Old Friends: Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn
Synopsis: Training and studying at the Jedi Temple, Obi-Wan Kenobi is only 4 weeks away from his 13th birthday. And not one Jedi Knight has chosen him to be their Padawan. If he isn't chosen by his birthday, he will be sent away to work in the Agri-Corps, and never have the chance to finish his training or become a Knight. This book starts the Jedi Apprentice Series, a collection of 14 books (at present - probably more on the way) that tells us about the back-story and early adventures of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon before the events of Phantom Menace.
Review: The first thing you have to remember before you start this series is that it is recommended, and written with the 9-14 year old reader in mind. That said, the book is really rather quite good. The writing is simple and easy to understand. If you are looking for very detailed character development, serious technology and heavy-duty space battles, this is not for you. However, the beginning of the Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon relationship is told clearly and simply and is worth your time if you want more information about them.
The story opens with Yoda observing a light-saber training session between Obi-Wan and Bruck Chun, another apprentice. Obi-Wan is still learning how control his anger and fear; Bruck is a bully, pushy and annoying. Yoda offers advice and support, but Obi-Wan must face his problems and deal with them. He doesn't do a very good job at it and gets into some serious trouble.
Meanwhile, Qui-Gon is on his way to Coruscant to take another look at the newest batch of Apprentices. He has not had a Padawan in quite a while, and as the story unfolds, you will begin to understand what makes him tick. But all the details are not revealed here - this is a continuing series, so a little more information is probably forthcoming in the next book/books.
There are some good lightsaber duels, the plot is very straightforward and easy to understand. We are introduced to Si Treemba, an Arconan, some Trogorians (you remember them from the Han Solo Trilogy), a really nasty bunch of miners, and even some dragons. There are some simple plot twists, a little political mumbo-jumbo, and some good character interaction. Had the book been written for the more mature reader, it could have been 3-4 times longer, more detailed and alot heavier. But the book and the series has its own place in the Star Wars Library and adds more dimension to the characters involved. It's only 170 pages long - read it in an afternoon - and then move on to the next one!
Title: The Rising Force