I’ve been a Star Wars fan most of my life, and like many people who experienced the original trilogy in the late 1970s and early 1980s, those initial movies and their characters are my favorites. Obviously, this is because so many happy childhood memories revolved around them. Things like waiting in line with throngs of other excited people to see the movies. Happily munching popcorn with my friends as I sat on the edge of my seat, mesmerized by the space battles and lightsaber duels. And reliving and creating my own Star Wars adventures on the playground of my school with mine and my friends favorite action figures. So it should be no surprise that Han, Leia, Chewie, Artoo, C3PO, Lando, and Luke are my favorite Star Wars characters to read about – especially if the story is set during the original trilogy time frame – but I’m always worried that the author isn’t going to get "IT" right. ("IT" being a story that holds true to the SW mythos and the characters movie personas.) And Heir to the Jedi was no exception to this trepidation, on my part. But after reading Kevin Hearne’s addition to the Star Wars Universe, I’m happy to say he definitely got "IT" right with his portrayal of the young Luke Skywalker.
The story here is set between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and it sends our Death Star destroying hero off on a mission without his famous cast of friends as backup. Nope, no Han Solo or Chewie to run to the rescue. No, Princess Leia to take charge and direct everyone in what to do. Rather, it is the still wet-behind-the-ears Luke who is in charge of a delicate mission to rescue an important asset from the Imperials.
Of course, Luke doesn’t go off into the great beyond by himself. Remember, he isn’t a Jedi yet. Instead, he blasts off with a few companions. Naturally, trusty Artoo is one of them. But the other is a rich-girl-turned-rebel-sympathizer by the name of Nakari, who is a nice comedic presence and a great companion to our young, serious Jedi in training. And as the rescue story proceeds even the "important asset" herself, Drusil, turns out to be a great addition to the group; her amazing mathematical skills and unfailing logic adding a certain spice to the whole rescue tale.
But no Star Wars tale is complete without lots of adventure and daring-do, and Heir to the Jedi has tons of that. The story filled with space battles, blaster fights, a little lightsaber work, a harrowing Alien-like adventure, and even some bounty hunter mayhem. And Mr. Hearne does a great job with each of them, while also interjecting enough humor, character development, and insightful internal monologue into the traditional elements to keep even the most well-read Star Wars fan interested.
What sets Heir to the Jedi apart from some other Star Wars novels, however, is the deft handling of Luke Skywalker. Here we get an intimate look into the young Jedi’s thoughts and feelings, his dreams and fears, and his victories and failures. One moment, he will be dealing with his repressed grief for aunt and uncle and Ben, then the next he will be making a life-or-death decision that could spell certain doom for him and perhaps the whole Rebel Alliance. And somehow, Mr. Hearne makes this still young and naive Tatooine farm boy seem very real; his alternating personalities of clumsy, tongue-tied idiot with a pretty girl and daring, Force-guided rebel not a paradox but rather two integral parts of the real Luke Skywalker: rebel hero and real person.
So like I said at the beginning of my review, I’m a longtime Star Wars fan. Now though I’m now also a fan of Kevin Hearne writing Star Wars. So when is the next Hearne Star Wars book coming out anyway?
Netgalley and the publisher provided this book to me for free in return for an honest review. The review above was not paid for or influenced in any way by any person, entity or organization, but is my own personal opinions.