Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void is not really my kind of Star Wars book. It’s very much not my era and while I’ve bought some of the Dawn of the Jedi comics, I haven’t actually read any of them yet. But you know? I tried it, and despite my long tendency to not get more than a chapter or two into most Star Wars books set before Return of the Jedi, I kept reading. And I actually enjoyed it.
The Dawn of the Jedi period – introduced in a a comic from John Ostrander and Jan Duursema – is set about 36,000 years before A New Hope, in the earliest days of the Jedi (here called Je’daii) before the Old Republic. Into the Void is actually my first encounter with it, and while some questions are certainly raised, I think it’s safe to say that one doesn’t to know anything about the comics to enjoy the book.
Some spoilers beneath the cut, but nothing major.
Into the Void focuses on Je’daii Ranger Lanoree Brock, as she is sent on a mission to stop her cultist brother Dal from unleashing a deadly machine. The book alternates between the past of their Je’daii training – which Dal rejects to the point of faking his own death – and Lanoree’s assignment in the present. She must track Dal down and stop him from opening an ancient hypergate (which may or may not exist) with dark matter. If it doesn’t exist, he runs the risk of destroying the entire Tython system.
The primary focus of the story is the relationship between Lanoree and Dal. In fact, perhaps the most refreshing part of the book is the complete lack of any romantic entanglements for Lanoree. And yes, this is long before the ‘attachment is forbidden’ era – the Brock parents are both Je’daii. A Star Wars book that not only features a female protagonist but makes her love life (or lack thereof) a complete nonissue? I can’t help but appreciate that.
A few stray thoughts:
- Lanoree has a particular talent for Force Alchemy – something that is almost exclusively a dark side/Sith power in later EU. This is so early in the timeline that the Je’daii actually use both sides of the Force.
- There are Noghri. Now given, it’s explained that the Tython system was settled by a variety of species before it lost contact with the larger galaxy, but seeing Noghri in this era threw me off quite a bit. Forget what the Wook says about Rakata enslavement – I can’t help but think that they were a more ‘recent’ species in the timeline of the GFFA. It’s minor, but one shows up fairly early on and it threw me.
- Seeing and typing the term ‘Je’daii’ makes me want to correct it. Every time. Particularly as I type this.
- Swords? Actual swords? Alrighty then. (Lightsabers are only just becoming known in this period, we learn in the included comic excerpt.)
- I’m actually more than a little intrigued by all the ancient Tython stuff, which is.. Surprising. No, I will not play any video games. Don’t even try.
Overall, I have to say this was a nice, compact Star Wars tale that both acts as an introduction to the Dawn of the Jedi period and a standalone story.
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Del Rey/Random House for review.