Author Kevin Hearne is an established author that landed on the USA Today bestseller list with his debut hardcover Shattered. As an urban fantasy author, Hearne has authored nine installments of the Iron Druid Chronicles series, three novels in the Oberon's Meaty Mysteries, and countless novellas and short stories. My introduction to his work is his Star Wars novel Heir to the Jedi, published by Del Rey in 2015.
I am mostly a casual fan of the Star Wars media bonanza. I've seen the nine feature films repeatedly, and watch some of the spin-off shows. I can't quote you serial numbers on spaceships, but I know enough to just get by. I have only tackled one prior Star Wars book, and didn't care for it. But, as a Luke Skywalker fan, I was immediately drawn to the book's cover. I also liked the era in which the book is placed, snuggled between Episode IV A New Hope and Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The book is considered canon, meaning it fits directly into the current Star Wars franchise owned and operated by Disney.
In the book's opening pages, Luke is provided a mission from Princess Leia and Admiral Ackbar. He must fly to Rodia in an effort to open a secret supply line to the Rebels. The idea is that the Chekko clan there might work with the Rebels and also manufacture weapons for them. Luke is assigned a floating yacht called the Desert Jewel for the mission, and pairs with the yacht owner's daughter, and deadly sniper, Nakari for the mission.
The plot is a series of action-adventures ranging from Luke's monster fight on a jungle island, rescuing a cryptographer, contending with an infestation of skull-borer aliens, flying through an Imperial blockade, and of course fighting with other numerous enemies. As each side-story is resolved, it conveniently opens up another side-mission. For example, upgrading weapons by performing a task, locating a missing research crew to earn money, identifying a spy, etc. It reminded me of a modern video game where players work through checkpoints by solving problems. There is an emotional surprise near the end that I felt was a bold move on the author's part (hint - someone dies). This made the book conclude with an impact. More authors should do this.
As a men's action-adventure reader and fan, the book is like a Nick Carter: Killmaster installment as the action jumps from mission to mission. Ultimately, Luke Skywalker could be any paperback warrior and these planets could be Russian or China when the Cold War raged. It's an espionage spy-thriller with a science-fiction twist that seemed both familiar and nostalgic. As a Star Wars novel, it offers a glimpse into Luke's examination of the Force and his early efforts to use Jedi mind tricks to move objects around. An interesting addition was Luke's disassembly of another lightsaber to see how it actually works.
Heir to the Jedi is an action-packed novel complete with everything I love about adventure paperbacks. Whether you will love it or not shouldn't be dependent on your Star Wars knowledge or level of love. It's just an enjoyable book and I recommend it.