REVIEW "Dooku: Jedi Lost" by Cavan Scott
What a story! Cavan Scott’s Dooku: Jedi Lost is an audio drama that gives us everything we could possibly want on the regal Sith Lord. We learn more about his time as a youngling in the Jedi Order, as a Padawan to Yoda, as a Master to Qui-Gon Jinn, and as a Jedi Council Member who renounces the Order. These experiences make up the story within a story which is framed by the present storyline of Dooku and Asajj Ventress trying to find his sister Jenza. The stories of his past are told through holograms and his journal as Asajj tries to learn more about her new master. We even get glimpses into Asajj’s past which is a terribly heartbreaking tale.
With a full cast, Dooku: Jedi Lost is a treat for the ears. There’s also musical accompaniment and sound effects galore. You really feel like you’re in the story, experiencing it with all the fictional players. The only downside to this format is the inability to mark pages to refer back to later and the uncertainty of the spellings of names, places, and species--note spellings in this review are mostly conjecture. But it is definitely worth the unique experience! I do hope they come out with a print version that I can add to my Star Wars canon library though because I’ve listened to this audio drama twice and still feel like I haven’t caught all the many tidbits it includes...even after taking notes the second time around. There’s just SO much in this to unpack!
We start off with Asajj in Dooku’s castle, fantasizing about running away from her master. She mentions how stark and cold his castle is, without any accoutrements to provide it warmth. We soon learn she has the voice of her late Jedi Master, Ky Narec, as her conscience in her mind like an angel on her shoulder. She gets called to Dooku and he attacks her with lightning when she is not completely truthful with him about her feelings both physically and emotionally. Asajj doesn’t know at this point that Dooku used to be a Jedi--and he takes the moment to reveal this information to her. She is clearly surprised which leads me to believe they have not been master and apprentice for very long. In her head, she recalls Ky’s death on Rattatak and how she violently attacked all the pirates responsible for his murder. She also thinks about her first master, Hal’Sted, a criminal warlord who essentially kept her as a slave. Dooku then sends Asajj on a mission to locate his sister, Jenza.
So then we begin a long line of mini-stories covering Dooku’s life from youngling to Jedi Council member. These include: 1. Visiting a celebration on Serenno with his youngling clan, the Hawkbats, and first meeting his sister Jenza, feeling a deep connection with her before even realizing their relation. And we get Dooku’s first introduction to the Tirataka (which will be important later in the drama), a great beast that is said to hold Serenno together. 2. A tour through the Jedi archives during which Darth Crawl (Jedi Raddaki) and the mischievous Padawan Teradean are discussed. 3. An adventure into the Bogan (dark side) collection of the archives with Sifo-Dyas that ends in disaster. 4. A lightsaber fight with Master Kostana who believes the Jedi should be prepared for the return of the Sith and so should study their artifacts. 5. The lightsaber tournament in which younglings demonstrate their abilities to potential Masters in difficult scenarios (in this case, blindfolded). 6. The beginning of Dooku’s tutelage under Yoda with Yoda meditating quietly at every session, thoroughly confusing and frustrating young Dooku. 7. The destruction of the planet Protobranch as foreseen by Sifo-Dyas. 8. Dooku’s mother’s funeral which ends in disastrous consequences for the Padawan. 9. A journey to Asusto and an encounter with the Presagers of Hakotei and the dark side of the Force leading to Dooku’s first use of Force lightning, dismissed by Master Kostana as a vision. 10. The beginning of Qui-Gon’s apprenticeship to Dooku. 11. A debacle on Station Zeta in which one of the Jedi are found to be party to a crime. 12. The Dragon Fire Race with Ramil, Dooku’s older brother, competing. Some super shady secrets are revealed! 13. Dooku returns to Serenno to help rid the world of pirates that have taken over courtesy of Ramil’s thirst for power. He takes on the mantle of Count of Serenno and renounces the Jedi Order.
All of the above is told through holograms and Dooku’s journal as previously mentioned but instead of getting a flat, one-person retelling, we hear the re-telling as if we are witnessing the actual event taking place, with a whole cast of characters bringing each player in the story to life. I thoroughly enjoyed every one of these stories except for the one showing the beginning of Dooku’s training with Yoda. I felt that Dooku was being super bratty during these exchanges and I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just sit down, close his eyes, and meditate with Yoda. He yells at Yoda, lifts rocks and dirt around Yoda, and does everything he can to get the Grand Master’s attention. He comes off as very selfish and brash in this part which doesn’t quite fit the regal, put together Count that we are all familiar with. But then again, he was young at this point.
I also found the story that took place on Station Zeta to be fairly confusing. There was a new sentient species (as far as I can tell) introduced that expands with gas and explodes when they get upset. I didn’t really understand why the Plinovian got upset enough to explode and that kind of existence makes me surprised that any members of this species make it past childhood. Maybe I just didn’t hear the story correctly?
All of the other stories were well produced and thoroughly engaging! I could definitely see Dooku experiencing all of these different situations and acting and reacting in the ways that he did. The most shocking (in a holy crap that’s a connection kind of way) was when he sprouted Force lightning from his fingertips on Asusto! Turns out even as a Padawan he was prone to the darkness. And my favorite was when he mind-melded with the Tirataka on Serenno! Master Kostana knew it was going to be too much for him and warned him against trying to control the beast, but Dooku in his haste to save the planet he felt loyal to despite being cast aside from it as a baby, didn't listen and his path to the dark was cemented for good. That brings me to another interesting tidbit--apparently, Dooku's father thought of Force-users as freaks and so abandoned Dooku to the Jedi Order as an infant. Dooku's older brother Ramil felt the same way, leading to much hatred and derision toward the Jedi by his own flesh and blood. As is obvious by him taking the Count of Serenno mantel, he didn't let such familial disgust deter him from what he thought to be the necessary path for him to take.
There are also some wonderful connections with Claudia Gray’s novel Master & Apprentice which in “flashbacks” tells us about Dooku’s time as Qui-Gon’s master. We get to hear Rael Aveross (he sounds exactly as I had imagined he would--really relaxed and a little country) and see the easy relationship that he and Dooku have. We even hear mention of the Advent tragedy during which Rael killed his Padawan, Nim Pianna, because of her mind being taken over by a slicer dart. Rael also mentions “the princess” on Pijal which refers to Princess Fanry, his ward. It’s super funny hearing Qui-Gon and Rael interact because they are so incredibly different...at least in how they go about doing things--they’re both independent thinkers and take their own paths for the most part, but Rael is super cavalier about everything whereas Qui-Gon is more rational and thinks things through. I absolutely loved that two canon works were released within weeks of each other that played off of each other so well, if only briefly.
Overall, this listen was a splendid experience and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone with even a remote interest in Dooku or Asajj. I can’t wait to see if they come out with more of these fantastic audio drama formats!