If ever there was a trilogy of books that I regretted getting rid of other than Timothy Zahn’s ‘Empire Trilogy’ it’s Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy.
‘Jedi Search’ was one of my most-read Star Wars books when I was younger, along with the rest of the trilogy, for me it was all about the training of new Jedi. I was always fascinated in the kinds of lessons they would have had, nothing as dull as Maths and Science that I was relegated to in real life.
And whilst ‘Jedi Search’ doesn’t delve too deeply into the lessons of new Jedi, it introduces us to some potential Jedi recruits. Now it has been many years since I read this book and diving back in with the Audiobook was something I was greatly looking forward to, and whilst it was enjoyable, and I was reminded of parts of the book it had forgotten (the Lando subplot), there were things that I did remember that were missed out, but that’s what you get with Abridged versions.
Han and Chewie are sent to Kessel to try to bring the Spice Mining planet into the New Republic, unfortunately, Moruth Doole who runs the Spice Mining operation has a few problems with Han Solo from their past dealings and afterHan and Chewie are captured they are forced to work in the Spice Mines.
Working in the mines they meet Kyp Durron, a young man who has Force abilities. When Han volunteers the three of them to help scout a fresh mine and their handlers are killed by a native creature, the three hatch an escape where they steal an old Imperial Shuttle but their escape sends them into The Maw, a series of Black Holes. Kyp navigates The Maw using the Force but they end up being captured by Admiral Daala, a former protégé of Grand Moff Tarkin who now runs the Maw installation where they developed Imperial Superweapons, designed by Qui Xux who believed her creations were to be used for good (the Death Star was meant to be used to break up dead planets for mining purposes), the last weapon she made was The Sun Crusher.
After she learns that her creations were used for evil, she breaks Han out and they break out Chewie and Kyp and they steal the Sun Crusher and escape the Maw, being chased by Daala and her Four Star Destroyers.
Meanwhile, Luke asks the New Republic for their blessing to start a Jedi Academy and to opportunity to find and trail potential Jedi. He finds two possible students, Gantoris and Streen. When they arrive back on Coruscant, Luke meets with Lando who had also been on a trip to locate a potential Jedi, but what he, R2 and C-3PO did was stop a gambler rigging races to escape from his suitor. Leia tells Luke and Lando that Han isn’t back, he’s almost a week overdue and that he had missed his children Jacen and Jaina finally arriving on Coruscant after they had been placed in hiding to thwart kidnapping attempts.
Luke and Lando travel to Kessel, pose as potential investors and find that the Millennium Falcon has been put into service on Kessel. They steal back the Falcon and in the ensuing chase, the Falcon and The Sun Crusher cross paths and the heroes work together to escape when the Imperial and Kessel forces begin to attack each other.
Back on Coruscant, Han is reunited with his family, he also introduce Luke to Kyp and they find out that Kyp has a very strong affinity for the Force, making Luke very excited to begin the young man’s training.
Two scenes that were noticeably omitted in the audio book that I remembered from my youth are the discovery of a device that is able to measure an individual’s Force ability. Luke uses it on himself and Leia before using it in Wedge, which of course yielded negative results. The device is mentioned however when Lando uses it to find out if their potential Jedi is actually that (obviously not).
The second is on Bespin when Luke and Gantoris meet Streen, Luke gives them an exercise where they are to use the Force to nudge a spire making local birds fly away. Both of the Jedi trainees are able to do this, Gantoris even manages to do it without gesturing with his hands, mastering the art of telekinesis quickly.
Despite the omissions, I still enjoyed the Audiobook. Anthony Heald narrates it well, although he doesn’t rank anywhere near to Marc Thompson in my book (seriously that man is Star Wars royalty). I’ve already started ‘Dark Apprentice’, the second in the ‘Jedi Academy’ Trilogy and boy is it bringing back memories.
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