Set before the first prequel movie, this book follows Jedi Master, Qui-Gon Jinn, and his Jedi Apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, on a diplomatic mission set forth by the Jedi council. They are sent to a planet, Pijal, that we haven't seen before, which really is a great way to see the author's creativity.
We are presented with a wide array of new characters on this new world, like the Jedi Rael Averross, who has been the regent of Pijal for the last 8 years, and the escaped slave Rahara Wick. Count Dooku, Qui-Gon's former master also makes some important appearances in this story, which broadens the sense of the Title as well.
There is a strong theme around slavery in the Star Wars universe throughout this novel which is a fairly major plot point within the story and is shown as a shining red flag on the corruption within the late republic. I feel I could write a lot about the dynamics of this theme, but it's better to simply suggest; pick up this book.
As in her previous Star Wars novels, Claudia Gray is a master at weaving the deep politics of Star Wars into the story. To me, politics was the primary thing the prequels were not very good at showing in a compelling way. Here, the politics really bring the Star Wars story out of space fantasy and firmly back into what science fiction is best at. Here is a mirror to our current selves.
It turns out that Claudia Gray has become my favorite author. I await each book that comes out. Read this book if you like Star Wars and want more stories about the background of Qui-Gon or Obi-Wan. I do not think it is necessary to know the characters before reading this book, as the movies did a poor job of really exploring their personalities anyway. It is okay to skip this book if you aren't a fan of Star Wars. That said, even though I'm not in love with the prequels, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it as a good piece of science fiction.
Released: 16 April 2019
eBook, 337 pages