Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne. Book Released 03-03-15! Book Review by: Sharon Powers.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away....

[1]
     We could say, "Once Upon a Time." But, however we say it, Star Wars has become a legendary story, a myth, that has become part of cultures around the world. The Star Wars stories are far from over. As you can see, we have a brand new story to add to the expanding mythos surrounding the Skywalker Clan and the Jedi Knights. The author of this new novel is none other than Kevin Hearne, well-known author of the Iron Druid series. Kevin Hearne is absolutely one of my favorite authors. 

[f2]
     I was captivated when I first picked up Hounded, The Iron Druid Chronicles (Book 1), and immediately was entranced by Atticus O'Sullivan who wielded a magical sword Fragarach, and later on, Granuaile (who eventually becomes an Iron Druid); but the character I loved most was Oberon, the sausage craving canine, of the Irish Wolfhound variety--you've just got to LOVE Oberon! 

     Anyway, when I saw that Kevin Hearne was authoring this new Star Wars book, I readily volunteered to be one of the privileged few who would read the novel and present an impartial review of the book. The book is slated for release on March 3, 2015. So, let's dive right into the book with a quick synopsis.


SYNOPSIS OF HEIR TO THE JEDI: STAR WARS:
     The Death Star's destruction gave hope and energized the Rebel Alliance to move forward in their resolve. With Darth Vader still pursuing the Alliance they hide in an Outer Rim orbit while they quickly search for a more permanent base; they, also, seek allies to provide material sources (notably, in the form of weapons) to the struggling Rebel Alliance.

One version of the exploding Death Star.
[3]
     Luke Skywalker helps in whatever way he can, mostly by taking on smaller piloting assignments, while he worries about how to become more proficient in the Force. One such assignment by Admiral Akbar and Princess Leia takes him on a rescue mission that could be instrumental in assisting the Rebel Alliance. 

[4]
     Luke takes on a small crew to help him with his task: trusted robot, R2-D2, and a daughter of a biotech mogul, Nakari Kelen. Nakari brings to the board a very sleek high-speed cruiser--not heavily gunned, but fast. Very fast. Now the only question is how do they pull off the "high-stakes" undercover spy mission that challenges everything Luke has learned thus far on his road to becoming a Jedi Knight. Luke feels inadequately prepared and daydreams about Obi-Wan Kenobi and how, if he were there, Obi-Wan could give him good counsel and additional training. 

[5]
     Somehow, Luke, Nakari, who, by the way, wants payback of her own against the Empire, and R2-D2, must save a renowned cryptographer's family. In ex- change for saving her family, the gifted cryptographer will assist the Rebel Alliance in breaching the Empire's communications sys- tems. Along their way Luke and company will face Imperial bodyguards, scurry away from enemy battleships, elude ever-resourceful bounty hunters, avoid brain-eating parasites, and, of course, to channel the wisdom of his old mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to trust him and "Use the force, Luke!" to see them all through all the dangers they must face.

WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE BOOK: HEIR TO THE JEDI: STAR WARS:
[6]
     I've already acknowledged that I love Kevin Hearne's books, The Iron Druid Chronicles, and really looked forward to reading this book by him. Mr. Hearne is a really wonderful writer; the pacing in his books, outstanding. I also love his balancing of humor with action and the easy-flowing text that give his writing a comfortable familiarity that other writers have difficulty imparting to the reader. OK. Enough of the Kevin Hearne promo. Let's get to the book:

     At the outset, Luke and R2-D2 (Artoo) are in the Outer Rim and the time is just shortly after the destruction of the Death Star (Star Wars) and before The Empire Strikes Back. In the synopsis, above, I gave you the names of the primary characters (Luke, Artoo, and Nakari, these three are later joined by Drusil (the cryptographer).

[8]
     My second impression (my first, later), was a flashback to the movie, Battleship--a movie that didn't really fare that well in theaters. Anyway, I was reminded of a short dialog between Taylor Kitch's character, Lieutenant Alex Hopper and Tadanobu  Asano, Captain Yugi Nagata, that goes as follows: Nagata: We're going to die! Hopper (Agreeing with Nagata--calmly): We're going to die. You're going to die. I'm going to die. We're all going to die. . . . Just not today. [7] Like the movie, Battleship, Luke Skywalker, Artoo, Nakiri and Drusil go from one near capture or near death adventure to the next. And, just like the alien space ship that "hops" across the water, Luke and his company, seem to hop from one location to another, narrowly evading capture or death.

I also thought it ironic and funny that
Liam Neesan starred as Obi-Wan
Kenobi as well as starring in
the movie, Battleship.  [9]
     The cryptographer seems to play the part of Captain Nagata, utilizing complicated mathematical formulas to "mysteriously" call out the next location they should jump to. In the movie, Nagata called out the locations for targeting the alien space ship, intuiting the location where it would be and when. Just so in Heir to the Jedi, only this time it was a cryptographer doing the calling. I actually thought that this section of the book was pretty cool and thought it hilarious when I thought of the similarities to the movie, Battleship.

     OK. So now we are down to the nitty-gritty...what I really did and didn't like. This part is tough for me because I really like Kevin Hearne's writing (as I've stated, above). The first, oh, approximately 20% of the book was a snooze-fest. I had such a hard time with it that I couldn't remember what I had read after I had read it. So, regrettably, I started the book over. I reread the first 20% and lo and behold, it really was boring. I could hardly believe one of my favorite authors wrote material that was so boring I had to first, reread it, and second, continue to read the rest of the book.

[10]
     I am glad, however, that I finished the book, because it did get better. Kevin Hearne's writing style with its irreverent humor punctuated with terrific action sequences brought the book alive, again. While the plot was thin, and, like I said, above, seemed to jump from one sequence of events to another, Hearne brought the book back to life, again, saving it from complete death.

     Part of the problem for me was that I just didn't see Luke the way Hearne had written him. Yes, he still had a lot of the farmboy still in him, but it just wasn't there for me. This is taking into account that the story is told in first person, so we are privy to Luke's thoughts and motivations; it just wasn't enough to save his character.

[11]
     Actually, my favorite character was Drusil, the cryptographer. I loved hearing about how some communications were done in mathematics--one person would ask the other a mathematical question, and the answer to the problem was the response. I also really liked how she could "predict" the locations of stars that had not, yet been discovered, the locations where bounty hunters were hiding in the landscape, and the way past electronic booby traps. Very interesting! I loved her!

     The one part of the book that I felt had redeemed itself, I cannot relate to you because it would be a colossal spoiler. The scene left me in tears. That's all I can say.

[12]
     As I said, the book did get better, but folks, come on...20% of a book that is virtually boring to the point of tears cannot be fixed by having one scene that brings you to tears (in a good way).

MY RECOMMENDATIONS:
     This book is in the genre of sci-fi; as such, it has in it, action sequences that include deaths, blood and gore, kidnapping, pursuit scenes, etc. These scenes are suitable for the targeted audience, adult readers. As such any other readers of a sensitive nature should be cautioned to consider the material before reading.

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MY RATING:
Given all the reasons I have provided, above, both positive and negative, I award this book three stars out of five.

     Thank you for stopping by this blog site, today, to check out this new NetGalley book, Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne. Remember that Mr. Hearne's book is scheduled for release on March 3, 2015; you still have time to preorder this book from your local book purveyor.

     I deeply appreciate you taking time from your busy day to check out the reading material that I have reviewed for you, today. I always appreciate you taking time to evaluate the material presented and consider the points of view I present to you.

     Please take some time this week to read a little bit. Reading helps you stay young and is good for your brain. From the bottom of my heart, I offer my thanks to you for stopping by my blog, today.

     Please join me, again, next week, as we can all examine a new book and see for ourselves if we should spend our well-earned money to purchase a book, or spend our more valuable time reading it. It is always good to evaluate your reading material; if you have any questions or comments for me, please leave a comment below, or contact me through Twitter [See the side bar on the right.].

Until next time...
[*]

...many happy pages of reading!

My love to you all,

Sharon.


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REFERENCES/SOURCES
[1] "Star Wars." screenrant.com. Retrieved 02-23-15.
[2] "Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars." [Kevin Hearne] amazon.com. Retrieved 02-21-15.
[3] "Destruction of the Death Star was an inside job in this weird video." blastr.com. Retrieved 02-23-15.
[4] "Obi-Wan Kenobi Wallpaper." fanpop.com. Retrieved 02-23-15.
[5] "Luke Skywalker WP." fanpop.com. Retrieved 02-23-15.
[6] "Hounded and Hexed (The Iron Druid Chronicles #1 & #2)." pixelatedgeek.com. Retrieved 02-24-15.
[7] "Battleship (2012) Quotes." [emphasis added] imdb.com. Retrieved 02-24-15.
[8] "Battleship--A Review." mauricebroaddus.com. Retrieved 02-24-15.
[9] "Meme Generator: I've Trained Jedi." memegenerator.net. Retrieved 02-24-15.
[10] "Original Trilogy--Luke Skywalker." thestarwarstrilogy.com. Retrieved 02-24-15.
[11] "How to Block Spoilers From Ruining Your TV Fun!" [Carolyn Nicander Mohr] wonderoftech.com. Retrieved 02-25-15.
[12] "Like Success: Michael Gruber Quotes." likesuccess.com. Retrieved 02-25-15.
[13] "DMC: Devil May Cry Review." buckethataficionado.com. Retrieved 02-25-15.
[*] "Flowers: White Roses." fanpop.com. Retrieved 02-22-15.