Sunday, May 08, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue Planet

By Greg Bear

"Three years after the events of [the movie] The Phantom Menace Anakin Skywalker and Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi encounter a mysterious world. . ." --- from the blurb on the back of the book.
Anakin is still a boy, but now a teenager. Typical teenager, he rebels against his training and competes in an illegal race. But one of the other racers has it out for Anakin and makes an attempt on his life. He fails and it becomes clear that the attempt was not just poor sportmanship, but that he was there solely to kill Anakin.
Someone is worried about Anakin's growing powers and wants him taken out. But before the unknowns can strike again, Anakin and Obi-Wan are sent on a mission to discover why a Jedi has gone missing. The Jedi was sent to Zonama Sekot, a mysterious planet that is the source of living space ships. Equipped with a large sum of money, Obi-Wan and Anakin are to pose as travelers desirous of having a living ship grown for them.
The Republic is entering a period of turmoil and forces are gathering, preparing to grab whatever power they can. One group has heard about the living space ships and they are anxious to discover where Zonama Sekot is and how the ships are created. Their plans for the planet are not pretty: invade and conquer. They follow Anakin and Obi-Wan to Zonama Sekot and all hell breaks loose. Turns out defenseless, backward Zonama Sekot is not quite the sitting duck everyone believed it to be.

No matter how much you may like stories about Anakin, he grows up to become Darth Vader, one of the major bad guys of fiction. So it is hard to sympathize with a character that you know will become the embodiment of evil.  Also, the story just kind of drags along, it just never really comes alive. About the best about it are the alien beings you get to encounter, especially Charza Kwinn, who has a very strange relationship with the crew of his space craft. Other than that, it was just not that engaging of a story.

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