Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Young Jedi Knights

Go To
A Star Wars Legends science fiction book series (1995-98) by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.

Han Solo and Leia have kids. They're studying at Luke's Academy. Chewbacca's nephew is also there, as is the daughter of Prince Isoldor and Teneniel Djo from The Courtship of Princess Leia.

It's basically X-Men with lightsabers. The series started out with typical Imperial remnants-related plots, then gradually diversified (no pun intended) to include the kids fighting a much broader array of enemies, with well over a dozen books in the total arc. Many of the characters here would go on to be foundation-level players in subsequent EU works. Expect many of Kevin J. Anderson's characters (Tionne, Kyp Durron) to make an appearance as well.

It consists of:

  • Shadow Academy arc (compiled as The Rise of the Shadow Academy; the first 3 are also compiled as Jedi Shadow and 4-6 as Jedi Sunrise):
    • 01. Heirs of the Force (June 1995)
    • 02. Shadow Academy (September 1995)
    • 03. The Lost Ones (December 1995)
    • 04. Lightsabers (March 1996)
    • 05. Darkest Knight (June 1996)
    • 06. Jedi Under Siege (September 1996)
  • Diversity Alliance arc (complied as The Fall of the Diversity Alliance):
    • 07. Shards of Alderaan (January 1997)
    • 08. Diversity Alliance (April 1997)
    • 09. Delusions of Grandeur (July 1997)
    • 10. Jedi Bounty (October 1997)
    • 11. The Emperor's Plague (January 1998)
  • Black Sun arc (compiled as Under Black Sun):
    • 12. Return to Ord Mantell (May 1998)
    • 13. Trouble on Cloud City (August 1998)
    • 14. Crisis at Crystal Reef (December 1998)

Not to be confused with Junior Jedi Knights, a similar series mostly from the same co-author (Rebecca Moesta) focusing on Anakin Solo's time at the Academy.

This work provides us with examples of:

  • Academy of Adventure: Luke's Jedi Academy, naturally. The protagonists face danger from day one.
  • Action Girl: Jaina and Tenel Ka are the main examples, fighting and facing danger as soon as their Jedi training began.
  • Action Survivor: Em Teedee, who is basically a young adult version of C-3PO, and is horrified by all the perils and adventures yet makes it through them.
  • An Aesop: One in every book, about drugs, racism, class, etc.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Czethros, the leader of a drug-running syndicate, who also supplies Anja with her andris spice.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: The Diversity Alliance, a diverse group of misanthropic aliens who plan to destroy humanity with biological weapons.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Yfra, the Hapan ambassador who's an overall jerk in her two appearances (in Shadow Academy and Lightsabers). In the second, she goes so far as to try and have Tenel Ka and her grandmother Ta'a Chume assassinated several times. With Tenel Ka's parents gone from the planet (and evidently targeted by people under Yfra's pay) she would have no problem taking power, and she actually does briefly attempt to do so when she mistakenly believes she's succeeded.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Lusa, the perpetually topless centaur girl, who previously appeared in The Crystal Star.
    • Also Tenel Ka, with her repeatedly-described "hard muscles."
    • Another oddly recurring theme is that of people being messily devoured by one thing or another, including wolf-men, carnivorous seaweed and giant flowers.
  • Badass Teacher: Luke plays this painfully straight at times, along with Hippie Teacher. Of course, by this point, he's been throwing down with warlords and Dark Jedi for twenty four years.
  • The Baroness: Tamith Kai is the attractive version, and has a lot more subtext in this direction than one would expect of a children's book villain.
  • Big Bad: Each of the three main plot arcs has one — the false Emperor in the "Shadow Academy" arc, Nolaa Tarkona in the "Diversity Alliance" arc, and Czethros in the "Black Sun" arc.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The insectoid assassins in Lightsabers.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Jacen and Tenel Ka in The Emperor's Plague.
  • Butt-Monkey: Raynar Thul. He grows out of it after life kicks some sense into him.
  • Catchphrase: Ah, ah-hah, only every single kid character. From Jaina's grating "Well, what are we waiting for?" to Jacen's "Want to hear a joke?" to Tenel Ka's trademark "This is a fact."
  • Character Development: All of the young Jedi progress through the series, changing and growing.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Jacen obtains a Corusca gem early in the second book, which he places in his boot. Later on in the book, he uses it to break out of his prison in the Shadow Academy. And even afterwards, he uses that gem to be the core of his lightsaber.
  • Co-Dragons: Qorl and Taimith Kai to Brakiss.
  • Continuity Snarl: See ContinuitySnarl.Star Wars Legends.
  • Cool Old Guy: TIE Fighter veteran Qorl fought over Yavin, and survived in the jungle for decades. While not good, he is a villain with some ethics and honor. And is generally one of the cooler people working for the Shadow Academy.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted with Qorl, who though equipped with a nasty-looking (and powerful) cybernetic arm to replace the badly-mangled original appendage is unarguably the most level-headed and moral of Brakiss's group.
  • Dark Action Girl:
    • Tamith Kai is a straight example, with as much of The Baroness in her that could be written into a YA villainess.
    • Deconstructed with Anja Gallandro, who tries to pose as this sort of cool, dark character, but is inwardly extremely insecure and unhappy.
  • Destroy the Villain's Weapon: During their final duel in Jedi Under Siege, Luke defeats Brakiss by slashing off the top two inches or so of his lightsaber, leaving him weaponless. Brakiss quickly replaces it with a mass-produced one on his return to the Shadow Academy though.
  • Determined Homesteader: Deconstructed. Everything built on the surface of Zekk's homeworld, Ennth, is destroyed in a regular, seven-year cycle by the planet's moon's elliptical orbit bringing it into the planet's atmosphere and touching off seismic cataclysms that last for an entire year, after which the inhabitants return from their space station refuges and rebuild everything from scratch. Anyone else would've moved to another planet a long time ago, and after helping the latest round of evacuations, Zekk even tells them they really ought to go somewhere else.
  • Discreet Drink Disposal: In book 2 (Shadow Academy), Luke and Tenel Ka disguise themselves and visit Shanko's Hive, a bar, to look for information. Tenel Ka orders a particular drink, but Luke warns her off it quietly because of how strong it is; she looks around for a way to dispose of it and finally dumps it into the pot of what she thinks is a decorative plant, but turns out to be a plant-based alien customer.
  • The Dragon: Brakiss to Emperor Palpatine. Sort of a weird case, in that they never actually met. Because Palpatine's been Deader than Dead for about twelve years. It's all holograms and voice clips.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In this series, Jacen is generally portrayed as a cheerful, enthusiastic kid with a taste for groan-inducing puns. Starting with the New Jedi Order, that characterization would be quickly scuttled for a more brooding, melancholy disposition, with little explanation for the sudden character change.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Zekk is of the sallow type, to judge by the cover art.
  • Emo Teen: Lowbacca's friend Raabakyysh seems to be the Wookie equivalent.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The new Nightsister clan formed by Tamith Kai. Unlike the original ones under Gethzerion, who were Straw Misogynist amazons, her group accepts men who are strong in the Force more or less as equals.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Qorl takes issue with the Shadow Academy's lethal training, and this is a big part of his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Evil Mentor: Brakiss, Dark Jedi Master and leader of the Shadow Academy, is this for all his students — Force-users who are taught to use the Dark Side.
  • Evil Matriarch: Tenel Ka's grandmother Ta'a Chume, ex-Queen Mother of the (matriarchal!) Hapes Consortium. Sort of subverted in that she's not outright evil yet, but just incredibly paranoid.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Zekk, who goes from streetwise scavenger to Dark Jedi. It doesn't last.
  • Fantastic Drug: Anja Gallandro's addiction to Andris spice. It was introduced in the A. C. Crispin books almost eight years before, but this is the first time we see what its use actually looks like. It's basically PCP, only it also gives the user a fever and better hand-eye coordination.
  • Freudian Excuse: Among other reasons, Nolaa Tarkona has this behind her desire for slaughter and conquest of the human race — in revenge for the death of her half-sister Oola.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: In Lightsabers, Wrench Wench Jaina Solo decides to take handcrafting her lightsaber one step further, and chemically grows her own core crystal in a reactor chamber. She's briefly horrified when the resulting blade is Sith red, not apparently having known that this is how the Sith make their crystals, too (since a synthetic crystal has a small but non-zero chance of cutting off an opposing lightsaber blade).note 
  • Healing Factor: A limited one — Corrsk the Trandoshan claims his severed arm will grow back eventually (and indeed, other Trandoshans have proven they can). Unfortunately for him, he doesn't live long enough to prove it.
  • The Heavy: A new Emperor leads the Imperial remnants in the first story arc of the series, and Brakiss is merely one of his subordinates, albeit a fairly senior one. Nonetheless, the Master of the Shadow Academy drives most of the plots and provides the physical enemy the heroes are fighting throughout, with the Emperor appearing only in the final book. And turning out to be a fraud.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Luke attempts to make Brakiss do one but fails.
    • Zekk has one that reverses his earlier Face–Heel Turn.
    • Qorl as well, as he ends up shooting down one of his own students who delighted in being nasty, before finally crashing again and deciding to settle down in the jungles of Yavin, this time intending it to be permanent. It isn't, as he later helps Anakin escape from Yavin 4 during the Yuuzhan Vong war.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Lusa walks around without a shirt on in a kids series.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Lusa claims that Hethrir was human. He's not — it was a major plot point in The Crystal Star that he was a Firrerreo, a near-human species (near-enough that he could easily be mistaken for one).
  • Keeping the Handicap: Tenel Ka loses a part of her arm due to rushing her lightsaber's construction and having it explode in her hand. She eventually refuses to get a replacement prosthetic like her teacher Luke Skywalker did as a reminder to not let her pride get the better of her, citing it was Luke's choice to do so as her grandmother is trying to force the artificial limb on her, until Tenel Ka "forcefully" destroys the prosthetic to affirm her decision.
  • Knee Capping: Tenel Ka to Tamith Kai in Shadow Academy. She gets a bit better later.
  • Landmine Goes Click: Generally averted with the burrowing detonators and sonic punchers (motion-activated grenades) used during the civil war on Anobis (as portrayed in Return to Ord Mantell). Sometimes the soil the burrowing detonators are in can be seen moving moments before one goes off, but there's rarely any warning. Fortunately, Jedi can sense them wherever they're planted, and the Solo children and their friends make use of this to help clear out many fields and tunnels that have been seeded with these weapons. Flying low enough over a field with shields active also proves very effective for clearing out the burrowing detonators planted there.
  • Light Is Not Good: Unlike most Dark Side villains, Brakiss is fair, handsome, calm and polite, wears mainly white and silver, and poses as a reasonable and well-intentioned teacher. He is really little (if any) less evil than Tamith Kai, who is more obvious about it.
  • Literal Disarming: Corrsk, a Trandoshan, gets an arm cut off during his battle with Lowbacca in The Emperor's Plague. He's still trying to get his blaster out of its grip when damage to the outer wall results in his getting sucked out into space.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Raynar Thul, to a degree.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Inverted. When a Bothan spy attempts to assassinate Lusa in Jedi Bounty, he mentions that he wants the death to not look like an accident so anyone who leaves the Diversity Alliance will think they can't hide.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Appear in both Lightsabers (a seaweed-like species on Hapes) and Darkest Knight (the carnivorous Syren plant from Kashyyk).
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: Everyone, including Brakiss, thinks the fake Emperor Palpatine is really another clone of the Emperor, as per Dark Empire. Actually, it's a group of otherwise unremarkable old Imperial fanatics faking it.
  • Mind Rape: Luke uses this on Brakiss to try to get him to make a Heel–Face Turn, but fails.
  • No Endor Holocaust: In "Heirs of the Force" Qorl mentions that the explosion of the first Death Star must have started dozens of forest fires on Yavin 4.
  • Older and Wiser: Luke Skywalker has come a long way as a Jedi teacher. While not the focus of the stories, it's clear that his experiences training other Jedi have made him a much better teacher for the academy now.
  • Old Soldier: Qorl. Overlaps with Shell-Shocked Veteran and Crazy Survivalist as he's the lone surviving TIE Fighter pilot from the Battle of Yavin who's spent the last twenty or so years hiding out in the Yavin jungle waiting for the Empire to retrieve him.
  • Over Used Running Gag: Jacen's attempts at humour.
  • The Plague: Oh yes. There's a whole arc of books about two factions trying desperately to find the research depot where the villains from the X-Wing Series hid their extra bioweapons.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Jacen tries desperately to be this. Then New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force came.
  • Polite Villains, Rude Heroes: Brakiss is nearly always calm, collected and correct (though sometimes horribly evil). By contrast, the kids are irreverent, snarky and generally rude to him. Of course, a lot of this is justified, since he has kidnapped them.
  • Power of Friendship: Inescapable in this series. This was before the retcons about emotion from the later EU and Disney canons.
  • Properly Paranoid: The entire Hapan royal family. In fairness, people try to kill them a lot.
  • Pungeon Master: Jacen is always making incredibly lame puns.
  • Pushed at the Monster: Brought up in one of Jacen's jokes:
    "Two Gamorrean guards are walking down a narrow, deserted canyon, when suddenly a rancor comes out and starts chasing them. One of the Gamorreans stops to put on his best running shoes. 'Don't waste time,' shouts the other, 'you can't outrun a rancor with those!!' 'I don't have to outrun a rancor,' says the first one as he finishes lacing his shoes, 'I just have to outrun you!'"
  • Rebellious Princess: Tenel Ka, heiress to the throne of the Hapes Cluster but would rather focus on her warrior heritage.
  • Redemption Rejection: Brakiss has a chance to stop being Palpatine's tool, and runs instead, just like he did in the older books.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Delusions of Grandeur reveals that the Diversity Alliance has this policy — anyone who tries to leave is hunted down and captured for execution (as happened to a Talz friend of Lusa's) or just plain hunted down and executed on the spot (as attempted with Lusa). They try to justify it as "defectors are traitors".
  • Retcon:
    • Qorl being the crashed TIE Fighter pilot that Luke fought on the Yavin moon in the Marvel comics' Day After the Death Star.
    • The "Boba Fett" who appears in Shards of Alderaan turned out to be his daughter Ailyn Vel, impersonating him while believing he was dead.
  • Sadist Teacher: Tamith Kai at the Shadow Academy is a very literal example, given its status as an Academy of Evil. She also sort of plays the "Bad Cop" role to Brakiss, its Master.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Hovrak, a Shistavanen wolfman and Adjutant Advisor in the Diversity Alliance, gladly devours live human criminals for his meals. He also killed and ate a Talz who'd attempted to leave the Diversity Alliance.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Luke tries to do this to Brakiss using Mind Rape to show him the evils of the Empire and do a Heel–Face Turn, but fails.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Raynar again. He grows out of it once he's had a bit of real fighting.
  • Shout-Out: Qorl's Imperial service designation, "CE3K-1977," is a reference to Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind, "CE3K" being an acronym of the title and 1977 the year that it was released.
  • Sixth Ranger: Zekk. He's even drawn to look like Jason David Frank in the cover artwork.
  • Stripperiffic: Tenel Ka's "lizard-hide armour" often seems to be made to be like this, particularly from Jacen's POV.
  • Twin Telepathy: Jacen and Jaina, though it's not word-for-word like a radio, but more emotional connection. With practice, they can refine it further.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Diversity Alliance, who acknowledge that they're going to have to kill more people than Palpatine ever did if they want to get anything done.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Distaff Counterpart in Lusa, who admittedly is like this in all the other books, too.
  • When Trees Attack: Literally. Jedi Under Siege has Stormtroopers getting ambushed by a sentient tree-like Jedi, who is rooted in the soil yet still defeats them in a single move (cutting down a tree next to her that falls on them), which drains her of most of her energy.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Jacen and Tenel Ka. Jaina and Zekk. In the case of Jacen and Tenel Ka, they do in a later series and even end up having a lovechild. In the case of Jaina and Zekk, they get married to other people.
  • Wrench Wench: Jaina, who loves to tinker with machines.
  • You Killed My Father: When she first meets Han in Return to Ord Mantell, Anja Gallandro accuses him of doing this during the events of Han Solo and the Lost Legacy (almost twenty-five years before). He didn't, and says as much, later truthfully explaining that Gallandro had entered a no-weapons zone around Xim the Despot's treasure stores and, not seeing the warning lights (which had been removed by a Ruurian named Skynx, also part of the treasure-hunting team), drew his blaster to kill Skynx. The automated security systems promptly kicked in and vaporized Gallandro.