I, Jedi - Michael A. Stackpole "If you cannot recognize the man in the mirror, it is time to step back and see when you stopped being yourself"
The only first-person view in the Star Wars world to date, I am rereading this one for a Star Wars book of the month club.
About two years after the Thrawn Incident, Corran Horn is still in the Rogue Squadron when he senses that his wife, Mirax Terrick, is gone. Knowing he has Jedi powers, Luke Skywalker convinces Corran that the best way to find her is to cultivate this nascent talent. Corran proceeds to Yavin 4 to train as a Jedi, and Stackpole gives us a first person view of the Jedi Search (Star Wars: The Jedi Academy Trilogy, Vol. 1). But after Exar Kun's demise, Corran realizes the way of the Jedi won't save his wife, so he leaves to find Mirax by infiltrating the Invids. It is there that he realizes he can't save her unless he knows who he is.

What I Liked:
Michael Stackpole of X-Wing fame is a very good writer, particularly strong when detailing fight scenes or dogfights (and riotous humor--my gosh, between the one liners and the scenes, such as Corran being naked in the street, I wanted to die with laughter!). And this book has a lot of these, especially in the latter half. While a lot of it goes over my head (I am one of those who tries to "see" the movements, so I get a little lost), it is clear that Stackpole spent a lot of time figuring out the maneuvers, visualizing it in his head and planning it carefully. His attention to detail helps make these parts more real and intense (and are much better than the alternative: "And Corran fought a tough battle...").
Another great part of "I, Jedi" is that for the first time the reader can step into the narrator, in this case Corran Horn, seeing what he sees, feeling what he feels, and contemplating what he contemplates. Being able to see Corran in this intimate portrayal brings us closer to Corran and, I think, really helps us understand what is going on in his head at any point of time. We can spend more time on Corran's thoughts, discoveries, and opinions without having to have large chunks of text devoted to Corran speaking with other characters and revealing his thoughts. And the reader gets the opportunity to become Corran, to relive the Jedi training, the dog fights, the careful scheming, and the deliberate planning. This in turn gives us a better picture of who Corran is, what kind of Jedi he will become (if any at all!), what is important to him, and what he values.
Another beautiful thing about the book is the end message: to constantly examine ourselves and see who we are (thus the title of this review). Corran has to determine one important thing in order to save his wife: was he a Jedi, a CorSec agent, a pilot or something more? Likewise, we too need to examine who we are and be that person, instead of trying to be someone else.
Lastly, the Jedi Academy Trilogy written by Kevin J. Anderson has frequently been considered a weak trilogy. As it has been over ten years since I last read it (and when I did, I was but a teenager), I don't have much of an opinion of it. But I will say this: the story Stackpole has weaved intertwines perfectly with the events from Anderson's. From Corran's arrival to Gantoris' death, to Mara Jade's brief stay, to the antics of Exar Kun, Stackpole deftly details Anderson's story from Corran's point of view, clarifying things, but never "stepping on his toes".

What I Did Not Like:
Unlike when I was a teenager, I found several things in "I, Jedi" that aggravated or annoyed me, starting with the villain, Leonia Tavira. Besides some, what I consider, obvious Mary Sue attributes (youngest Moff in the Empire, cunning, clever, diabolical, attractive--no, sexy--violet eyes, petite, etc.), I found it challenging to believe she was dangerous. The reader is beaten over the head with a hydrospanner about how clever and tough she is (along with her extreme youth and incredible sex appeal) with very little showing of her cleverness or toughness. While her appearance in the second half of the book does show her as much tougher, I still could never believe that she was that formidable or that there was ever a doubt who would win (though the latter does come from the fact I know what happens after the events of "I, Jedi").
Just as a side note, why is it whenever a woman is a villain, she must be uber-sexual? Being so sexy that all males within a 200 light year radius immediately want to bed her, being constantly on the prowl for a new "nighttoy", and acting in a ridiculously sexual manner to all males within breathing distance? How many male villains can be described in this way? Why is it that, after all these years, women can only be thought of in a sexual way? I'm sorry, but I'm sick of this sexist characterization. Were Lenoia Tavira a male, then most of Tavira's sexuality would have been omitted.
Since we are talking about Mary Sues, we might as well bring up Corran Horn. There are a million ways in which he can be considered a Marty Stu, some of them being his rugged good looks, his incredible dexterity with the Force that seems to outshine even Luke Skywalker (even considering his inability to employ telekinesis), his "holier than thou" attitude about death and destruction, his nonchalance about sleeping around, his manipulation of the events of the Jedi Academy Trilogy (apparently, Corran Horn was the one really behind Exar Kun's destruction) and the fact that he is able to single-handedly resist the dark lord's advances, something that four other Jedi (including Luke Skywalker if you consider how he was incapacitated) were unable to do. While I enjoyed Corran telling off Luke Skywalker (who has always been shown as far too omnipotent for my taste), I bristled at Corran bragging about taking the high road and not killing, but also having no qualms about committing adultery with Tavira while his wife is captured. Uh, hello? Your wife is gone and all you can think of is getting laid with a child (not really, but the parallels are made constantly)? Mirax seriously needs to reconsider this marriage when she returns.
The next biggest problem is the plot. Yes, it is nice to see Corran at the Jedi Academy, but what man in his right mind will spend 10 weeks training to be a Jedi when his wife has been captured? This is just plain ludicrous; there is no way the staple answer of "training to be a Jedi so I can find my wife" will suffice. It is a lame way for Stackpole to clean up the events from the Jedi Academy trilogy. It makes Corran look like an insensitive twit and distracts from the story. Furthermore, while it is nice to see a Corran's perspective of Jedi training, the first half of the book just drags. The actual Jedi training seemed a little sketchy, thin, and weakly defined. Yes, Stackpole does a good job...when he is actually describing it. But there are many, many pages devoted to Corran's numerous serious talks with everyone from Wedge to Jaina Solo (okay, not true, but close), giving Luke Skywalker advice on how to train (doesn't it seem odd to anyone else that someone who has no Jedi experience is giving tips to the only remaining Jedi Master?), and psycho-analyzing Exar Kun. All together, it seems like disjointed anecdotes thrust together with little overreaching plot to tie the anecdotes or the entire novel together. Only when Corran leaves does the story really pick up and begin to go anywhere.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Star Wars profanities crop up.
The story begins with Mirax trying to convince Corran to have a child (nothing explicit). Leona Tavira's sexual exploits are made constant mention of. Further, once Corran sees her, Corran experiences a sort of sexual attraction and is contemplates sleeping with her at more than one point, even attempting to justify an affair with her.
Corran partakes in a dogfight, several duels, and a threat to the Academy on Yavin 4. At least one person dies.

I feel in love with this book when I was a teenager. Now that I'm older, it doesn't quite have the same shine. Yes, it is still an excellent book. Yes, it does a superb job with the first person viewpoint, detailing an intimate portrait of Jedi training, and showing Corran's introspective journey. But there were a few hiccups, namely lame plot, Marty Stu characterization, and a pathetic villain. Solid four stars.