Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review: Kenobi

Kenobi By John Jackson Miller
Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: August 27th, 2013
Format: Hardback, 362 pages
My Rating: ★★ 1/2

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The greatest hero in the galaxy faces his toughest challenge yet: He must stop being Obi-Wan-and become Crazy Old Ben. For fans of movie-related novels like Darth Plagueis!

In this original novel set between the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi comes to the aid of the residents of Tatooine during his exile. But he struggles with his new mission when he realizes that protecting Luke Skywalker-the last hope of the galaxy-means setting aside his compassion and his Jedi warrior training, for the future of the galaxy lies not with Obi-Wan Kenobi, but with a mystical desert recluse known only by the name of Crazy Old Ben.
I think if Lucas Films makes an Obi-Wan Kenobi solo project they should just write the screenplay based on John Jackson Miller’s standalone book Kenobi. Ewan McGregor would probably do it in a heartbeat. That dude loves Star Wars.

So, technically this novel is part of the old Legends series, and is not supposed to be considered “canon”. However, not being canon doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss the older works that came before it. It also doesn’t mean that those older books are going away. They will still be on your shelves; it just means that the story board team wants everything going forward to have continuity. I also don’t see why this book isn’t part of the new continuity because I think it is a pretty accurate depiction of what happened when Kenobi landed on Tatooine.

Kenobi is the Star Wars Western that I didn’t know I wanted. Then I re-watched Firefly recently and thought to myself, “Oh right, I do want a Space Western!” and Miller gives that to you in this novel. My favorite thing about this novel is that Kenobi is literally trying not to get involved in other people’s business and he gets WAY too involved in their ongoings. What this book said to me was that the reason he becomes known as old crazy Ben Kenobi is because people on this desert planet are way too nosey. They all want to know about this mysterious newcomer. Kenobi is just always going to be the Jedi knight that helps people, and it really shows us that his caring for others is his biggest fault. It’s why he believes that he let Anakin slip to the darkside.

What I also really loved about this book was that we get to see the Tusken Raiders in a different light. They are still the vicious people that we remember in the original film, but there is a reason for why they do the things they do. It's a lot about clashing cultures and the inability for the natives (sandpeople) and the Settlers (everyone else on Tatooine) to see eye to eye. Miller gives us enough to understand the motives, but still not really agree with them. Miller does a decent job of weaving in the lore from the prequel movies as well. A'Yark, the leader of the particular tribe in this book, keeps on mentioning this unprovoked attack from the settlers that killed men, women and children. If you remember back from Attack of the Clones, this was when Anakin slaughtered a whole tribe of Tusken Raiders.

If you're a fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (new or old continuity) I would definitely recommend this one. Even if you don't really know much about Star Wars, I think you get enough from this Space Western to understand. I think it's a pretty enjoyable standalone piece.

Happy Reads Everyone!