Review: Dark Apprentice (Jedi Academy Trilogy #2), by Kevin J. Anderson

(Originally posted on Amazon 8/23/2003)

dark apprentice

The second novel in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy is, if anything, even more disjointed than the first. It doesn’t feel like a novel so much as a series of interconnected short stories. In that way it comes across as being somewhat aimless, as if Anderson knew where he was going but only had a vague notion as to how to get there.

The plot? Well, what there is of it centers primarily around Luke’s efforts to train a new group of Jedi. But lurking in the jungles of Yavin 4, the new home of Luke’s Academy, is the evil essence of a long fallen Sith Lord, who is trying to subvert the untrained students toward the dark side. And here is where the novel starts to come apart, because rather than dealing with this threat directly, Anderson has Luke be somewhat wishy-washy about the whole thing. “Oh, my students are being killed in very mysterious circumstances. I think I’ll go meditate about the meaning of this a little while longer.” Meanwhile, there’s more intrigue between the New Republic and what remains of the Empire, Admiral Daala is causing mayhem and destruction in a guerrilla war against Republic targets, Leia and Ackbar crash a spaceship into a cathedral, Han and Lando keep using the Falcon as a betting token, and Wedge gets a girlfriend. Oh yeah, and Han & Leia’s twins get lost in the most blatant piece of story padding you’ll ever encounter.

This novel is all over the place. Much, much too wide a focus. It would have been a lot better if Anderson had cut out some of the incidental stuff and focused more on the ostensibly central point of the books, namely the resurrection of the Jedi as an order. Instead he skips around from one area to the next, with little more than a cursory glance at what one set of characters or another are doing at that particular moment. All in all, it wears thin very, very quickly.

The best that can be said for the book is that it’s adequate, but little more. However, it is the second book of a trilogy, so if you want to get to the climax of the series it is required reading. At the very least it’s a quick read, so you won’t waste too many brain cells over it.

2 Stars out of 5 Stars