Luke Skywalker’s game-changing destruction of the Death Star has made him not only a hero of the Rebel Alliance but a valuable asset in the ongoing battle against the Empire. Though he’s a long way from mastering the power of the Force, there’s no denying his phenomenal skills as a pilot—and in the eyes of Rebel leaders Princess Leia Organa and Admiral Ackbar, there’s no one better qualified to carry out a daring rescue mission crucial to the Alliance cause.
A brilliant alien cryptographer renowned for her ability to breach even the most advanced communications systems is being detained by Imperial agents determined to exploit her exceptional talents for the Empire’s purposes. But the prospective spy’s sympathies lie with the Rebels, and she’s willing to join their effort in exchange for being reunited with her family. It’s an opportunity to gain a critical edge against the Empire that’s too precious to pass up. It’s also a job that demands the element of surprise. So Luke and the ever-resourceful droid R2-D2 swap their trusty X-wing fighter for a sleek space yacht piloted by brash recruit Nakari Kelen, daughter of a biotech mogul, who’s got a score of her own to settle with the Empire.
Challenged by ruthless Imperial bodyguards, death-dealing enemy battleships, merciless bounty hunters, and monstrous brain-eating parasites, Luke plunges head-on into a high-stakes espionage operation that will push his abilities as a Rebel fighter and would-be Jedi to the limit. If ever he needed the wisdom of Obi-Wan Kenobi to shepherd him through danger, it’s now. But Luke will have to rely on himself, his friends, and his own burgeoning relationship with the Force to survive.
This week marks the release of the newest Star Wars novel by Del Rey, Heir to the Jedi. This novel was originally planned to be a part of the Empire and Rebellion series from the old Expanded Universe. When the announcement was made that they would be rebooting the Star Wars Universe, this book was pushed back until now and became a part of the official cannon. New to Star Wars novels, author Kevin Hearne is given the challenge of writing this first person view story. Hearne is known for his fantasy book series titled The Iron Druid Chronicles, also released by Del Rey. While I have never read these books, I understand that they are all told in the first person perspective. I, Jedi, a novel released in 1998, up until now was the only Star Wars novel to be told in the first person. While I was not sure if I was ready for another first person perspective, I was excited about a novel in this time frame.
Beware, mild spoilers ahead.
Heir to the Jedi takes place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. For those of you who are reading the brand new comics series by Marvel, this story takes place before the events of that arc. Hearne has said that as a kid he always wondered how Luke knew to use the Force while being attacked by the Wampa in the ice cave on Hoth. When A New Hope ends, Luke has become a hero to the Rebellion by blowing up the Death Star, but to be honest, not long before that Luke was just a simple teenager growing up on a small farm. Obi-Wan did inform Luke about the force, but he really had no chance to teach him all that much before he meets his end by Darth Vader. Luke is really on his own when it comes to learning anything about the Jedi or how to control his new found power. Heir to the Jedi helps fill in the blanks of how Luke is dealing with everything that has happened to him since he bought those two droids on Tatooine.
When Disney purchased Star Wars in late 2012, fans were concerned that the franchise would soon become “Disneyfied”. As the comics have already shown us that the Star Wars brand is not shying away from the use of violence, this book introduces a new horrifying creature. While on the Moon of Fex, Luke comes in contact with this species first hand. Though there is no official name yet, these Fexian Skullborers are nasty little creatures. The time spent on Fex felt like the beginning of a horror movie to me and was a welcomed addition to this universe. Just like making this book a first person novel, I do like that Lucasfilm is taking chances when it comes to trying out new ideas.
While I did enjoy this book, it was hard for me to get into the first person perspective. With over two hundred previous stories in the Star Wars franchise, I thought it was difficult to get used to this new style. Now I have no problem with first person novels, but when it comes to Star Wars, I love jumping from character to character to see their side of the story. It makes the story feel so much larger when you are visiting characters from all over the galaxy. From other reviews I have read on Heir to the Jedi , I’m seeing lots of mixed reactions. But let me say, even though this might not be my favorite book, I do recommend reading it. Since Hearne has been thinking about these ideas since he was a kid, I do find that he delved big time into capturing Luke’s mindset after all his life changing events.
Big thanks to Del Rey Books for the advanced review copy.
For more Jedi News book reviews click here.