I am glad to be writing an Heir To The Jedi Review as part of my goals to maintain people’s interest in reading the stories of Star Wars and not just watching the movies. There is so much more out there than the movies. Heir To The Jedi, by Kevin Hearne, is part of the new Star Wars Canon.
Disney Takes On Star Wars
Now that Disney has taken the reigns of the Star Wars franchise, the older books that were originally known as the star wars expanded universe, have become mostly defunct in terms of characters and events. They are now known as Legends but with that said, I don’t believe they should ever be forgotten.
Book Title: Heir To The Jedi
Author: Kevin Hearne
Published: 2015 by Arrow Books, Penguin Random House UK
Price: AUD $13.58, approximately USD $10.24 **Includes free delivery anywhere in the world
My Rating: 8/10
Recommended? Highly recommended
Discovering The Force
The underlying story surrounds Luke Skywalker’s journey to explore more aspects of the force after Ben Kenobi’s sudden demise in Star Wars A New Hope left Luke mostly untrained in the ways of the force. The entire book is written from the perspective of Luke in first person. It is set only a matter of weeks after A New Hope when the Alliance are searching for somewhere to build a new base. It recounts his frustrations about not knowing enough about the force, and his failed attempts to learn how to manipulate it like a Jedi.
A Jedi’s Tomb Brings Hope
The story begins as Luke Skywalker has been tasked to negotiate a weapons purchase on the planet Rodia (where Greedo was from). On the way he lends assistance to a ship fleeing from an Imperial Star Destroyer, marking his ship as an enemy of the Empire. While on Rodia, he is taken to the tomb of a Jedi Knight and is given the Jedi’s lightsaber. Luke begins to discover the inner and outer workings of the lightsaber.
An Important Mission And A Princess’s Jealousy
Home again, Luke is ordered to execute a rescue mission but first he must outfit the ship he will be flying, the Desert Jewell, to have better speed and weapons systems.To secure the money for the much needed upgrade in order to carry out his new mission, Luke, accompanied by Nakari Kelen, embarks on a search and salvage mission to find a team of scientists that have not been heard from for awhile, at the same time scoping the unknown planet out for its potential to use as a new base. Princess Leia is not keen on Luke taking on this trip. She expresses doubt and mistrust about Nakari’s loyalties, implying that she might be an Imperial spy, and worries that Luke is being reckless because he finds Nakari ‘pretty’.
An Invisible Enemy And Dashed Hopes
Once arriving on planet, Luke and Nakari discover the gory truth that this planet is rife with invisible brain sucking creatures. Barely escaping with their lives, they receive their reward and arrange the upgrades and continue their journey to Rodia to obtain them. While there, Luke attempts to call on the force to use a Jedi mind trick the way he saw Obiwan Kenobi do it on Tattooine, but without success. Nakari encourages him and there appears to be a growing affection between the two. Once upgraded they return to the Rebel Base to receive their new orders
A Daring Rescue And Progress With The Force
They travel to Denon, a planet heavily occupied by Imperials to attempt to extricate a captive Givin cryptographer named Drusil that is being forced by the Empire to slice the rebel codes so they can discover the location of the whereabouts of the Alliance. During this time, Luke attempts to learn more about the force and starts practicing with telekinesis. A carefully orchestrated plan involving the rescuing of the Givin’s family on another planet, at the same time as the rescue of the Givin is to take place ensuring the safety of all involved. If successful, the Givin has agreed to work for the alliance assisting them with Imperial codes.
Mathematical Equations Save The Day
Thus begins another hair-raising chase across the galaxy as they rescue Drusil and flee the planet. With blaster bolts, lightsabers, gnashing teeth and mathematical equations flying about and wreaking havoc they manage to escape. During a hyperspace wild goose chase, they run into pirates and have to fight their way to safety and then are caught in an interdiction field by an Imperial Cruiser and cut off from a hyperspace exit. Luke’s piloting skills are put to the test through a daring run on the cruiser and they manage to escape but sustain heavy damage to the Desert Jewel and they must divert to Kupoh for repairs.
Traitors And Pirates Join The Fray
They run into trouble again on Kupoh and Luke dodges death by a fraction from a traitorous mechanic and once again the fugitives are forced to flee for their lives. Omereth is their next stop and this was also their final destination with the rescued Givin. She was to meet her family there. Expecting safety but finding none in the end, Luke, Nakari, Drusil and Artoo are out of the frying pan into the fire and become engaged in a fracas with bounty hunters intent on capturing them and offering them up to the Empire. A lethal battle ensues until finally Drusil is reunited with her family and Luke, having completed his mission can return to base, battered and exhausted but victorious once again against the Empire.
I Enjoyed The ‘First Person’ Touch
I really enjoyed this book, particularly as it was written in the first person from the perspective of Luke Skywalker himself. It made for very interesting reading and truly made you feel as though Luke was talking to you. It showed the more personal side of Luke rather than the serious and aloof Jedi persona he had become in the expanded universe stories. It showed that he was intelligent and could plan and orchestrate entire missions, and think on his feet. It depicts how Luke is very naive and almost like a scared little child when it comes to both love and learning how to use the force, and it displays his willingness to learn. These are the character traits I found endearing in the novel and movie of A New Hope.
The Book Delves Into Explanations Of Things Left Unclarified In The Movies
This book tells of the beginnings of Luke’s force abilities. It explains how he might have learned to call his lightsaber to his hand in the Wampa Ice cave on Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back, and also how he was able to use a Jedi mind trick on Bib Fortuna in Jabba’s Palace before rescuing, Han, Chewbacca and Leia in the Return of the Jedi. It also tells us the back story of how he came to have a new lightsaber in Return of the Jedi after losing his hand and lightsaber in the Empire Strikes Back battle with Darth Vader. If you too, always wondered how he suddenly came to own another lightsaber, how he learned to use the force to lift objects before meeting Yoda, and how he was suddenly able to get a being to do what he says, these are questions that are answered here.
What I Loved The Most:
I loved that it delved into Luke’s feelings, emotions, self-doubts, accomplishments. I really loved that it shows him learning to use the force. They didn’t really give much of an answer to the questions of how he could use telekinesis in Empire Strikes Back or how he could control a mind using the force in Return of the Jedi. I am happy ANY time I see Luke get to be the hero in all ways, rather than having Han or Leia rush in to save him.
This was always my least favourite thing about the EU stories because everyone always seemed to be too strong for him, yet here he was, considered to be a great Jedi master as the books continued to develop. I really loved that Luke, my hero, got to play the hero and use his brains as well as his piloting skills and developing force abilities. It was a refreshing change to see him struggle with his learning and not just pick it up instantly.
What I Didn’t Love As Much:
I found the ending to be slightly lacking in the ‘what happened next’ department. It would have been nice to have seen Luke arrive back at the rebel base and be greeted by Leia and have Luke express his feelings about events that had taken place on the journey, and to see how Leia reacted to them.
Also it would have been good to see more interaction between them. I felt it didn’t express any sort of friendship, relationship, jealousy, compassion between two ‘friends’ who had been through a lot together in a short time. Even to see Luke congratulated on his mission might have given the novel a nice finish, especially as there would not be a sequel to this particular storyline to come.
Was Anything Left Unclarified or Unfinished:
I found there were some references or implications that need not have been included in the story. The notion that Nakari or Drusil might turn out to be working for the Empire was unfounded. This elicited certain feelings of suspense and left the reader feeling disappointed that more did not eventuate within that story path.
The main part of the story that I believe remains unclarified are the thoughts that are beginning in Luke’s head about Nakari’s apparent comfort with killing and he is even thinking along the lines of bloodthirst, yet he seems to overlook that and still falls in love with her. The story never moves in a direction of them dealing with this obvious clash of ethics.
Additional Information If You Would Like To Read More
Luke Skywalker – Male Human, Rebel hero, Destroyer of the Death Star, Rebel Alliance pilot
Nakari Kelen – Female Human, Rebel alliance, pilot & ship at alliance’s disposal, daughter of Fayat Kelen
Artoo Detoo (R2D2) – Astromech droid owned by Luke Skywalker, Rebel Alliance
Drusil Bephorin – Female Givin, Cryptographer, Mathematician, Target to be acquired by rescue operation, prisoner of the Empire
Fayat Kelen – Male Human, Owner of Pasher Biolabs, Alliance sympathiser, Father of Nakari Kelen
Princess Leia – Female Human, Princess of Alderaan, Rebel Alliance Command
Admiral Ackbar – Male Mon Calamarian, Admiral Rebel Alliance
Taneetch Soonta – Female Rodian, Sales Executive of Utheel Outfitters, weapons dealer, niece to deceased Jedi knight Huulik
Sahket – Female Kupohan resident of Denon, noodle cook, intelligence gatherer, Bothan spynet contractor
See Threepio (C3PO) – Droid, human cyborg relations, translator, determiner of the ‘odds’
Azzur Nessin – Male Kupohan, Founder of Nessin Courier and Cargo
Ruuf Waluuk – Male Kuposan, Mechanic
Migg Birkhit – Male Kuposan, Mechanic
Barrisk Favvin – Male Gotal, Agent of the New Order (Imperial) (ISB)
Ben (Obi-wan) Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Mon Mothma, Darth Vader, See-Threepio (C3PO), Major Derlin
Favourite Character/s: Luke Skywalker (as always)
Least Favourite Character: Admiral Ackbar, normally I like him but in this story he seemed a bit of a ‘stick in the mud’.
Favourite Introduced Character: – Nakari and Drusil, both had interesting characteristics yet both were very different. I liked Nakari because she was very good at encouraging Luke to practice his force skills. Also because she is given the role of Luke’s love interest, showing him to be appealing as a potential lover, rather than be loveless and somewhat incomplete. I loved Drusil’s dry, detached perspective and her use of mathematics to work things out.
Pages: 287 not including the excerpts from other books. 309 including excerpts.
Genre: Science Fiction. Sub-genre Space Opera.
Canon or Legends (EU): Canon
Timeline/Chronology: Shortly after A New Hope, prior to The Empire Strikes Back
Book Cover By: Larry Rostant
Reader Range: Teen reader to adult (Some innuendos of a mature nature)
Format: Paperback, released in hardcover first
References To Other Novels/Storylines: Star Wars A New Hope
Recommended Pre-Reading: Star Wars A New Hope
Relationship Of Title To Storyline: Very relevant title to the contents of the story, exactly what you would expect at least a part of the storyline to be about. Naturally the entire book is not only about an ‘heir to the jedi’ and what that might entail, but everything about the book reflected the title. I liked the fact that the title is similar to Timothy Zahn’s book from the Expanded Universe, Heir To The Empire, which marked the beginning of the official EU (now Legends) novels and stories. Now this one seems to have marked the beginning of the new Canon in terms of the novels.
Back Cover Description: The reader is given a well written rundown of events to expect in the story and has highlighted enough to make the book sound very compelling yet gives nothing away. The description does not say anything, or hint at anything that does not occur in the book.
Author Information: https://kevinhearne.com/
I hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘Heir To The Jedi’ review and have a wonderful time reading it if you decided to go ahead and purchase it. I know I am looking forward to reading all of the new Canon books that will be released, especially if they are about my hero.