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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A More Benign View Of The Jedi Code, And A Starring Role For The Mon Calamari
"Dark Apprentice" is the second in the "Jedi Academy" trilogy (following "Jedi Search"), taking place about seven years after "Return Of The Jedi" and roughly two years after the Thrawn trilogy. It actually improves on the impressive "Jedi Search", and in doing so even brings the former up another notch itself (it's amazing how Star Wars installments can do that for...
Published on February 15, 2006 by Stephen B. O'Blenis

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This didn't help my opinion of Kevin J. Anderson
I can't say that I was particularly pleased with the first book in this trilogy, Jedi Search. However, this fact did not stop me frombeing even less pleased with the second entry into the series. Once again, we are treated to a lengthy series of escapades involving incompetant Imperials, grandoise superweapons and, of course, the omnipotent Jedi. Why did I read this...
Published on December 10, 2001


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This didn't help my opinion of Kevin J. Anderson, December 10, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
I can't say that I was particularly pleased with the first book in this trilogy, Jedi Search. However, this fact did not stop me frombeing even less pleased with the second entry into the series. Once again, we are treated to a lengthy series of escapades involving incompetant Imperials, grandoise superweapons and, of course, the omnipotent Jedi. Why did I read this series?
I'll start with the Imperials, more specifically Daala. Somehow, despite all the build up Anderson gave her, she manages to come off as little more than a cartoon villian, who dreams up wild plots, pats herself of the back for her supposed cleverness, and then fails miserably. If I wanted to see this type of character, I would turn on a children's cartoon! On a side note, the original idea behind Daala seems a little derivitive of Thrawn (character whose brilliance allows him/her to overcome a prejudiced environment). Sadly, unlike Thrawn, Daala is never able to live up to her reputation.
What the heck is up with the suncrusher? I could live with the Death Star (it was a very original idea the first time). Heck, I can tollerate a second Death Star. However, taking basically the same concept and going one better with it (we destroy stars now, instead of planets) pushes my limit. Especially when said weapon is invencible (it survives supernovas) and has the manueverability of a TIE fighter. Death Star? Who needs it? We can wipe out entire star systems with this little number. And, for good measure, its utterly indestructable. (Of course, we can't have such a weapon in Imperial hands. So, naturally, the rebels somehow get a hold of it. Go figure.)
Kyp. I rarely hate characters in Star Wars (why waste hatred on people who don't exist?), but Kyp annoyed me terribly. A brazen young hotshot whose limitless power in the force (conviently overlooked by the Empire) seems to me to be little more than a testiment to Anderson's ego, demonstarting that he can create a seemingly allmighty character.
Oh well. I shouldn't complain TOO much, since I honestly enjoy writing rants more than pleasent reviews (where's the fun in just saying nice things about a book?). Still, I can think of better ways to spend one's time, such as reading The Thrawn Trillogy, or The Hand of Thrawn. It is a free country, so I therefore conclude by saying that you are, as always, entitled to form your own opinions.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weakest of the trilogy, August 13, 2003
By 
D. B. Killings "Dagnabbit!" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
The second novel in Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy Trilogy is, if anything, even more disjointed than the first. It doesn't feel like a novel so much as a series of interconnected short stories. In that way it comes across as being somewhat aimless, as if Anderson knew where he was going but only had a vague notion as to how to get there.
The plot? Well, what there is of it centers primarily around Luke's efforts to train a new group of Jedi. But lurking in the jungles of Yavin 4, the new home of Luke's Academy, is the evil essence of a long fallen Sith Lord, who is trying to subvert the untrained students toward the dark side. And here is where the novel starts to come apart, because rather than dealing with this threat directly, Anderson has Luke be somewhat wishy-washy about the whole thing. "Oh, my students are being killed in very mysterious circumstances. I think I'll go meditate about the meaning of this a little while longer." Meanwhile, there's more intrigue between the New Republic and what remains of the Empire, Admiral Daala is causing mayhem and destruction in a guerilla war against Republic targets, Leia and Ackbar crash a spaceship into a cathedral, Han and Lando keep using the Falcon as a betting token, and Wedge gets a girlfriend. Oh yeah, and Han & Leia's twins get lost in the most blatant piece of story padding you'll ever encounter.
This novel is all over the place. Much, much too wide a focus. It would have been a lot better if Anderson had cut out some of the incidental stuff and focused more on the ostensibly central point of the books, namely the resurrection of the Jedi as an order. Instead he skips around from one area to the next, with little more than a cursory glance at what one set of characters or another are doing at that particular moment. All in all, it wears thin very, very quickly.
The best that can be said for the book is that it's adequate, but little more. However, it is the second book of a trilogy, so if you want to get to the climax of the series it is required reading. At the very least it's a quick read, so you won't waste too many brain cells over it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A More Benign View Of The Jedi Code, And A Starring Role For The Mon Calamari, February 15, 2006
By 
Stephen B. O'Blenis (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
"Dark Apprentice" is the second in the "Jedi Academy" trilogy (following "Jedi Search"), taking place about seven years after "Return Of The Jedi" and roughly two years after the Thrawn trilogy. It actually improves on the impressive "Jedi Search", and in doing so even brings the former up another notch itself (it's amazing how Star Wars installments can do that for their predecessors - I recently rewatched "The Phantom Menace" and was shocked at how much better I liked it (loved it!) seeing it in the hindsight provided by "Attack Of The Clones" and "Revenge Of The Sith"). Of the many Star Wars novels, "Dark Apprentice" is perhaps the champ at juggling the most plots and subplots simultaneously and blending them to perfection - not the slightest hitch in the flow is to be found. Likewise for the large cast of characters. Almost all of the significant surviving characters from the original movie trilogy are present (and some that were previously only glimpsed), the new characters encountered in "Jedi Search" - Qwi Xux, Kyp Durron, Admiral Daala, Gantoris, et al. - play major roles, and a number of characters from other novels and comics from the early-to-mid 90s turn up. Plus brand new characters. Anderson manages to allow as many characters to shine as would normally get a chance in a book more than twice "Dark Apprentice"'s length. Admiral Ackbar and other Mon Calamari characters are pivotal; Ackbar himself is unquestionably one of the three central characters of the volume, and a great deal of the book's strength derives from this first-rate character, who only got a chance to become one of the really big players after the original movies ended.

The book follows several main threads - Luke's ongoing training of a new Jedi Order at the Academy located in the ruins on Yavin 4, complete with the foreshadowings in Jedi Search of nightmares about a 'dark man' coming to fruition; the unexpected and far-reaching reprecussions of a tragic spacecrash on the planet Vortex; the emergence of Daala and her force of Star Destroyers from Maw Installation to wage war against the New Republic; and various machinations by the remaining high-ranking officials of the crumbling (and rife with infighting) Empire, to try and regain some of their Empire's fading might while there's still a chance. To start with. (There are other plot threads here as well - Anderson's quite the skilled juggler) It's a big credit to the author that he kept everything so perfectly straight and coherent while using enough plots, subplots, and instances of major character development to fill a half-dozen volumes. The result is one of the most endlessly absorbing, thrilling, and near-impossible-to-put-down books in the Star Wars saga, or anywhere else for that matter.

The Jedi Code plays a big role in this book, and it cleared up a Lot of misgivings I'd had about the whole Code ever since I started hearing about it. In short, it's revealed to be a lot more flexible and a lot less preposterous than it would seem on the surface. All the seemingly inane parts - about a Jedi not knowing passion; about there being no emotion only peace; etc. - come across more as loose caveats than ironclad boundaries. The Jedi - from Luke down through the newest trainees - do indeed enter states of great calm that could be described as Almost emotionless, but only while in battle or intensive training; the rest of the time they show as much emotion as most anyone else and don't seem to be trying to fight it; they have individual interests and character traits not directly associated with their status as Jedis, and so on. The 'no passion' element seems to serve in practice almost exclusively as a guard against the 'darker' or negative passions - anger, fear, envy, etc. There seems to be no requirement for a Jedi to abandon their Self, their own sense of...enthusiasm, for lack of a better word... or their attachments to friends or loved ones like there was in the prequel movies. I've come to think of the Jedi conduct in books like this as more of the way the early Jedi probably envisioned things when they set the Order up millennia ago; and to think of the conduct and attitudes of much of the Council in the prequels era - more concerned with the suppression of emotions and any divergent points of view within the Jedi Order, and with the rigid adherence to endless protocols, than with the good of the galaxy they supposedly exist to protect - as an example of how far the Order had strayed from common sense. (For instance,like I talked about in a couple of prequel writeups, the Council's seeming indifference about the flourishing slave trade in parts of the Galaxy seemed completely inconsitent with the image from the original trilogy of the Jedi's nobility and status as protectors) Of course, in the prequels, once the trilogy was complete it made sense: the Council never really intended to become so...insular and rigid, to be polite...but in doing so they left themselves wide open to a threat like the Sith.

But books like this one capture a Jedi Order as I always envisioned a full Jedi force to be, from when I first saw the original movies all those years ago onward. And of course, the lack of a bar against love leaves it open for a number of interesting possibilities with the Jedi - not just the obvious (and welcome) romantic angles but the whole area of bonding with other living beings instead of standing aloof from them. I mean, there's no doubt in the original movies that the core characters, despite all their arguing, love each other like family. Where would Luke and the other Jedi go in the ongoing novels if they adhered to some Code that forbade such feelings?

My word limit must be almost up: suffice it to say that "Dark Apprentice" has my highest recommendation, though of course "Jedi Search" should be read first. One of Star Wars's greatest.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Force still isn't with Kevin J. Anderson, October 17, 1998
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
I'll admit that this was a better book than "Jedi Search," but that still doesn't save it from a one-star rating.
The plot, while slightly more thought out than "Jedi Search," is still mundane and predicatable and doesn't offer anything beyond the cliches of other Star Wars novels of similar caliber. (Just how many superweapons are out there, anyway?)
Anderson still does not have a foothold on the characters his stories revolve around. Luke and Han and all the rest of the regulars are portrayed so blandly you'll hardly recognize them. And Anderson's "new" characters really aren't new; they're just stock characters lifted from other stories and given new names. I guess Anderson thought we wouldn't notice.
Anderson's dialouge continues to leave much to be desired. When his characters talk to one another, it's either plot exposition or quoting catch lines from the Trilogy. "I have a bad feeling about this," "Never tell me the odds," etc. I guess this kind of mindless regurgitation is what passes for creativity these days.
There are Star Wars fans who will tell you that the Jedi Academy trilogy is worth reading just to learn the characters and plot elements that are referenced in other books. If such is your atttitude, I recommend skipping straight to part three of this trilogy, "Champions of the Force." Despite what some readers will tell you, you don't really have to read the first two books to understand the third. The characters and storyline are pretty straight forward and Anderson rehashes the plot often enough for you to figure out what's going on. If you aren't quite so interested in the ongoing Star Wars universe of Bantam Spectra and just want to read a decent Star Wars book, I'd like to recommend "Heir to the Empire" by Timothy Zahn. Once you've read Zahn's trilogy, Anderson's can be better seen for what it is.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is where it falls apart, November 28, 2001
By 
Kevin Major (Barrington, NH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
The second book of a trilogy can make or break the overall product. This book falls into the latter category. Dark Apprentice is a cliched mess that's not worth picking up.
First, let's start off with characterization. The best characters in the book are two dimensional. The others...well, the others make cardboard cutouts seem lifelike. Kyp Durron, a kid with a hard life, is Luke Skywalker's most impressive apprentice. We all know what happens next. Kyp is tempted by the Dark Side, and ultimately rebels against his master. Admiral Daala, the biggest threat since Grand Admiral Thrawn (or, at least, Kevin J. Anderson would like us to believe so), is a bumbling idiot. She is as inept in subtlety as she is in conventional warfare.
Another problem that plagues this book are the multiple, and unneccessary, plot threads. There's Luke and his Academy, Kyp and his temptation, Daala and her desires of vengeance, Leia and her children, Ackbar and his pouting. With such a jumbled mess, it's of no wonder that the fundamentals are sorely lacking.
Perhaps the only thing of good worth mentioning is the Academy itself. Kevin J. Anderson actually does a fair job with explaining the history of the Jedi, the origins of the Sith, and various techniques the Jedi use to teach others in the ways of the Force. Unfortunately, even this is ultimately marred by another of his unending supply of cliches.
This is a poor book of a poor series, and unfortunately the trilogy only gets worse from here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Someone gave the characters an idiot ball and they wouldn't let go, April 7, 2010
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, 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, where Stackpole calls Anderson out on a few of these stupidities.

Brought to you by:
*C.S. Light*
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear..., April 16, 2006
By 
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
First off I'd like to tell you that this is only the second Star Wars book I've ever read, 'Jedi Search' being the first. I actually liked the first book, it drew upon the Star Wars lore well and was a decent read. However, this book made me groan in so many places that I felt almost compelled to create an account here to have a little rant about it (BE WARNED, THIS MAY CONTAIN A FEW SPOILERS). Thusly:

How much of the book was wasted with overly long descriptions? It reminds me of a 'Little Britain' sketch where a woman author is dictating her new book and starts reading the Bible out to make up the space! I don't mind the story being 20-odd pages shorter if it comes to the point!

For some bizarre reason the author seems to have taken every opportunity to 'ground' the story by CONSTANTLY relating to the Star Wars films. For example, when Wedge and the scientist go to that forest-resort planet and meet the alien ambassador there, he says something along the lines of: I was actually in the cantina in Mos Eisley when Luke met Han and Chewbacca, little did I know the brush I had with history there.... GAHHHHHHH!!! WHY!? HOW DID HE KNOW!? it didn't need it!! *bangs head on desk*

He does this throughout the two books I've read so far!! how about the will to stick your own neck out and come up with something new without 'proving' that it's true by telling the readers that it was from a certain scene in one of the films?

Then there's Admiral Daala. Made an Admiral because of her brilliant military skills and quick thinking.... so what is she doing in this? she's reviewing recordings of speeches given by Tarkin over military tactics and following them to the letter and losing! It's only the end of the second book and she's down to 1 star destroyer! She should live up to her reputation and at least have a few successful campaigns before the inevitable happens. (i.e. the rebellion win)

He then goes on to waste an absolutely brilliant idea, that of having a Jedi Academy (the point of the trilogy!). There's so much that could have been done here - new and original training for the Jedi, but no - he has the Jedi go two-by-two into the forest (holding hands?) to *sense* things... it's meant to be a sci-fi series! something could have been done to make this SO much better!

I was incensed to find that Luke was actually made 'boring' in this book. Part of my motivation for starting to read the series in the first place was to see how Luke had grown. It all started very promisingly in the first book, having learnt that Luke had turned to the dark side and come through it all with the love of his friends and was now more powerful than ever! (cool! I thought). It got to the stage where I'd dread coming back to the Jedi parts of the story because he was so dull.

The other trainee Jedi needed serious character development (they were 1 dimensional!) - entering every scene with Luke surveying them noting how well they were progressing just wasn't good enough.

As other reviewers have said - one of his students goes rogue, somehow gains the knowledge of building a super-lightsabre (great idea btw!! we need more of that!) then is discovered burnt to death in his quarters... and Luke just meditates about it!? *grr*

Okay all that being said it was 'okay' and on the strength of the first book I will be reading the next book (it's like a car accident - you've just got to look!).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of The Dark Apprentice, November 14, 2001
By 
Jordan Enyeart (North Bend, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
This is the second book in Kevin J. Anderson's Star Wars: Jedi Academy Trilogy. It is exciting, scary, and adventurous all at the same time. If you're a Star Wars fan than grab this book and hold on, for it will send you spiraling headfirst into a galaxy far, far away.
In the previous book, Jedi Search, Luke Skywalker is granted permission to open up a Jedi Academy on the forest moon of Yavin IV by the New Republic High Council. Han Solo and Chewbaca are taken prisoner by Moruth Doole on the spice mining planet of Kessel. With the aide of a young man, Kyp Durron, they escape.
Unfortunately they discover a new enemy. They find that the Empire still lives in the form of Admiral Daala. She is the only woman to reach the rank of Admiral in the Imperial navy. Seeing as how the Imperial rulers were so prejudice against all but human males means Daala must have been incredibly skilled and a masterful tactician.
The story continues as Anderson delivers his second stunning edition of the Jedi Academy Trilogy. In this book Admiral Daala continues to use guerilla warfare and her Death Star prototype to strike at the New Republic. High Councilor Leia Organa Solo along with her husband Han Solo and their friends Chewbaca and Lando Calrissian try desperately to learn where this military genius and her massive fleet of three Imperial-class Star Destroyers will attack next.
But Daala is not the only danger. In fact, she may very well be the lesser of two galaxy threatening evils. For in the midst of Luke Skywalker's Jedi Academy an ancient master of the Dark Side has awakened. And this Dark Jedi has all ready started to lead Master Skywalker's most powerful student down the path of the Dark Side.
Kyp Durron, a young man about the age of eighteen, is the most powerful and able student at Luke Skywalker has. He could very well be even more powerful than Luke himself! But Kyp is definitely the one who, along with Luke, shows us that once you have started down the wrong path it is never to late to turn back, the theme of the story.
Another character that I greatly enjoyed was Kirana Ti. She was a Nightsister; a Witch of Dathomir trained in the Dark Side of the Force. Luke Skywalker rescued her from the seduction of the powerful and dangerous Dark Side and has begun to train her as a Jedi Knight. She is a master of the physical side of the Force.
I loved this book. I think Mr. Anderson did an excellent job writing about Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie. I greatly enjoyed his own characters such as Admiral Daala, Kyp Durron, and the Dark Lord Exar Kun.
The only thing that truly bothered me about this book is the fact that you didn't read about the villains as much as I would have liked, but other than that I loved it. Anderson did a great job keeping the story like the movies. It was so good I could almost hear John William's soundtrack.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo!, October 31, 2006
By 
T. Hood (Washington DC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
I just finished the second installment of the Jedi Academy trilogy and I cannot wait to read the final installment. I was wary at first due to some of the reviews I read about this trilogy but I have to disagree with the majority. I have been a Star Wars fan since birth practically and decided to explore the expanded universe novels. Up until this trilogy I have to say it has been hit and miss some were just lame and yes Timothy Zahn's trilogy was good but this one has more action, more plot and great character development I only hope the last book lives up to the first two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much of...nothing!!!, September 27, 2012
This review is from: Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) (Paperback)
"Dark Apprentice" can't decide what kind of story it wants to tell. Every chapter follows a different narrative, most of them completely unconnected throughout the majority of the book. It's as if Anderson felt that he had to use all of the characters in the SW universe, but couldn't decide how to make them fit together. This creates a serious problem any time there is some tension beginning to build. Some of the chapters actually did start building some tension and action, drawing my interest back in, only to switche the POV to something completely unrelated (and very often boring). The story doesn't usually get back around to resolving that tension for another 40 or 50 pages, and by then I've stopped caring. In some cases a plot thread was introduced only to be ignored for the rest of the book (presumably so that it could be used in the third book). I felt like there was too much going on in this story, with no clear focus or main plot. It's OK to have a few story lines developing at once, but this book had a half a dozen or more stories and it cut back and forth between them at a mind numbing rate.

The problems from the first book are still present, with Anderson trying too hard to remind us that this is a Star Wars book and handling description badly. Please read my review of Jedi Search for my opinions on that, I don't want to restate them here. One thing that I didn't point out that continues to bother me is that Anderson often describes things with terms that shouldn't be present in an alternate universe. For instance, saying that something is "camel-like". There are no camels in Star Wars. For someone who constantly tries to rehash Star Wars terminology and scenarios, this is an odd mistake to make.

The characters have fallen to a new low in this book. Luke, Leia, Han, etc. all talk and act completely differently than they should, and there is none of the strength or wit or insight that developed in these characters throughout the movies (or in Zahn's books). In fact most of them are just plain stupid.
***SPOILERS***
For instance, when Han discovers that Leia is in danger on the planet Calamari, instead of taking the Falcon and flying to her rescue, he plays a game of sabbaac with Lando with the Falcon at stake. Also when trying to decide what to do with the Sun Crusher ship, rather than dismantle it and destroy it, or launch it into Kessel's black holes, the New Republic decides to send it into a gas giant planet where it can sit and wait for the next Sith Lord to resurrect it and lay waste to countless systems (plot point). And Luke, despite Anderson reminding us over and over again that he is a Jedi Master, cannot sense the dark side of the Force influencing two of his students! I am tired of people who explain away these kind of situations by saying that the dark side masks its presence. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have seen that these two characters were becoming more aggressive and learning dark techniques outside of Luke's training. But Anderson writes Luke to be a blind Neanderthal. This book is so unfaithful to the characters it's sickening. And while Admiral Daala is supposed to fill the role of villain for a time, she is so incompetent and easily beaten that she never comes across as a threat. Not every Imperial commander needs to be a military genius, but for the author to create any tension Daala should at least be capable of winning against some of the New Republic forces. Sadly, it is very evident that she slept her way into her rank of Admiral and has no grasp of military tactics. This would have made an interesting plot point if it had been intentional, but Anderson actually tries to tell us that she was promoted for her ingenuity and genius. Fail!

I complained in my last review that we didn't get a chance to become attached to the twins in "Jedi Search" since there was very little interaction with them. "Dark Apprentice" tries to fix this issue by having one whole chapter dedicated to the twins. The problem is that it is placed in the middle of a space battle, and all that happens is that twins get lost fooling around in a holo-Zoo. Yes, while their parents are off running around the galaxy trying to solve everyone's problems, C3P-0 and Chewie take the twins to a Zoo, where they promptly run away and get lost, only to be returned without inconveniencing anyone. Not only does this break up the pacing (which was already terrible), nothing is accomplished by including it other than showing that the twins can use the Force. Yes. Thank you! We know that! Let's get to know them as characters!
***SPOILER END***

Finally, in a book about a Jedi Academy, Anderson doesn't shed much light on any new Jedi training. The Jedi students explore the jungle, meditate, lift rocks, rinse and repeat. No time is spent on learning how lifting rocks could relate to real world situations, or how learning the ways of the Force will help them to support the New Republic. Almost everything is just a retelling of Yoda training Luke in "The Empire Strikes Back". And Luke doesn't push any of his students. Teachers should constantly be stretching and pushing their students so that they grow stronger, gain experience and learn new concepts. Instead, anytime there is a training session, just a few minutes into it Luke announces that training is done for the day and he goes to his room to meditate. I know that he was supposed to be doing more during the day, but we need to see it! We need to see him pushing his students, helping them to make discoveries and learn new things about the Force and about themselves, stretching their abilities until they accomplish things they never would have thought possible before. But no, Luke's favorite method of training is lecture for a few minutes, balance some rocks, and send his students to go explore the jungle (with unknown Force connections and deeply powerful religious sites) unsupervised. And Anderson wants us to believe that Luke is a Jedi Master?! It is very telling when you consider that the most interesting part of the "Jedi training" was the exposition about Exar Kun's fall to the dark side.

This book is actually a step down from "Jedi Search". While there was at least a discernible plot to the first book, "Dark Apprentice" can't decide which story it wants to tell. The last 20-30 pages something does actually happen, but by that point it's too late to salvage this wreck. While some may enjoy certain aspects of the story, I simply became bored and frustrated by the end of the book.
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Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2)
Dark Apprentice (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 2) by Kevin J. Anderson (Paperback - June 1, 1994)
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