Ok, first off you may wonder why I'm reviewing a Juvenile book. I checked it out and read it to Shelby and became quite obsessed with the story. Some of you may even wonder why I read a 188 page Juvenile book to my five-year-old daughter. The reason is simple. We have read every easy and beginning reader book the library has on Star Wars and she wanted to read more. It took me six weeks to get through the book and convince her to finish it, but I did because I wanted to know how it ended.
This book, which I found out after I read it, is the second book in a series called Rebel Force (yes, its part of the "old canon") and takes place sometime after New Hope. Princess Leia, Luke, Han, and Chewie go to the sister (really more of an ugly step-sister) planet of Alderaan, Delaya. Delaya is the opposite of the beautiful, glorious Alderaan. It was where Alderaan kept it's factories and it was not a pretty place, but it was the only place for the refugees from Alderaan to go to once their planet had been blown up by the Empire.
Leia is given a warm greeting and shown the nice places that the refugees have been set up in. As they are walking through the city, Luke is kidnapped by an Alderaanian refugee who shows him the truth: they are being put in a warehouse and given little to eat or any kind of real care. The Delayans have hated them and now they can do to the Alderaans what they want with no interference. Luke convinces this man that if Leia knew, she would never allow it, and Leia is quite upset to find out this is going on. However, she is also there recruiting for the Rebel Alliance and this is causing some of the Alderaans to take her hostage and give her to the Empire in exchange for a planet of their own. They hate Leia for destroying their peaceful planet and bringing them into a war against the Empire.
One of the most interesting characters in this book is a man who Leia knows as Fess Ilee, a toadie who hung out at his father's palace on Alderaan when she was growing up. She despises him for being the kind of man who schmoozes and kisses up to power. She has no idea who he really is. Everyone knows that Luke had Obi-Wan on Tatoonie to look after him as he grew up and to make sure Vader never found him, but no one ever thinks about whether there was someone looking after Leia. His name is Ferus Olin and he was once a Jedi Master who left the order at some point. Obi-Wan and probably Yoda find him and have him watch over Leia. He finds himself feeling as though she is his own daughter, but must never let her know who he really is, so he endures her hatred of him. Once she grew up and became a Senator, he pretty much left her alone. She was rather capable of taking care of herself, until the word comes that her ship was destroyed by the Empire and Bail Organa sends him to find out, so he's away when the planet blows up.
When Fess meets Luke and shakes his hand for the first time, they both are startled by sensing the Force in the other, even if Luke has no idea. From Luke he finds out what he knew, but did not want to accept: that Obi-Wan is dead. He realizes that these two offspring of Vader, possibly the last of the Jedi, must be trained in the ways of the Force and begins to wonder if he should say something, when he sees a vision of Obi-Wan telling him that it isn't time for them to know and if they were to begin to learn how to use the Force now, Vader might discover them. So he keeps quiet. If you want to read more about Ferus, the book Jedi Quest #1: The Way of the Apprentice by Jude Watson, tells more. In this book, also a Juvenile book, is about an adventure Anakin as a Padawan to Obi-Wan has with Ferus and other Padawans on a mission.
After reading this book, I now know I need to read the first one to find out what everyone was doing before this book and to perhaps discover more about the elusive character X-7, whom when Ferus shakes his hand, notices that there is something off about him in the Force. This character seems to be working for the Empire who wants to know who the pilot was that destroyed the Death Star and to kill him.
This really is an excellent book to read, even if you are an adult, especially if you are a Star Wars fan. You get a glimpse into Leia's childhood through both her eyes and Ferus's. Its rather funny that Ferus sees Leia as being stronger in the Force than Luke who knows he is a Jedi and has had a bit of training from Obi-Wan. She is just naturally a strong person, probably because of how and where she grew up and from being a Senator. Its also interesting to find out what happened to the lost people of Alderaan and how they feel about their Princess and Senator. I fully intend to read the rest of the books in this series, with or without, my daughter's ear.
I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell