In a stunning turn of events, Knight Errant brings us a twist: a single Jedi is trapped in Sith space! Is escape possible when you’re surrounded by the Dark Side?
If we’re being completely honest, the idea of a multitude of Sith never really appealed to me. It didn’t touch many nerves for me in the Legacy series, nor did it do much for me in The Old Republic. Sometimes, I would rather they would have come up with new factions to fight, as the canon has. That being said, I understand why they did this: it makes the struggle between Jedi and Sith seem like the defining conflict of the galaxy writ large. That being said, I am thankful for Knight Errant in its ability to play on the Sith/Jedi relationship as defined in the movies.
Rather than seeing how two Sith Lords can compete with an entire Jedi Order, John Jackson Miller reframes the concept by stranding Kerra Holt in Sith space. The danger is compounded by the fact that the Sith are fractured, making Sith space dangerous territory anywhere she goes, simply for being in the crossfire of two Sith, let alone for being a Jedi! Lords Daiman and Odion are locked in conflict, bringing the two largest Sith factions against each other. They frequently wheel and deal with other Lords, causing further division and political intrigue throughout Sith space. Think of this as Game of Thrones, but without the nudity and excessive violence. For the record: yes, I described Lost Tribes of the Sith the same way, and yes, I think this suits both. Jackson’s style lends itself to this type of story, and I am not disappointed at all. I think JJM’s style works as it is not copying the popular franchise, but he naturally leans toward that type of storytelling.
The Sith in this book, despite my usual ambivalence toward villains, Daiman and Odion serve as decent antagonists in this novel. Odion is more of a run of the mill Sith, but he is an excellent foil for the silliness which is Lord Daiman. Daiman is one of the most unique characters I’ve run across in Legends yet: he believes he created everything. He even goes so far as to force his underlings to pretend like they believe the same thing. The inner working of his own mind is a mystery to even him: why do his own creations oppose him? He must have created a test for himself, that’s it! As extraordinarily silly as this was at times, it made for a fun read and brought something new to the table. This would have been a fun psyche to explore – maybe the three comic series under the Knight Errant brand delved a bit deeper? I guess this means the novel did its job, because now I am interested in going over and reading the comic series!
A few more Sith Lords were introduced during the novel. In the whirlwind tour of Sith space, we are introduced to a full range of Sith. As Kerra escapes a battle between Odion and Daiman, she encounters two new Sith: Quillan and Dromika. The twins were the rulers of a Dyarchy, watched over by a Regent. This relationship proved interesting for a lot of reasons. First, we saw what life was like under different Sith principalities. The Dyarchy was ruled through an iron will: the twins used their powers of Force persuasion to control their entire city. The city was unified under the will of the twins, keeping all dissent underfoot. Kerra’s battle with the twins, and their Regent, was an interesting exploration of the Force itself. Maybe this lends itself to the only critique I have of this book: we dabble in a lot of different areas, but we never really go in-depth into any of these different ways of being a Sith. A lot of these concepts are only barely explored, leaving me feeling lacking. We may assume there is more than one way to be a Sith, but we’ve only explored one way, so far. I would love to see the Regent given more depth, or even Daiman’s delusions would be a fun playground for more stories. Maybe the comic can help scratch some of that itch?
Kerra herself embodies a bit of what a “stereotypical” Jedi is known for – brave, selfless, always running into rather than away from danger. I appreciated a lot about this. But she is also brash and a bit reckless, so she is like Anakin. She herself offers good questions: what would Anakin been like had he been able to temper his own dark side? Kerra, though she has character flaws, is not wooed to the Dark Side even in Sith space. It’s hard to think it would be possible to woo her! I really appreciated this look at what it means to be a pure Jedi, even if it wasn’t the focus of the novel.
The rest of the supporting cast is fun, but they don’t measure up to Kerra or Daiman and Odion’s relationship. For the most part, many of the side characters don’t operate on their own, but respond to Kerra or the Sith Lords. This is fine! There is so much going on in this book that it would be hard to flesh out more characters. If Kerra wasn’t so well developed on her own, this would have been a greater offense. This is not to say that they are flat, mind you, rather that they are just smaller roles and smaller personalities.
In the end, Knight Errant gets two hearty thumbs up from me. Not only does it stand well on its own, but it also develops a world which piques my interest in the side material.
P.S. If you are like me, and are collecting the novels with the Legends banner, you will not find that here. I’m not entirely sure why, but this novel has not been released with the banner as of yet. Unfortunately, it looks like we will have to wait a bit longer and rebuy the novel. 🙂
Canon Novel Reviews:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Wars Young Reader Reviews:
Adventures in Wild Space: The Escape (Prelude)
So You Want to be a Jedi?
Beware the Power of the Dark Side!
Poe Dameron: Flight Log
Princess Leia: Royal Rebel (Backstories)
Darth Vader: Sith Lord (Backstories)
The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Reviews:
“A Hero Discovered” 1×01 | “The Mines of Gabralla” 1×02 | “Zander’s Joyride” 1×03 | “The Lost Treasure of Cloud City” 1×04 | “Peril on Kashyyyk” 1×05 | “Crossing Paths” 1×06