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Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne
Cover Artist: Larry Rostant
Review by Jon Guenther
LucasBooks Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345544858
Date: 03 March 2015 List Price $28.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

"There's no one around to answer all my questions now that Ben's gone." It's with that opening line that Kevin Hearne introduces us to Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi, the third book of adult novels in the new line of Star Wars fiction since Disney took the helm.

I had high hopes for this book. The first surprise was that this story, featuring Luke Skywalker, is told from Luke's viewpoint (first person). In that regard, I found the characterizations at time a bit off key, which made it feel less like a Star Wars novel. Another thing that gave me difficulty was the subplot that takes a chunk of the story in the middle, which really slowed things down from the main conflict. The subplot was such, in fact, that it would have been perfect in an Alien novel but I don't know that it had a place here. While I'm all for new creatures and original ideas, I think if Luke had run into a Rancor that would have played much better with me as a fan than this particular choice by Mr. Hearne.

The thing that suffered biggest were the inconsistencies in accepted Star Wars lore. The entire premise of Luke's assigned mission at the start is to establish a weapons supply with the Rodians. After Luke goes through some trouble to set it up, it turns out the Rebels tell him they don't have the money to pay for the goods. Then it bounces to yet another plot of smuggling a cryptographic slicer to another planet to meet her family.

Allied with Luke is a woman who's father is some kind of profiteer on the order of a human Jabba the Hutt, and who has plenty of money to get his daughter's ship equipped with only the best weapons; but, a Rebel Alliance that just defeated the Death Star cannot outfit their ships? It gets increasingly difficult to follow from there and in some regards I was left feeling like the Alliance was practically incompetent and Luke, the hero of the Alliance, was treated like a child.

To the author's credit, there were some scenes with TIE fighters and a bounty hunter that were reminiscent of that "long time ago in a galaxy far, far away" but not enough to merit a better outcome. I'm a major fan of Star Wars but I can't recommend this novel in good conscience. It's not a bad book in the way it was written; the author is clearly talented. It just didn't engender the feelings a book set at this time in the original trilogy should, and it could have explored a much more interesting plot.

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