Science Fiction
 

Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous

Author: Sean Stewart

Published By:
The Ballentine Publishing Company


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            So, as you have probably already guessed, I am far behind on my Star Wars Clone Wars novels.  I try to keep up, but they just keep writing more, filling in the gaps between what took place in the Episodes I-III.  Donít get me wrong - Iím definitely not complaining, considering that Iíve enjoyed every Clone Wars novel Iíve read thus far.  Thus, it was with the idea of playing catch up that I decided to read Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.

            I could tell right away that this was an important novel in the Clone Wars series simply by the title.  This is the only full length novel including a major characterís name in the title.  Not to mention the cover of the book, featuring Yoda and his former apprentice, now Sith Lord Count Dooku.  The cover promised an interesting encounter.

            In Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, the Jedi receive a message from the enemy.  Count Dooku is requesting a meet with his former master Yoda in an effort to find an end to this long and taxing war.  Yoda is leery of former Padawan and the motives behind this meeting which is almost certainly a trap, but he canít forget the promise he made all those years ago when Dooku was just a student.  Nor can he ignore the possibility of ending the war in a peaceful manner.

            With the help of two Jedi Masters and two Padawans, Yoda sets out undercover to meet with Dooku.  But the journey will not be easy: the meeting is to be held on Vjun, a planet immersed in the Dark Side of the Force; one of the Masters accompanying Yoda is haunted by his last encounter with Asajj Ventriss and Count Dooku; neither Padawan has every been truly tested prior to this journey; one Padawan is extremely weak in the Force and has only just been appointed a Master; one Padawan has family ties on Vjun, the planet of his birth and a premonition of his death at the hands of a Jedi. 

            Can Yoda and his fellow Jedi accomplish the mission at hand with minimal publicity?  Is the mission truly a trap and if so, can those accompanying Yoda keep their minds on the mission, or will the lure of the Dark Side be too much for them?

            Well, right away, we know that Yoda fails his mission to bring peace to the universe.  After all, if he had, then the events that take place in Revenge of the Sith and every movie afterward never would have taken place.  Still, it is interesting to learn the different nuances and intricacies of this war and the various power plays by both sides.

            I particularly enjoyed this novel because it gave us further insight into Count Dooku and Asajj Ventriss.  Until this point, we never witnessed the doubts and fears of these characters.  Sean Stewart shows his readers a different side of Dooku and Ventriss, allowing them to see the internal conflicts that plagued them both.  Readers will have a much better understanding of these two characters by the time they finish the novel.  They will also have a better understanding of the relationship between Yoda and Dooku.

          Another interesting aspect of this book is that it examines in greater depth the longstanding debate regarding the ďbetter way.Ē  Both the Jedi way of handling things and the Sith way are explored and the pros and cons of each are examined through the actions and emotions of the characters.

            Action lovers will enjoy the numerous battles to be found in this novel, particularly the hand-to-hand combat and the swordplay.  Folks who donít enjoy completely serious novels will enjoy the moments of humor scattered throughout the novel, offering levity to some very serious moments. 

            I question the need for Anakin and Obi-wan to appear in this novel.  I thought it was quite enjoyable enough without adding them into the action.  In fact, if you remove their scenes from the novel altogether, it really wouldnít take anything away from the story.

            Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous is a must read Clone Wars novel for quite a few reasons.  First, it fills in gaps between Episodes II and III.  It offers us new insight into major characters that, thus far, have been somewhat viewed from afar.  We see the pros and cons from both sides and can now appreciate the way the Emperor was able to turn average citizens against the Jedi by merely using their fear to alienate the Jedi that much further.  We see the plight of the Jedi, forced to become warriors rather than purveyors of peace and watching their numbers dwindle so quickly that Padawans are rushed through their training and sent out on missions long before they are ready. 

            Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous is a fairly quick and enjoyable read that every Clone Wars fan canít afford to miss.

 

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