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. (Kyp not Streen.) Continue reading
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. (Editor’s Note: And you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship! And none for Jaina Solo.) 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. ❤ (Editor’s Note: I can’t decide if it’s also a little morbid.) Continue reading
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 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. Continue reading
The two books for today’s post probably could not have been more different if they’d tried. On the one hand, we have the Luke/Mara go on an adventure in Chiss space book and on the other hand, we have a book about a Jedi trying to take down a Hutt spice ring. The good news is that they were both fun reads. The bad news is that I don’t get to be snarky in this post. Alas.
I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Scourge mostly because I hadn’t heard any buzz about it. All I knew is that it involved Hutts. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised and that is always a good thing.
Overall, Scourge was a solid book. Personally, I always enjoy getting to see other aspects of the Star Wars universe besides the galaxy shaking problem of the week and the Solo/Skywalker clan regardless of how much I love them. It’s nice to see a new member of Luke’s Jedi Order especially one who doesn’t fall into the stereotypical Jedi mold. Mander Zuma is an archivist who is only a warrior when he absolutely has to be. He can also be a very surprising person who doesn’t fit neatly into the a box. Plus, he gets to go through a nice arc of character growth as the story progresses. Reen Irana and Eddey Be’ray are the other two people helping investigate the death of Toro Irana, a Jedi Knight, and they both prove to be interesting characters in their own rights as is Angela Krin. Heck, even the Hutts are all very distinctive characters who don’t all fall into the Jabba category. In all honesty, I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters. I don’t love them yet but they are certainly intriguing. Continue reading
Thrawn Returns! Except not really. But Zahn is back and that is always a good thing. Both the Bantam Era and the Empire are about to draw to a close so sit back and enjoy a lovely end to this chapter of the Star Wars story.
Specter of the Past
Zahn gets the team back together again. Okay, maybe it takes until the end of the book for that to really happen but from the start, we get to see all of our (or at least my) old favorites. Obviously, we get to see our heroes from the films but then Zahn gives us Karrde and Mara and Wedge and the Rogues! It thrills me so much to see Tycho get some page time outside of the X-Wing books. (Editor’s Note: Tycho 4 President 2016)
On top of that, we really get to meet Shada D’ukal for the first time. While this isn’t her first appearance in the books, it’s the first time we get a chance to get to know her and see her take the spotlight. She is honestly one of my favorite minor characters and her decision to leave the Mistryl in this book is definitely a big part of that. It’s a struggle between honesty and loyalty and those are always interesting to read. Continue reading
If you were to ask me what I remembered about the Corellian Trilogy before I started this read through, I could’ve told you three things: Thracken Sal-Solo is a slimy git, Centerpoint Station is bad, and the Solo children should not try to build droids. In other words, I went into these books with a relatively clean slate which was actually a rather nice change. Even better? It turns out that I do rather enjoy reading these books. And also that I’d really like to steal Roger Macbride Allen’s career and be a Foreign Service Officer AND a Star Wars author.
Ambush at Corellia
If nothing else, you have to appreciate how self-aware and very Star Wars this book is in the very first chapter. Han and Chewie are working on the Falcon and its plethora of mechanical issues and oh did anyone mention that the Solo children are a bunch of little troublemakers and have a reputation for it throughout the galaxy?
Also, because I am an Alderaan diehard, I will point out my objection to Leia saying that she was only the Organa’s foster daughter because I am 99% sure that she was adopted and raised completely as Bail and Breha’s own. (Editor’s Note: 100000% sure.) If anyone is going to be referred to as the Organa’s foster daughter, it’s probably Winter. Continue reading
It was pure chance that put the best book in the Expanded Universe and the worst one next to each other in the Waru Express reading list. It was also a blessing because after rereading The Crystal Star? I don’t think I could’ve kept going on this project without Starfighters of Adumar being there to hug me and tell me that everything’s going to be okay. So with no further ado, let’s talk about the Best and the Worst that the Expanded Universe has to offer.
The Crystal Star
This book has the distinction of being so awful that I had managed to block everything about it from my memory (except the existence of Waru) until the other night. For those of you who joined me on my livestream, you got to witness my descent into madness. I believe Brian noted that the Waru Express finally broke me around 9:16 EST. There was drinking, there was cursing, there was defeated sobbing. There was also the world’s worst Han Solo impression and some singing and some off-color jokes. And then more cursing and more drinking and more pleas to be released from my agreement to read the book. But most importantly, there was Waru. He loves you. (Editor’s Note: This was a terrible idea and I regret everything. The hangover was terrible) Continue reading
I’ll go ahead and fess up before we even start this. I like these books. Actually, I love these books. In fact, these books have a very special place in my heart because they are the reason why I tumbled head first into the Expanded Universe. Dark Apprentice is the first Star Wars book I stumbled upon after my grandmother bought me two random Young Jedi Knights books. The YJK had already made me fall in love with the Solo twins, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca and when nine-year-old Bria picked up Dark Apprentice for the first time, there was no turning back. I do recognize that these books certainly have their faults but I could never hate them. Instead, I am forever grateful to Kevin J. Anderson for writing books that were my gateway drug. Therefore you have been warned of my nostalgia for this trilogy. Onward! (Editor’s Note: Sorry not sorry for liking these.)
In retrospect, it’s possible that this trilogy is what started my “Han and Leia are the worst parents ever” way of thinking. I do, however, make this comment with love for the Solo family to my friends. But seriously: why would you ever let these two raise your daughter? (I’m looking at you, Tenel Ka.) Somewhere out there about ohhhh 30 years farther into the time line, Winter is shaking her head and saying “It’s not my fault” for what happened with the Solo children.
Okay, I shall stop ragging on the Solo’s questionable parenting skills. For now. Continue reading
Ahhhh the Thrawn books. Honestly, is there anything more classic than Zahn’s trilogy when it comes to the Expanded Universe? If you’re here for the snark, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer because between these three books and another X-Wing novel? I have nothing but praise this go-round. (Shocking, I know.) (Editor’s Note: Can we all pause for a minute and appreciate that we’re getting Thrawn in Rebels in less than two weeks AND that we’re getting shiny new covers for this trilogy? HOW COOL IS THAT?)
Heir to the Empire
One of the first things that occurred to me while I was reading this book is how much the Star Wars universe owes to Timothy Zahn. There is so much about the universe that I just take for granted that I’m now realizing/remembering is all thanks to Zahn. Coruscant? Zahn. Personalities for character who really only cameoed in the films but are integral parts of the EU? Zahn. Bringing Wedge Antilles to the forefront? Zahn. Introducing the best character ever, aka Winter? Zahn. I mean, I’m not saying that Zahn is god but the amount of canon he contributed is amazing. (Editor’s Note: This is moderately entertaining to read now that I’ve met Tim multiple times over the past few years and have moderated panels with him etc.)
What I love about this book and the entire trilogy is that the story still clearly feels like Star Wars but still has its own tale to tell. It’s not a rehashing of the Emperor or Vader because the villains have their own motivations and characterizations. (I’ll save my ‘Why I love Pellaeon’ ramble for another post.) Thrawn is most certainly his own character who takes a very different approach to winning the war than any other Imperial we’ve seen before. It’s pretty cool that he can study art and figure out how someone will react. And then you have C’boath who is just bonkers. His original model wasn’t much of a charmer to begin with so this probably shouldn’t be surprising. Continue reading
Welcome aboard the Han and Leia Solo looooooooove boat. We provide music and history lessons at the low low cost of only two books. And possibly your sanity unless you just roll with the ridiculousness. Someone cue up the Bollywood soundtrack because here we go!
The Courtship of Princess Leia
Why yes. This book is the Star Wars equivalent of a Bollywood musical. You’ve probably heard us at Tosche Station repeat Dunc’s declaration a time or two. Honestly though. This book comes complete with a musical break where Threepio serenades the group with “Han Solo! What a man, Solo!” complete with orchestration and a tap dance routine. You only think I’m making this up. Of course, we can’t forget the opening number where the Hapans enter the grand audience chamber and make an elaborate presentation of gifts with women singing “Hapes Hapes Hapes” over and over again in the background. If they were to film this, I would expect it to end much like Mirror, Mirror with a giant wedding Bollywood number. Bonus points if they managed to get Sean Bean to play some role and just look miserable in the back ground. But anyways. Let’s be clear: this book is indeed ridiculous but it’s still entertaining and somewhat endearing in its own strange way. Continue reading