Legendary Adventures: The Approaching Storm

Legendary Adventures #20 The Approaching Storm

The Legendary Adventures are quickly heading into the Clone War, but we have one more novel on the way: The Approaching Storm. Obi-Wan and Luminara Undili are sent to Ansion with their Padawans, Anakin Skywalker and Barriss Offee, to mitigate a border dispute as the Separatist crisis grows ever larger!

“Do all of your stories have happy endings?”
Obi-Wan looked up at him sharply enough to give his apprentice an unexpected start. “Only time will tell that, Anakin Skywalker.”

Obi-Wan and Luminara Undili are sent to Ansion to end a border dispute. This dispute is manufactured by Shu Mai of the Commerce Guild and Soergg Vosadii Bezhin, a Hutt who wants Ansion to side with the growing Separatist movement. The border dispute is waged between the two native tribes of Ansion, who are fighting over whether or not to remain in the Republic. If Ansion were to secede from the Republic, many systems would follow in its wake. Anakin Skywalker and Barriss Offee accompany their Masters to the planet, and both of the Padawans’ skills prove to be invaluable in terms of making connections with the Ansionians and fending off the planets’ native wildlife.

The Approaching Storm Full CoverI will say right off the bat: whatever you know about the way that Alan Dean Foster writes, it is probably true of this book. The prose is incredibly dense, moving slower than molasses. In some novels, the author likes to bring in obscure species, driving me to Wookieepedia to look up their reference. Instead of aliens, though, the copious amounts of synonyms, a true raid on the Thesaurus, means you’ll be looking to the dictionary rather than Wookieepedia. Rather strangely, every character speaks with the voice of a skilled orator. This both means 18 year old Anakin has the vocabulary and speaking habits of a Shakespearean actor, but it makes every character sound similar, causing none of the characters to have their own, distinct voices. I had a hard time overcoming these obstacles toward enjoying the novel.

Extremely interesting, the Legends canon is not too concerned (in the novels, at least) with the origin of the Separatist crisis. On our adventure so far, we’ve encountered more mentions of the Yuuzhan Vong than we have of the Separatist crisis. Shu Mai is the only actor we’re currently aware of in the origin and growth of the Separatists. She hopes that in destabilizing Ansion, it and the worlds with which it has treaties will secede from the Republic.

It is a disappointment that we don’t have any other novels about the rise of the Separatists! The interplanetary dispute here is an interesting look into their growth, one that only a novel could provide a truly good look at. Of course, because the war has not broken out, they would not have any means by which they could initiate a hostile military takeover. It does make me wonder how else the Separatists may have tried to persuade other planets and systems to join, though.

One of the most…intriguing scenes in the novel was a scene in which the four Jedi had to convince the Ansionians that they were genuine people with heart. This scene is utterly bizarre, but I can’t blame that on Foster alone. It is more bizarre simply because no other Legends writer picks up on these elements revealed here. Nor do we as a fandom really think about the characters through these lenses, either. Did you know that Anakin Skywalker was a great singer, dating back to when he was a slave? Me, neither! Obi-Wan is apparently an exquisite story-teller. Luminara uses the Force to do an interpretive dance, wherein she causes sand to surround her. Hard to imagine that Anakin was a really big fan of this dance!

Barriss Offee, known in Legends as a healer, does not use her healing abilities in the scene where they show off skills, but she heals others quite often in the novel. Her skill is, simply, sword play. She twirls and twists with the grace of a dancer, rather than a warrior. This is actually a really nice look into the Jedi before the war, when they truly were peacekeepers rather than generals. She heals two of the Hutt’s bodyguards’ minds so that they turn from mindless drones into allies for the Jedi. This sets up her later duology, the Medstar novels, by Michael Reeves. At this point, Barriss is a good student, who listens fastidiously to her Master and chides Anakin on his recklessness. This is consistent with her characterization in The Clone Wars, giving us nice continuity for a Jedi before the Clone War and after the War starts. However, between the novel’s prose and her attitude toward Anakin, I had a hard time liking her at all.

The novel is dense, hard to read, and, honestly, easy to put down. There are interesting elements to the novel that would be worth exploring, but they are hard to find beneath the prose. Even the Essential Reader’s Companion offers only a single page to the novel. Other than offering a look into the galaxy immediately before the Clone Wars, this novel is, sadly, one of the least exciting stops on the Adventure.

Legendary Travel Tips:
-This novel is preceeded by Jedi Quest #10: The Final Showdown and followed by Attack of the Clones, our next milestone!
-This novel expands on a line from Mace in Attack of the Clones referring to Anakin and Obi-Wan’s mission to Ansion. Curiously, Luminara was right behind him, yet did not garner a mention in the report.

Chris is the Sous Chef at the Mynock Manor. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisWerms, and of course, follow the Manor.

Movie Reviews:
The Last Jedi 

Legendary Adventures:
The Old Republic EraDawn of the Jedi: Into The Void | Lost Tribe of the Sith | The Old Republic: Revan | The Old Republic: Deceived | Red Harvest | The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance The Old Republic: Annihilation | Knight Errant | Darth Bane: Path of Destruction | Darth Bane: Rule of Two | Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

The Phantom Menace: Darth Plagueis | Maul: Lockdown | Cloak of Deception | Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter | The Phantom Menace

Attack of the Clones: Rogue Planet | Outbound Flight

The New Jedi Order Era: Scourge

Canon Novel Reviews:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi 

Star Wars Young Reader Reviews:
Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape (Prelude)
So You Want to be a Jedi? 
Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Poe Dameron: Flight Log
Rebel Dossier
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)
Darth Vader: Sith Lord (Backstories)
The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story
Forces of Destiny:
Daring Adventures vol 1 | Daring Adventures vol 2 | Tales of Hope & Courage | Leia Chronicles 

Star Wars Comic Book Reviews:
Darth Vader: The Shu-Torun War
The Force Awakens 1-2

LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06 

Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide