Jedi Quest' books.  Also, where before the growing rebellion has been written vaguely and without focus, here the resistance efforts are consolidated in trying to find out what vast new project the Empire, under the direction of Moff Tarkin, is working on (can you say 'Death Star'?).  The final few pages are the best part of this book as we see Ferus, consumed with rage and a desire for revenge against Vader, accepts the Emperor's offer of training in the dark side.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Against The Empire
The eighth book in the series presents another downswing in quality after the improvements of the previous book.  Ferus' training in the dark side by the Emperor, which seemed such a promising development, consists of one scene in which Palpatine tells Ferus to use his anger.  That's all.  Also, there is almost no interaction between Ferus and Vader here, failing to make the most of the hatred which now exists between the two characters.  Basically, there are four story threads in this book.  One involves Trever infiltrating the Imperial Academy and is pretty dull.  Another involves the rebels on Bellassa and, whilst more exciting, is nothing we haven't read before.  The other two storylines are far more interesting, but fail to reach any resolution within this book.  One of them has Clive Flax investigating his suspicions about the rebel leader Flame and the other has Ferus continuing to try to discover Vader's identity, this time by infiltrating the medical facility where Vader was cybernetically rebuilt.  As I say, neither of these stories reaches closure, which is annoying.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Master Of Deception
The ninth and penultimate book in the series and supposedly the second to last Star Wars book which Watson will ever write.  The author begins to tie off the story threads of the series as the budding rebel movement finds itself exposed to the Empire and, elsewhere Trever and Jedi survivor Ry-Gaul bring about the downfall of recurring villain Jenna Zan Arbor.  However, the majority of the book focuses on Ferus' mission to Alderaan where he discovers that Senator Organa's daughter is Force-sensitive and must be protected from the Inquisitors (who he's leading, no less) at all costs.  This isn't a bad book at all, but it does suffer from a certain feeling of familiarity, which is inevitable seeing the sheer number of Star Wars books Watson has written.  Overall, Ferus' increasing lean towards the dark side seems a bit contrived and hard to credit.  However, one element does resonate nicely; the fact that he's frustrated by Obi-Wan's need-to-know attitude, a nice parallel with Ferus' arch-rival.  Surprisingly the rebel gatherings, Jedi survivors and dark side intrigues weren't the things that caught my attention with this book.  Instead it is the somewhat simple mission undertaken by Clive and Astri.  It wasn't the mission that gripped me, but rather the great chemistry between these two characters who've seen more than their fare share of the galaxy's rough spots.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Reckoning

The tenth and final book of the series, bringing to a close Watson's epic Jedi sub-saga.  As the leaders of the nacent rebellion gather with the survivors of the Jedi Order, Darth Vader makes his final move to eradicate the enemies of the Empire.  I was upset by the deaths here of so many of the characters I've grown to known and love, but really that just showed that they worked as characters.  In fact, the end of the book does a very good job of echoing the tragedy of 'Revenge of the Sith'.  I also liked the ending which was chosen for Ferus, once again an echo of Episode III (although Ferus doesn't turn up on Alderaan distributing babies).  I felt two things let this book down, however (look away if you don't like spoilers!);  1) Vader not finishing off Ferus.  I mean, Vader of all people should know that you finish someone off after you've defeated them in a lightsaber duel.  2) Erasing Trever's memories at the end.  Here I am, fresh from being infuriated that they did the same thing with Donna on Doctor Who, and once again I have to deal with the idiocy of it.  Having a character lose all memory of what has befallen them throughout a series means that that character's personal journey has been a total waste (of a character and of my time).  I mean, who wants to read about a character who, ten books later, will be no different to when he first turned up.  It's just a cheap and easy way of tying off a loose plot thread, it irritates the hell out of me and it has led me to deduct a point overall for this otherwise enjoyable close to the series.

3 out of 5
'Ferus Olin stood on the vast plains of the planet Kayuk and spoke the words that had haunted him since he'd left Alderaan.'
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice Special Edition - Deceptions
Split in two, the first half of the story tells of how the family of Bruck Chun (who dies whilst fighting Obi-Wan in 'Jedi Apprentice: The Captive Temple') attempt to see Obi-Wan tried for murder.  Meanwhile Qui-Gon helps investigate sabotage against an experimental Jedi pilot training school.  Years later Obi-Wan and Anakin find themselves forced to aid Kad Chun, who still hates Obi-Wan for the death of his brother.  I enjoyed the concept of our heroes' actions being viewed as evil by others (Obi-Wan's 'certain point of view' thing, I guess) but overall the book isn't remarkable.
3 out of 5
'The water was cool and green.'
Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice Special Edition - The Followers
Once again, this book is split between Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's time together and Obi-Wan and Anakin's.  Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan begin investigating a group of students who are members of a Sith cult and, led by Professor Murk Lundi, are seeking a lost Sith holocron.  Years later Obi-Wan and Anakin are forced to use the now insane Lundi to help them track down his former students, who once again are seeking the holocron.  Standard Watson fare here, but I did enjoy the bit where Lundi, in his ravings, assures Anakin that he'd make a great Sith Lord (yeah, no kidding!).
3 out of 5
'The hologram flickered and the ghostly figures of Bant Eerin and her new Jedi Master Kit Fisto appeared in the Temple map room.'
Star Wars: Legacy Of The Jedi
A stand-alone story featuring four linked stories from four generations of Jedi.  The first is definitely the most interesting because it deals with Count Dooku when he was just a young Padawan.  Dooku's coldness and arrogance nicely foreshadow the path he takes in later life but I especially liked the way in which the betrayal by his friend Lorian Nod breeds a deep root mistrust of others in him (especially ironic considering that Palpatine eventually betrays him in the most fatal of ways, eh?).  The second part of the book I also liked for the way in which the compassionate and principled Padawan Qui-Gon is constantly at odds with Dooku's teaching.  I was less impressed with the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan section of the book, which is largely a rehash of the Jedi Apprentice series' standard plot; oppressive regime, fiesty rebels, blah blah blah.  The final part of the story, dealing with Obi-Wan and Anakin during the Clone Wars, isn't anything special but it is interesting to see the change that has been wrought in both Dooku and Lorian Nod since they were friends as youths.  Failings aside, I loved the concept of this book and Watson manages to make a pretty good job of exploiting it.
4 out of 5
'The corridor was empty.'
Star Wars: Secrets Of The Jedi
A stand alone sort-of-sequel to 'Legacy Of The Jedi'.  Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan join forces with Jedi Master Adi Gallia and her Padawan Siri Tachi to rescue a brilliant boy whose technical skill has made him a target for murderous criminals.  During their mission the Padawans are separated from their Masters and isolated together.  As an Obi-Wan fan I really enjoyed watching him and Siri fall in love, or rather, realise that their friendship had grown into love.  Although Watson's books are often entertaining and exciting, this is the first time I've ever found one to be emotionally involving; it's truly heart-rending when Obi-Wan and Siri realise that they have to give one another up.  The story then picks up years later, during the Clone Wars, when Siri, Obi-Wan and Anakin are sent to rescue the same brilliant young man that the Jedi had saved before.  The mission brings Obi-Wan and Siri's secret to the fore and this element is echoed brilliantly when Senator Padme Amidala joins the team.  There's not been a lot of exposure on Anakin and Padme's marriage, so it's interesting to see how they are together (and to see how Anakin often views her as a possession).  Because Watson focuses on the emotional dynamic of the four main characters, the events in the story are unremarkable, the Battle of Azure completely failing to take advantage of it's Clone Wars potential.  Still, I didn't mind too much.
5 out of 5
'Qui-Gon Jinn couldn't sleep.'

If you liked Watson:
Then try the work of Elizabeth Hand.

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