Sunday, April 12, 2015


I recently read Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne which was an ok read probably more suited for teens and young adults than 40 something adults like me; but still worth flipping through by "more mature" readers looking for a book to amuse themselves with on a plane ride, while being lazy on a vacation or maybe stuck in bed after a medical procedure.  It's not that it is a bad book just that the main character is a wild and bit reckless teen who tells his story in first person perspective which is probably much more relatable to people closer to the age of the nineteen year old hero - Luke Skywalker - portrayed in it than me.

Heir to the Jedi is an adventure novel that takes place in the Star Wars timeline between the movies Episode IV A New Hope ( aka "Original Star Wars" ) and Episode V The Empire Strikes Back ( aka the best of the Star Wars movies made so far - we'll see how Episode VII The Force Awakens pans out in December ).  The premise of this story is that a brilliant cryptographer named Drusil who is renowned for her ability to breach advanced communications and security systems is being detained by the Empire and it is up to the Rebel Alliance's number one asset to come to the rescue before her skills can be corrupted by Imperial agents.  Luke Skywalker races to Drusil's aid with the help of a team that consists of his ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 and a new Rebel recruit named Nakari Kelen, who has a personal score to settle with the Empire after Darth Vader killed her mother for writing and performing a hit song that mocked him to a galactic audience of music lovers.  Nakari, with the support of her biotech mogul father who found his riches couldn't save his wife from the power of the Empire, provide much needed assistance to the Rebellion and a really nice space yacht which transports the team on their mission to rescue Drusil.

What really stands out in this novel is just how alone Luke Skywalker is after the Battle of Yavin.  In A New Hope, his only family that he knows of Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen Lars were murdered by Imperial storm troopers on Tatooine; Ben Kenobi was cut down by the light saber blade of Darth Vader, and childhood best buddy Biggs Darklighter was shot down attacking the Death Star.  As Heir to the Jedi begins Luke finds himself known by everyone as the hero who destroyed the Death Star but himself hardly knowing anyone.  In this novel, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and even C3P0, are off on other assignments leaving Luke with just R2D2 to keep him company and watch out for him.  Nakari steps in to fill that void and we see both characters develop and grow throughout the story as they work together to rescue Drusil from the clutches of the Empire.

With having seen Return of the Jedi and taking consideration all of the Expanded Universe materials that have been published it can be easy to skip over the fact that Ben Kenobi really abandoned Luke Skywalker at the end of A New Hope with no understanding or training on how to be a Jedi.  Without any knowledge of Yoda or any other Jedi to teach him, Luke finds himself frustrated in Heir to the Jedi as to whether or not he'll ever be able to master the Force.  He ponders if destroying the Death Star may have been his one and only encounter with utilizing the Force.  Having this book written in first person narrative really highlights the frustration of this young adult who has accomplished a great feat but now finds himself alone and unsure of himself.

Heir to the Jedi also shows off the young and reckless side of Luke Skywalker similar to the scene in A New Hope where the teen arrogantly challenges Han Solo about the quality of the Millennium Falcon and pilot's skills as they attempt to escape the Imperial blockade over Tatooine.  In this new adventure you witness Luke as the 19 year old kid who sometimes doesn't really think out things as much as he could or should.  During his escapades in Heir to the Jedi, Skywalker finds the tomb of a Jedi that was killed in Order 66 and is able to recover a light saber.  Curious about how light sabers work, he takes it apart to "study it" and accidentally breaks it which shows how the character can be impulsive and further highlights his lack of knowledge when it comes to the ways of the Force.  In another scene, Luke puts his mission at risk when he engages Imperial war ships that don't have any obvious connection to his assigned goals and objectives because he's in the mood to pick a fight.  As you read through this book, you join Luke Skywalker in wondering if maybe there won't be any heir to the Jedi after all.  And that's the rub...this story really delves into whether or not Ben Kenobi was the last of the Jedi or if Luke Skywalker is the heir to the Jedi.  Of course any Star Wars fan knows the answer to that, but this story is told from Luke's perspective and he has no clue what the future holds for him.  Joining him on this journey is what makes this novel an interesting read.

If you are looking for a literary masterpiece this isn't the book you are looking for; but if you are just searching for an amusing way to pass the time I believe readers (especially teens and young adults) will like Heir to the Jedi as an easy to flip through, fast paced SciFi adventure that takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. 

DISCLAIMER:  I received limited access to a digital edition of  HEIR TO THE JEDI for this review from its publisher. The views and opinions in this review are my own.  I was not required to post a positive review for access to this book.

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