BOOK REVIEW: STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI / AUTHOR: KEVIN HEARNE / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: MARCH 3RD
This is a strange time for Star Wars fans. Freed from the baggage of the Expanded Universe and looking forward to a Lucas-free future, there’s an odd vibe to the few Star Wars novels and spin-offs that are being released as we all patiently wait for The Force Awakens to hit our screens. Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi is a tale set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and details the misadventures of a young Luke Skywalker who is coming to terms with his new status as a hero of the Rebel Alliance.
The plot is pretty straightforward; Luke is sent on an errand by the Rebel Alliance to extract the Star Wars version of a computer hacker from the clutches of the Empire. He is assisted by Nakari Kelen, the heir of a biotech mogul, who not only has her own axe to grind with the Empire, but also happens to own a pretty sweet spaceship. Luke’s mission is to act as both bodyguard and pilot, and to get the job done as quickly as possible.
There are some nice touches here; the hacker is part of the Givin, a mathematically-inclined species that greet each with mathematic equations, and Nakari is interesting enough, though seems quite underused throughout the story. Luke is likeable throughout, and Hearne is clearly very comfortable with the character and the universe he inhabits.
Those expecting brave new steps in the Star Wars canon might be a little disappointed, but hopefully not surprised; very little about the events of this novel put a new spin on the movies. We do get a fresh look into Luke’s Jedi training. We learn more about where his light sabre knowledge comes from and get an insight into how good he is at trying to master his Force powers without guidance.
Beyond that, there isn’t much else to the novel. It’s a lightly-written, enjoyable space romp with some action and some adventure. It does feel a bit video game like in places; Luke is frequently going from point A to point B in order to pick up something necessary for his mission. Though this does make sense (the Rebel Alliance is short on resources), it also feels like padding.
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi is a nice distraction whilst we wait for the real action to happen, but it’s a very light read. It’s a nice bit of space opera popcorn and quite fun, but nothing more than that.
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