This week I decided to review Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne.
The story begins not long after the Battle of Yavin with Luke Skywalker travelling to Rodia in the Desert Jewel, an Alliance-allied yacht, on a mission to help open a new supply route for the struggling Alliance. But while at a transit point and known smuggling hub in the Llanic system, Luke encounters a small freighter being pursued by TIE Fighters backed by a Star Destroyer. Since the freighter was made by a group that has helped the rebellion in the past, and Luke believes that anyone who has this kind of hostile attention from the Empire must be an ally, he joins the battle and aids the freighter in escaping before continuing to Rodia.
While there he meets with the rebellions potential new allies and eventually discovers that one of them is the niece of a Rodian Jedi whose life had been saved by Luke’s father Anakin during the Clone Wars. Though mortally wounded during Order 66, the Rodian Jedi had managed to program his ship to take him home before dying and Luke is escorted to the Jedi’s tomb where he obtains the fallen Knight’s lightsaber.
After the meeting with the Rodians, Luke returns to the Alliance fleet where he discovers that the freighter he had aided at Llanic was carrying vital data for the rebellion. Drusil Bephorin, a highly skilled Givin cryptographer, is being forced to work for the Empire under house arrest but has slipped out a message revealing that she is willing to aid the Alliance if the rebellion rescues her and her family. Luke is assigned to rescue Drusil along with Nakari Kelen, the owner of the Desert Jewel. But the ship needs upgrades if it is going to have a reasonable chance to carry out the mission, and the rebellion lacks the funding for the needed upgrades. Nakari offer a solution, however, and explains that her father, who is head of a major pharmaceutical corporation, is sympathetic to the rebellion after Nakari’s mother was sent to Kessel for writing a song mocking Darth Vader, would be willing to upgrade the ship if Nakari will retrieve a scouting ship whose crew was wiped out by animals they had been gathering for study.
After subduing the animals, who are smart enough to develop and employ basic battle tactics, and retrieving the ship, Luke and Nakari move to rescue Drusil but find themselves facing Imperial Security agents. And after they rescue Drusil and escape the Imperial force sent to intercept them, the Empire puts out a bounty on them which leaves them to face an array of pirates, bounty hunters, and Imperial military forces on the road to their destination.
I give this book 8 out of 10. The battles are interesting and varied enough to have something for fans of any type of combat that doesn’t require large forces. Including things like detailing Luke taking apart a lightsaber to study how it is put together is a nice touch as well, and I enjoyed many of the new characters introduced in the tale. However the ending was a little too predictable for my tastes and reminded me of a few recurring plot elements from the old Legends continuity that I found annoying then and still dislike. Also there were a few things, like mentioning how Admiral Ackbar feels about smuggling, that add little or nothing to the story in my opinion.