I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole Audiobook Review

Rogue Squadron Pilot Corran Horn begins his Jedi Training and uses his CorSec skills to track down the Pirates who have kidnapped his wife.

Michael A. Stackpole writes a first person story focusing on Corran Horn who he introduced in the ‘X-Wing’ series. The story weaves through the narrative from Kevin J. Anderson’s ‘Jedi Academy’ Trilogy.

After experiencing a tremor in the Force where he feels his connection with his wife, Mirax diminish. Corran learns that she was working on tracking a Pirate group called The Invids. With the New Republic unable to assist him, Luke Skywalker offers Corran a place at his new Jedi Academy where he can learn how to hone his connection with the Force to help him in his mission.

Corran, under the alias Kieron Halcyon, joins as one of the original twelve students. The story tells the events on Yavin IV from the perspective of Corran.

Corran interacts through the already established story, adding some side plots to keep from changing Anderson’s narrative. He forms a friendship with Mara Jade, he attempts to confront the spirit of Exar Kun in Kun’s Temple and he fixes up the Z-95 Headhunter that Kyp stole and returned.

Once Luke is saved, Corran chooses to leave, feeling that he’s not being true to himself by focusing his attention on his Jedi Training after having a vision of his Grandfather’s death at the hands of a Dark Jedi.

He visits his Father-In-Law, Booster Terrik, a once famed smuggler who tries to blame the disappearance of his daughter on Corran who turns it back on the older man, knowing that Booster would have been helping Mirax and that Terrik hasn’t been in touch to discuss Mirax’s disappearance in the months since it happened.

Corran creates a new alias, Jenos Iranian. Under this new identity, Corran infiltrates a group of Invids, the Khuiumin Survivors and becomes part of their star fighter group. As his reputation grows he becomes one of the Squad leaders. They start working with the leaders of the Invids on raids, attacking a Caamasi Remnant planet.

On the ground, Corran saves a Caamasi, Elegos A’Kla from a group of the Pirates and badly wounds one, Sasyru. Elegos becomes Corran’s body servant. Horn is approached by Lenova Tavira, the Invid leader. She offers him the chance to become her consort, a position that would grant him access to a lot of sensitive information, including the location of Mirax and he has a month to decide.

Using his time wisely, Corran begins sabotaging the Invid’s base on the planet, wearing a hooded cloak and using Jedi techniques the Pirates become scared of the Phantom Jedi.

Tavira brings in a group of Force Sensitives called The Jensaari. Corran encounters them and is almost bested but is saved by the appearance of Luke Skywalker. They capture the five Jensaari and with the help of Corran’ Rogue Squadron wing mate, Ooryl Qrygg.

They interrogate the Jensaari and find out Mirax’s location within Tavari’s headquarters in Yumfla. Corran, Luke, Ooryl and Elegos make their way through the base and rescue Mirax before facing off with more Jensaari and their leader, Saari-kaar, who was with her Master, Nikkos Tyris, when the latter killed Corran’s grandfather. Using his Force powers of mind manipulation, Corran subdues Kaar. The Jensaari are neither Jedi or Sith and Luke extends an offer to Kaar and her disciples to join his Academy to learn to focus on the Light Side and dismiss the Sith practices from their order.

Meanwhile, Tavari’s forces are subdued by Booster Terrik’s ship, The Errant Venture, Rogue Squadron and Pash Cracken’s A-Wings, with the help of Corran’s mind manipulation of Tavares, causing the Pirate leader to escape.

The book is quite large, and for it to be condensed down to three hours a lot gets cut out. Whilst I have never finished the book when I read it as a kid, I did notice some emissions. The first I noticed was early on in Corran’s time at the Jedi Praxeum where Luke shows him to his sleeping quarters in the old Pilots Barracks from the time the Temple was used as a Rebel Base. Luke show Corran marks carved into the wall from him and his fellow pilots before the Death Star attack.

The other missing part was a section where Corran returns to Corellia after meeing Booster Terrik, before heading off to infiltrate the Invids. On Corellia he meets with his Step-Grandfather, Rostek Horn and they discuss Nejaa Halcyon, Rostek’s former friend, Jedi Master and Corran’s paternal Grandfather.

One thing I did enjoy was the introduction of Elegos A’Kla, seeing how he became part of Corran’s life and his connection to Corran’s past. The fact that he is also a descendant of Neeja’s partner is a tad coincidental but, is it coincidence or was is the Force at work… And seeing as I recently read more about the character in ‘The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide (Part 2) – Ruin‘ and his eventual demise and how it affected Corran’s character in that book, the new information from ‘I, Jedi’ really makes me appreciate his arc in that book more.

I enjoyed the change of perspective, using the first person narrative style that is well known for the hard boiled Private Detective stories from Raymond Chandler in the late 1930’s. Whilst it doesn’t have the same tone, the Audiobook certainly does its best to emulate the feel of the genre. It’s not the first time I have questioned the choice of Anthony Heald as narrator but I think a grittier performance would have suited the tone more.

Whilst an enjoyable book, the Audiobook experience was slightly lacking for me. I’m probably going to make an effort to pick the book up in the future for the full experience.

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