Author: Claudia Gray
Title: Star Wars: Master and Apprentice
Publication Info: New York : Del Rey, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2019.
Continuing my daughter’s fascination with the Star Wars universe, we read this novel which is a prequel to the prequels. It tells the story of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi on an assignment several years before the events of The Phantom Menace. The central part of the story is that neither master nor apprentice feels that they have bonded. In this story they end up in conflict with one another over following the rules and yet that conflict brings them closer together.
This book is complex for a Star Wars story with the events arranged around palace intrigue as well as issues of corporate influence on government and the enslavement of people. The book has some interesting twists (I didn’t expect who would be the villain) and introduces the eccentric Jedi Rael Aveross, an old friend of Qui-Gon who is serving as a Lord Regent to a young queen. I really like the character development in this novel of both Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan as well as the many new characters (members of the royal court, corporate agents, and even an interesting pair of jewel thieves who ally with Qui-Gon). It makes The Phantom Menace all the more depressing for sacrificing opportunities for great character moments to bland CGI special effects and comic relief.
“It matters,” Qui-Gon said quietly. “It matters which side we choose. Even if there will never be more light than darkness. Even if there can be no more joy in the galaxy than there is pain. For every action we undertake, for every word we speak, for every life we touch—it matters. I don’t turn toward the light because it means someday I’ll ‘win’ some sort of cosmic game. I turn toward it because it is the light.”