It’s Star Wars Summer Reads time again, and I’m thrilled that today I’ll be writing my thoughts on a book that actually came out in the last year! I mean, I like taking my time reading SW books, so I can properly appreciate each one and digest all its awesomeness, especially with the 100% canon books. So generally most of my posts are on older books I’ve read more than once. But there happened to have been a sale earlier this year and Jason Fry’s Journey To The Force Awakens Novel, The Weapon Of A Jedi, was there and it was useless to resist. And I am so so so so glad I bought it. It’s without a doubt one of the greatest SW books I’ve ever read. And I shall tell you the reasons why!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VII and The Weapon Of A Jedi
So I’m not going to give you a full play-by-play commentary on this one like I usually do with the young readers books, I feel like honestly the best way to express my feelings for this book is to just talk about them straight-up instead of trying to retell the story and fangirl as I go. That method probably works best for the older books and episodes than this incredible book. So with that in mind it will likely be a less time-consuming post to read today! Yaysies!
Anyway, so this was released in anticipation of Episode VII, with small keys to the future of SW. TBH I probably missed most of those “keys” and I read this after seeing the film… twice. But the coolest of these keys was impossible to miss: a Resistance pilot named Jessika Pava. We open with this sweet little prologue of Threepio telling Jess the story of Luke’s first lightsaber duel. It was absolutely great getting to meet Jess Pava a little here. We haven’t seen a huge lot of her yet but clearly she’s an awesome human being. And she gets a ton of cool points for helping destroy Starkiller Base. Just from the two brief chapters we get to see her in, we feel her frustration with being stuck working on droids instead of piloting, totally understand her slight impatience with Threepio, and 100% get her admiration for the great Luke Skywalker. I do wonder a little what time exactly the prologue/epilogue takes place in, since of course yes Jess is here for the Resistance and Threepio rocks a red arm, but it must’ve been a littler earlier than most of the events in TFA because it sounds like Luke is still around and Artoo is fully functional. You just wonder how long ago it was. How long ago was it before there was a Starkiller Base? Before a young Ben Solo went down the wrong path? Before all that we saw panned out in VII’s opening titles? Even though that’s all still somewhat of a mystery, it’s kinda fun not knowing all the answers in this time and place. But I’m rambling.
So the golden droid’s tale starts out smack-dab in a space battle as Luke and Wedge take on a whole lotta TIEs. It’s truly amazing how Mr. Fry put the dogfight into words. I mean… I’ve tried to write space battles for fanfics. They’re confusing. I write better with characters more than I do with war machines. I have to wonder if any of these great SW authors ever had trouble figuring them out too. I suppose it’s just something that takes time and patience and practice and lots and lots of SW reference books (and probably discussions with the Lucasfilm Story Group would help). But boy oh boy did I learn a lot in just this first chapter alone. Not only is it an exciting opener, but it makes sense for dumb readers like me. Even with all that X-wing jargon I had to learn all the while. I didn’t know they used the terms “port” and “starboard”! Small thing but still cool to know. And wow there are so many ways to describe laserfire and explosions without reusing the same words over and over again! Reading this book was a lesson in Star Warsian vocabulary for sure, as well as a lesson in Star Warsian warfare, Star Warsian technology, and Star Warsian culture. I feel smarter already! I suppose this all sounds dumb to those of you more-seasoned SW fans, but *points to blog site title* I’m still learnin’.
Yeah no doubt Jason Fry knows how to write the wars in the Star Wars, but he equally knows how to write for the stars in Star Wars, too. I am absolutely amazed how well he wrote for Luke. We spend the majority of the book in Luke’s head and it is a mind-blowing feeling. And it’s a great place in time to be there! Just fresh off destroying the Death Star, Luke’s simply trying to be the best Rebel he can be, but this little thing called the Force keeps throwing him off. We learn so much from his perspective it’s astounding. One of my favorite things we get to dig into were those little moments that we didn’t see in the movie. I know I’ve been pretty shortsighted and somehow assumed everything that happens in the films happened somewhere between two hours and two days. Luke recalls a number of times Obi-Wan trained him and gave him nuggets of Jedi wisdom in the days between “Hello there” and “If you strike me down…”. It blew my mind wide open knowing about these parts of the story we didn’t know, and of course, it further reminded me what an amazing person Ben Kenobi is (even though I certainly already knew that). Even knowing just the smallest things, like how very hurt Luke was after Owen and Beru’s death, brings new meaning and understanding to the character and his overall story. From the film, we gather that Owen and Beru care for him, but it also seems that their relationship with Luke was sometimes difficult. Knowing he wrestled with anger and grief over what happened to them says that there was so much more to their relationship that we didn’t know. That clearly, Luke loved them, even when they didn’t get along, and Owen and Beru must’ve loved him too. They were his only family, man… OMG I’m sorry I can’t believe I spent so long on that topic but wow it’s really kinda incredible to think about. *Curls into a ball and cries for Luke* Not to mention seeing how much respect Luke has for his father in this chapter in history. We all know his dad isn’t exactly all that honorable at this point, but seeing him still having this connection with him, even not having ever known him, is all kinds of feelsy :3
Of course, one of the biggest things we really get to dig into in this story is the Force. It’s the kickstater for the whole adventure as Luke finds himself led by the Force to the ruins of a Jedi temple on Devaron. For those of us wondering how it is Luke knew how to use a lightsaber as well as he did in Episode V… this is how. With a few words from Ben and a trio of training remotes and a whole whole lot of patience, Luke gets pretty good at the Jedi-ing by the end of the book 🙂 One of the things I love most about SW books is getting a first-person view of the Force, when an author eloquently paints a mental picture of what it’s like to be surrounded by it, working with it, feeling it… it’s a beautiful thing. And Mr. Fry’s work here is no exception. He just absolutely brings it to life in the most spectacular, poetic manner! Watching Luke gain a better understanding of the Force through every twist and turn is amazing. His training session puts him through a lot both physically and emotionally, with descriptions so amazingly vivid you pretty much feel all those moments of frustration and victory yourself (I know I was pretty exhausted just reading all of his lessons in lightsaber-deflecting). Oh gracious everything about it’s fantastic. I wish I could get my thoughts in better order on all of this, but really you just have to read the book for yourself. Can I just say again that it’s seriously amazing spending time in Luke’s head? All the other SW books I’ve read have bounced back and forth between various characters’ perspectives, but 90% of Weapon Of A Jedi focuses on young Skywalker. It’s different, but a really really cool kind of different. I feel like I know this guy even better than I did before. I don’t think there could possibly been a better book to start with for my first canon novel in the Original Trilogy era. Seriously. Like wow. It all leads up to one awesome duel between Luke and an unexpected foe wielding an electrostaff that is all kinds of edge-of-your-seat. Lol I’m not sure if I’m writing this with spoilers in mind or not anymore. But anyhow this book was truly one of the most epic and wonderful things I’ve ever read. It’s a perfect balance between action and heart, and quite honestly should be read by every Star Wars fan, young and old. Jason Fry’s clearly a master at writing Star Wars stuff and I will definitely have to hunt down some of his other novels. And I certainly can’t wait to dive into the other novels in the Journey To The Force Awakens and see what Han and Leia were doing too 😀
So I’m glad we got to sit down and talk about The Weapon Of A Jedi for a moment. But before I sign off…
FIVE OTHER THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS BOOK, OR JUST FOUND PLAIN INTERESTING OR WORTH MENTIONING!
1. Getting “spacesick” is a thing.
2. Y-Wings are none too fast.
3. Luke’s acting skills are terrible, but in a rather adorable way XD
4. Screwdrivers exist in the SW galaxy.
5. Luke spends a loooooooot of moneyyyy in this book.
OK now we’re done. See you next month for another Star Wars Summer Read!
Keep The Peace,