Star Wars: Good Hunting
After reading the latest Star Wars novel, Crucible, I got the idea that the writers would now be turning their focus toward the younger characters of Star Wars Expanded Universe. Thus, it was no great surprise to me to see a new short story featuring Jaina Solo Fel, Tenel Ka and Allana Solo in a recent issue of the Star Wars Insider.
Written by Christie Golden, Star Wars: Good Hunting takes us to moment some time in between the Fate of the Jedi novels and Crucible. Nothing pressing is going on. The universe doesn't need saving. Jaina Solo Fel finds herself with a little down time, a rare commodity. She decides to spend it with her childhood friend Tenel Ka and her daughter (also Jaina's niece) Allana.
Allana Solo has her father's knack with animals, as is witnessed by the fact that she has a nexu, a creature not known to have been domesticated before, as a pet. When asked where Allana would like to go, she replies that she wants to take Anji to a place where she can learn to hunt...somewhere that might represent a nexu's native environment. Jaina and Tenel Ka decide on a planet in the Hapan Sector where the forests and wildlife are untouched and protected.
Unfortunately, upon arrival, the travelers immediately sense danger in the Force. At first thinking they are growing soft after years of special accommodations, Jaina and Tenel Ka ignore the sensation and continue their hike, but when Anji begins to act strangely and then runs away, the two friends can hardly ignore the chilling sense of danger that follows. Could this be an assassination attempt on the Hapan Queen and her heir or is something more sinister awaiting them in the forest?
I enjoyed Star Wars: Good Hunting. I loved the fact that Jaina and Tenel Ka thought that they might be going soft. As kids, the two had enjoyed hiking and camping in the forests of Yavin IV. With the changes they have undergone as adults offering them much more hospitable accommodations, it would be easy to see how they might have softened up a bit.
I also loved that this tale included Anji. Ever since seeing the nexu in Attack of the Clones, I have found the creature to be adorable. Despite the fierce needlelike teeth, three beady eyes and quills, or perhaps because of these traits, the nexu is one of my favorite Star Wars creatures. I was actually worried as to what might happen to Anji. Would Golden decide that Anji should return to the wild, teaching Allana a lesson about taking on wild creatures as pets?
My only problem with this story is the ending battle. The battle was cool and full of action, but the individual they were battling was never expanded upon. You never really understood his true goals or where he came from. This bothered me a tad. I know the authors have a set amount of space they can use in the magazine, but maybe less artwork and more story would have solved that issue. It couldn't have taken up that much space to give readers a little background about the bad guy, could it?
That being said, I found Star Wars: Good Hunting to be a fun read. Christie Golden knows the characters well and we never get the sense that they are out of focus or anything other than what we would have expected from them. The story is short and sweet, but packs an action punch all the same. An enjoyable read for any fan of the Expanded Universe.