REVIEW: Star Wars – Ashoka (2016)

A book by E.K. Johnston

Sometimes these Star Wars books get put out and it honestly seems like their entire purpose is to answer a question that doesn’t really need an entire book to answer – in this case – “how did Ashoka Tano get white lightsabers?”. The answer is found in this book, along with a LOT of padding that seemed to drag for quite a while. This was an issue I had with a lot of the older “expanded Universe” books, now referred to as “Legends”, as every minor detail left un-shown would ultimately have an entire book to explain something away. This is by no means a poorly written or “bad” book, it just seems unnecessary in my opinion.

“Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….”

I think my main issue is that the majority of this book seems to be a day-to-day account of Tano’s life after Order 66, and frankly the first two acts are not too exciting. It seems that Ashoka does what a lot of Jedi did, and attempts to assimilate into society – living with farmers until she can’t anymore due to The Galactic Empire predictably encroaching on her new home. The story meanders around a bit and we have some plot points including her making the Order of the Black Sun angry (which isn’t explained a lot), and joining Senator Bail Organa’s growing rebel movement with a snappy new nickname – Fulcrum. She fights an inquisitor, and finally we see her making her new lightsabers. That’s about it – it’s a short book, but not too different in style and pacing than other Young Adult novels in the line.

While not a bad book, I feel like the whole thing is a HUGE missed opportunity in a number of ways. Truthfully, it’s not unlike other books following survivors of Order 66 as most do this exact same thing. Even a large portion of the canon Obi Wan TV series shows his ordeals living on Tatooine trying to keep a tedious job in that giant dead sand fish processing plant and being a hermit. my issues were the pacing, overuse of cameos, and an appearance of no real importance to the story other than explaining that aforementioned plot point with her swords. This book, for better or worse, just feels like a script for an episode of one of the many Star Wars cartoons, either Clone Wars or Rebels, and honestly would have been better there. Taking into account this being a Young Adult book, and the fact that it’s well written, I liked the book, but it could have been so much more.

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