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Star Wars: Yoda: Dark Rendezvous by Sean Stewart
Review by Drew Bittner
Del Rey Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0345463099
Date: December 2004 List Price $7.50 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Yoda takes center stage in Star Wars- Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, which involves an intricate trap laid for the Jedi Grand Master by his former apprentice, Count Dooku. As leader of the Separatists, Dooku claims that he has grown weary of endless battle and seeks a way to end the galactic civil war. Wary of his promises but unwilling to pass up even a faint hope of achieving peace, Yoda sets out to a rendezvous that he knows may end in his death.

Of course, we know that it won't, which robs the story of considerable suspense. However, the supporting characters don't have Yoda's "future history" protecting them, so? Jedi Padawans Scout, a girl whose connection to the Force is so tenuous, she resorts to questionable tactics to win, and Whie, who is phenomenally powerful but discovers an unsuspected dark strain in his talent, accompany Yoda on a dangerous journey. Jedi-killer Asajj Ventress has set her sights on killing the Grand Master, and her deadly skills allow her to decimate many of Yoda's entourage before confronting Scout and Whie directly. Her words about the nature of the universe resonate with Whie, though he doesn't know why until much later.

There is a final confrontation between Yoda and Dooku, one that takes a very unexpected turn, even as Scout and Whie must confront the consequences of their own choices and perspectives.

The Padawans are fairly well developed but their interactions with their masters seem brief, given the emotional weight of some events. Scout in particular overcomes her feelings of inadequacy very easily, with a few words of wisdom from Yoda setting her straight. It seems there could have been more done with this idea, but the competing subplot- wherein Whie learns more of his past than he suspected, from the mouth of an assassin droid- is less developed and ends less satisfactorily.

There is humor, especially in the way Yoda is disguised in order to pass through a spaceport, and plenty of action. These two qualities fit well with what most readers have come to expect from a Star Wars novel. There is also a surprising cameo, which provides a startling insight into Dooku's character and motivations.

Fans of the Star Wars novel series will be pleased by this Yoda-centric tale, though readers new to the series may find it less engaging.

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