Spoilers for the previous books. Jedi Academy: Champions of the Force by Kevin J. Anderson story itself does reiterate and repeat certain points, as a refresher for those who haven’t read them in awhile. It’s an action packed finale to the series. It was a bit overwhelming at times but did get a great thrill out of the success of the heroes, including and maybe especially the new ones.
Champions of the Force starts off with Luke in a spiritual limbo, torn from his body in Dark Apprentice, yet not one with the Force in a way that allows him to reach others like Obi-Wan or his father. It’s up to his students to save him.
The secret location of young Anakin Solo has been revealed to the Empire. And the New Republic takes steps to secure the Imperial weapon facility before it can be reclaimed.
- Han has a much better role in Champions of the Force. Chewie and he are separated and Chewie has his very own heroic role for a nice change.
- Leia is facing some serious challenges: Mon Mothma lies near death, forcing her to take the role of the strong leader and keeping a balanced action by the Provisional Council. She has her twins to deal with. And now Luke is apparently near death and her baby is threatened.
- Luke, of course, is very much out of his depth. His enemy has had millennium to figure out this spirit limbo. Luke though is someone who learns fast. And his response to Kyp’s betrayal is very interesting and in character. (Whether it’s wise or not.)
Reflections of the movies: Han is the only one who can reach Kyp, just as Luke was the only one who could reach Anakin due to their connections. Kyp also, like Anakin, finds his choice of the dark side has unexpected personal consequences.
You must unlearn, what you have learned.Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back
Champions of the Force gives a surprise role is that Jacen and Jaina, mere toddlers, do have a role. The toddler twins haven’t learned some things are impossible, whereas the academy students are still learning this.) Kun’s methods are definitely reminiscent of Palpatine though, offering power and giving only half truths.
There is a redemption and forgiveness arc going on here as well. While Ackbar blamed himself for certain disasterous events of the last story, he now finds another had a hand in it. However, it wasn’t a willing betrayal, and that poor soul now seeks to make amends, by helping Leia and Ackbar rescue the baby. And then there is the whole situation with Kyp Durron, will he overcome the evil he has done or will he return to the light?
The story in Champions of the Force jumps around a lot because there is so much going on and many loose ends to tie up. There is a mix of humor and edge of the seat moments along with moments of relief. But the threads all do get resolved. This batch of Jedi, as the title implies, has passed their final trial and are now ready to defend the Republic. Luke is no longer alone in the task. I got pretty frustrated with the Provisional Council at this in certain spots, (which proves it’s a realistic political body I guess) and can really feel for Leia in this arena.
Champions of the Force Continuity
A more detailed account of how Jedi Academy trilogy by Kevin J. Anderson influenced the expanded universe is here.
This is the final book of the Jedi Academy trilogy preceded by Jedi Search and Dark Apprentice. The last chapters of I,Jedi are directly after this. Dark Forces Jedi Outcast game is after this.. The next novel in line is Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly
The finale of the book, showing that the Jedi have returned, is the foundation of the future stories with the implication that new Jedi are being trained all the time. Luke teaches there and his former students also pass on the skills. After his marriage to Mara Jade, there is a transition to having classes for younger students.
The Jedi Academy (game) and Jedi Outcast (game) have levels here, along with Young Jedi Knights and Junior Jedi Knights having many chapters set here.
Exar Kun’s story, as to how he ended up in this state is told in Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith and the Great Sith War.
The Jedi Academy students here are also seen in Jedi Academy Leviathan of Corbos (comic), I, Jedi, Darksaber, and mentioned in the Jedi Academy trilogy.
The three Solo children will go on to adventures of their own.