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Literature / Young Jedi Knights

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A Star Wars Legends science fiction book series by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moestra.

Han Solo and Leia have kids. They're studying at Luke's Academy. Chewbacca's nephew is also there, as is the daughter of those people 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:
    • 01. Heirs of the Force
    • 02. Shadow Academy
    • 03. The Lost Ones
    • 04. Lightsabers
    • 05. Darkest Knight
    • 06. Jedi Under Seige
  • Diversity Alliance arc:
    • 07. Shards of Alderaan
    • 08. Diversity Alliance
    • 09. Delusions of Grandeur
    • Advertisement:
    • 10. Jedi Bounty
    • 11. The Emperor's Plague
  • Black Sun arc:
    • 12. Return to Ord Mantell
    • 13. Trouble on Cloud City
    • 14. Crisis at Crystal Reef
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:

  • Action Girl: Jaina and Tenel Ka are the main examples, fighting and facing danger from day one.
  • 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.
  • Author Appeal: Lusa, the perpetually topless centaur girl.
    • As in Lusa from The Crystal Star, of all origins. Unless there are two Force-Sensitive Centaurs named Lusa...
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    • 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.
  • Critical Research Failure: In-Universe, 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).
  • 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 inarguably 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Fantastic Drug: Anja Gallandro's addiction to Andris spice. It was intoduced 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.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Jacen is in love with these.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Lusa walks around without a shirt on in a kids series.
  • Knee Capping: Tenel Ka to Tamith Kai. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Anja Gallandro. In the illustrations, at least, her long, flowing hair reaches all the way down to her bootheels when left loose.
  • Redemption Rejection: Brakiss has a chance to stop being Palpatine's tool, and runs instead, just like he did in the older books.
  • Retcon:
    • Where's Mara? On a mission with Mirax, since her marriage to Luke wouldn't be established until the Hand of Thrawn duology a few years later.
    • 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.
    • The Hand of Thrawn duology, written after the pertinent parts of this series, established that the Empire had signed a peace treaty with the New Republic four years prior to this series. The official explanation is that the Second Imperium, the antagonists of the Shadow Academy arc, was a Renegade Splinter Faction that refused to accept the peace. To be fair to Zahn, this series actually implies that too, since Brakiss is explicitly not drawing on traditional Imperial supply sources, and has to build his own ships and lightsabers.
  • 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 both cases They Do, but not in this series (for obvious reasons, mind: they're still minors).
  • 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.


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