Book Review: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Publsihed: 16th April 2019
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Del Rey (US), Century (UK)
Cover Artist:
Alice X. Zhang
Jacket Design: Scott Biel
Formats: Hardback (330 pages), eBook & audiobook (11 hours 42 minutes)
Audiobook Narrator: Jonathan Davis
Timeline: 40 & 32 (Prologue) years BBY (Before Battle of Yavin)

The synopsis;

An unexpected offer threatens the bond between Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi as the two Jedi navigate a dangerous new planet and an uncertain future in the first canon Star Wars novel to take place before the events of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

A Jedi must be a fearless warrior, a guardian of justice, and a scholar in the ways of the Force. But perhaps a Jedi’s most essential duty is to pass on what they have learned. Master Yoda trained Dooku; Dooku trained Qui-Gon Jinn; and now Qui-Gon has a Padawan of his own. But while Qui-Gon has faced all manner of threats and danger as a Jedi, nothing has ever scared him like the thought of failing his apprentice.

Obi-Wan Kenobi has deep respect for his Master, but struggles to understand him. Why must Qui-Gon so often disregard the laws that bind the Jedi? Why is Qui-Gon drawn to ancient Jedi prophecies instead of more practical concerns? And why wasn’t Obi-Wan told that Qui-Gon is considering an invitation to join the Jedi Council—knowing it would mean the end of their partnership? The simple answer scares him: Obi-Wan has failed his Master.

When Jedi Rael Averross, another former student of Dooku, requests their assistance with a political dispute, Jinn and Kenobi travel to the royal court of Pijal for what may be their final mission together. What should be a simple assignment quickly becomes clouded by deceit, and by visions of violent disaster that take hold in Qui-Gon’s mind. As Qui-Gon’s faith in prophecy grows, Obi-Wan’s faith in him is tested—just as a threat surfaces that will demand that Master and apprentice come together as never before, or be divided forever.

The review;

Cover by Alice X. Zhang

Before I start this review, I need to ask you a question. Have you listened to Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott yet? If not, I seriously ask you to consider listening to it before reading Master & Apprentice. If you have, I’m sure you know where I am coming from when I say that these two stories are so intrinsically symbiont with each other that it feels so natural and right.

In saying that, you can read one without the other. It’s just that Dooku: Jedi Lost just gives you more background and understanding of the circumstances of the characters, planets and events of this novel.

Qui-Gon Jinn has always been known to be the rebellious Jedi Master, but in this novel, it reveals the disconnect between him and Obi-Wan Kenobi. A surprise to think that there could be this level of friction between 2 characters that have been portrayed as very close friends on screen. Gray explores and develops the characters of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and captures this relationship really well. I feel that I now understand the on-screen sarcasm from Obi-Wan towards his master better and how it is born from a new-found level in their relationship during the path of this novel.

The plot for the story is strong. As I’ve said already, Qui-Gon is rebellious and when a planetary trade deal with Czerka will technically enslave its inhabitants, he refuses to ratify the deal and give it the Senates seal of approval. This is completely against the wish of the hierarchy on Pijal but assists to spawn a rebellion of its own from a source that was a surprise to me. The Lord Regent for Pijal is a former Jedi, Rael Aveross, who has guided queen in waiting, Fanry, through her younger years to the events leading up and surrounding her coronation. Another young queen and parallels are made to another young queen on Naboo.

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The events also lead to an unlikely allegiance between the Jedi and some jewel traders, Rahara Wick and Pax Maripher who have intriguing back stories. The jewel they seek has similar qualities to Kyber. It also has the ability to be used in shielding technology that can repel a lightsaber.

It also explores the deeper meaning by the prophecies we’ve heard so much about and the danger of relying on the outcome of Force visions. “Always in motion the future is” is a famous quote from Master Yoda and the events compound these wise words.

I always make notes when reading for review purposes, so I can comment more easily on what I have read. But, in my notes this time there was unfortunately one quote that I do feel is too real world rather than from the Star Wars Galaxy!

“That’s a nother thing the counci’s dead wrong about.
They keep sayin’, Oh, the Jedi aren’t allowed to, and that’s
why we’re never supposed to get laid-“– Rael Aveross

Possibly relateable to a cavalier former Jedi that has left the Jedi Order, but not the type of phrasing I would have expected. But then, there are 2 stand out quotes, of which one could have enormous bearing;

Rael nodded at the person who brought his drink, a small wizened
creature who wore goggles and a strand of beads.

This first one is obviously referring to Maz Kanata, which I think is a great way of introducing a Resistance era character into the era of the Republic. We all know that she is old, like Yoda, so that is well worked in to the plot. But, for me the best line in the whole book is;

He who learns to conquer death will through his greatest student live again.

Now there are 2 trains of thought for this, especially after watching the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker. Does this prophecy refer to Luke Skywalker and Rey or Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader or even Kylo Ren? I am sure we will find out the facts behind this in December!

Well, Claudia Gray has done it again! Although Master & Apprentice was a slow burner to start with for me, when it gathered pace, there was no stopping it. Gray has produced another Star Wars novel that catches the essence of the main characters and brings them to life with such realism and accuracy.

Availability;

Star Wars: Master and Apprentice was released on 16th April 2019 and is published by Del Rey in the US and Century in the UK. It is available at all good book stores and through online retailers including Amazon with a RRP of £20. It is available in hardback, eBook and audiobook formats.

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