Heir to the Jedi—Review of a Star Wars Novel

Heir to the Jedi is the first Star Wars book that I’ve read since Disney bought the universe and rebooted the novels with a fresh continuity. I had hoped that Disney would do a good job protecting their property, but they should have exercised more quality control with this book.

Heir to the Jedi takes place not long after the end of Episode IV: A New Hope. Luke’s just blown up the Death Star, and now he’s feeling the tedium of running small missions for the Rebellion. The purpose of this book is to show how Luke learned more about the Force between the end of Episode IV and the beginning of Episode V. Remember how cool it was that he made that lightsaber fly into his hand while he was trapped in the Wampa cave! How’d he learn to do that?! Unless you really need to read everything Star Wars, you could safely skip finding out because it’s a little dull.

The book is written in the first person from Luke’s perspective, and it just doesn’t work. Kevin Hearne’s narration doesn’t sound like Luke. Actually, most of the book doesn’t even sound like Star Wars. In order to compensate for this deficiency, Hearne sprinkles the text with some direct quotations from the movies. It’s a cheap trick that will appeal to some younger readers who will be pleased that they caught the references. At one point Luke actually says something like—Hey! I never did pick up those power converters from Tosche Station! I think most older fans will roll their eyes at the awkward attempts to root the novel in the Star Wars universe.

The first half of this book wasn’t worth reading at all. Luke does this thing and then that thing and then he does something else over here. The scenes seem random and they don’t further the plot or Luke’s character development. There were a number of details that seemed important at the time, but then never showed up again. I almost gave up on the book, but I figured that since it’s a relatively short book I might as well finish it.

The second half of the book is actually much better than the first half. It doesn’t necessarily sound like Star Wars, but at least it’s interesting. It seems likely that Hearne wrote the second half first. Maybe he wrote a decent 120-page novella and then cobbled together some random scenes to try to explain how the characters got to the beginning of the story. An editor should have demanded rewrites. I can only assume that with these novels Disney is more interested in keeping to its timetable than providing quality stories.

I’m glad that I borrowed this book from the public library and didn’t buy it.