Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Star Wars: Heir To The Jedi - The View From My Room.

Heir to the JediHeir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne

The Galactic Civil War rages on after the destruction of the Death Star and Luke Skywalker struggles to learn more about the Force without the aid of Obi-Wan Kenobi – or indeed without any aid at all. 

But the few memories he has of Obi-Wan’s instruction point the way to a stronger control of the Force, and he is encouraged to pursue it by a new friend in the Alliance. 

When Luke, R2-D2 and his new ally are tasked with liberating a valuable asset from the Empire and delivering her to a safe planet where she can aid the Alliance, their journey across the galaxy is fraught with peril – and opportunities for Luke to discover the mysteries of the Force.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With the transition of the Star Wars franchise from Lucasfilm to Disney and the announcement of what it, essentially, a reboot of the entire expanded universe, I was cautiously excited. My view of the Star Wars Expanded Universe was that it had grown to unwieldy over the years and many of the stories in it were patchy at best. The new Star Wars Story Group promised a much more disciplined approach to story telling and I was hopeful that the story output would improve accordingly.

Having recently signed on to Amazons Audible, in the hope of taking my first steps into the world of audio books, Heir to the Jedi was my first audio book title. It stood out to me as a formidable title that offered the reader a first person narrative from none other than Luke Skywalker himself - a first for a major Star Wars character in Star Wars literature.

Sadly, I didn't enjoy the story at all. 

I felt that it failed to capture the cinematic spirit of Star Wars - as with the case with so many of the previous EU novels. I understand Kevin Hearne is an accomplished sci-fi author and he has a proven track record in the genre, but his story feels out of its depth for the Star Wars universe. Throughout my 'read', I found that there was a lot of annoying exposition which added little to the plot and distracted me and I felt that the character interaction that felt awkward and unintentionally comical. Luke Skywalker, in particular, was poorly handled in such a way that I felt that he seemed even less mature than he was in "A New Hope". The character Nakari had potential, but I think Hearne struggled with her identity and he certainly struggled with crafting a convincing dynamic between her and Luke.

The audio book experience is a new one for me so I came to it a little green. However, I found the listening experience to be jarring. 

I think the greatest problem with this unabridged version was the voice talent. Again, I note that Marc Thompson has read a number of Star Wars titles so, apparently he has a track record with the franchise. Thompson's narration of the story was okay but his character voices were terrible to the point of embarrassing.

Would it have been so hard to cast a female voice talent into the female characters? This would have been far more convincing and would have allowed Thompson to hone his male character voices far more effectively.

Listening to his take on the female protagonist Nakari was like listening to a transvestite. His interpretation of Luke Skywalker was marginally better but I found it wanting.

Having looked forward to this title for a long time, Star Wars: Heir To the Jedi turned out to be a big disappointment.


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