Tim Lebbon’s “Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void” came out in hardcover back in May of 2013. On April 1, 2014 it will hit a much wider audience as it will be released as a mass market paperback. With an immense amount of Star Wars books available these days, fans will be looking for something that stands apart from the crowd. That is exactly what Lebbon’s addition does: stands out.
“Into the Void” is unlike any other Star Wars book we have seen before. There is no expansive galaxy, no lightsabers, no war between Jedi and Sith. Set twenty-five thousand years before the Empire and Rebel Alliance, “Into the Void” delves deeper than any other book into the history of the Star Wars galaxy. In this story we follow Lanoree Brock, a Je’daii Ranger. On special assignment from the Je’daii Council, she must traverse many obstacles in the Tythan system on her hunt to stop a deadly foe from destroying everything she loves.
That foe is none other than her brother Dalien Brock, long-thought to be dead. As we follow Lanoree through this novel we encounter two gripping stories: that of Lanoree tracking down her brother and the story of Lanoree and Dalien’s journey to become Je’daii. As the setting jumps back-and-forth over the course of nine years, we slowly learn about Dalien’s “fall” and how it affects Lonoree in the present.
While the novel has a small cast, it thrives with rich histories and backdrops. The cities and planets seen have rich descriptions fit perfectly into the Star Wars universe. We see the origins of the Je’daii and see a perspective on the Force that their Jedi descendants do not share. The characters are also strong and are able to carry the weight of such an epic story without struggle. Our hero, Lanoree is a strong female lead, something not seen often enough in Star Wars. Our villain, Dalien is also unique as he doesn’t practice the Dark Side of the Force, but rather a rejection of the Force.
Lebbon’s writing skills are evident as he switches between two different storylines with ease, no easy feat. His stylistic choice to change tenses between timelines is a subtle yet proficient method of guiding the reader. While the plot drags slightly towards the middle, the end more than makes up for it. Readers will find themselves flying through the last third of book as we reach a culmination of both plot’s finale.
The novel is a great addition to the “Dawn of the Jedi” comic run by Dark Horse and readers of that series will be rewarded. It is a perfect introduction into this timeline and will hopefully entice readers to branch out to Dark Horse’s comic, with a sample even being included in this novel. While Lebbon’s first addition to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, he demonstrates a working knowledge of the universe. While “Into the Void” might have a couple hiccups, it is a strong novel and highly recommended, especially to those interested in the origins of the Jedi.
I give this novel 4/5 stars and highly recommend picking it up April 1st, 2014
Thank you to Random House for providing us with an advanced copy of the book for review purposes. (Alex Rybak contributed to this review)