Note: Even though this is Book 12 in the series, it works perfectly fine as a stand alone novel.
This story is set in between the original tales of New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Told from Luke Skywalker’s viewpoint, there’s plenty of daring piloting, espionage, laser blasts, and a touch of flirting. Luke is running several small missions for Admiral Ackbar and Princess Leia Organa. Then this much more important, and dangerous, mission comes along: rescue an Empire cryptographer, Drusil, who is under constant surveillance. Skywalker will have to team up with new recruit Nakari Kelen, who has a rather fancy space yacht.
This is my first Star Wars novel and it was a lot of fun. I was interested in this book because I have read Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles and really enjoyed them, and I really enjoy Star Wars, so I figured if you put the two together, you’d have something I really enjoyed. And, indeed, it was quite a bit of fun. There’s no major game changers or reveals in this novel, but considering where it’s placed in the Star Wars timeline, that’s to be expected.
I like the addition of the character Nakari. She’s independent, assertive, and competent. Also, the Rebel Alliance isn’t too sure how far they can trust her so for much of the book I had to wonder if she was a double agent and would betray the mission in some way. This added some suspense to the novel. She also brought some humor to the story line with her jokes and gentle teasing of her father, a bio mogul who practically has an army himself – an army of scientists and explorers that search out new life forms to study for his pharmaceutical labs.
There were several smaller ‘missions’ that had to be accomplished first in order to go after the big target (rescuing the cryptologist) and I liked that this was a multi-layered space adventure. First, Skywalker is being sent off to negotiate with a group of weapons dealers and along the way he interferes in the Imperial pursuit of an unknown ship (just because he can). Once he receives this cryptologist mission, the space yacht needs upgrades and that means running some errands for Nakari’s dad. So there’s plenty of opportunities for mistakes to happen, death to creep in, dismemberment to be claimed later on the insurance forms.
Luke is also still exploring his abilities with the Force. He doesn’t have a current Jedi teacher and he feels a little lost in this area. He does carry his lightsaber that his father left him and a few others he comes across in this adventure know what one is on sight. Luckily, the lightsaber wins him some much-needed allies even as he has to cut down foes with it. Little nuggets of wisdom come from various sources and Luke puts them to use in getting in touch with the Force. In this book, he’s still a bit unsure of himself, awkward in romance, and just a touch naive. It’s totally how I picture him in my mind at this point in the Star Wars timeline.
The book is well balanced with plenty of action, moments of reflection (mostly Force related), some well-timed humor, and perhaps a budding romance. I also enjoyed that R2D2 was around for most of the story as he is one of my favorite characters. Other original characters make cameos in this book, either in person or as memories of Luke’s. All in all, it struck the perfect Star Wars tone and it was a great fix for my Rebel Alliance need. Now, all I need are some Nerf Nuggets.
A fellow blogger (thanks Audio Book Reviewer) sent me a box of bookish goodies a few months ago as a get well present and this is one of those books. This is not a review copy but I felt like reviewing it anyways. As always, my opinions are my own.
The Narration: Marc Thompson was a great pick for this book. He sounded like a young Luke Skywalker and his voice impersonations of other classic Star Wars characters were pretty good as well. I loved his light snark for Nakari. He had to come up with some inventive alien voices and I am sure his throat was raw after some of those sounds he came up with! There were lots of sound effects and music for this audiobook. Mostly, they were on target though there are a few places where the effects drowned out the narration. Also, sometimes the music would be playing in the background and I couldn’t figure out why – it just seemed off. Most of the time, it was perfect, reflecting a poignant or triumphant or anxious moment. Yet a few times the music was not reflective of the moment and I wondered why it was there distracting from the story. Still, all in all, it was like listening to a Star Wars movie and Thompson’s performance was excellent.