Dark Apprentice (Jedi Academy Trilogy #2)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Science-fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

11 ABY

Happy 40 year anniversary to the release of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, released on May 25, 1977! In honor of the anniversary, I ensure that a fresh Star Wars Post makes it onto my blog on May 25th. This post features the second novel in the Jedi Academy Trilogy: Dark Apprentice, preceded by the first in the trilogy, Jedi Search. While not quite as interesting as the events and characters in the first novel, this one still has quite a bit of merit.

The New Republic has taken the Sun Crusher, and in retaliation, Admiral Daala is wreaking havoc across New Republic worlds, including Akbar’s home-world. After his ship is tampered with during a peaceful political talk with a new planet of people, Ackbar crashing into their sacred building has the New Republic remove him from his post, no longer an admiral. Now residing on his home-world, Leia and Ackbar fight against Daala’s assault.

While this battle rages on Mon Calamari, Luke is on Yavin 4 training his new Jedi apprentices. Little does Luke know that a couple of his Jedi are looking to the Dark Side. Gantoris on the Eol Sha people sees visions of dark power, and when he chooses to embrace the Dark Side, it is too much, and his body gives out. Now this dark being has found its way to Kyp Durron, who claims the Sun Crusher can be used against Daala and the rest of the Empire remnants, and that Luke is not teaching his new pupils what they need to know.

Meanwhile, Leia is aiming for peaceful negotiations with various planets while trying to be a good mother at the same time, and the one who sabotaged Ackbar’s ship has found Anakin Solo’s whereabouts!

When Luke finds out about the destruction of the Eol Sha people, wiped out by Daala in an act of pure guerrilla warfare, Luke cannot keep up with the fading Empire remnants and his pupils turning to the Dark Side. When Luke aims to fight whatever this looming darkness is, he falls into a comatose state, leaving his apprentices to fend for themselves, and leaving Kyp to do as he pleases with the Sun Crusher as he aims to exact revenge and save his brother.

All in all, this book was still pretty decent. I was not as interesting as the set-up and character introductions in Jedi Search, it has potential to lead into a climactic finish, and it does keep the reader wanting to know what will happen with many of the characters, including Luke, Kyp, Anakin, Daala, and Mara. Yes, Mara Jade make an appearance in this novel, as Luke is aiming to get her to join his Jedi Academy, and the plays between Mara and Lando are hilarious. Overall, a decent sequel to a decent Star Wars trilogy that any fan would find interest in.

Star Wars: Jedi Search (Jedi Academy Trilogy #1)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Jedi Search is the first novel in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, a good series to read after the Thrawn Trilogy and the Dark Empire graphic novels. Many of the characters we meet within those books make an appearance in this book (or later books) and this book opens up a new door of adventure for Luke, Han, and everyone.

This novel opens with Han and Chewbacca sent on a mission to the spice mining planet of Kessel, where they aim to bring the remnants of smugglers over to the New Republic. When they are shot down, Han and Chewbacca find themselves enslaved by Moruth Doole, who won control of the spice mines after the fall of the Empire. The luminous glitterstim of Kessel is highly sought after, but dangerous to excavate.

Meanwhile, on Coruscant, Luke has gained permission to begin his new Jedi Academy and he has a few candidates he has found through his travels, but he just needs to find a place for the school, which Leia is slaving over. As Leia explores potential planets for Luke’s academy, Luke ventures to places with rumored candidates who may be strong in the Force.

Luke travels to the volcanic world of Eol Sha where he meets Gantoris and his people. When Luke pleads his case with the people of Eol Sha, and Gantoris has Luke fight through some dangerous trials before agreeing to go with him, his people guaranteed to have a safer planet to reside in the Republic. Afterwards, Luke finds Streen on Bespin, a man who is so sensitive to the Force that he can’t keep the voices quiet in his head, which Luke promises her can train.

Lando is searching for a Jedi lead on Umgul well-known for its blob races. When a man is suspected of using the Force to win big, Lando and Artoo hunt him down, only to find that he was not a force user, although he was wanted by his Duchess, ensuring Lando leaving with a major consolation prize.

Leia is dealing with a bunch of political and diplomatic stuff while taking care of her twins, Jacen and Jaina, who could finally be with her on Coruscant since they turned two, and juggling finding a planet for Luke’s academy. When Han is late in returning, Leia sends Luke and Lando to find out what is going on.

Back on Kessel, Han and Chewbacca are stuck in the spice mines where they meet Kyp Durron, a young Force-user who helps them deviate an escape. Even though they cannot get the Falcon back, the trio manages to escape with on of the spice transports. When Doole’s men go after them, they escape into the Maw Cluster, a dangerous series of black holes. Kyp’s use of the Force guides them through to the center where four Star Destroyers sit in waiting. Apparently Admiral Daala did not get the memo of the Empire’s fall, being stranded in a place that cannot get fluid communication. When she questions Han, she finds his truth to be devastating and has a hard time believing him.

Of course, our trio finds a way to escape: the Sun Crusher, a tiny ship with more power than the Death Star and can annihilate solar systems. It’s developer, Qui Xux (an Omwati), didn’t really think she was doing anything bad by creating these devastating things, only knowing the lies Tarkin told to manipulate and use her intellect.

When Luke and Lando finally find the Falcon and that Doole had done something with their friends, they steal back the Falcon, get caught up in a space brawl, and narrowly escape (after meeting up with the Sun Crusher) when Daala’s Star Destroyers enter out of the Maw onto Kessel’s air space.

With Han home, the Sun Crusher in Republic hands, and the perfect planet, Luke can now take his candidates and begin training a new era of Jedi, but what will come of Daala and her sought revenge for the Empire?

This was a very fun novel and continuation of events after the fall of the Empire. It had a bit of a slow start, but the appearance of Daala and all the new Force users are interesting additions that have potential to be in the books chronologically from here on out. So my question, when reading, was “Where’s Mara Jade? She’s my favorite, isn’t she going to be in this?” Yes, she is mentioned, but she doesn’t make an appearance again until Dark Apprentice, the second book in the trilogy.

Some people go straight to The Hand of Thrawn Duology after the Thrawn Trilogy, but Luke and Mara are growing close in  that series, and I didn’t want to just jump into their relationship without seeing how they arrived there through the other events chronologically, so while the pace is slow-going, it is interesting to see her interactions with Luke in the Jedi Academy Trilogy.