WTF is this book about, anyways?
Yes, like the proverbial needle in a haystack, the major plot-thread was finally revealed!
But first, we must get Anakin and Ahsoka out of the way. While healing in the Jedi hospital, Obi-Wan tells the A-team that they're getting the job to go stop Grevious from getting to the Bothan home world. Anakin is thrilled, so much so that he wants to make sure he gets to bring his favorite clone along:
"And Rex? Do I get Captain Rex?
"If you want him."
Oh, I want him all right. Rex and the 501st are mine. "Yes. Please."
"Then you'll be happy to know he's on standby," said Obi-Wan. "Captain Rex and his men will be ready to ship out when you are."
"So you knew I'd want him?"
"A brief smile. A shrug. "Of course. Don't tell me you're surprised. I know you, remember?"
The issue of Trust has always been a major factor in Anakin's life, at and some point he gets into an argument with Obi-Wan about him not taking the mission seriously enough, which sends Obi into convulsions, and Anakin is all of the sudden more contrite. The Jedi doctor rushes into the room immediately thinking Anakin did something to cause him to go into convulsions, and promptly tries to kick him out of the room.
More on what Anakin and Ahsoka are doing later, but let me get back to the plot and its catalyst, Bail Organa.
Yes, everyone's favorite Aldaraanian prince, at page 127, gets a communication from his most trusted and secretive source (called "The Friends of the Republic") that the Sith are about to attack the Jedi. Naturally, he goes to Padmé with this information, who then snaps her fingers to make Obi-Wan appear. Much reluctance, distrust, and argument ensues for the next 13 pages. Organa is upset that the Jedi have never mentioned that the Sith, whoever they are, may be behind the war, Padmé is still pouting that Obi-Wan disapproves of her relationship with Anakin ("He'd rather see Padmé conducting an ill-advised romantic affair [with Bail Organa] than pining after an unattainable Anakin."), and Obi-Wan just doesn't trust politicians. Surprisingly, no tears were shed in the making of this discussion.
Reluctantly, Obi-Wan takes the information to the Council. Reluctantly, the Council tell Obi-Wan to look into it, thus answering our second question of the night, "Where was Obi-Wan during the Downfall of a Droid and Duel of the Droids episodes of Clone Wars?"
Out hunting Sith. Can we just stop arguing about it already!!!
More reluctance ensues, as Organa decides that he's the one to lead the mission since it's his source guiding them. Obi-Wan is, of course, not thrilled:
Obi-Wan bit back an impolite epithet. Politicians. "Senator, we have been through this already. The Sith are Jedi business. Not yours."
But the stubborn Senator insists, something about security council duties and such, so they take off following the trail of breadcrumbs Organa's source leaves for them.
What would be considered a polite epithet, anyways?
If I read it right, the trip takes 5 days in total, and Obi and Bail spend much of it in a cramped ship, either arguing, doing paperwork, playing a couple of hands of Sabacc (nobody has written Sabacc playing scenes right since Dave Wolverton in "The Courtship of Princess Leia" and Miller doesn't even bother trying), arguing, angsting over the past, arguing, practicing Tai Chi, and arguing. After 40 pages of that, which also includes a brief communication with Anakin (the "I lost Artoo" conversation), they find the space station where Organa's source is hiding, but someone has found her first. Kenobi and Organa fight their way to secure the station, but only in time to receive more information from his dying source on where to find the Sith planet that may hold artifacts that are a threat to the Jedi, somewhere in... wait for it...
Wild Space: You always hurt the one you love.
As our dynamic duo make their way to Zigoola, Bail mopes about killing for the first time, and Obi-Wan has bad dreams, and continues to angst about the past. Things get worse as Obi-Wan becomes possessed by some Sith device and crashes them on the planet. Once they're conscious and pause in their arguing, the duo decide to take a three day march toward the Sith temple to destroy the device that's mentally attacking Obi-Wan and see if they can call for help. After a brief break to see what Anakin, Yoda, Mace, and Ahsoka are thinking, we are treated to 60 pages of Obi-torture. Yeah, real shinny, happy stuff.
Before I continue, I must confess that I skimmed most of this section. It was just too awful to bare reading. I never understood the reasons why hurt/comfort stories are written, and this doesn't make things any clearer for me. If it is your favorite character, they should go through some terrible obstacles, but do you have to repeatedly beat the character and the reader over the head with such painful experiences?
The Sith device bombards the author's beloved Obi-Wan with mental projections of "DIE JEDI, DIE JEDI, DIE JEDI, DIE." (Yes, Harry Potter fans, Karen Miller went all CAPS-LOCK on our heroes, too.) The device also seeps into his memories. Making him relive his past pains as if it were the first time, over and over again. Naturally, Obi-Wan isn't much use during these moments, and Bail is kriffed-off about it. Yes, practically every sixth sentence credited to the noble senator from Alderaan has some form of SW-obscenity in it, vape it!
Eventually they get to the Temple and, although I didn't read the section, so I'm not sure how they do it, destroy the Sith device giving them problems. The S&M adventures don't end there, because in order for them to call for help, Obi-Wan must communicate through the Force with a Sith crystal that he can only operate while his mind is clear, and pain clears his mind, so he asks Organa to take his lightsaber to his already injured leg. Bail is not thrilled.
"And say I agree to this --this insanity. How am I supposed to --how do I injure you with a lightsaber?"
Obi-Wan's lips curved in the faintest, faintest smile. "Very... carefully, Senator."
Apparently this is what Karen Miller believes is male-bonding.
Obi-Wan is able to communicate with Yoda, and since it was such a top-secret mission Yoda asks Padmé to go save them, along with five clone troops. Padmé agrees, but becomes pissed at Yoda when she finds out later that the clones are medics and that Yoda didn't tell her that Obi and Bail were injured.
What about the A-Team?
If you've seen the "Droid" episodes, then you pretty much know what they were doing during this time. But there were a couple of missing moments featured in the story, including the near shedding of tears.
No matter who you ship or how, this book has it all. As the person who coined the phrase "Ahsoex" (go ahead and Google it, the first English-speaking site you find will lead you right back here), I was very pleased to find one sentence I could cling to.
Ahsoka smothered a grin as Rex, in passing, spared her a slow wink.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. "How do you do a 'slow wink'?" Just spare me my moment, okay. ;)
For you Ani/Obi shippers, there is a moment at the very end when Anakin is shirtless and communicating with Obi-Wan. You may want to put something over your keyboard to keep from getting drool on it.
"Sorry. I was training."
Master Obi-Wan's hologram looked Anakin up and down. "Yes, I can see that."
All in all, I concede many points to moonspinner who, after my first 50 page review said it sounded like bad fan-fic while I insisted it wasn't nearly that bad. Well, she was right, it was.
Oh, and one more thing that I almost forgot.
While Bail got very emotional as his "Friends of the Republic" source died in his arms, it was sensitive little Ahsoka who got teary-eyed when she, Anakin and the Republic Cruisers left Coruscant to chase down Grevious.
She felt a pang. Is this the last time I'll see it? I don't want this to be the last time. I want to see it again, and again. I don't want to die.
Furtive, ashamed, she stole a sideways look at Anakin, expecting him to know what he was thinking, expecting a reprimand, a lecture. Instead she saw in his face something that shocked her, something she'd never expected: a dreadful, painful, frozen grief. so haunting, so piercing, it was like a spear of ice run through her. It seemed he had forgotten her completely, that in this moment only Coruscant existed.
Does he see something I can't? Does he know we won't be back? Is he saying good-bye? Should I say good-bye, too?
She couldn't ask him. His sudden unexpected misery had infected her, had choked her throat with scorching tears. She watched, her vision blurred, as he stretched out his naked human hand and pressed its palm to the viewport. Coruscant fractured beneath his wide-spread fingers.
One more thing, if you hate Ahsoka for her usage of "Skyguy", well, you're really going to despise her in this book. While Anakin does give her permission to use it in private, the name is way overused. The relationship between the two is less than friendly on his part, which does not come across in the series, where he actually seems to have a fondness for her, and that fondness is nowhere to be seen in this book. He may use the name "Snips" once, but that's about it.
If anyone would like to read this book for themselves, please send me a PM with your name and address and I'll willingly pay the shipping to send it to you. First come, first serve.