Star Wars Day/ Young Jedi Knights: The Shadow Academy

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Being that I’m sure it’s all over whatever social media you all check out, I’ll spare you the big post on it and just say, “Happy Star Wars Day and may the 4th be with you!”

With that comes a review of the second book in the Heirs of the Force Series, called The Shadow Academy.

When Jacen, Jaine, Lobacca and Em Teedee are going on a tour around one of Lando’s space stations, they are kidnapped by Imperials. Luke hears what has happened and goes on a rescue mission, aided by Tenel Ka. They come across Tamith Kai, a woman who took part in the attack that the kidnapping resulted from. They find they’re on their way to the Shadow Academy, a place where they take students to train as Jedis who use the dark side of the force to the Imperial’s advantage. They get there and meet, Brakiss, one of Luke’s former students and the headmaster of the Shadow Academy. The friends are forced to part ways to their own cells. Luke and Tenel Ka eventually find a lead that brings them closer to finding the friends. Back with the others, Brakiss and Tamith Kai try to get the siblings and  their fellow prisoners to use the dark side of the force, but they hold up, leading to them being split between the teachers for lessons. Brakiss attempts to sway the siblings by giving them what they want, ie a lightsaber, but once again, the attempts fail and the siblings are more focused on trying to be reunited.

Elsewhere, Qorl, the pilot who put the twins and their friends in danger in Heirs of the Force is revealed to be responsible for the kidnaping. He and Brakiss work up a plan to make the twins fight each other, and succeed for a while, much to the twins’ dismay once the plan is revealed.

Tamith Kai finds Lobacca’s weak point with his temper and manipulates him into using that to tap into the dark side. Lobacca does so against his will and  Tamith Kai returns Em Teedee  as a reward, only to have Lobacca find out the droid has been reprogrammed to be loyal to the Empire. Luke and Tenel Ka finally succeed in getting a reliable ride to the Shadow Academy. They arrive.

Jacen works out a plan of escape and the twins and Lobacca go through with it, taking Em Teedee along, but an alarm is raised and tipped off Qorl, Brakiss and Tamith Kai of the attempt.  The ship Luke and Tenel Ka are on picks them up, and they attempt to leave, only to be stopped by storm troopers, Brakiss and Tamith Kai. After a short fight, Qorl tires of the action and lets them go.

They arrive home and start making minor repairs on the ship Luke and Tenel Ka did the rescue on, since they figure having it would be useful. Jacen insists he’s not ready to have a lightsaber of his own yet based on the trouble he went through and how he handled it, but  Luke insists that Jacen might be wrong if Brakiss continues his own plan of destroying them with the fevor he showed before.

Overall, this was one of the few forgettable books of the series. Just flipping through it and looking over some other synopses, I barely could remember sitting down and reading it around ten years ago like I do with a handful of the others. It’s essential for continuity with the storyline, but I feel that’s as far as it goes.

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Heirs of the Force

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When it comes to the Star Wars: Extended Universe, I’ve always been partial to The Young Jedi Knights series, focusing on the next generation of the heroes from the original series, as well as their friends. The stories follow Han and Leia’s twins, Jacen and Jaina, along with their friends Tenel-Ka and Lobacca, their cousin Ben Skywalker, Luke’s son with a woman by the name of Mara Jade, and other various people along the way. I en joy this bunch the most because I already felt emotionally attached to these characters immediately because I loved the former generation so much. The series is straightforward and made what would eventually end up being a cliché storyline a success that I didn’t mind it being cliché at all. If anything, it fit the series well.

The twins have been training to be Jedi for a month. A new recruit, Chewie’s nephew Lobacca comes across a T-23 ship and he, the twins, and Tenel-Ka go to investigate. They eventually find it and toy with it, along with the wreckage of a TIE fighter. They remain oblivious that the fighter’s pilot, Qorl, is watching then. The man’s been trapped there for years and is bent on being able to return to the civilized world to destroy the rebellion. Jacen puts the pieces of that mystery together too late, because Qorl takes them hostage moments after Jacen tries to warn his friends. Lowbacca  and Tenel-Ka escape, and the former  tries to free them, but fails. He still gets away and goes to inform Han and Leia of the situation. Meanwhile, Qorl take Jacen and Jaina to his home. They catch him up on the twenty odd years he has missed. He insists they repair his ship so he can still return to the Empire. They do and he takes off on the ship with every intention to destroy the Jedi academy. The twins are left behind. Han and Chewie arrive for a rescue mission with Lowbacca and Tenel-Ka in tow. They pick up the twins, but the threat that Qorl is on his mission still looms in the air.

The first few books in the Young Jedi Knight is geared towards children and young adults, so it’s a simplistic, easy read. It’s worth it, as well. Even if you just want to meet most of the characters to see what happened after the original series, it’s fun, and takes no time at all. This is one of my favorites in the bunch just because of the nostalgia it caused me as a kid, and it will probably have the same effect on most Star Wars fans.