Do you want to make people smile? Get The Jedi Path (Vault Edition) and tell them to push the button.
I brought this to my local Star Wars club meeting, yesterday, and people actually squealed with delight when the vault opened. And when they calmed down enough to do it again and listen to the sound effects? Delighted claps that made them look like five-year-olds on their birthdays.
Going beyond the coolness of the vault, the book itself is fantastic! It’s designed as an orientation manual/text book for younglings at the Jedi Temple that has been passed from master to apprentice in a line descending from Yoda to, belatedly, Luke. (And, yes, they explain how this happens.)
As with many textbooks, it’s filled with notes scribbled in the margins. And I think this is my favorite part. It represents a conversation through the ages. And Dan Wallace really captures each owner’s voice in these notes. Of particular amusement, however, are Darth Sidious’ notes after he captured the book in the Order 66 aftermath.
There are also tons of keepsakes inserted by its various owners that are hilarious. My only complaint would be a coin that keeps falling out of the book and rolling across the room; a particular source of amusement for my dogs. I suspect that will make it difficult to keep this collectible intact in the future.
As to the book itself? It’s a brilliant compilation of thirty-three years of Star Wars lore in a spackle job at a level not seen since Michael Stackpole’s I, Jedi untangled the Bantam Era. Contradictions are explained. Disparate details from several different authors are melded into a coherent theory. And it’s all in the style of textbook; along with some stunning illustrations.
I’m no Santa Maul, but I would definitely add this one to your holiday/birthday wish list.
Obi-Wan and Anakin are still stuck on Lanteeb, a planet far in the Outer Rim and of seeming little consequence. The Lanteebans pose no apparent strategic value to the Republic or Separatists; it’s an attitude that grossly misjudges the efforts of captured scientist Bant’ena Fhernan. She’s been hired to construct a virus to end all viruses, a massive biological weapon that will sway the war in Dooku’s favor, but getting materials for it isn’t easy. The key ingredient, damotite, lays deep within the sinuous mines of Lanteeb and Separatist overseer Lok Durd rides the locals hard with threats of drastic food and water rationing if his unreasonable quota and timetable aren’t met.
Against all impossibilities, the Lanteeban’s work furiously every day, risking damotite poisoning to please Durd. When Anakin and Obi-Wan crash their vehicle and end up stranded in the mining city responsible for churning out the dangerous material, the two are welcomed only as long as the villagers don’t know they’re Jedi. Naturally, an invading droid army and a failing shield barrier that forces the pair to use the Force for self preservation were probably unavoidable inevitabilities. Continue reading “Review: Karen Miller’s Clone Wars Gambit: Siege“
Luke and Ben are forced to confront a group of Sith ships floating above Dathomir when all they really want to do is get back to business. Luke not only wants to exonerate himself, but thinks following Jacen’s path to darkness may give him the insight he needs to prevent another Jedi from falling to the Dark Side. But these Sith have some information that Luke might be interested in—information regarding Sith who may be succumbing to the same dementia plaguing young Jedi across worlds.
Could the very fate of the galaxy now depend on an alliance that goes against Ben’s training? Can Sith and Jedi really get along? Or has Luke doomed himself and the life of his son on an idealistic treaty that could turn traitorous at any moment? The good news is, Luke’s betting on treachery. And when betrayal is expected, it seems easier to spot, but only if you know where to look. Continue reading “Review: Christie Golden’s Fate of the Jedi: Allies“
Karen Miller’s high regard and curiosity concerning Obi-Wan Kenobi is quite charming. In her second Star Wars book, Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth, every character has a lot to shoulder in the war, even (and especially) Obi-Wan.
Ahsoka has more to consider as Anakin’s Padawan than the teachings of the Jedi Order. She cares for his well-being and has learned how to read her Master’s emotions to help herself navigate and deal with his temperament. Anakin struggles with the responsibilities of being the Chosen One. What he feels they should do, what he should do as such a prominent figure, conflicts often with the wider doctrine of the Jedi, not to mention how delicately he juggles his forbidden relationship with Padmé. Obi-Wan still wrestles with his misgivings as a teacher and his emotions over the health of a dear friend. It’s clear, though, that as Bail Organa brings a frightening new element in the war to the Jedi’s attention, this cast of extraordinary beings have rather ordinary problems.
All things considered: Obi-Wan and Anakin, for as much as they remain larger than life figures, symbolic of the Jedi Order and its potential, are still forced to deal with their very human emotions and drama. After a harrowing skirmish on Kothlis, Anakin and Obi-Wan are forced to realize they both need some much needed rest. Obi-Wan is still running a bit ragged from his encounter on Zigoola; Anakin and the entire galaxy agree. The pair are sent to Lanteeb anyway–a planet of no consequence until recent Separatist actions pique the Republic’s curiosity. Their physical wounds may be healed, but Anakin and Obi-Wan learn the hard way: some scars never go away. Continue reading “Review: Karen Miller’s Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth“
Luke and Ben seemed to have abandoned their mission to uncover the murky truth of Jacen’s turn to the Dark Side during the third FOTJ book, Abyss, when a weird new tribe of Sith caught their attention. In Backlash, the adventure continues.
Luke’s on the prowl, metaphorically sniffing out Vestara Kai like some crazy bad ass Jedi hunting dog. With his blood splattered on her person after a lightsaber battle that ended with the death of her Master, Vestara is unaware she’s even being tracked, but you can bet she’s looking for a place to hide. Ben, aware of his father’s exhaustion and despite Luke’s protests, elicits the help of the Jedi via an encrypted, sneaky, and very under-the-radar message intended to make absolutely clear it isn’t Luke who’s asking (which would violate the terms of his parole.) Eager to help and reminding us the “good thing about the Solos and Skywalkers” is they “never run out of things to do” (p. 6), Han and Leia pack Allana and her pet nexu aboard the Falcon and head to the place Luke and Ben guess is the most likely location Vestara would land: Dathomir. And here, ladies and gentlemen, is where the fun begins. What follows is a witty and wild adventure in which Daala realizes she’s in over her head, Han gets a flamethrower, and a nexu manages to elicit more pathos out of me than Allana ever will. Continue reading “Review: Aaron Allston’s Fate of the Jedi: Backlash“