- Author: Claudia Gray
- 431 pages
- Published in 2019
- Placement in Timeline: A few years before The Phantom Menace
What It’s About:
Jedi Knight Qui Gon Jinn and his 17-year old padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to the planet Pijal on a diplomatic mission. Pijal’s government is in the process of changing from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Qui Gon is there to witness the signing of the treaty as a representative of the Republic, with a new hyperspace corridor at stake.
The treaty is threatened, however, by a group of terrorists from Pijal’s moon called the Opposition, and Qui Gon and Obi-Wan have also been tasked with finding them and bringing them to justice. Qui Gon had been requested specifically by Rael Aveross, Regent to Pijal’s 14-year old queen, Fanry; he’s also a Jedi who had been an apprentice of Count Dooku before Qui Gon. The two had been friends in their youth, but hadn’t seen each other in many years. They’re also quite different in their approach to being Jedi Knights.
Qui Gon and Obi-Wan enlist the help of two jewel thieves in the system to investigate the Opposition on the moon–Rahara, a former slave of Czerka Corporation (which has as much power and authority as the government on Pijal); and Pax, a human who had been raised by 3PO droids (and whose personality makes that perfectly clear).
The mission is further complicated by an uncomfortable rift between master and apprentice. Right before being requested for the mission, Qui Gon had been asked to join the Jedi Council, something he never thought would happen. As you might know, Qui Gon and Obi-Wan are also quite different in their approach to being Jedi Knights: Qui Gon has always been interested in the Jedi prophecies and the more mystical side of being a Jedi, whereas Obi-Wan is pretty straight-laced. So their partnership had always been a bit strained. But now Qui Gon might go the Council, and leave his padawan behind. The worst part is, he didn’t tell Obi-Wan right away, and of course Obi-Wan found out through someone else. He’s understandably upset.
The narrative switches back and forth between Qui Gon’s and Obi-Wan’s POV, as well as Rahara and Pax, with Rael Aveross and Fanry thrown in now and then. It also occasionally flashes back to when Qui Gon was young and training with Count Dooku.
Claudia Gray is a master at weaving all these threads together, and the story is primarily Qui Gon’s. He must unravel the mystery of the Opposition, navigate his relationship with Rael, decide once and for all how he feels about the Jedi prophecies, and of course, heal the relationship between himself and Obi-Wan, at least to get the mission accomplished.
This is a wonderful book about a character I never really thought about too much (Qui Gon) and another that I’m really starting to get a bit obsessed about (Obi-Wan). It was great to get a story about the beginnings of their relationship as master and apprentice, and get some more insight into their respective characters.
I also loved how the book focused on Qui Gon’s fascination with the Jedi prophecies, both as a young man and as an adult, and how his master, Count Dooku, was involved (need to read the Count Dooku book now!) Obi-Wan, of course, thinks they’re silly, or the very least, not to be taken literally, and Qui Gon still struggles with that question: are they literal or metaphorical? We know about the obvious prophecy concerning the Chosen One, but I found it interesting to read another: “She who is born in darkness, shall give birth to darkness.” It took me a bit, but I finally realized it was talking about Princess Leia–born to Darth Vader, and who gave birth to Kylo Ren. Neat.
I find Qui Gon an interesting character, and perhaps even a picture of the ideal Jedi. Not as straight-laced and inflexible as Obi-Wan, but certainly more principled than to-hell-with-the-rules Rael. And he’s willing to investigate the spiritual side of the Jedi (rather than just being the police for the Republic)–not dismissing the prophecies out of hand like both Obi-Wan and Rael, but also not letting himself be drawn to the dark side by wanting to control the future, like Dooku. In my mind, Qui Gon Jinn represents balance.
It also investigates the relationship between master and apprentice, as shown through Qui Gon and Obi-Wan, Qui Gon and Dooku, and Rael and his padawan Nim from the past. It’s a complicated relationship, a combination of teacher/student, parent/child, and friend/friend. Often, it’s the closest and most intimate relationship any Jedi will ever know (at least in this time period).
Anyway, I thought it was a great novel, with plenty of action, as well as some subjects to chew on. It drew me further into the world of the Old Republic before the Clone Wars, and piqued my interest in Dooku.
Any fan of Star Wars will love this book, in my opinion, but especially those who are interested in the Jedi and the Old Republic.
Rating: 5 out of 5 lightsabers