Star Wars: Knight Errant
After having checked out the premiere issue of the comic book series called Star Wars: Knight Errant and finding the main character and the situations surrounding her quite interesting, I decided that I would check out the full length novel by the comic's author, John Jackson Miller. I decided to do so a long time ago and the book has been gathering dust on my shelf for quite some time. Every time I picked it up, something else needed my attention. Thus, I've only just had the chance to read a book I bought two years ago.
Star Wars: Knight Errant tells the story of Jedi Kerra Holt. The first issue of the comic book series (an excerpt of which appears in the middle of this novel) takes place over a thousand years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. The universe is a very different place during this time period. The Republic is not as powerful as it once was and the Sith control a great deal of the galaxy. We were introduced to Kerra Holt, a Jedi working with a group of "rogue" Jedi who are assigned to infiltrate Sith space and cause as much trouble as they can for the Sith rulers, perhaps liberating the people they have been holding captive in these systems.
Kerra is not exactly a patient warrior and often rides the line between the light and dark sides of the Force, but the guidance of her mentor has always kept her on the right path. Unfortunately, as we learn in the novel, Kerra's mentor and many of her Jedi allies were killed on a mission in Sith Lord Daiman's realm. She's stuck there, with no way out of the realm and decides to continue her mission, sabotaging as much of the insane despot's plans as she can while planning the Dark Lord's assassination.
She is that close to succeeding in her plan when she finds herself caught in the middle of a battle between Lord Daiman and his power-crazed brother Lord Odion. Also caught in the middle are a number of refugee children from Daiman's realm, tricked into believing they are students at some high-tech lab facility, but actually used as bait to draw out Odion. With the reluctant aide of a mercenary and his team hired by Daiman, Jedi Holt saves the children and escapes Daiman's domain only to stumble upon an all-out war between all of the Sith in this part of the galaxy and a surprising secret linking each and every Sith she has ever met or even heard of in her years as a Jedi. But will this secret be her undoing or can it be something that can help the Republic if she can ever find her way back to it?
Funny, I found Kerra Holt very interesting when I read the first issue of the Knight Errant comic book series, but in the novel, found I was more interested in the mercenary reluctantly helping her and the secret identity of the Bothan she finds herself in league with on a number of occasions than in Kerra herself. In fact, although we learned that Kerra has a soft spot where it comes to kids and refugees and walks a fine line between the dark and light side of the Force, we really didn't learn much more. We already knew that her home world had been destroyed by the Sith, leading her to fight them as vigorously as possible from within, but other than her attachment to the Sullustan child she tutored and her obsession with destroying Daiman and Odion, there isn't much else new that we learn about Kerra. No new insights on a main character that we are supposed to worry about and root for. Thus, I felt no real connection to Kerra Holt and really didn't care much whether she succeeded in her mission.
Instead, I was much more interested in who the Bothan spy was actually working for and in Jarrow Rusher, the mercenary for hire with a surprisingly strict moral code that endears him to the reader. No, he doesn't really want to stick his neck out for a young Jedi and her band of refugee children, but he can't exactly leave them behind either. As gruff and stand-offish as he would pretend to be, Jarrow Rusher actually has a heart and readers will find him very appealing as a character.
Even the Sith weren't all that interesting and the ones that did peak the interest were never fully developed in this novel, leaving one with the sense that they never truly had a grasp of what the Sith was about before they were gone from our existence.
While I enjoyed the action and intrigue in the novel, something was missing for me in Star Wars: Knight Errant - surprising as I am a big fan of John Jackson Miller's work, especially his Lost Tribe of the Sith series of ebooks. Another pet peeve - the number of typographical errors in the final chapter of the book. They were extremely distracting. It may be that Knight Errant was a tale more suited for comic book format than novelization. The story was intriguing, but it never truly captivated me and was therefore, a long-awaited disappointment.