Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Shards of Alderaan
After reading the events of The New Jedi Order, Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi, I wondered what events had shaped certain Jedi and guided their actions in these storylines. I knew something of Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo’s past, but not much about Raynar Thul, Zek, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca and others. I had already read Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights: Rise of the Shadow Academy, but that still didn’t give me enough insight into the characters that would shape the next generation of Jedi. I decided to check out other Young Jedi Knights books, beginning with Shards of Alderaan.
This book takes place shortly after the events in Rise of the Shadow Academy with the Young Jedi Knights assisting in rebuilding the damaged Jedi Temple on Yavin IV. Zek is in an infirmary on site, recovering from his ordeal (Jedi Under Siege), visited constantly by his friends in hopes that he will fully recover and join them at the academy. Unfortunately, Zek has other ideas. Feeling as though he doesn’t quite belong at the academy, Zek sets out on his own. His first stop: Ennth, his turmoil-ridden home world and the planet on which he lost his parents.
Meanwhile, Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka and Lowbacca set off on a journey to find the perfect birthday present for Princess Leia, due to arrive on Yavin IV in just a few days. They head out to Alderaan in Tenel Ka’s new starship, the Rock Dragon, in an effort to recover a piece of Leia’s destroyed home planet as a gift. Unfortunately, someone else is combing the asteroid field that was once Alderaan - Boba Fett.
Despite the fact that this book was written for young adults, it does offer keen insight into the reasoning behind certain characters’ actions in their adult lives. We begin to see how Raynar Thul fits into things in later novels as he makes an effort to become closer to the Solo twins. The events of this novel also help to shape Zek, a character who can’t seem to find direction no matter how hard he tries. The reader is given insight into the tight knit relationship between Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, Zek and Lowbacca that we witness in later novels.
The only fault I find in this book is that Lowbacca’s translator droid, which does a heck of a lot more than translating, is way too much like See Threepio. I know the intention was to add some comic relief, but the droids, with the exception of Em Teedee not having any arms or legs, are just too similar in nature for my liking.
Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta capture the action and adventure of the Star Wars Universe and translate it into young adult format without losing any of the intensity that makes Star Wars so much fun. I can’t wait to read the rest of the Young Jedi Knights series.