Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars
Written by: Kevin Hearne
Published by: Del Rey
Edition: 1st edition
Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars Book Review
Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne, is one of our latest forays into a galaxy far, far away. It promises us mystery revealed, seems poised to take us into the daily life of a certain young Skywalker as he grows from the whiny punk of Star Wars into the more sober, experienced man of The Empire Strikes Back.
Heir to the Jedi
Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne, is one of our latest forays into a galaxy far, far away. It promises us mystery revealed, seems poised to take us into the daily life of a certain young Skywalker as he grows from the whiny punk of Star Wars into the more sober, experienced man of The Empire Strikes Back. The foreword promises as much from an evidently keen fan of the franchise. And yet, Heir to the Jedi is the worst of the new canon novels.
From its early pages of reported events to Luke’s frankly crappy reasoning skills, this novel commits the cardinal sin of being boring. You’re easily a third of the way through the book before anything resembling the main plot shows up. In that time, as you follow every tedious second of Luke’s kicking around the galaxy, you get the feeling you might be reading a video game script rather than a novel. Luke starts off on small gathering runs, meeting allies along the way, getting new weapons, leveling up to more impressive rides, and building up at last to the final Bosses and the big showdown.
Thrill as Luke flies over to one planet to open armament supply lines! (And immediately endangers the mission.) Gasp as Luke pointlessly risks life and limb in an alien environment with “allies” of untested (paid) loyalty! (Optional mission to score a rare weapon, don’t you know.) Drum your fingers when Luke’s back at the Fleet and asked to extract and escort a slicing-genius asset. Sigh because first he has to do a few side missions for cash and tricking out his kick-ass lady sidekick’s hot rod starship. (Snicker a bit when you realize that, honestly, Luke’s more her sidekick than the other way around.)
One front of welcome, consistent improvement in the Star Wars canon continues here: women and people of color are actual multifaceted characters and introduced in key roles. Exhibit A: Nakari Kelen. A woman of color, excellent pilot, smart, capable, and lethal without being an inhuman badass. She also gets one of the best lines in the novel, describing her ship as “[m]y baby’s classy and elegant and ill-disposed to rebellion.” Nakari Kelen is a character that – along with Exhibit B, AKA Drucil,
the Givin woman, slicer and mathematician extraordinaire – makes this novel almost worth reading. It’s too bad they neatly ruin Nakari’s inclusion with a tidy black bow around a piece of kitchen equipment.
Look, the book’s been out for a few months and people deserve to know what they may be subjecting themselves to. Here’s another well-intended bit of TMI: this novel contains the Aliens-in-Star-Wars-camo adventure that you immediately know you never wanted.
The characterization of major Star Wars characters is inconsistent with the films, and incredibly hard to buy – I flat-out don’t believe that Luke Skywalker, as depicted at the end of Star Wars, could rationally talk himself down from an incredibly provoking Dark Side moment. In the midst of a warzone! A land warzone! He doesn’t yet have the training or adequate life experience. (For a much better depiction, so far, you should be reading Marvel’s Star Wars comic written by Jason Aaron, which is a much better way to be spending your time.)
The dialogue is largely bad, there are interminable travel scenes, and a bizarre amount of page space is spent introducing a bad idea and then explaining why it’s not going to work. I wondered more than once whether the author was meeting with a humorless Canon Council full of bad ideas that was telling him to put certain beats in his book, which he vehemently disagreed with. So he put them in, but then disemboweled the ideas on the page. It was damned odd.
I’m a completist when it comes to Star Wars canon, but seriously… let this be one of those times I read something so you don’t have to. Grab family and friends, pop a ton of popcorn, and rewatch the original movies instead. There may not be any surprises, but you also won’t find yourself let down.
Reviewed By: Deborah J. Brannon
Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars?
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