Author(s): Michael A. Stackpole
Cover artist: Drew Struzan
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Release date: May 4, 1998
Era: New Republic era
Corran Horn, hero of Rogue Squadron and former Corellian Security Force officer, has a problem: his wife, Mirax, has disappeared while on a secret mission. In his struggle to rescue his wife, Horn joins Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy as a charter recruit, befriends Mara Jade, tangles with a 4,000-year-old Sith lord, and goes undercover to infiltrate a notorious band of pirates. But what will he do when he finds himself faced with a dilemma–surrender to the dark side of the force or risk losing Mirax forever?
Today I’m going to review the book I, Jedi, written by Michael A. Stackpole that was published in 1998 by Bantam books. So far, this is the only book in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that was done from the first person narrative. It’s a very interesting concept that works in this book due to its main underlying theme being “self discovery.”
Now, you are probably asking; “Self Discovery? Come-on Kal, what does that have to do with this book? Who needs to “discover” ones-self?”
Well folks, I can answer that question with two words, Corran Horn. If you’re a fan of this character you know that he came into the Star Wars universe as a member of the Corellian Security Force before joining the Republic then Rouge Squadron. It was his time with the Rouges that Corran begins to discover latent Force powers. What kicks his “self discovery” into high gear was when he comes home to an empty house to discover that his wife Mirax is not there. Now I can tell you’re reading this with a quizzical eye and wondering “what’s the big deal, she could be out on errands or something.” That could have been true but if that was the case, we would not have had a book now huh?
What gets this book moving is when Corran settles in for the night, he’s startled awake by a nagging feeling that he’s losing his “connection” to Mirax through the Force. It’s this untrained Force sense that has Corran approaching Luke and Wedge for help to find her. Wedge gets Corran information that Mirax was on an undercover mission and appears to have been kidnapped by some pirates called the “Invids.” And Luke explains the “lost connection” as a “psychic wound” which Luke suggests to Corran that it needs time to heal. Luke then suggests that Corran would be better suited to find his wife if he develops his Force powers more fully which in turn will help heal this wound. Corran reluctantly agrees that this could be the time for his training and accepts a position at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4. Luke accepts this news but makes one suggestion and that is Corran use an alias while training. The alias that Luke suggested involved the last name of his great grandfather and former Jedi, Nejaa Halcyon.
Now, you would think that a Jedi in training would have an easy time of it especially when the candidates are not “younglings” as they were in the Old Republic era. You would be further from the truth. See the academy was set up on Yavin 4 which happened to have the spirit of Exar Kun running around making it a difficult time for the recruits. Kun during this part of the story was able to take control of three candidates, one ended up a casualty of the experience. Another was able to put a spell on Luke to take him out of the equation and the third I’ll let you good reader find out in the pages as you read the book. When Luke is taken out, Corran (under the alias of Keiran Halcyon ) ends up being the de-facto leader of then academy and sets a plan in motion to deal with this pesky spirit.
Not to give away what happens when Corran acts on his plan, I’ll just finish this thought that when it was all said and done Corran realized that he had learned enough at the Jedi Academy. It’s at this point in the book when Corran moves on to his next stop on the road of self discovery and that’s a visit to his home planet of Corellia.
This part of the story really lays down the rich background of Nejaa Halcyon, Corran’s biological grandfather. This is brought to life through Rostek Horn, Corran’s step-grandfather who is a horticulturist that has used his plants as a kind of Jedi Holocron. Since he is a horticulturist (which also means he can manipulate plants on a molecular level) he’s been encoding the history of Nejaa within his plants. Rostek shares as much information as he can with Corran to help him come to terms with the past. But, during this part of “discovery” Corran realizes that he must use his CorSec along with his Jedi training to find his wife. When all is said and done, Corran with the help of Rostek sets in motion a plan to infiltrate the Invids.
When Corran leaves Corellia he emerges with a new alias of Jenos Idanian. I’ll leave the details of how Corran/Jenos was able to get inside the Invid organization to you dear reader so you will be compelled to read the book.
I could go on from this point and drop hints about Corran acting like a Star Wars version of Batman, yes that is what I wrote, but, I’m not knocking this as a bad thing. Also I didn’t get into Corran having a “bodyservant” who turns out he “knew” (read the book) Corrans grandfather Nejaa. Or how Luke and Corran’s Rouge Squadron wingman Ooryl Qrygg show up to bail Corran out of a battle with Jedi wannabe’s called Jensaarai. And I’ll let you discover how Corran became a “boy-toy” for renegade Imperial Moff and leader of the Invids, Leonia Tavira.
You have a lot to read and I’ll tell you, this book is well worth your time.
So, from this point I guess I’ll just give you my impression. I’ll make it simple, I loved this book. What really sold me was the first person narrative. How cool is it that as a reader, you get inside the head of a budding Jedi Master when he began his training. Sure, you are not following a “youngling” like Ahsoka but would you really want to start that young? Yes Corran is advanced in his years but that’s what makes this book work. To me it makes the book more accessible to the reader because it is talking to you. You are not following a young Padawan who is learning from a master. You as a reader are following a “master” (and I use that loosely) as he feels his way through the learning process taking in what he “needs to know” and making suggestions of things a Jedi “should know.” You’ll understand this when you read through the academy part of the book.
My only problem with this book is continuity. Since this book was published by Bantam Books back in 1998, naturally it was “years” before Order 66 was ever mentioned. That means that the Clones never turned on the Jedi officers killing them where they stood. In this book, Stackpole treated the war more or less like any other where heroes of the battle come home dead or alive. In Nejaa’s case it was another Jedi, Ylenic It’kla, who brought home his effects to turn over to his family. Naturally that meant not much since Jedi didn’t have much of anything except a lightsaber. Stackpole also mentions in this book that during “his” clone wars, when Jedi Masters where killed their bodies fade away. As you can tell, Stackpole used the example of Kenobi and Yoda from the original trilogy.
To me, being out of continuity does not kill this book. What makes the book a fun read is the first person narrative that works so well with this character. I highly recommend this book and if you can find it in paperback it is well worth it.
That’s my opinion and I look forward to your comments as always good or bad.
This is Tom Pniewski aka Kal Skirata in the forums and blog – signing off, Good Night
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