Star Wars: Jedi Trial
Author: David Sherman and Dan Cragg
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Being a huge Star Wars fan and an avid reader, it would only stand to reason that I would have a vast collection of Star Wars novels. I have read so many of them and yet so many sit on the shelf as yet unread. Never mind the fact that there are so many novels yet to purchase. Perusing my vast collection, I decided to select a Clone Wars novel as my next read – Star Wars: Jedi Trial by David Sherman and Dan Cragg.
Jedi Trial takes place over two years after Attack of the Clones. The war between the Republic and the Separatist Army is in full swing. Padawan Anakin Skywalker yearns to be given the title of Jedi Knight. He believes he has more than proven himself as a student of the Force and wants to proceed with his Jedi trials. However, the Jedi Council has not yet decided young Skywalker’s fate as yet. At the moment, they have more pressing issues to deal with. The Separatist Army has taken control of the intergalactic communications center located on the planet Praesitlyn. The planet’s defenses have been no match for the Separatists and the communications center staff are now hostage.
Disgraced Jedi Master Nejaa Halcyon is selected by the Council to lead Clone Warrior battalions into battle against the Separatists on Praesitlyn to regain control of the communications center. This is Halcyon’s chance to make up for past mistakes and shine in the eyes of the Council. Seeing something in Padawan Skywalker, he decides that the young man is ready to lead and chooses him as his second in command. Both men have something to prove on this mission and both intend to succeed in their goals. Unfortunately, the Separatists intend to make their goals very hard to attain. Add to that the fact that Halcyon will have to team up with an old nemesis in order to complete his task – the very man who caused Halcyon’s disgrace in the first place.
Star Wars: Jedi Trials is different from most Star Wars books I have read in the past. This novel is written by David Sherman and Dan Cragg, two men with military experience. Both men have written war novels and the two are co-authors of the military science fiction series Starfist. Thus, the story is written in a more military style. Battles scenes are well thought out and described. The behind the scenes stuff of battle, such as supply requisition, are gone into in detail. Soldiers feelings in battle are examined. But despite this being different from most Star Wars novels in this aspect, Sherman and Cragg never deviate from the Star Wars feel. Their portrayal of Anakin Skywalker is spot on as far as I’m concerned.
It was nice to read about Jedi Master Halcyon. All I really knew about him – that he was an ancestor of Corran Horn - I had learned from earlier X-Wing novels and I, Jedi. It was nice to see the Jedi Master in action and to learn a bit about his history. The authors did a nice job inserting new characters in the mix. Zozridor Slayke is a pirate-like rogue with natural born leadership skills. His men will follow him anywhere. Yet, instead of becoming an actual pirate, Slayke’s morals cause him to wage a private war against the Separatist. His character reminds me of a mix of Han Solo, Talon Karrde and Booster Terrik. He’s extremely likable. The romance between fighter pilot Erk H’Arman and scout Odie Subu, the last survivors of the Praesitlyn defense force, seemed a tad bit contrived. However, when you realize that war makes for strange bedfellows and that sometimes romantic interludes can occur in the strangest places during a war, you discover that it’s not all that far fetched.
Star Wars: Jedi Trial is a fast read with plenty of action. Most of the action happens on the ground, but there are a few fighter pilot scenes incorporated into the mix. Mostly, we get a look into the mindset of a soldier at war. This comes in handy when learning why Anakin Skywalker behaves as he does in Revenge of the Sith. The novel also gives us an idea as to why Darth Vader is such an effective leader in years to come. Star Wars: Jedi Trial is an excellent read and a perfect addition to any Star Wars fan’s novel collection.
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