A Unapologetic Love Letter To The Young Jedi Knights Books


Sometimes, there are books that you classify as a guilty pleasure and sometimes there are books that you find yourself apologizing for every time you say that you enjoy them.  In the past, the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights books have fallen into this category for me.  For those unaware: it’s a series of 14 young adult books by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta that focus on the Solo twins and their friends Tenel Ka and Lowbacca during their first few years at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4.

From here on out, there won’t be any more apologies for liking these books.  Despite clearly being written for the younger crowd, they are entertaining reads with fun plot lines and great characters.  Most importantly though, they are some of the best gateways for younger fans to ease into the Expanded Universe and discover a whole new galaxy.  And years later? they still have plenty of fans who look back fondly at the books.  Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why they’re still some of the well-creased and beloved novels on some people’s shelves.

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EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Black Sun

The Young Jedi Knights books draw to a close with one final trilogy that takes Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, and Zekk on a whole new adventure which, as we all know, means trouble.

Return to Ord Mantell
I’d forgotten that I dislike Anja Gallandro.  It’s not that I hate her or have some vendetta against her.  I just don’t like her and I’m okay with her not having appeared in the Expanded Universe otherwise.  On the other hand, I suppose these books can serve as another chapter in the ‘Don’t do spice, kids,’ grand story.

It’s always fun getting to see the twins get some serious page time with Han.  This book gets double fun points before it’s diving into Han’s smuggler past.  Watching Jaina fly the Falcon with her father never fails to make me smile.

Zekk’s journey towards becoming a proper Jedi Knight gets its start here.  The more I think about it, the more I appreciate that this plotline wasn’t rushed.  I also appreciate that he decided to combine his piloting skills with his Force abilities to win the Derby.

Oh.  And we get cameos from Kyp Durron and Streen which is always lovely.  I can’t help how much I love that jerk of a Jedi.

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EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Diversity Alliance

The adventures of Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca continue!  And by adventures, I mean they get into a lot of trouble because that’s how things work for them.  This time, they’re going up against bounty hunters and the new Diversity Alliance.  On the bright side, no one loses any limbs or goes to the dark side this time.

Shards of Alderaan
Just like with the first arc, KJA and Rebecca Moesta take the first book to set the stage for the new story.  Raynar Thul, the annoying brat from the previous books, gets the chance to move towards the forefront.  Unfortunately, it’s because his father has disappeared and Boba Fett is hunting him but nothing’s perfect, right?

It always amuses me that it feels like everyone gets a spaceship in this book.  Granted, by everyone, I just mean Zekk and Tenel Ka but still.  Poor Jaina still doesn’t have her own ship but she gets to be the Rock Dragon’s pilot so I guess it evens out.  And then Zekk gets the Lightning Rod.  I actually think it’s pretty cool that Zekk decides to become a bounty hunter and doesn’t immediately try to become a Jedi.  The poor boy deserves some time to try and figure out who he is.

On top of that, it’s actually incredibly sweet that the twins decide to give their mother a piece of Alderaan for her birthday.  Obviously things inevitably go wrong but it really is a nice gesture.  Oh the Solo children. <3

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EU Retrospective: Young Jedi Knights – Second Imperium

Ohhhh the Young Jedi Knight series.  These were the first Star Wars books I ever read except for the Jedi Prince books and I still enjoy them over a decade later.  While they are clearly written for a younger audience and get cheesy sometimes, they’re still fun reads.  I try to thank Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta every time I see them at Dragon*Con for writing these books and these characters because I love them just that much.  I am also 100% okay with admitting that I wanted to be best friends with Jaina Solo and Tenel Ka as a kid and I still sort of do.  You’ve been warned: these posts will be a fair bit gushing accompanied by some good natured teasing.

Heirs of the Force
First things first: Tenel Ka gets the best character entrance ever.  “Oh don’t mind me.  I’m just going to CLIMB UP THE BACK OF THIS TEMPLE AND POP INTO THE MORNING LESSON.  LIKE A BAMF.”  I love her so much.

Oh!  And I also love that the authors turn a trope on its head at the start of the book because Han brings flowers for Jacen (or rather his pet) and a hyperdrive for Jaina.  The Solos are going to be who they want to be.  Even if it does mean that Jacen has pet snakes.

This book is mostly about introducing us to our four new heroes.  Obviously, we already know Jaina and Jacen Solo who continue with their grand tradition of getting kidnapped.  Good job kids.  At least they’ve learned from experience and don’t actually let Qorl fly off in a TIE fighter with weapons.  We also get to know Tenel Ka and Lowbacca, both young relations to characters we’ve met in the past.  I do think it’s a bit strange that the Solo twins don’t understand Shyriiwook since Chewbacca helped raise them but I can overlook that.  Like I said, this is a set up book and I appreciate it for what it is.

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