Alas, Poor Canon

Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars - Kevin Hearne

One of the problems with Star Wars books is that they are all essentially licensed fanfic. I don't like being reminded of that fact, as I was almost constantly in Kevin Hearne's Heir to the Jedi. It felt disjointed in the beginning, taking me on two short-story-esque side quests before embarking on the main conflict, and that elusive "this is Star Wars!" feeling wasn't there for me.


One of the other problems with Star Wars books is that, depending on when they take place, you pretty much know who's going to live and who is expendable, which makes it hard to get attached to some of the characters. This is the primary reason that Zahn's Heir to the Empire trilogy were the only Star Wars books I owned for a long, long time. It was after the movies. All bets were off. Everyone was expendable. Han might make a wrong turn in an asteroid belt, Leia might trip during lightsaber practice, Chewie might have a moon thrown at him, etc. There was real tension and the fear of the unknown. This book has none of that going for it, which isn't Hearne's fault, but I didn't feel he was up to the task of creating an adventure exciting enough to keep readers in suspense despite knowing the ultimate outcome. It was nice to see Luke fumbling around with the Force to fill in the gaps between deflecting some lasers with a blast helmet on and summoning his lightsaber in the wompa cave, and I could have done without the rest of it, honestly.


I don't know what else Hearne writes, and after reading this I'm not anxious to find out. The world building was meh, the characters flat, and it will be a while before I forgive him for what he's done to Star Wars canon. I don't know what he was thinking when he came up with Nakari Kelen's backstory. He took a tragic event and put an asinine, cartoonish spin on it that kind of flies in the face of movie canon and made it feel more like the Spaceballs universe than the Star Wars universe. And for what? A cheap laugh?