Science Fiction

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: The Emperor's Plague

Author: Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta

Published By:
The Berkley Publishing Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The events that take place in the Young Jedi Knight series by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta are of some importance to the future of the Star Wars Universe.  What takes place in these young adult novels helps mold the young Jedi into the adults they are today.  With the new Star Wars novels focusing on this new generation of Star Wars heroes, I decided to take a path backwards in my reading and check out these novels to help see what past events have had an effect on the Jedi…or Sith…they have become.  I have finally reached the eleventh novel in the series, The Emperor’s Plague.

            When we last left our young heroes, they had just escaped the clutches of the Diversity Alliance, a group dedicated to eradicating the atrocities heaped on alien races by the Empire and a strong distaste for all things human.  While seeming to be a strong political group with good intentions on the surface, the Young Jedi have come to learn the true intentions of the Diversity Alliance - to eradicate all humans.  However, despite explaining their discoveries to the Senate, there are still some who refuse to believe the evils of the Diversity Alliance and their Twi’lek leader, Nolaa Tarkona

            The Senate votes to send a group of ambassadors to Ryloth to investigate the claims of the Young Jedi.  Accompanied by defectors from the Alliance, the centaur Lusa and Lowbacca’s sister Sirra, and the recently rescued former leader of the Twi’leks on Ryloth, Kur, the group has already made its intentions known to the Diversity Alliance.  However, when they get there, they discover Nolaa Tarkona is nowhere to be found…neither are the issues presented to the New Republic Senate that inspired this visit.

            Meanwhile, our young heroes, aided by Raynar Thul’s father, are on a mad dash to reach the Emperor’s former stronghold before Tarkona and her people do.  To allow the Diversity Alliance access to the stronghold’s supply of plagues is to allow disaster to befall the galaxy, for not only does the stronghold have ample supply of a plague that can wipe out the human race, there are also a number of plagues contained in the facility that can be used against several of the galaxy’s alien races.  Can the Young Jedi Knights destroy the stronghold before the Diversity Alliance can make off with the plagues?  And if so, at what cost?

            The further I read into the Young Jedi Knights series, the more serious things get and the more mature our heroes become.  Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: The Emperor’s Plague seems to be a turning point for at least three of our heroes - Zekk finally realizes what he is meant to do in the universe, Raynar becomes more mature and a stronger part of the close-knit group of young Jedi and Lusa decides that she should learn more about her Force abilities.  The characters become even closer, thanks to the extreme peril they are placed in, and we realize just how much stronger they have become over the course of the novels. 

            There are only three more novels left in this series and, as I hear, these novels show an even higher level of maturity in our young heroes than experienced in the last few.  I’ve already uncovered some interesting moments that have helped shape the adult decisions our heroes make in later books.  I can’t wait to check out the rest of the novels in the series to learn more.


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