Apr 25, 2018

[Books] Star Wars: Ahsoka Review

My love for Star Wars: Rebels oddly solidified when Ahsoka Tano was revealed to be the mysterious informant Fulcrum at the end of the first season. She went on to be quite the epic character including her massive duel with Darth Vader at the end of the second season. More than anything, the show helped confirm just how far along she has come since her rather tragic end during Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Naturally there's a rather large gap between her leaking the Jedi Order and becoming the intelligence asset for the fledgling Rebel Alliance. And outside of the fictional side of things, there were a lot of untold stories meant for the succeeding seasons of Clone Wars before the show was cancelled. This book, Star Wars: Ahsoka, aims to fill in some of that void with an exciting adventure focused all on her.

And the book naturally makes for fascinating reading as the Ahsoka that we come to meet in Rebels is a lot more confident and self-assured versus the Padawan she once was. Beyond that she also had a more balanced view of the Force that speaks of a lot of growing up.

Synopsis: Star Wars: Ahsoka is a technically a young adult novel set in the new Star Wars canon universe. It was written by E.K. Johnston and this marks her first full Star Wars novel.

The story begins with Ahsoka Tanon operating under the alias Ashla on the planet Raada. She had previously left behind a shipping family on Thabeska after the Imperial presence became uncomfortable. Here on Raada she presented herself as mechanic and offered to fix people's gadgets in exchange for food and other favors. The whole time she did her best to avoid using the Force and stay away from Imperials there in the Outer Rim.

The story is intercut with flashbacks to her time on the run and her last big mission on Mandelor. It's also where she officially "died" in order to make hiding all the more plasible. Thus Ahsoka does her best to find a new life for herself as she battles with survivor's guilt over the rest of the Jedi who had perished during Order 66. She has no idea if everyone else is alive and  she can't even count herself as a full Jedi. But of course with the Empire growing in strength no planet is is truly beyond their reach even in the Outer Rim and soon she'll need to decide how to deal with them once more.

What I Loved: The book is highly introspective as it was written from Ahsoka's perspective. And there's a heck of a lot to unpack there from leaving the Jedi Order, faking her death, and surviving Order 66, to name a few things. And with her efforts to hide her presence in the Force, it also becomes a chance to reflect on her role in the greater scheme of things, especially when it comes to the Force. And given the failings of the Jedi that allowed the Emperor to seize power, she's pretty set on forging a new path.

And you also have to love how she can't help but be a hero, which is what makes her a hero of course. She knows that she's supposed to lie low and avoid Imperial attention but she also can't stand idly by while people suffer under Imperial abuse. It makes for great complex character moments as she puzzles through things and figures out how to balance all the demands placed on her. I never felt like this was a young adult novel.

And I oddly liked her tendency to speak to no one in particular as she repeatedly finds herself missing her old companions like Rex and other clones or even R2-D2. It was a nicely humanizing trait.

And oh man that ending was perfect.

What Could Have Been Better: I didn't fully get the back and forth Ahsoka had mid-way through the book in terms of the planets she had been hiding out on. I understand it was sort of part of her emotional journey but on the whole it felt more than a little odd. And given how drab and uneventful both of these planets were depicted to be, it didn't exactly make for an interesting change of scene either.

I also didn't fully get some of the Imperial scenes involving how the Empire came to Raada. While it was interesting background fluff, it wasn't all that necessary in the greater scheme of things. Maybe the part about the Inquisitors are still pertinent and relevant but the other guy not so much.

TL;DR: Star Wars: Ahsoka is a great Star Wars books for fans of all-ages and nicely gives us more insight into Ahsoka Tano and her personal journey to find meaning after all the tragedy that had befallen the Jedi. It may not have as much action as some of the other Star Wars novels out there but it hits all the right notes. Thus the novel gets a great 5 moments of Ahsoka reaching for the past out of a possible 5.

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