Watson, Jude

About the Author:


Jude Watson lives on America's eastern seaboard.



3.4 out of 5

(43 books)

Star Wars: Episode I Journal - Queen Amidala

32 BBY.  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 its 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


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.

Followed by Greg Bear's 'Rogue Planet'.

3 out of 5


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!).

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: Path to Truth'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Call To Vengeance

Book sixteen, set 41 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Only Witness'.

2 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Captive Temple

44 BBY.  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, Obi-Wan 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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Day of Reckoning'

5 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Dangerous Rescue

Book thirteen, set 43 BBY.  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 too many familiar patterns and I found my interest rapidly began to wane.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Ties that Bind'.

2 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Dark Rival

44 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Hidden Past'.

5 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Day Of Reckoning

Book eight, set 44 BBY.  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 the depressingly familiar plot of joining forces with the local rebels to overthrow the government. 

I will say that I really liked Xanatos' end, as it is entirely in keeping with his character.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Fight for Truth'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Deadly Hunter

Book eleven, set 43 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Evil Experiment'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Death Of Hope

Book fifteen, set 41 BBY.  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 its title kinda gives away Tahl's fate.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Call to Vengeance'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Defenders Of The Dead

44 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Uncertain Path'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Evil Experiment

Book twelve, set 43 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Dangerous Rescue'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Fight For Truth

Book nine, set 44 BBY.  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.

As a side note, the character O-Lana introduced here was one who I retconned as a background character in Episode III.  Before Disney came along and rebooted the Expanded Universe my backstory for her really was part of the Star Wars canon.  I hate Disney.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Shattered Peace'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Hidden Past

44 BBY.  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!).

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Mark of the Crown'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Mark Of The Crown

44 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Defenders of the Dead'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Only Witness

40 BBY.  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.

What we see with this book is that the once-fertile ground of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's pre-Episode I adventures has become a barren wasteland filled with the wreckage of rehashed plotlines and dried up concepts.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Threat Within'.

1 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Shattered Peace

44 BBY.  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 other than to say that it involves the boring repetition of plots and themes you'll have already read countless times if you've made it to book ten.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Deadly Hunter'.

1 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Threat Within

40 BBY.  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' rubbish, 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 know 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.

Followed by James Luceno's 'Cloak of Deception'.

1 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Ties That Bind

41 BBY.  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 begun 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.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Death of Hope'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice - The Uncertain Path

44 BBY.  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 surprisingly adult series of issues cleverly dealt with.

Followed by 'Jedi Apprentice: The Captive Temple'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - Path To Truth

28 BBY.  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.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Way of the Apprentice'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Changing Of The Guard

Book eight, set 24 BBY.  Another case of Jedi Apprentice syndrome here as the Jedi once again become embroiled in an uprising against a cruel government.  Yawn.

If you'd read the Jedi Apprentice and/or Jedi Quest books up to this point, then you've effectively already read this book several times over.

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The False Peace'.

1 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Dangerous Games

The third book of the series, set 27 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Master of Disguise'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The False Peace

Book nine, set 24 BBY.  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?).

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Final Showdown'.

5 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Final Showdown

23 BBY.  The tenth and, obviously, final book of the Jedi Quest series.  The evil 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 its 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.

Followed by Alan Dean Foster's 'The Approaching Storm'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Master Of Disguise

25 BBY.  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 that it's Anakin's own belief that he is more able than anyone else that gets his friend badly injured.  I also liked that Obi-Wan finally gets shot of the irritating little git for a while!

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The School of Fear'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Moment Of Truth

25 BBY.  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?

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Changing of the Guard'.

2 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The School Of Fear

Book five, set 25 BBY.  Anakin and Ferus have to go undercover in a school for priviledged youths in order to root 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.

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Shadow Trap'.

2 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Shadow Trap

25 BBY.  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 very major event for this character from the movies. 

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's got it in for Obi-Wan.

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Moment of Truth'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Trail Of The Jedi

The second JQ book, set 27 BBY.  Obi-Wan and Anakin are undertaking a tracking excercise 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).

Followed by 'Jedi Quest: The Dangerous Games'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Jedi Quest - The Way Of The Apprentice

27 BBY.  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 is, 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, and rounding out the team there's also the skilled Master Soara Antana with her personable and lively Padawan Darra Thel-Tanis. 

The most interesting element here 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 its end and made a book that's good fun to read (even though I can't stand Anakin's petulant whining).

Followed by Timothy Zahn's 'Outbound Flight'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Against The Empire

18 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Last of the Jedi: Master of Deception'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Master Of Deception

18 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Last of the Jedi: Reckoning'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Reckoning

The tenth and final book of the series, set 18 BBY, 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.  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.

Followed by Michael Reaves' 'Coruscant Nights III: Patterns of Force'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: Last Of The Jedi - Secret Weapon

The series gets a slight re-branding with book seven, set 18 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Last of the Jedi: Against the Empire'.

4 out of 5


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.

Followed by Steven Barnes' 'The Cestus Deception'.

4 out of 5


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.

Followed by 'Jedi Trial' by David Sherman & Dan Cragg.

5 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - A Tangled Web

18 BBY.  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 coerced 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.

Followed by 'The Last of the Jedi: Return of the Dark Side'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Dark Warning

Book two, set 18 BBY.  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 feel the series will continue to be great to read.

Followed by 'The Last of the Jedi: Underworld'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Death On Naboo

18 BBY.  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.

Followed by Michael Reaves' 'Coruscant Nights II: Street of Shadows'.

4 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Return Of The Dark Side

18 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'Last of the Jedi: Secret Weapon'.

3 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - The Desperate Mission

18 BBY.  The first book of the series and one of the first books set in the 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.

Followed by 'The Last of the Jedi: Dark Warning'.

5 out of 5


Star Wars: The Last Of The Jedi - Underworld

18 BBY.  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.

Followed by 'The Last of the Jedi: Death on Naboo'.

4 out of 5


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