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As the New Republic takes devastating losses in the ongoing war with the scattered remnants of the Empire, the galaxy's future depends on three small childrenamong them the Jedi twinsborn to incredible powers and perils, as an extraordinary new Star Wars saga unfolds While the New Republic struggles to decide what to do with the deadly Sun Crushera new doomsday weapon As the New Republic takes devastating losses in the ongoing war with the scattered remnants of the Empire, the galaxy's future depends on three small children–among them the Jedi twins—born to incredible powers and perils, as an extraordinary new Star Wars saga unfolds… While the New Republic struggles to decide what to do with the deadly Sun Crusher—a new doomsday weapon stolen from the Empire by Han Solo—the renegade Imperial Admiral Daala uses her fleet of Star Destroyers to conduct guerrilla warfare on peaceful planets. And now she threatens the watery homeworld of Admiral Ackbar. But as the battle for a planet rages, an even greater danger arises at Luke Skywalker's Jedi academy. A brilliant student delves dangerously into the dark side of the Force and unleashes the spirit of an ancient master of the evil order that warped Darth Vader himself. Working together, they may become an enemy greater than any the New Republic has ever fought… more powerful than even a Jedi Master can face.


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As the New Republic takes devastating losses in the ongoing war with the scattered remnants of the Empire, the galaxy's future depends on three small childrenamong them the Jedi twinsborn to incredible powers and perils, as an extraordinary new Star Wars saga unfolds While the New Republic struggles to decide what to do with the deadly Sun Crushera new doomsday weapon As the New Republic takes devastating losses in the ongoing war with the scattered remnants of the Empire, the galaxy's future depends on three small children–among them the Jedi twins—born to incredible powers and perils, as an extraordinary new Star Wars saga unfolds… While the New Republic struggles to decide what to do with the deadly Sun Crusher—a new doomsday weapon stolen from the Empire by Han Solo—the renegade Imperial Admiral Daala uses her fleet of Star Destroyers to conduct guerrilla warfare on peaceful planets. And now she threatens the watery homeworld of Admiral Ackbar. But as the battle for a planet rages, an even greater danger arises at Luke Skywalker's Jedi academy. A brilliant student delves dangerously into the dark side of the Force and unleashes the spirit of an ancient master of the evil order that warped Darth Vader himself. Working together, they may become an enemy greater than any the New Republic has ever fought… more powerful than even a Jedi Master can face.

30 review for Dark Apprentice

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Ugh, this was bad. So, so, so, so bad. I cant believe I never knew how bad this was when I read it fourteen years ago. The first one wasnt this bad! Whats going on? I mean, this is just BAD WRITING 101. If I was teaching a How to Write Fiction class, I would use this book as the perfect example of what NOT to do. This is going to be a bit different than my normal reviewing style; Im going to do one with actual quotes and stuff, because I attacked my copy of the book with a pen and wrote angry Ugh, this was bad. So, so, so, so bad. I can’t believe I never knew how bad this was when I read it fourteen years ago. The first one wasn’t this bad! What’s going on? I mean, this is just BAD WRITING 101. If I was teaching a How to Write Fiction class, I would use this book as the perfect example of what NOT to do. This is going to be a bit different than my normal reviewing style; I’m going to do one with actual quotes and stuff, because I attacked my copy of the book with a pen and wrote angry profane notes the whole time I was reading, and I don’t want all that effort to go to waste. For those of you who don’t want to read what I’m sure will be an epically long review full of complaining, here’s a general overview of the stuff that I’m going to say about Dark Apprentice, the second book in KJA’s Jedi Academy trilogy: *some good ideas, all bad execution of everything *shit character work, INSULTINGLY bad character work *repetitive, no attention to detail *laughable dialogue *uses callbacks to the movies in place of being smart and original, thinks such callbacks are fun and clever, but they are just hacky *everything is stupid *sexist (his treatment of Leia, Mara Jade, and his own Admiral Daala, especially) *he fills the book with pointless storylines when he should be focusing on fleshing out the main ones, like the Jedi Academy, Kyp going bad, etc. So let’s elaborate. [Click HERE for the full review, because it's so long it won't fit in the GR review space. Whoooooops.] [1.5 stars]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Luke Skywalker has gathered up his troops and headed to Yavin 4 to begin training. Only problem is that his most promising student, Gantoris, is now burned to a crisp and no one is sure why. Meanwhile, a mission fails, causing Ackbar to leave his command in shame, and Daala decides to wreak havoc on the New Republic. NOTE: I listened to the audio book, and it was abridged so some scenes I may have A) forgotten since I last read the book and B) have not heard because they omitted it from the Luke Skywalker has gathered up his troops and headed to Yavin 4 to begin training. Only problem is that his most promising student, Gantoris, is now burned to a crisp and no one is sure why. Meanwhile, a mission fails, causing Ackbar to leave his command in shame, and Daala decides to wreak havoc on the New Republic. NOTE: I listened to the audio book, and it was abridged so some scenes I may have A) forgotten since I last read the book and B) have not heard because they omitted it from the audiobook. I Liked: The last book was called Jedi Search, but honestly, it mostly focused on Han Solo and Kyp Durron. Kinda missed the mark to me, even if it were exciting in its own way. This book however gets into the actual training, which is particularly interesting. I enjoy seeing the new characters, particularly Kam Solusar, and wonder how he in particular fits into the new continuity with the prequels. Kyp Durron is a fair character. I actually enjoyed seeing how he turned to the Dark Side. It was surprisingly reminiscent of Anakin Skywalker in the prequels and pretty well done in general. I Didn't Like: Like my title says, it seems every character in this novel was given an idiot ball and refused to let it go. Ackbar gets all huffy about crashing on Vortex and leaves. One incident, one mistake and he leaves in shame. I know we don't see him much in the movies, but the Ackbar there, I'm sure, wouldn't leave after one incident. Heck, the Ackbar in Zahn's books wouldn't leave after one mistake. And then, Ackbar's stupidity forces Leia to spend more time away from her family to coax him back into the military. In my opinion, if he's gonna be that huffy, I say we don't need him! Han goes on a yelling spree with Lando like he's a PMSing woman and loses the Falcon in the most ludicrous game of sabacc ever. I was ashamed to read this part. Even if Leia were in danger (and she was), Han wouldn't jump on the Falcon, start a yelling match with Lando, and lose the Falcon. He'd go on the Falcon, yell that Leia was in trouble and everyone would be off to rescue her. While Leia is on a mission, Han dumps his twins on Chewie, after not seeing them for months, and decides to go skiing with Kyp Durron, a kid he just met. Uh, yeah. So much for that father that Zahn set him up to be. If my dad did that...well...yeah. Luke sees Gantoris (and later Kyp) has problems with the Dark Side and just decides to ignore it. I don't mind Luke always thinking someone can come back to the Dark Side, but I don't think Luke would ignore the clear signs of Dark Side usage and not try to swerve them off the path. Plus, Luke, as always, vacillates between too powerful and too stupid to live. Absolute worst romantic couple of the year goes to Qui Xux and Wedge. Wedge must have forgotten all his wingmates he lost while piloting against BOTH Death Stars in order to fall in love with this air head. These sections made me cringe. A general protecting some nobody scientist? Going to Ithor, the lover's getaway? Cue eyeroll! Lastly, Daala is said to be a military genius. So she attacks an unarmed planet (Dantooine) with refugees? Brilliant military work. It's the only engagement she ever wins, as she can't help but win against a world that has no army! Her attack against Mon Calamari was too reliant on old tactics (doesn't she realize that her tactics are TEN years old) and then when she said she was going to attack Coruscant? Uh, girlfriend, if you couldn't beat Mon Calamari, there is NO WAY you will beat Coruscant, the most heavily guarded and populated world in the galaxy. Even Thrawn waited until he had the Katana fleet and even then, he never took the world, only confused it. Plus, who says "Let's go hunting" and is met with resounding cheers? Lamest. Dialogue. Ever. Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Some h*** and d*** (I think, I listened to the audiobook and can't remember). Daala slept with Tarkin. Qui Xux and Wedge are basically a lame attempt at a love story. Many die on the crash on Vortex. Daala attacks Dantooine. Overall: I had problems with Star Wars: Jedi Search (Vol. 1 of the Jedi Academy Trilogy), but there were some aspects that were cool enough to garner a three star review. Not so here. I can't believe how out of character all these guys are. And the new original characters are so pathetic and lame. Cringeworthy. I don't recommend you read, but if you do, please follow up with a good dose of I, Jedi (Star Wars), where Stackpole calls Anderson out on a few of these stupidities.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    In dramatic radio announcer voice: Youve seen the movies. Youve read the books. Now experience the next exciting chapter in the Star Wars saga: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson. Rediscover the thrill of the original trilogy as the characters you know and love embark on such fun-filled, action packed adventures as: -Han skiing with his friend Kyp -Han playing cards with his friend Lando -Luke bathing in a spring with his students -Luke hiking in the woods with his students -Leia swimming in the In dramatic radio announcer voice: You’ve seen the movies. You’ve read the books. Now experience the next exciting chapter in the Star Wars saga: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson. Rediscover the thrill of the original trilogy as the characters you know and love embark on such fun-filled, action packed adventures as: -Han skiing with his friend Kyp -Han playing cards with his friend Lando -Luke bathing in a spring with his students -Luke hiking in the woods with his students -Leia swimming in the ocean with her new friend Cilghal -Chewie and Threepio taking Han’s kids to the zoo -Wedge having a picnic with his girlfriend Qwi and -Han reading Dr. Seuss to his children Witness Luke Skywalker’s shocking incompetence as a teacher as he: (1) guides his students with seemingly no preparation, (2) repeatedly puts his students’ lives in danger, (3) fails to notice that one of his students is attracted to the Dark Side of the Force, (4) fails to take any precautionary measures after that same student is brutally murdered right under his nose, (5) fails to notice the presence of a Sith Lord in his own Jedi Academy, even after said Sith Lord appears to him in a vision. Experience Han Solo’s equally shocking inadequacy as a husband and father as he: (1) plays cards with his friend instead of picking his wife up after a traumatic accident, (2) plays cards with his friend again on the way to rescuing his wife from a life-threatening assault, (3) leaves his children with under-qualified guardians who promptly lose them and should really have been charged with criminal negligence, (4) risks his life recklessly on a ski slope with no regard for the two toddlers and newborn baby he has to raise. Marvel at the abysmal character portrayal as your childhood heroes turn into impotent mystics and deadbeat dads, as the portrayals of Qwi Xux and Admiral Daala set feminism back at least 70 years, and as almost all the characters act with no discernible motive, causing you to wonder if they might all be robots trapped in some sick galactic chess simulation. Wonder at why Kyp Durron, the coolest new character to be introduced since Grand Admiral Thrawn, is so criminally underused that you have to wade through 320 pages of boring, pointless, embarrassing filler just to get to the confrontation with Luke that you had been waiting for since you read the title of the novel. Star Wars: Dark Apprentice: giving Star Wars fans a reason to switch to Star Trek since 1995.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    The Good: This second outing is just as much spacefaring fun as the first one. The ending makes me glad I have the next and final installment already on hand. I liked the writing as well. The Bad: Nothing, really; I just save the highest score for truly amazing works. Conclusion: The Star Wars Expanded Universe has been around so long that everyone has already formed an opinion on it. If you've read other books in the series, and enjoyed them, you'll probably like this one, too.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    The second book in Kevin Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy, "Dark Apprentice" continues the story of Luke's search for Jedi knight apprentices. Having set up his new academy on planet Yavin, Luke discovers an evil presence lurking in the shadows. After the mysterious death of one Jedi apprentice, Luke finds out that the spirit of a long-dead Sith Lord haunts the planet. He confronts the evil spirit, only to be subsumed by the Dark Side. Stuck in a coma, Luke's unanchored life-force is forced to The second book in Kevin Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy, "Dark Apprentice" continues the story of Luke's search for Jedi knight apprentices. Having set up his new academy on planet Yavin, Luke discovers an evil presence lurking in the shadows. After the mysterious death of one Jedi apprentice, Luke finds out that the spirit of a long-dead Sith Lord haunts the planet. He confronts the evil spirit, only to be subsumed by the Dark Side. Stuck in a coma, Luke's unanchored life-force is forced to watch as the Sith Lord possesses one of his apprentices, Kyp Durron, who steals the doomsday-weapon Sun Crusher in order to exact vengeance on the Empire. Meanwhile, an Imperial plot to kidnap Han and Leia's youngest son, Annakin, is hatched by a ruthless Imperial General. Admiral Daala, still alive but suffering serious losses to her fleet of Imperial ships, decides to take the fight to the New Republic by planning an attack on Coruscant. "Dark Apprentice" is a fun read but not as solid a narrative as the first book. Being the second in the series, Anderson sets up a lot of tangential plotlines that are either unnecessary or don't have closure because they are to be continued in the next book. In essence, "Dark Apprentice" is a bridge book, only integral in that it connects book one to book three. Still, Anderson does provide some interesting history to the Star Wars universe, namely the ancient Jedi battles that led to the creation of the Siths.

  6. 5 out of 5

    J.

    This book leaves me conflicted. Thatll be the crux of this review, really. In most ways it is a definite step up from Jedi Search, just in terms of pacing and narrative engagment, but at the same time much of what happens doesnt seem to mesh well with what weve been told in the previous book. I think that Kevin J. Anderson wrote it this way to surprise us but it really doesnt work that way. Im speaking of course about the titular dark apprentice who turns to the dark side almost inexplicably over This book leaves me conflicted. That’ll be the crux of this review, really. In most ways it is a definite step up from Jedi Search, just in terms of pacing and narrative engagment, but at the same time much of what happens doesn’t seem to mesh well with what we’ve been told in the previous book. I think that Kevin J. Anderson wrote it this way to surprise us but it really doesn’t work that way. I’m speaking of course about the titular dark apprentice who turns to the dark side almost inexplicably over the course of maybe five pages. The abrupt turnaround in the character’s nature seems implausible knowing what we do about jedi who wind up going down the dark path. It took years of manipulation by Palpatine to turn innocent Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader. Luke’s brief brush with the dark side came after long bouts with self doubt. Here, a formerly eager protagonist who echoed Luke’s innocent demeanor gets angry and then all of a sudden he’s a sith. It does not sit right. It feels like Anderson was building one character to turn to the dark side and the buildup was organic and natural. You could understand why he might be tempted. It made sense. Then that character is tossed aside for the one who just doesn’t mesh and that part of the story seems like a bust. Everything that comes after leaves you shaking your head wondering what the purpose of the sudden shift in direction serves. Other elements of the book are quite intriguing. Admiral Daala’s military assaults and Admiral Ackbar’s tribulations make for some of the more interesting parts of the novel. But considering that this is the Jedi Academy trilogy, the fact that the a-plot falls apart drops the overal score down a few notches.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    FIRST THOUGHTS: I think the reason I preferred this one over the first is because I'm already familiar with the general set-up of the world and with the characters. It's certainly a strong second book for this series, and I became solidly invested in many of the plots.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    More basic sci-fi entertainment from the Star Wars Universe. I enjoyed it and look forward to the conclusion of the trilogy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok, now I get why fans have hated on the new trilogy so much; knowing that this material was available and then overlooked is beyond disappointing! The characters are consistent with the original films, the development of force skills and abilities is very enjoyable - if not excessive - but lets be honest, I came here for overpowered space wizards with lightning swords and insane magical powers. The drama with Luke and his students gets intense, and the feeling of loss amongst the crisis is Ok, now I get why fans have hated on the new trilogy so much; knowing that this material was available and then overlooked is beyond disappointing! The characters are consistent with the original films, the development of force skills and abilities is very enjoyable - if not excessive - but let’s be honest, I came here for overpowered space wizards with lightning swords and insane magical powers. The drama with Luke and his students gets intense, and the feeling of loss amongst the crisis is strong and believable. // SPOILER WARNING // the cliff-hanger ending is delivered in a very masterful way, and the feelings of certainty and security are truly shaken. The person who we assumed was now the most powerful in the galaxy has been defeated, and a fresh new apprentice has just destroyed a solar system?!

  10. 5 out of 5

    RumBelle

    The middle books are always the darkest. Luke's new Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 is established, and he has a talented group of students. He also, unknowingly, has a huge problem, the spirit of a long dead Sith Lord, Exar Kun. Kun was killed in a battle with the Jedi years ago, but his spirit remained trapped on Yavin 4. That spirit is now corrupting Luke's students, one by one. That corruption will render Luke in a seemingly precarious position. At the same time, Admiral Daala is using her small The middle books are always the darkest. Luke's new Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 is established, and he has a talented group of students. He also, unknowingly, has a huge problem, the spirit of a long dead Sith Lord, Exar Kun. Kun was killed in a battle with the Jedi years ago, but his spirit remained trapped on Yavin 4. That spirit is now corrupting Luke's students, one by one. That corruption will render Luke in a seemingly precarious position. At the same time, Admiral Daala is using her small fleet to harass, and attack peaceful New Republic worlds, and when she attacks Admiral Ackbar's, the stakes are raised. Then, you have the issue of Kyp and the Sun Crusher, and Kyp's action with regards to Exar Kun and the Sun Crusher will have devastating consequences. Finally, we have Jaina, Jacen and Anakin. The twins are back with their parents, still learning about their abilities, while Anakin is in hiding with Winter on a desolate world. Anakin's situation will become paramount in the final book in the trilogy. One aspect of this book that I really liked was the visit to Vortex. A fascinating world, with a unique construction, the Cathedral of the Winds. The scenes that took place there were so intriguing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Not great

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sean Mobley

    Dark Apprentice, by Kevin J. Anderson, is the second book in the Jedi Academy trilogy, picking up almost immediately where Jedi Search left off. Luke heads off to Yavin 4 to establish his Jedi Academy, where some tragic events reveal the dark past of the temples that once housed the desperate Rebel Alliance. Meanwhile Leia, Han, and Chewbacca welcome the two youngest Solos, twins Jacen and Jaina, into the household (they had been off being raised in a secure location to avoid baby assassinations Dark Apprentice, by Kevin J. Anderson, is the second book in the Jedi Academy trilogy, picking up almost immediately where Jedi Search left off. Luke heads off to Yavin 4 to establish his Jedi Academy, where some tragic events reveal the dark past of the temples that once housed the desperate Rebel Alliance. Meanwhile Leia, Han, and Chewbacca welcome the two youngest Solos, twins Jacen and Jaina, into the household (they had been off being raised in a secure location to avoid baby assassinations…you gotta worry about these things when you’re the Leader of the Free Galaxy). The pressure builds on Leia when Mon Mothma, the Chief of State of the New Republic, falls ill and appoints Leia to keep house whilst she recovers. Fun Fact: the summary on the back of the book edition I read was apparently written by someone who had no idea what book they were actually holding and doesn’t care if they spoil the entire story. They seem to have mistaken Dark Apprentice for its sequel, Champions of the Force, as the first paragraph is a much more fitting description for the third book in the series (even then, they WAAAY exaggerate the role of the Solo twins, who are pretty minor characters in the whole trilogy), while the rest of the summary goes right ahead and tells you what happens all the way through the book. I’m all for teasing the reader with tantalizing tidbits, but after reading the summary you might as well just head to Champions, because you know everything that happens in Apprentice. Way to go, Random House Guy Who Gets Paid To Pretend To Read Books. But I digress. On Yavin 4, Luke has brought together a collection of Jedi candidates, including Kyp Durron, who in case you don’t remember from the three times the first book told you was the ex-slave from Kessel whose parents were political dissidents and whose brother was dragged off and conscripted by the Imperials. And don’t worry, if you forget, Apprentice will remind you three or four more times. On Yavin 4, the training goes fairly well (a little too well, but we’ll get into that in a moment) and the fledgling Jedi order seems off to a good start. That is, until the ghost of Exar Kun, an ancient Sith Lord, starts mucking things up by trying to convert the Padawans into little Sithlings. Things come to a head pretty quickly when Kyp, under the influence of Kun, gets fed up with Luke not “showing the true power of the Force,” and leaves the planet in a huff. Leia’s story starts out with a pretty gut-wrenching scene involving Admiral Ackbar accidentally crashing a fighter into an ancient, magnificent temple on a planet interested in joining the Republic. The cathedral was a sort of massive organ that, when the wind blows across it, plays spectacular music. But the Vors, the race who built it, plugged it up to protest the Empire, saying that the music should not sound while Palpatine was a threat. Ackbar and Leia were on a junket to be among the first to hear the music for decades, as the Vors were going to unplug the holes and let the music play. Gee, I certainly hope the ship to go plowing into the building. Oh wait, it does? Well, I saw it coming from a mile away. Too bad Ackbar didn't. Shamed (by what is to the reader an obvious act of sabotage), Ackbar retires, putting the New Republic in a tough spot by losing one of its most level-headed military leaders. With Ackbar gone on one hand and Mon Mothma receding into the background, Leia has to balance more than ever affairs of state with affairs of family. For now, at least, she seems to be choosing state. Where the book shines is where Jedi Search also did well; bringing us to evocative locations. Anderson has a penchant for putting details into the setting. This is in a large part due to his work with LucasFilm on projects dealing with concept art, like his Illustrated Star Wars Universe which is one of my favorite Star Wars books. Anderson had access to a lot of the conceptual paintings of locations in the Star Wars universe which were used to design the look and feel of the movies. He was able to channel the descriptions successfully into the book, giving them a wonderful depth. The characters’ expeditions into the jungles and temples of Yavin IV, for example, provide fascinating minutia into the natural and cultural history of the planet. Also like its predecessor, Apprentice really has the makings of some very heavy themes. Leia has to face a tough call…does she choose to be a good mom, or does she choose to keep a Republic of millions upon millions of star systems from falling apart? What does she lose by making one more important than the other? And Luke continues his saga of trying to piece together the Jedi Order from the Star Wars equivalent of the Dead Sea scrolls. Again, also like its predecessor, the book fails to live up to its lofty premise. There are two major problems with Dark Apprentice, one literary and one “Star Warsian.” From a literary angle, the story tries to take the reader on a roller coaster ride of discovery and enchantment. Problem is, the writing and storytelling is so poorly executed that you’re never really surprised when a “plot twist” shows up. (view spoiler)[ Take the Ackbar incident. The man squid whacks a ship into this cathedral that has been built up as one of the wonders of the galaxy. Ratchet up the stakes because the world is friendly to the Republic. As a reader, I was enthralled by this setup. I wanted to read on and see what the repercussions of this were. Would the world reject the Republic? Turn to the Empire? How would this look to other systems considering the Republic? How will the search for the saboteur play out? Within a few pages of this setup, though, I got let down. From Kevin J. Anderson’s description of the events, it’s obvious right off the bat that it is sabotage. There’s really no question about it. But rather than launch any semblance of an official investigation into the accident, Ackbar just has his personal team of one guy inspect his fighter. When Ackbar’s buddy comes back and says there was no damage, Ackbar just rolls over and gives up, running off to hide on Mon Calamari. Oh, and surprise. Ackbar’s buddy, the only guy the Admiral let near the ship? Turns out he’s the traitor. Oh, and don’t worry about the cathedral. Because the Vors “are not as emotional as other races,” they’re just walking it off and building another one. They’re emotional enough to stop the thing from playing when the Empire takes over, but when the centerpiece of their entire civilization is destroyed, they just take a lap. How convenient. Within 20 pages of the Leia story, we’ve already seen how Anderson abjectly refuses give the characters meaningful stakes and consequences. He really ruined an opportunity here. (hide spoiler)] There are several other examples of this throughout Apprentice, but it’s just not worth my time to moan about them more. The other real problem with the book is on a more Star Warsian level, and deals mostly with the Academy on Yavin IV. Everything at the Academy seems to happen way to fast. Within weeks, if not days of arrival, the Jedi candidates are progressing to advanced concepts of levitation and are able to channel their powers very sophisticatedly. They are able to shield each other from bubbles of superheated gas and do the whole Jedi jump thing. Alright. That might work if they were back in the old Jedi Temple, being taught by Yoda and Obi-Wan and the other most knowledgeable and learned teachers in the order. But these guys were being taught by Luke, who is more than ready to tell anyone who will listen that he has no idea what he’s doing. And bear in mind it took Luke 7 years to get to the level he’s at (being taught by Yoda and all that). How are these newbies able to progress so far so fast? The timeline doesn’t add up. I hope I have conveyed a sense of the problem I have with the timeline. It’s sort of tough to describe if you haven’t read the book, and maybe it’s just me over analyzing things, but Anderson seems to wave the fact that the students are advancing more rapidly than Luke did in the readers face through the character’s dialogue and actions. The ease with which the students progress sort of devalues Luke’s own journey, which makes the original trilogy seem…cheap. And when a book tries to ruin the original trilogy, it ends up on my bad list. Finally, we come back to the Sun Crusher. The Sun Crusher was the superweapon Han Solo picked up in the previous book at the Maw, a secret instillation hidden in a maze of black holes. Demonstrating a remarkable lack of foresight, the Republic decides that the best thing to do with the Sun Crusher was park it on the gas giant Yavin (the celestial body the moon Yavin 4 orbits). Why they don’t just set the thing on autopilot and fling it into one of the hundreds of black holes in the Maw remains a mystery. (view spoiler)[ And don’t worry, wittle angwy Kyp Durron, who despite having no security clearance was privy to the whole operation, comes running back to Yavin and uses waaaay more Force ability than he could have realistically mustered at that point in his training, even under heavy Dark Side influence (that darned funky timeline), and flies it off to wreak havoc on anyone who has wronged him. (hide spoiler)] There are myriad other problems with the book. The Solo twins act like Devil spawn in a museum (I know kids are supposed to be a handful, but come on…) and get lost in the underground of Coruscant. Actually, as stupid and preposterous as the premise of that subplot was, I kind of enjoyed it because, AGAIN, the book set up an interesting idea (the twins stumble on a subculture of ex-Imperial bureaucrats hiding out in the depths of Coruscant because they did something to make the Emperor cranky and fled their execution) but, AGAIN, the book let me down by going “phoey and pishah” and just throws that opportunity away. I should have known better by now, book. And then there is the problem of General Daala. We were introduced to her in Search as the Imperial Admiral garrisoned at the secret Maw instillation (where the Death Star and Sun Crusher were designed). She is set up as this sort of Grand Admiral Thrawn-style super genius leader, but then every time we see her in action she loses spectacularly. Again, rather than giving us any sort of threat to make us invest in the characters, we get Daala who runs around screaming about Destroying Rebel Scum, but then gets all her ships blown up when Admiral Ackbar sneezes. All the issues in the book, from the clichéd, one-dimensional characters to the Deus ex Machina way every single event unfolds, point to the fact that everything needed to turn out “a certain way.” Anderson needed Kyp to fall under the influence of Exar Kun and steal the Sun Crusher to set the events of the third book into motion. Everything else along the way was just filler. That’s why the timeline was so compressed and why Kyp’s character is so magically powerful beyond anyone else; (view spoiler)[ Kyp needed to be super-crazy strong in the Force to pull the Sun Crusher out, and needed to advance beyond Luke’s ability to push his limits so that he could turn Emo and run off like an angry teen. That’s why Ackbar can miss his parking spot by a few miles and face no real repercussions; it has no real impact on Kyp’s story and was just shoved in there because Anderson was like “wouldn’t it be cool if…” (hide spoiler)] I don’t know if you can tell, but I didn’t like this book. Where Jedi Search had enough going for it that I put up with its glaring faults, Dark Apprentice just falls flat. I get sort of frustrated with this series because it has such theoretical promise. I want to almost beat the book over the head and say “LISTEN TO YOURSELF!” I really want someone to go back and rewrite this Trilogy. Heck, I’d even let Anderson take a second crack now that he’s got another 30 years of writing experience under his belt. Should you read it? I wouldn’t recommend it. It really is not a good book, science fiction or otherwise. But it’s Star Wars. And if you’ve read the first book in the Jedi Academy trilogy, let’s face it, you’re too much of a nerd not to see this thing through to the end. Within 30 pages I could see what the book had in store for me. But I read it anyway. Because it’s Star Wars. And that’s what we do. So if you’re dead set of reading the trilogy, go for it. Don’t buy the book, it’s just not worth your money. Go to the library and borrow it. But if you’re more of a casual nerd or a normie, don’t bother. There are much better Star Wars books out there. Read my review for the final book in the trilogy here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donny Millington

    Loved it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Devan Smith

    Oh boy. Oh boy that wasn't good. The first book had such potential. What have you done Kevin J. Anderson? I suppose I had unrealistic expectations. Timothy Zahn was always so good at making sure that all his established plot lines tied together in a realistic way, I just kind of expected the same from KJA. The Good (I like to be positive first): The opening scene with Han and Kip is pretty great. They go skiing, but it's space skiing which makes it imminently more interesting. Also Luke has a Oh boy. Oh boy that wasn't good. The first book had such potential. What have you done Kevin J. Anderson? I suppose I had unrealistic expectations. Timothy Zahn was always so good at making sure that all his established plot lines tied together in a realistic way, I just kind of expected the same from KJA. The Good (I like to be positive first): The opening scene with Han and Kip is pretty great. They go skiing, but it's space skiing which makes it imminently more interesting. Also Luke has a moment near the end where he decides that he can't kill an apprentice in cold blood, which I found to be a pleasing repudiation of The Last Jedi's characterization of Luke. The Bad (this gon' take a while) I think the chief thing that this book does wrong is the characters. All of the characters, including the new ones, are treated rather poorly. Let me go through the major ones in turn. 1. Luke - while I commended KJA for getting his heart of gold right, the author fails to understand the utter power of a Jedi Master, and this Jedi Master in particular. A Master has a lightyear more knowledge than an apprentice in general. Then you add on to the fact that Luke is the son of the last great Sith lord and was trained by arguably the two best Jedi of the Clone Wars era, and you can not help but scoff when Luke is handedly defeated and outwitted by an apprentice who doesn't even have a lightsaber. Luke isn't any Jedi... he is the Jedi. 2. Han - Luke's god is the Force. Han's god is the Falcon. Han would never gamble away the Falcon. This actually offended me when I read it. When Lando and Han kept repeating their game, I understood that KJA was going for comedy; however, it wasn't effective because it was not in-character. 3. Leia - KJA just doesn't get Leia. She was the worst character in the first book, and she would be in this one too if the competition wasn't so fierce. Leia is not a dutiful character. It is not duty that prevents her from settling down and doing other things like Jedi training. It is passion. She can't help but work for the galaxy. As much as politics hinders her, she loves it. 4. Admiral Daala - KJA introduced this woman to be interesting and then just completely wrecks it. She is a moron. She is a terrible commander, and no person can honestly believe that anyone would continue to follow this woman after she loses three Star Destroyers in the course of a week. Also, what the hell did she think she was doing attacking one of the most important New Republic planets with just 3 ships? Thrawn was hesitant to go Center Rim with an entire fleet. 5. Kyp Durron - his turn to the "dark side" is completely unrealistic and way too fast. It makes no sense with what was established in the first one 6. Gantoris - arguably the coolest new character introduced in the first one, KJA nonchalantly kills him off immediately after giving him a compelling reason to go to the dark side. He should have been the one to turn, not Kyp. 7. The Twins - unbearable and unrealistic The Compelling As far as I know, this is the first book that delves into the origins of the Sith (and also, the first book to call dark side users the Sith, I believe). It introduces Exar Kun which was pretty cool. Spoiler: You literally have an entire cluster of black holes just outside Kessel that everybody who has been in any sort of contact with the Sun Crusher knows about. Why in the hell would you send it into a gas giant, when you could very easily just launch it into a black hole? I'll tell you why... plot convenience.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Benedek Szalai

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The theme of this book is to trust and believe. In this book, Luke Skywalker is training the next generation of Jedi. He trusts them with his life, and when his new student Kyp Durron does not trust master's training, he is consumed by the darkness, and nearly destroys him.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Meggie

    For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This weeks focus: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson. SOME HISTORY: A mere two months after The Courtship of Princess Leia was released in hardcover, Bantam dropped the second volume of the Jedi Academy trilogy in June 1994. Dark Apprentice simultaneously did better and worse than For 2020, I decided to reread (in publication order) all the Bantam-era Star Wars books that were released between 1991 and 1999; that shakes out to 38 adult novels and 5 anthologies of short stories & novellas. This week’s focus: Dark Apprentice by Kevin J. Anderson. SOME HISTORY: A mere two months after The Courtship of Princess Leia was released in hardcover, Bantam dropped the second volume of the Jedi Academy trilogy in June 1994. Dark Apprentice simultaneously did better and worse than Jedi Search. It made it to number two on the New York Times paperback bestseller list for the week of June 26, 1994, and ultimately stayed on the NYT list for 6 weeks. MY RECOLLECTION OF THE BOOK: I mistakenly thought that...happened in this book. Luke’s academy is definitely a highlights-only reel; I guess I assumed that we saw more of how everything functioned before it fell apart, but actually we didn’t! At least Leia had something to do this time around. PRINCESS LEIA COSTUME CHANGE COUNT: Other than the futuristic organic tech wetsuit that she wore on Calamari, we once again have a book with few descriptions of her costumes. However, Han goes skiing, and gives Kyp a rad black cloak! A BRIEF SUMMARY: Luke Skywalker opens his Jedi praxeum on Yavin IV and begins to instruct the next generation of Jedi, but an evil shadow lurks nearby. Admiral Ackbar quits after his personal involvement in a deadly accident. And Admiral Daala starts her one-woman guerilla campaign against the New Republic. THE CHARACTERS: I did not like Anderson’s portrayal of Luke in the first book, and I really didn’t like how he built on that here. Luke is remarkably ineffective and indecisive as the Master of this new Academy. Gantoris constructs a lightsaber and challenges him to a duel, and Luke barely intervenes. Gantoris then apparently self-combusts and Luke doesn’t contact any one?? Kyp Durron is giving off loads of warning signs but Luke also does pretty much nothing. He’s also very reliant on the Jedi Holocron, another carryover from the Star Wars: Dark Empire Trilogy, and we get few examples of him actually teaching. He seems to mostly just set around and let his students instruct themselves. By the end of the book, he’s barely alive, and after all his idiocy it’s a little hard to sympathize with his fate. After having very little to do in Jedi Search, Leia actually has an interesting plotline in this book! Leia is a direct witness to Ackbar’s accident—which we as the reader know was a setup, but no one else does—and is feeling especially stressed by all the responsibilities Mon Mothma is offloading on her. Once she learns about Mothma’s illness, though, she heads to Ackbar’s home world to beg for his return; and in turn, she becomes a bystander during Daala’s attack. I think I prefer when Leia can mix diplomacy with action, so I enjoyed her scenes here. Remember how I praised Anderson’s portrayal of Han in the previous book? Unfortunately, that didn’t continue into this book. Han gets irrationally annoyed at Lando in the beginning of Dark Apprentice, which leads to them playing sabacc THREE times to decide who owns the Falcon. It’s particularly pointless because the only reason that Han has the Falcon in the end is because Lando wanted to impress Mara Jade with his generosity. Lando once again has little to do, other than gamble with Han and flirt with Mara Jade. Mara, in turn, is less nuanced than Zahn’s depiction of her, and I feel like this is the first appearance of “sexy Mara,” a characterization we will unfortunately see other authors adopt as well. Of Luke’s potential Jedi: Gantoris clearly chose poorly in the end. Kyp’s fall to the Dark Side is so abbreviated that it’s hard for me to buy it. Luke has a dozen students, but Anderson only gives us the names of half of them, which will be very useful when Michael A. Stackpole decides to retcon Corran Horn into the Jedi Academy. Leia and Han’s twins run away from a zoo and wander the lower levels of Coruscant. I hate this! They’re two and a half! Why is Anderson devoting time to this subplot? Admiral Daala started off this trilogy with four Star Destroyers. She lost one at Kessel, and then loses two more in this book. Would she have ever made Admiral were it not for some weird romantic form of nepotism? And why does she continue to be a presence in later books? (I’m looking at you Darksaber!) She’s a strategic moron. Exar Kun is a shadowy presence in more ways than one. His goal is evil dominance, I guess. But his evil is restricted to Yavin IV. Why he didn’t show up while the Rebellion was based there, and why Luke didn’t remove his students at the first sign of trouble is anyone’s guess. ISSUES: Not an issue, but an actual praise: I like how Anderson developed Calamari! It’s interesting and alien and felt new. I also like Ackbar’s accident on Vortex, and the aftermath. On the whole, though, Anderson’s writing style is just aggressively clunky. It’s almost like he knew the main points he needed to hit, and then just never bothered to sufficiently flesh them out. Things don’t flow, more lurch from subplot to subplot. Take Kyp’s descent into darkness: we get one scene of him on Yavin IV, pushing himself to learn more than anyone else. Then immediately afterwards he’s listening to Exar Kun and learning hidden knowledge (which is 100% hidden to the reader too). There’s no time to build or for his impatience to grow, because Anderson makes him go from 0 to 60 in one chapter. Anderson also introduces some interesting romantic pairings to the GFFA. We have Wedge Antilles and Qwi Xux, which...why? What do they see in each other? And while I can buy Lando trying to schmooze Mara Jade, I can’t quite see her reciprocating. IN CONCLUSION: Dark Apprentice is second book filler of the worst kind. Characters cycle in place, none more obviously than Han and Lando with their endless card games, and it ends on a cliffhanger—or rather, a pyramid-summit hanger. Hopefully there will be a little more action in the third book. Next up: Champions of the Force, the conclusion to the Jedi Academy trilogy. My YouTube review: https://youtu.be/CM2Aj-uz86c

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Because sometimes the occasion requires a Star Wars novel.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Barb

    The story isnt a bad one, but the writing is just awful. Anderson repeats already tired phrases such as the power of the Dark Side and so on, so not only does the novel seem unoriginal, it seemsI dont even know. I mean, we already know its a Star Wars novel, we dont need to be reminded over and over about the power of the Dark Side. At least phrase it differently. He also repeats his own similes twice he described blast doors on Calamari as a diagonal mouth. What, he cant come up with The story isn’t a bad one, but the writing is just awful. Anderson repeats already tired phrases such as “the power of the Dark Side” and so on, so not only does the novel seem unoriginal, it seems…I don’t even know. I mean, we already know it’s a Star Wars novel, we don’t need to be reminded – over and over – about “the power of the Dark Side.” At least phrase it differently. He also repeats his own similes – twice he described blast doors on Calamari as a “diagonal mouth.” What, he can’t come up with something different to keep the prose from being repetitive? At one point he described something as “raw bread dough.” Really? Like there’s any other type? And as powerful and aggressive as Admiral Daala is, is she really so naïve as to think that Tarkin promoted her based on merit alone? I mean, she’s had 10 years to think it over while isolated at the Maw Installation. Also references a comic book series (Dark Empire II, I believe) and a short story from Tales From Mos Eisley Cantina (The Sand Tender: The Hammerhead’s Tale). Neither reference enhances the story, in fact, they only serve to leave the reader with questions. This definitely is not a stand-alone novel, but a bridge to the third and final installment in the series.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Much more enjoyable than Jedi Search, but there were still a few moments that made me question the how much research the author did before writing these books. In the Timothy Zahn books, I always felt like the various aspects made sense within the context of the Star Wars universe. Throughout this series, I am constantly noticing elements that do not fit with what has been established before and since these were written. Ignoring some inconsistencies though, the plot of this story was Much more enjoyable than Jedi Search, but there were still a few moments that made me question the how much research the author did before writing these books. In the Timothy Zahn books, I always felt like the various aspects made sense within the context of the Star Wars universe. Throughout this series, I am constantly noticing elements that do not fit with what has been established before and since these were written. Ignoring some inconsistencies though, the plot of this story was entertaining and sets us up nicely for the conclusion in the next book. Watching a Jedi trying to justify his descent to the dark side always makes for a fun read. I have high hopes for the ending of this series.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    Hello goodreaders! This was a great book, in fact the entire Jedi Academy trilogy is fantastic, I won't give it 5 stars, but it was still really good. In establishing the Jedi Academy, Luke Skywalker learns more and more about the Force and how to use it. I really enjoy all the abilities each Padawan has. This series is action packed and drama filled. This trilogy is worth looking at. Happy reading.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ebster Davis

    The best part of this book was "The Little Lost Bantha Cub", a galactic bedtime story Han Solo shares with his kids. (Later on they get lost and reenact it until someone nice finds them and sends them home.) http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/The_Li... Notes: Kaylle on fanfiction.net finished the story. I'm including it here so if I ever have babies I can find it again. https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2834224/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Brown

    The continuation of the series, in this installment things become complicated by a rogue Imperial force that is attacking planets in the new republic. Also, as Luke continues his training of the new Jedi, things get scary when one of his students is seduced by the dark side and unleashes power beyond his control.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    2.7 stars. Probably Anderson's worst yet. Several illogical sub-plots thrown in just to trigger necessary plot development. A lot read like filler to bring up the page count. Nice cliff-hanger ending, requiring the reader to read the next book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leah Webber

    Meh. This was, I think, too many stories wrapped into one novel. Also, damn Kyp, jumped the shark a bit, didn't cha?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kasc

    Honestly, this deserves 2.5 rather than 3 stars because it just is a little weaker than its predecessor. The main reason for that is that this novel has pretty much the same issues as Jedi Search does plot-, character-, and structure-wise while lacking that one really solid story line that would enable it to redeem itself (imo for Jedi Search that was Hans Kessel + Maw Installation trip). The only one that comes close here is Leias arc with her disastrous trip to Vortex and her later mission to Honestly, this deserves 2.5 rather than 3 stars because it just is a little weaker than its predecessor. The main reason for that is that this novel has pretty much the same issues as Jedi Search does plot-, character-, and structure-wise while lacking that one really solid story line that would enable it to redeem itself (imo for Jedi Search that was Han’s Kessel + Maw Installation trip). The only one that comes close here is Leia’s arc with her disastrous trip to Vortex and her later mission to Calamari that did grasp my attention albeit everything was resolved a bit too easily. (Lo and behold, she stumbles upon yet another Jedi candidate. Phew… good thing these random discoveries didn’t start happening before Luke decided to open his academy). Other than that, Dark Apprentice’s story lines are pretty stale gifting us with a plentitude of strange to the point of cringeworthy situations. Up front I would like to apologize for going into so much detail about this, there were just so many aspects to take issue with. Han and Lando play for ownership of the Falcon three (!) times. Obviously, doing so seems like something they might do at some point in time but here they repeatedly choose to do it in the most unfitting of circumstances (Han wants to rush to his wife’s rescue – let’s sit down and play a hand of cards first, wtf?). Luke, meanwhile, is busy training his apprentices on Yavin and has apparently no clue whatsoever on what he is doing. At the same time he is entirely oblivious to the workings of the spirit of a Dark Lord of the Sith who interferes with his more promising students and surely must represent a major Dark Side presence on Yavin. However, our self-proclaimed Jedi Master who has had training in the Dark Side himself is unable to detect that before it is too late and even after one of his students dies as a consequence of Exar Kun’s meddling he cannot put two and two together. Mon Mothma turns out to be gravely ill, which comes as no real surprise given how her weak physical constitution is alluded to every single time she steps into the scene before her sickness is revealed. Then there is this weird Ackbar/Winter relationship that Anderson tries to push. Never before has there been any indication that the two of them might have been close and now Ackbar decides to just casually stop by her super-secret hiding place on his way to exile potentially giving away its location in doing so. Plus, he is super close with baby Anakin, too, btw. As if this weren't enough, we get to witness the cringy budding relationship between plain old Wedge Antilles and the most gullible character ever known, Qwi Xux. Also, it seems that Anderson is the author who started the trend of making the Solo kids act older than they actually are. Sure, they have Jedi powers, but a bunch of two-year-olds getting along just fine in the Coruscant underworld? I don’t think so. However, while all of these minor aspects had a negative impact on my perception of this novel, the major annoyance here was Admiral Daala. I cannot believe how this character was just wasted on random maneuvers that lacked even the hint of any tactical finesse. This just manifests the impression that while perhaps talented and promising during her time at the academy, in the end, Daala only managed to get her position through her personal relationship with Tarkin. So, Anderson pitched her as a potentially intriguing villain, who is female for a change, in Jedi Search just to present her like a vengeful imbecile here. On a positive note, whereas Han certainly doesn't win father of the year in his handling of his own kids, I like the father-son-type of relationship he has with Kyp (I had completely forgotten how close they were). It is a shame that this is never really addressed again (aren’t they virtually strangers in the New Jedi Order series?). Also, I like the way Anderson portrays the different planets because he acknowledges that there is more to each planet than just one characteristic (e.g. Hoth is an ice planet and that’s it, Coruscant is all skyscrapers etc.). Although, I could have done without the skitrip. Overall, while this novel is not all bad there are just so many weird things going on that I cannot really say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes, I do like this series but it would not be anything I would recommend to anyone who would just like to casually delve into the EU. There is just so much material that is far superior.

  26. 4 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5 stars. Kevin J. Anderson is a very frustrating author, at least if the first two books in this trilogy are anything to go on. Maybe he gets amazing after the Jedi Academy Trilogy but it's not a promising start. On the pro side, he's great at world-building and describing new planets or cities that we have not encountered in the Star Wars Universe up to now. The Maw Installation, Yavin 4, Calamari, the undercity in Coruscant are all very interesting creations. He also is good at describing 2.5 stars. Kevin J. Anderson is a very frustrating author, at least if the first two books in this trilogy are anything to go on. Maybe he gets amazing after the Jedi Academy Trilogy but it's not a promising start. On the pro side, he's great at world-building and describing new planets or cities that we have not encountered in the Star Wars Universe up to now. The Maw Installation, Yavin 4, Calamari, the undercity in Coruscant are all very interesting creations. He also is good at describing battles and action sequences, which are difficult to write and I have a hard time following often. Also, the twins under Coruscant were one of my favorite sequences in the book, surprisingly. On the con side, he develops interesting places for several chapters, or even most of a book, and then drops them abruptly. I would've loved to have a more developed story with Kessel, or the Maw Installation, or Calamari, or the planet Vortex. Similarly, character development is pretty terrible. The new Jedi students on Yavin 4 are briefly introduced and then mostly provide set-dressing for Kyp Durron's very rapid transformation to a Dark Lord of the Sith. Hopefully this improves in Champions of the Force but it hi-lights Anderson's pacing issues. Things that could be drawn out in an interesting and thoughtful way are rushed through while other conflicts draw out unnaturally. The dialogue is very clunky and campy. The campiness is a little hard to avoid just because it's part of the charm of Star Wars, and threading the needle between charming and unbelievable. If it were simply how people talk that was awkward it could be forgiven but the way that people act is bizarre. Mara Jade shows up largely to give Lando a motivation for winning the Millenium Falcon back again--that side plot got old the first time and was entirely unnecessary--and then disappears. A very cursory examination of Ackbar's B-Wing reveals nothing, no questions are asked of anyone and he suddenly resigns. What? Luke, rather than halting or moving the Jedi school after Gantoris dies violently and a disturbing dream of Exar Kun, inexplicably continues but is "troubled." He waits until Han comes to Yavin 4 to say that an incredibly powerful and unstable former student of his, Kyp, has disappeared with Mara's ship. WHAT. There is little to no discussion of how to handle Admiral Daala, just fretting about Mon Mothma's mysterious wasting disease and the aftermath of Daala's attacks. Lastly, sabacc is a game that is talked about a lot in Star Wars novels so I was happy to see it explained in a little more detail in this book. Unfortunately, it was forced into a scene of Han not being able to properly emotionally react to Leia nearly being killed and then as a running gag of Lando and Han swapping the Falcon back and forth. Stupid bungling. Yaaargh!

  27. 5 out of 5

    A.J. Blanc

    The first book of this trilogy, Jedi Search, was a bit of a surprise to me. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I questioned the negative reputation that KJA still carries to this day. Dark Apprentice felt like a pretty big step backward in that the important parts could've been summed up in a chapter or two, and practically all of the characters made dumb choices throughout the story. Here's just a few examples of that: Luke - started his academy on Yavin 4 but is just making up the The first book of this trilogy, Jedi Search, was a bit of a surprise to me. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I questioned the negative reputation that KJA still carries to this day. Dark Apprentice felt like a pretty big step backward in that the important parts could've been summed up in a chapter or two, and practically all of the characters made dumb choices throughout the story. Here's just a few examples of that: Luke - started his academy on Yavin 4 but is just making up the training as he goes along. Also, one of his students builds a lightsaber without his knowledge or tutelage and is challenged to a duel or die. Once it's over there's no follow-up conversation to the obvious issues the man is having and he even gives the lightsaber back, no questions asked! Han - learns that Leia is in a near fatal crash and instead of rushing out to see her he angrily plays cards with Lando; the stakes are ownership of the Falcon, again. Nope, would never happen. Dalla - the main antagonist quickly resorts to the nobility of a pirate. Rather than combining forces with at least some of the Imperial Remnant, she attacks a helpless merchant and destroys an unarmed colony of refugees. Is she afraid one of the other officers would usurp her command, or was she really that traumatized by her academy experience? Some minor points: what's with all the B-wings? I like B-wings; one of my favorite toys as a kid, but their use here doesn't make any sense. Bulky gunships aren't a good fit for diplomatic transport and planetary defense. In the acknowledgements KJA claimed to have worked with West End Games with this trilogy, though none of their encyclopedic knowledge seems to have been used. Space skiing, card games, and zoo/museums do not make for exciting storytelling. There are other issues of course, but to avoid any more spoilers I think I'll leave the rest to other reviewers. It's not all bad though! I really liked the scenes on Mon Calla, and the espionage against the New Republic was interesting as well... two B plots. A lot of people had a problem with who the 'dark apprentice' actually was, like KJA was trying to pull a twist or something. I actually didn't mind this because one of them is older & wiser, and the other is naïve & desperate to avoid further helplessness. Regardless, if you liked the first one I definitely recommend continuing the series.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Admiral Daala, finally a female Imperial officer. But she's crazy from cabin fever by sticking around in the Maw Installation for many years and that makes her incompetent as an officer. Being set on revenge with that mind frame is asking for disaster. What a shame b/c she had smarts and skill in school. If only the Emperor wasn't sexist, then Tarkin wouldn't have stuck her in the Maw. Lando really annoyed me when he challenged Han for the Falcon just because he lost the Lady Luck. Face it, you Admiral Daala, finally a female Imperial officer. But she's crazy from cabin fever by sticking around in the Maw Installation for many years and that makes her incompetent as an officer. Being set on revenge with that mind frame is asking for disaster. What a shame b/c she had smarts and skill in school. If only the Emperor wasn't sexist, then Tarkin wouldn't have stuck her in the Maw. Lando really annoyed me when he challenged Han for the Falcon just because he lost the Lady Luck. Face it, you lost the first time! To much back and forth with the sabacc games and ownership of the Falcon in this story. Glad Mara's influence ended their childish games ;) I do vaguely remember Leia's crash on Vortex but totally forgot that it spawned the whole Ackbar resigning and Terpfen's sabatoge. Which then all linked back to the Ambassador Furgan attempting to kidnapp Anakin Solo from Anoth. Leia's trip to Mon Calamari to persuade Ackbar to come back to the New Republic and to request his help to save her youngest son was a good subplot. Enjoyed those story lines. Luke and the events at the academy were still fresh in my mind from reading I, Jedi about a year ago. But it was better to read them in this book than out of Corran's point of view because you get the full picture as to the strange events going on caused by Exar Kun. And Corran hasn't even been mentioned by name. Only about 1/2 of Luke's students have been named. In retrospect I think I, Jedi should be read after this trilogy, or IMHO, not at all. :P Wedge and Qui's little romantic vacation was cute. Wedge needs some love. Happy filler story. I thought Jacen and Jaina's adventure under Coruscant would have more meaning later on but it was just a filler I guess to get to know the twins more. Could have done without that part. Of course the title of this second book refers to Kyp Durron, I think. Under Exar's influence he steals the Sun Crusher and wrecks havoc on the galaxy. But you just know Daala and her Star Destoryer get away last minute. She should have stayed where she was. By losing half her fleet in two books shows her incompetence.

  29. 5 out of 5

    James Taylor

    Luke Skywalker begins training his students at his academy on Yavin IV. Ackbar crashes his B-Wing during a diplomatic mission was it a mistake, intentional or sabotage? Admiral Daala begins her attacks on the rebels. Just like the previous book, there doesn't seem to be a strong story to it; it's more like a series of events that move towards the greater story-arc in the trilogy. There's plenty of dull moments in the book too, and it feels like these situations make up the bulk of the content. I Luke Skywalker begins training his students at his academy on Yavin IV. Ackbar crashes his B-Wing during a diplomatic mission – was it a mistake, intentional or sabotage? Admiral Daala begins her attacks on the rebels. Just like the previous book, there doesn't seem to be a strong story to it; it's more like a series of events that move towards the greater story-arc in the trilogy. There's plenty of dull moments in the book too, and it feels like these situations make up the bulk of the content. I felt the whole Kyp and Han go skiing was pointless, Han playing the card game sabacc with Lando using the most stupid set of rules imagined, and plenty of moments where C3P0 is babysitting Jacen and Jaina. Gantoris was set up to potentially be a great character in the previous book. Just as he starts to be developed, he gets killed off. It should really have been the twist that he wasn't the titular 'Dark Apprentice' but there wasn't enough build up to make it a dramatic event. In a similar fashion, the real 'Dark Apprentice' had barely any build up before they turned to the dark side; which came across as an unbelievable transition because their motivation for doing so wasn't strong enough. He barely went through any substantial amount of training before turning against Luke because he felt he was being held back. The lack of focus on the real plot points made everything less dramatic as it should have been. Too long was spent on mundane events like playing cards and babysitting, making it a rather dull book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Malcolm Cox

    Like with the first book in the trilogy, there is a lot going on here. Don't read the sizeable blurbs on the back of these books, they're full of spoilers. In a way, I quite like seeing an naive and inexperienced Luke Skywalker attempting to kick-start the Jedi academy. On the other hand, the whole 'teaching' process he uses is very Zen and airy-fairy. These guys are supposed to be Jedi not a bunch of hippies. There doesn't seem to be much instructing beyond 'Go out into the jungle and find Like with the first book in the trilogy, there is a lot going on here. Don't read the sizeable blurbs on the back of these books, they're full of spoilers. In a way, I quite like seeing an naive and inexperienced Luke Skywalker attempting to kick-start the Jedi academy. On the other hand, the whole 'teaching' process he uses is very Zen and airy-fairy. These guys are supposed to be Jedi not a bunch of hippies. There doesn't seem to be much instructing beyond 'Go out into the jungle and find yourself'. I also don't really buy that, even after a mysterious and horrific death, they all don't just move on out of there or face the threat at all. Jaina and Jacen have an interesting little 'adventure' in the bowels of Coruscant. It's always interesting to see what's going on down there, even if the whole stint didn't really amount to much. The other main theme throughout this book is the ownership of the Millennium Falcon as Han and Lando repeatedly gamble for her. It certainly shows which of the two is the better friend to the other.

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