The Big Problem with Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the JediI cannot talk about Heir to the Jedi without revealing spoilers. I’m too emotionally invested in Luke Skywalker’s life. If you’d like to read a non-spoiler opinion, let me direct you to Bria’s review over here. However, if you’ve already read the book, or just don’t care about being spoiled for the end, proceed at your own caution.

(I’m serious.

Major spoilers abound after the cut.

You’ve been warned.)

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Go/No-Go: Heir to the Jedi

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Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi.  It’s the first novel written in first person since I, Jedi and stars the one and only Luke Skywalker.  To mission control for the verdict!

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Review: Heir to the Jedi (Spoiler Free)

Heir to the JediThe newest Star Wars book, Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, comes out on March 3rd and lets Luke take the spotlight for the first time in a few years. It’s also in a very unique position of being the only previously announce project to make it through to the new canon. It may no longer be a part of the Empire and Rebellion series but it’s still very definitely the Luke book.

Luke Skywalker’s the pilot who blew up the Death Star but that doesn’t make him a Jedi yet or any less that farmboy from Tatooine. To the Rebellion, he’s mostly valued for his piloting skills which makes him the perfect choice to retrieve an Imperial cryptographer who wants to defect to the Rebellion. The Alliance pairs him and Artoo with Nakari Kelen, the daughter of a biotech mogul, who comes with her beautiful ship the Desert Jewel on this mission that quickly becomes far more than just a simple retrieval.

For the most part, the book is enjoyable enough. It’s the second Star Wars book to ever be written in first person but that’s definitely where the comparisons to I, Jedi should stop as these are two totally different books that approach the point of view style from different angles. Heir to the Jedi feels a bit more like you’re reading Luke’s diary than being inside of his head. That’s not necessarily a problem though as it gives readers more insight to how Luke goes from being the naïve farmboy hero to the squadron commander that we see on Hoth. It’s fun to read about the Luke who can’t quite figure out telekinesis although he thinks it’s something he can probably do. (We could’ve used a little less focus on this particular trick though.) Hearne does a good job of capturing Luke’s sense of humor; something that far too many authors have neglected in the past. Given that this is the Luke book? It’s always a good sign when the author gets the character.

Nakari Kelen is a fun addition to the Star Wars universe and it’d be great to see more of her. It’s always fantastic to see another person of color take center stage and doubly fantastic when that’s a character of color. She’s well rounded and interesting with her own motivations for being a part of the Rebellion and she works great opposite Luke. Her relationship with her father reminded me of Booster and Mirax Terrik and I’d love to see a short story where we get to see the four of them interact.

On the writing front, whether or not someone enjoys the book will definitely depend on how they feel about first person. That’s the one hurdle that probably can’t be avoided. Pacing-wise, the book does start a bit slow (although it’s something I didn’t realize until my second read through when I took a bit more time to read it.) This is yet another story that follows in the recent trend of focusing on a much smaller scale. Luke and Nakari’s work is relatively important but the FATE OF THE GALAXY doesn’t rest upon their success. It was also nice to see the Givin worked into the book and to see their love for math used throughout especially in the chapter titles. (I’m assuming those equations made sense mathematically.) A smaller scale plot paired with a diverse and interesting core cast is generally a win in my book. My biggest complaint about the writing is that things often felt a little too convenient for our heroes. For example, a brief mission Luke’s sent on at the start of the book comes into play later on. If nothing else, you can definitely tell that Kevin Hearne had fun writing this book.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this book is also its biggest spoiler. If you’re curious enough, the spoiler is just an easy Google search away. I find it regrettable that Hearne chose this particular route and it’s enough to significantly bring down my overall enjoyment of the book. Hopefully, this will not be the status quo for the new canon and that’s all I will say for fear of spoiler territory.

At the end of the day, I give Heir to the Jedi a 3/5.

Thank you to Del Rey for providing us with an advanced copy of the book for review purposes.

Full blurb for Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the JediFebruary 17, 2015 will be a banner day here at Tosche Station, as Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi is released into the wild.

The novel was first announced at Celebration VI under the “Rebels” banner, and is the third book in the now defunct “Empire and Rebellion” trilogy that takes place after A New Hope. Del Rey has saved the best for last here, as this novel features Luke Skywalker in first-person POV.

To say I’m excited about this novel would be an understatement. But in case you’re not like me and squeal at anything involving Luke, here’s a more detailed blurb from Random House:

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.

A Luke Skywalker novel where he’s paired with a female lead? Count me in!

Del Rey modifies release dates for Heir to the Jedi and Lords of the Sith

Due to some schedule changes with the publisher, two novels slated for next year are getting slightly modified release dates.

Del Rey Announces Three Additional Star Wars Titles

I kind of feel like Del Rey/Lucasbooks are sitting together in a room somewhere, steepling their fingers, and saying, “You wanted news? Okay, we’ll give you news.”

So after today’s official announcement about the status of the Expanded Universe, Disney Publishing Worldwide and Random House have announced a relaunch of the Star Wars adult fiction line. From the press release:

Following today’s announcement of Lucasfilm’s new unified storytelling approach, Disney Publishing Worldwide is proud to announce their first step into that larger world, beginning with Del Rey Books. The publishing program will feature new adult fiction novels set in the beloved galaxy far, far away, and will be closely connected to the cinematic entertainment currently in development at Lucasfilm.

Star Wars novels consistently rank on the New York Times Bestseller lists — from the very first tie-in novel, an adaptation ofStar Wars: A New Hope released by Del Rey in 1976, to the recently published Star Wars:Kenobi ­– and dozens of titles in between. With over 75 million copies sold worldwide, these books have captured the imaginations and creativity of authors who have enriched the Star Wars experience for fans around the globe.

Going forward, Lucasfilm has begun mapping out the narrative future of Star Wars storytelling that will appear on film and television and in other media so that all projects will benefit from real-time collaboration and alignment. The future Star Warsnovels from Disney Publishing Worldwide and Del Rey Books will now be part of the official Star Wars canon as reflected on upcoming TV and movie screens.

“With the establishment of the Lucasfilm Story Group and our even greater focus on unified storytelling, we expect our entire publishing program to be stronger and more meaningful than ever before,” said Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and group publisher, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “We’re extremely excited to kick off this new strategy with Del Rey Books.”

The first novel to benefit from this deeper collaboration is Star Wars: A New Dawn, by bestselling author John Jackson Miller. Set prior to the events of the forthcoming animated series Star Wars Rebels, this novel tells the story of how two of the lead characters of the series, Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, came to cross paths. To tell this important backstory, Miller benefited from contact with series executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman, who together ensured this tale will be part of the Star Wars canon of storytelling going forward. It is scheduled for hardcover and eBook release onSeptember 2, 2014.

“We’re extremely proud of the hundreds of amazing Star Wars books we’ve published at Del Rey,” said Scott Shannon, SVP, Publisher, Del Rey and Digital Content, “And now we’re excited to finally be able to call our upcoming novels true canon—a single, cohesive Star Wars storyline—all while keeping the amazing backlist of Star Wars Legends content in print.”

Following Star Wars: A New Dawn, the all-new Star Wars fiction line will continue with the following 2014/2015 titles:

STAR WARS: TARKIN
James Luceno
11/4/14
tarkin
 
STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI
Kevin Hearne
January 2015
Heir to the Jedi
 
STAR WARS: LORDS OF THE SITH
Paul Kemp
March 2015
Lords of the Sith

In years past, the storylines that would appear in print and on screen were developed separately, resulting in an “Expanded Universe” that differed in ways large and small from the filmmaker’s “canon.” These rich stories provide a treasure trove of characters to fall in love with — and deep worlds to explore and will live on in both physical and digital editions, newly-branded as Star Wars Legends.

For more information and for looks at the covers of all four new titles announced above, please visit the Del Rey Star WarsBooks Facebook page at Facebook.com/StarWarsBooks.

For more information on the Star Wars Legends rebranding and Expanded Universe, go to StarWars.com.

Several points of note:

  • Del Rey’s contract has been renewed.
  • A Tarkin novel? By Luceno??? Holy crap! It’s not the Dooku or Padme novel I’ve been wanting, but I’ll take it.
  • The Luke novel by Kevin Hearne is still on the schedule and not part of the “Legends” line. This makes me happy. As does the title. Edit: And it’s in first person!
  • A Kemp novel? Is this related to the long-discussed Kemp duology?

Keep an eye on the Star Wars Books Facebook page for more cover reveals as the day goes on.

Kevin Hearne’s Luke novel set for release in January 2015

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Over on the catalog Edelweiss, Knights’ Archive spotted a listing for the audio version of Kevin Hearne’s upcoming debut Star Wars novel. It will star Luke Skywalker and round out the unofficial “Empire and Rebellion” trilogy.

In an attempt to distract the Empire from important Rebel Alliance activity, Luke Skywalker draws the attention of Imperial Security, leading him-along with Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Chewbacca-into a deadly trap right in Darth Vader’s sights!

No mention of Rogue Squadron of X-Wings in there, but I’m still really excited for a book starring Luke Skywalker, the most underappreciated of all the Star Wars Original Trilogy characters.

The novel is scheduled for release on January 13, 2015, which is the day after my birthday. Thank you, Del Rey, for a lovely birthday present.