Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to be a Jedi?
If you’re like me, your favorite movie of the Original Trilogy is Empire. It’s difficult to really call it my favorite since I love all three movies deeply and watch them over and over again equally. But there’s just something special about Empire – whether it’s the Hoth battle scene, learning the ways of the Force through Luke’s experience on Dagobah, or the dark ending that sees our favorite smuggler frozen and taken from Leia just as things were getting going between them and the big reveal about Darth Vader’s family tree.
So to say I’m very much looking forward to reading So You Want to be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz would be a drastic understatement. Like the other two OT retellings that were released today, StarWars.com made the first three chapters of Gidwitz’s retelling of Episode V online. From just the small percentage of the book I’ve seen, it reveals the stories that make up the grander story of The Empire Strikes Back – which enhances the film immensely and gives you a different perspective to the 35-year-old story line in a new and exciting way.
The book opens pretty much like the film does, with Luke riding his tauntaun on the surface of Hoth and conversing with Han, who is cracking jokes about how little life is on the planet. The first chapter is told from the first-person point of view of Luke and is written in the present tense, so the action is happening real-time which makes the pace quick and thrilling. Of course we all know what happens from there, but as all three of these junior readers that have been released today will show, there’s a big difference between the first-person point of view of our characters and the third-person perspective the films can only offer.
In addition, Gidwitz’s retelling of Empire comes with a bonus at the end of every chapter – Jedi training. You read that correctly. At the end of the first three chapters at least, which is all that was included in the sampler, the reader is presented with steps to becoming a Jedi, starting with meditation, then going to the importance of breathing, and finally to reaching out with your mind. This makes the cover price of the book worth it alone – let alone the bulk of the book is the retelling of my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. It’s obvious once the story takes you to Dagobah, the training modules will synchronize nicely with Luke’s education thanks to Master Yoda.
Like the other two books, as well, the dialogue in So You Want to be a Jedi? aligns very closely with the film, so you are transported through the book seeing the sights and sounds of the movie in your mind’s eye which brings the whole experience to life.
It’s impossible to spoil these books since they are retellings of the OT as we all know and love – but experiencing them from a new perspective certainly enriches the stories. At least it does for me.
As mentioned previously, the book is targeted toward the younger crowd, but it shouldn’t keep you from checking it out if you love Empire or Star Wars in general. In fact, if there’s a child in your life who loves Star Wars, here’s a golden opportunity to do some reading together.
A little more background on the author from Amazon.com: Adam Gidwitz grew up in Baltimore. Now he lives in Brooklyn and teaches kids large and slightly less large at Saint Ann’s School. Adam only writes about what he’s experienced personally. So, while all of the strange, hilarious, and frightening things in A Tale Dark and Grimm really did happen to Hansel and Gretel, they also happened to Adam. Of course, if you’ve ever had a childhood, they’ve probably happened to you, too.
His website is http://www.adamgidwitz.com/ and he can found on Twitter @AdamGidwitz
Adam posted a blurb about the book on his website, which can be found here: http://www.adamgidwitz.com/news/so-you-want-to-be-a-jedi/