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Jedi Search
(The Jedi Academy Trilogy - Book One)

By Kevin J. Anderson

11 years after ANH


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This book by Kevin J.Anderson is the first in a trilogy which establishes many of the basic tenets for future Jedi training, and adds core characters and plot-lines for the on-going Expanded Universe.

Jedi Search follows right along in the timeline; it is now two years past Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy. Han and Leia's twins are 2½ years old, and there is also a third child, the baby Anakin. All three children have been sequestered on a distant, hidden planet to protect their nascent Jedi minds. As Jedi Search begins, the twins, Jaina and Jacen, are about to return to their parents' care. Luke Skywalker, meanwhile, is looking for his purpose in the rapidly stabilizing galaxy, Leia has taken on more and more governmental responsibilites….to the detriment of her Jedi studies….and Han and Chewbacca are off on a diplomatic mission to allign the spice miners of Kessel with the ever-expanding New Republic. Jedi Search kicks all these wheels into motion: Luke starts the process of setting up an academy to re-establish the Jedi Order, Han and Chewie's mission on Kessel immediately goes awry, sending them as prisoners deep into the spice mines, and Leia must juggle increasing bureaucratic time demands with the arrival of her children, and all the while with no word from Han. Mix into the stew a mysterious Imperial facility at the core of the Kessel Maw, and a potential new super-weapon. And who is the dark man with dark-side powers dreamt of by one of Luke's new students?


Jedi Search is a hackneyed clump of amateurish writing. Kevin Anderson has a good fan-boy's grasp of the Star Wars universe…..odds are he'd do well in a trivia contest…….but no real feel for the subtleties of place or characterization. There are some fun, exciting passages……Han and Chewbacca's sojurn in and discoveries about the spice mines, for example…..enough to elevate this tome to a two-star rating. These moments of clarity are few and far between, however, and make the rest of this mess all the more frustrating.

Let's revisit my subjective book-rating criteria: 1) Did the author get the character's "voices" right? Throughout this book, Luke, Leia, and Han (Luke and Leia especially) behave in completely unlikely fashions. Luke runs the gamut from a mopey basset hound, to a posturing macho-Jedi; Leia alternates between petulant and passive. 2) Are the crises or hurdles believable? Some of what transpires in Jedi Search is entertaining and fits in with the saga, but there is a disproportionate amount of heavy-handed melodrama, and the novel feels blatantly padded. There is a whole sequence with Lando Calrissian that is totally out of place and pointless. Even Luke goes through some "tests" that seem more like action sequences for their own sake, rather than for the end goal of moving the story along. 3) Does the story fit in with the literature and film continuum? Yes and no. The over-all plot works fine, but the devil (and the dark side?) is in the details. Anderson's naming conventions are cutsey and self-conscious, there are many jarring, out-of-context, non-Star Wars-universe references, and the plot often turns on coincidence and happy happenstance instead of organic, EU-connected motivations. And 4) Is there an interesting "bad guy"? Not really. We have Moruth Doole, the Kessel prison warden, who seems to be inserted for a sort of nasty comic-relief (and much of the attempts at humor are sophmoric and forced), and we have Imperial Admiral Daala, who might be a good enough nemesis to qualify, but she comes along very late in the novel and is primarily just setting us up for Jedi Academy book TWO.

Jedi Search is not the worst book in the Star Wars Expanded Universe……it's not even the worst book by Kevin Anderson…..but it only redeems itself in small, fitful snatches. The plot device of Luke defining his purpose to be the re-introduction of the Jedi Knights is an excellent direction for the EU to take. Leia's consternation at balancing motherhood, Jedi training, and politics also feels right. Even Han's re-visit to Kessel is apt. Between those worthwhile plot points is an awful lot of mediocre scribing. For the completeists among us, there are too many important character and continuum developments to avoid this book, but definitely skim.