Science Fiction

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Crisis at Crystal Reef

Author: Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta

Published By:
The Berkley Publishing Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                I've finally reached the last book in the Young Jedi Knights series.  Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Crisis at Crystal Reef is the last book before the Solo twins and their friends finally become full-fledged Jedi Knights.  I couldn't wait to see how all of this would tie in to their future adventures.

                In this final book in the series, Anja Gallandro realizes just how hooked on spice she really is thanks to the man she thought she was her friend, Czethros.  Realizing all that Czethros has cost her, she decides to take him on, hoping to cause some major problems with his plans for Black Sun and perhaps score a final dose of the andris spice she has become addicted to.  Stealing Zekk's ship, Anja heads off to Kessel, where she learns that a large shipment of andris spice has been smuggled in to Mon Calamari and hidden under the Crystal Reefs.  Determined to hurt Czethros, she heads off to the water planet to search for and destroy the spice shipment.

                Meanwhile, Zekk, having finally completed his training as a Jedi and becoming comfortable in the use of the Force, has created his own lightsaber.  He soon discovers that he has one more mission to complete before becoming a full-fledged Jedi.  After Anja steals his ship, Master Luke Skywalker approaches Zekk, Jacen and Jaina Solo, Tenel Ka and Lowbacca and charges them with finding Anja Gallandro.  As the Young Jedi Knights set off on their journey, they realize that their mission is not just to find Anja, but to stop Black Sun from regaining a foothold in the New Republic.

                First, they travel to Kessel, where they learn that Black Sun is mounting an offensive that will take place on a number of worlds...too many for the New Republic to effectively put a stop to.  It's up to Jaina and Lowbacca to stop the Black Sun from sending a coded message that will start the unstoppable offensive.  Meanwhile, Zekk, Jacen and Tenel Ka head off to the Crystal Reefs where, with the help of Jedi Master and Mon Cal Ambassador Cilghal, they find Anja and the andris spice Black Sun has hidden.  Unfortunately, a hungry sea monster puts a damper on their plans when it corners the group in their borrowed submarine.  Can the Jedi Knights destroy the spice and simultaneously stop the rise of the new Black Sun?

                After reading Crisis at Crystal Reef, I realized that my disappointment with the first two books of the Under Black Sun Trilogy was completely unwarranted.  Both books were setups for what would take place in the final book of the series.  It is here, in the final book of the series, that the young Jedi Knights begin to realize just how much  they truly mean to one another.  Jacen and Tenel Ka become something of a couple in this trilogy, culminating in Jacen giving Tenel Ka a necklace so she will never forget him (a necklace that she still wears if I am not mistaken). 

                It is also in this trilogy that we realize that Jacen is easily persuaded.  Anja Gallandro, a woman he has never met before, tells a tale about Jacen's father killing her own that Jacen should never have found believable.  Yet, despite knowing that his father is incapable of killing someone by cold-bloodedly shooting them in the back, Jacen believes the story causing some animosity between Jacen and his father.  That Jacen could be so easily turned against his own family by someone he barely knows is rather telling when you consider what happens in later novels.  Furthermore, his attachment to Tenel Ka and his unwillingness to veer from a path he thinks is the right one also points towards his actions in the future.

                In keeping with the rest of the series, Crisis at Crystal Reef brings us back in touch with former Star Wars heroes.  In this novel, we get to see what has happened to Nein Nunb since the victory of the Rebellion at Endor.  Now an administrator at Kessel, we see that Nein Nunb has done very well for himself, not only showing his business prowess, but proving himself an able leader as well.  It was also nice to see Jedi Master Cilghal becoming ever more powerful as a dignitary and healer.  As her healing powers and her standings in the community progress, we begin to see the Cilghal that will later become so important to the New Jedi Order and beyond.

                Now that I have completed the Young Jedi Knight series, I can honestly say that I have a better idea of what events in their early lives influenced the adults that students Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, Raynar Thul, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, Lusa and others eventually became.  I now understand why they behave as they do in later novels and adventures.  The Young Jedi Knights series, although a young adult series does have value in the Star Wars Universe as a source of valuable knowledge for adult readers and is well worth looking into.


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