Saturday, 19 July 2014
FORGING THE FUTURE! CELEBRATING TWENTY YEARS OF 'THE JEDI ACADEMY TRILOGY'
Timothy Zahn had gotten the new STAR WARS Expanded Universe off to an incredible, blockbuster start with The Thrawn Trilogy, now it was Kevin J. Anderson's populist turn to build on its solid foundations, creating a history-setting series of storylines and character developments that would equally make as an indelible a mark on the continuing book series and generally satisfy its burgeoning and beloved fan base for the next twenty years. I would be very unsurprised if some of the ideas from this book, as well as Zahn's first trilogy, didn't make it somewhere into the story DNA, even if only at a subtly noticeable level, of EPISODE VII and beyond.
Jedi Search- Book One of Anderson's then all-new THE JEDI ACADEMY trilogy- is a fun and zippy affair, though, of all our STAR WARS heroes old and new featured within the book, it's Han and Chewbacca who have the best scenes and get into the most trouble: the Falcon severely crippled and the duo captured by a renegade force controlling the now famous Kessel spice mining system (mentioned several times in the original STAR WARS and finally realised here, in novel form), located near the dangerous Black Hole-parked the Maw, itself soon discovered as a home to a fleet of Imperial Star Destroyers (one of which later gets caught in the natural space and time devourer- an image I'd love to see translated to film or animation!) and a weapons research base with created terrifying power for destruction rivalling the original Death Star (as well as a lethal prototype Sun Crusher fighter), bearing operators and legions of Stormtroopers unaware of the Empire's prior defeat at the Battle of Endor. It's here that Imperial bitch Admiral Daala, groomed to her fullest potential by the Grand Moff Tarkin himself, makes her first embittered and revenge-fuelled entrance, staying in the EU right up to the FATE OF THE JEDI series.
Meanwhile, knowing that the Republic has never been in more danger and disharmony, Luke Skywalker, with help from Lando and trusty Artoo, travels the universe in search of new Jedi apprentices (including the soon discovered Kyp Durron), all to be trained in isolation on the fourth moon of Yavin- a nice idea/continuity exploiter, of which this first book also features a return visit to the wild clouds of Bespin and descriptively explores several other key environments created/expanded by Ralph McQuarrie for Anderson's popular The Illustrated STAR WARS Universe hardcover book, as well as the prior established Imperial Centre of Coruscant (named before it was officially given the title by Lucas for EPISODE I). And as for Princess Leia, well, she doesn't get any action duties yet-this first entry sees her confined to the New Republic's political centre, with the uneasy duty of dealing with a planet still sharing strong ties to the last remnants of the Empire, whilst poor old Threepio has the unenviable task of acting the Nanny to her two newly arrived, no longer in hiding young children- Jaina and Jacen. Golden Rod has his hands full there!
AFICIONADO RATING: 3.5 out of 5