Science Fiction

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Trouble on Cloud City

Author: Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta

Published By:
The Berkley Publishing Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Iím almost done with my research project, searching for answers as to what shaped the lives of the new Jedi Knights like Jaina, Tenel Ka and Zekk and the adults they have become.  I have also been searching for early signs of what shaped Jacen Solo and what might have led him down the path of the dark side.  Iíve breezed through twelve of the novels set in their early lives and have just finished the thirteenth and next to last Young Jedi Knights novel.

                In Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Trouble on Cloud City, Lando Calrissian stops by the Jedi Academy with a special request.  Lando has become a partner in a new business venture Ė an amusement park on Cloud City.  Lando wants the Young Jedi Knights to check out the attractions to see if they are up to par.  The teenagers readily agree, requesting that they take their new friend Anja Gallandro along for the fun.

                Unfortunately, once they arrive, Lando learns that his partner, a former smuggler who has turned his life around, has fallen to his death some time during Landoís absence.  The death has been ruled an accident, but a little digging has the group suspicious, especially since the death comes so soon after Cojahn fired a crooked foreman.  Also suspicious is Anjaís behavior and Lando pegs her as having a spice addiction. 

                When approached about her spice habit, Anja denies having a problem, but secretly begins to wonder about how much she seems to need it.  She also begins to wonder about her friend Czethros and his Black Sun connections, especially when the groupís investigations begin to reveal clues pointing to Black Sunís involvement in Cojahnís death.

                The investigation into Cojahnís death brings Lando and the Young Jedi Knights closer to the truth, but the closer they get, the more peril they find themselves in.  Czethros and Black Sun are not quite ready to relinquish control over Cloud City.  This new venture of Landoís could spell doom for the smooth operator and the Young Jedi Knights.

                In this novel, we get inklings into a deeper relationship and bond developing between Jacen Solo and Tenel Ka.  What was once a friendship is now becoming something more in their teenage years.  The fact that Lando is able to notice Anjaís spice addiction symptoms is believable, especially when you remember that he purchased the spice mines of Kessel, turning them into a more legitimate business.  But knowing what Kessel once was and what the spice mined there can do to an individual it only stands to reason that Lando would see such things in Anja.  My only problem is the way in which the matter is handled.  No one really does anything to help her other than say, ďHey, are you addicted to spice?Ē  I mean, I know you canít really help someone until they believe they need the help, but a little more conviction in wanting to actually help her might have made the effort more believable.

                I really enjoyed the new allies in Míkim and the acrobatic thranta riders.  The description of the riders made them a rather unique species in the Star Wars universe and I rather liked Míkim.  The thranta and their riders kind of reminded me of the Naívi and their winged mounts in Avatar, despite the fact that the characters in this novel came loooong before the Naívi.

                I also found it strange that Tenel Ka had thought she was imagining Jacenís calling to her when she had watched him fall from Cloud City.  If you were a Jedi Knight in training, wouldnít you know about this sort of ability, especially considering that Luke Skywalker is in charge of the academy and he used the very same Force-driven mind call on his sister in Cloud City?  Weird.

                So far, I havenít been all that much impressed with the last trilogy of books in the Young Jedi Knights series.  Hopefully Crisis in Crystal Reef, the last novel in this series will make it all worth while.


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