Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars is the latest novel straight from the Star Wars universe. It tells the story of Cal Kestis and the crew of the Stinger Mantis between the events of the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars Jedi: Survivor games. While you don’t have to read the book to play Jedi: Survivor, is it still worth reading? Learn my thoughts on that below.
[Note: While I am reviewing this novel independently and honestly, it should be noted that it has been provided to me by Random House Worlds for the purpose of this review. Warning: My review of Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars does contain some light spoilers!]
New Star Wars Jedi adventures, same old Stinger Mantis crew
The plot of this book begins with a new adventure of the Stinger Mantis crew. Cal, BD-1, Greez, Cere, and Mereen attack the Brood base. They do this by sending Cal and BD into space to quietly penetrate their defenses.
This is quite different from what we saw at the end of the Jedi: Fallen Order game where the whole team just started working together better than at the beginning. This time everything works like clockwork. Greez is focused on work, Mereen does everything to ensure the safety of his friends, and Cere acts like a great leader, although it is Cal who is perceived that way. So the way they work now is that each person is given a task to do and they trust each other.
Their main goal is to plant bombs that will blow up the place. But they didn’t know there would be a lot of stormtroopers and bounty hunters there. While Cere and Mereen decide to finish planting the bombs, Cal begins fighting the bounty hunters.
Cal Kestis’ fights bounty hunters with two blue sabers
This is the first time we have had the opportunity to read about Cal having a second saber. If you didn’t know this from the trailers for Jedi: Survivor, now you do. It’s still a blue lightsaber, but now he can separate it from his main saber and use two of them whenever he wants. In Jedi: Fallen Order we could only use a lightsaber with one or two blades, two sabers were only available as a special attack.
After killing the bounty hunters, Cal decides it’s time to leave. While escaping, Mereen meets an alien stormtrooper who has decided to betray the Empire and help defeat them. Her name is Fret, and she says she is not really a stormtrooper, but an analyst. This amused me a bit, as it seemed like a small nod to the “big” reveal of Finn (John Boyega) in Star Wars The Force Awakens. Everyone expected him to be an important person who worked at the Starkiller base, but he just cleaned the place up.
After an uneventful escape, the crew is beginning to partially trust Fret. Now they just need to go to Hosnian Prime to meet with Qeris, an old friend of Fret. He tells them that he will help them because he hates the Empire (he also pretends publicly that he is one of their strongest supporters).
All they have to do to get his help is to “recover” the schematic of a device/armor called Shroud. It’s a typical quid pro quo situation in which our heroes are so desperate that they will do anything to complete their task. But as always, something must go wrong. The people our heroes must defeat on their way to get the schematics are none other than the Inquisitors (among them the Fifth Brother) and the Empire’s army of stormtroopers.
Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars story works better as a book than as a game
The rest of the story is full of serious spoilers, so I won’t say too much about it. Battle Scars’ author Sam Maggs does an admirable job telling the story of these already established characters, and that’s something worth appreciating. As we got to know them in the first game, we learned a lot about their pasts, problems, dilemmas, as well as their darker sides.
As a Star Wars fan, I have to admit that I’m astonished at how well this story matches its quality with other projects in the universe. And I’m not just talking about books, but games, tv-series, and movies. I found this to be a very complicated and dramatic story, which was entertaining and made me curious about what will happen next.
I’ve always liked Cal Kestis and the Stinger Mantis crew, as they are one of my favorite teams and characters in both the new canon and the Expanded Universe/Legends. I love that we get to see the point of view of different characters “through their own eyes”, not just through Cal’s. This way we know the opinions and can suspect how another character will react in a certain situation.
The story of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order worked really well in the form of a game because it was clearly created to fit it. With Battle Scars, it’s a different topic, because as we read the story, I can’t quite imagine what it would look like in game form. There are plenty of possibilities, but not in the current style of these Jedi series video games.
As in many Star Wars books, we get a lot of unexpected twists, emotional scenes, and epic action. If you want to read this book before Star Wars Jedi: Survivor comes out on April 28, 2023, I certainly recommend it. But as far as needing to read it to better understand the game, it is certainly not required reading. That being said, the novel does fill in some holes between the two games.
My rating: 9/10
I am very pleased to say that Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars by Sam Maggs is a great book that I will definitely read again. This novel will release on March 7, 2023, and is available to preorder here.
Will you read it? Are you excited about Star Wars Jedi: Survivor coming soon? Let us know on Twitter, The Cosmic Circus Discord, or other social media.