Missed a post? Catch up on The Year of Kenobi here.
Nothing witty to add this time around. I just feel I should say when describing the plot of this book to my mother, when I got to Xanatos and said “he’s this broody, dark-haired, angsty-” she cut me off and said “oh no”. I can’t believe none of you told me about this before I started reading, you’re all fired. But anyway, let’s get right to it with Jedi Apprentice #7: The Captive Temple.
Where we last left Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, they were reunited once again and leaving the now-at-peace world of Melida/Daan, though the two of them are anything but at peace – with each other, with themselves, it’s a whole emotional mess.
They return to Coruscant because the Jedi Temple is under attack. Someone tried to assassinate Yoda and it’s got everyone on high alert. New precautions are put in place and Qui-Gon is tasked with figuring out, alongside Tahl, who exactly is placing the call from inside the house.
Meanwhile, Obi-Wan is struggling to find his place within the Jedi Order again, especially since it now looks like his place is not as guaranteed as he thought. His decision to flout council orders and stay behind to help his friends has broken the trust that both the Order and Qui-Gon placed in him, and he must try and weather the storm as best he can while uncertain of his place.
But because Qui-Gon is a big, old softie, and because Obi-Wan’s best friend Bant (who I love because she’s the best) is helping with the investigation, Obi-Wan is then pulled in himself, and asked to help discover who it is who has broken into the Temple, all while warring with his own emotions, jealousy and longing to reclaim what he and Qui-Gon had before his decision to leave.
Thoughts and Impressions
The longer I go on with this series, the more I love it. It’s like episodic adventure television in middle grade novel format. The Captive Temple was a homecoming, setting the whole thing in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, which I believe is a series first, and which gave us a good sense of just how big it is. Not enough stories are set in the Jedi Temple, honestly.
I really enjoyed the investigation aspect, and the way the clues to the puzzle were laid out in such a way that the reader could solve it as well. There was no realization that came from information the readers didn’t have, it was all right there. Which of course meant that as they tried it figure out just who it was who was stealing from the Temple and causing chaos, there was me sitting there screaming “Xanatos! It’s Xanatos!”
Metaphorically, of course. I don’t scream out loud while reading. Much.
We learned in the last book that Xanatos had help from classroom bully Bruck, Obi-Wan’s rival. While Bruck did play a role in taking Bant hostage and he and Obi-Wan duel, I kind of expected this to peter out into nothing. Maybe Bruck would leave the Temple and emerge a villain down the line?
No, instead he falls off a platform during their fight and snaps his neck. In a children’s book. I know kids can handle a lot more than we give them credit for but that was dark.
On a wildly separate note, as much as I am sure I’ve said this too much, I love how Qui-Gon’s emotions are explored here. Obi-Wan in a 13 year old who messed up big time with his chosen path by walking away from it. Of course he’s a mess on the inside. But stoic, wise Qui-Gon being torn apart at the seams with how much he missed having Obi-Wan around? This was an unexpectedly soft development so soon in the series, and it’s making me love their father-son bond more than I already do.
Obi-Wan, as mentioned, is an absolute mess. Not only was his plea to be welcomes back into the Jedi fold denied, but he is having to work together with his old Master, who might not even take him back. He is also grieving the loss of Cerasi, who he had an “unspoken bond” with. Something Bant defines as love, which Obi-Wan does not deny.
The fact that this came before the Mandalore arcs on the Clone Wars, and we still have Obi-Wan falling in love with political leaders who lose their lives in the cause? It’s not fair, I tell you.
I also love that we get more of his friendship with Bant. First of all, I just generally love that his best friend is a girl (8 year old me would have been sobbing with jealousy) but I also love that we get to witness the push-pull of maintaining friendships in an environment not designed to really foster them. The emotions associated with being so close to another person – jealousy, guilt, and yes even love – are things the current Jedi council advises against, but they are also emotions that are natural to feel at any age. Especially when you’re at the age Obi-Wan and Bant are. Watching them find the balance between their natures and environments is a surprisingly mature approach for this series and I for one cannot get enough.
Also apropos of absolutely nothing, but I am kind of shipping Qui-Gon and Tahl? I’m not sure if the vibe is intentional or it’s my romance brainworms, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Obi-Wan is back in the Jedi Order on a probationary basis, and immediately breaks his probation to run off with Qui-Gon and track down Xanatos. That’s my little rule breaker.
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