Colleen’s Book Corner: Ahsoka
Author: E.K. Johnson
Published: October 2016
Set about one year after Order 66 and the end of the Clone Wars (18 BBY)
As Ahsoka and I Grew, So Did My Love for Her
I have to admit, in 2008 when I first saw Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars movie (which leads into the CW series and is included on Disney+), I HATED HER. She was annoying and bratty and a little too much like AotC Anakin for my taste. I wasn’t in the best headspace to start the massive CW journey, so let’s chalk my original horrible take up to my bad mood.
Over the years, and on my current re-watch, I’ve embraced everything Ahsoka. I love her attitude, spirit, and vulnerability - a trait often missing from other Jedi characters. Next to Anakin (shouts to Kanan and Ezra too), Ahsoka is probably the most emotional Jedi we see on screen. This character aspect transfers to the novel very well, in large part because the author has a great grasp on what makes Ahsoka tick. When the novel is completely focused on her, it shines.
The Book Dives into Ahsoka after Order 66 is Executed
It takes place shortly after Order 66, so there is a ton to unpack for our girl. Watching her slink around the galaxy, afraid to tap too far into the Force but wanting to reach for her friends and mentors, is heartbreaking. We get small “aside” chapters that focus either on Ahsoka or another character’s thoughts about her. These sections add depth to the narrative, but when that character never shows up again, I wondered what more the author could have done to add them back in.
Meeting Other Characters was Tricky, but Not Impossible with Ashoka on the Run
I enjoyed the book, though the first half was more engaging. It functions as a “Person with No Name” style story, a bit of a Western flavor, with a protagonist who doesn’t want to get involved when the Empire shows up but can’t help herself. Ahsoka’s voice is so strong, but the fact that she’s hiding for most of the book makes discovering things about other characters difficult, unless the narrative shifts to their perspective. There is a great LGBTQ character named Kaeden Larte, which was fantastic to see! I hope to see her character pop up again, because she was spunky and self-sufficient. Anytime they add strong lady characters to SW, I’m all for it! I also wanted to learn more about the villains, who don’t get enough page time. One is a fastidious bureaucrat, and the other...is too spoilery. At times, I felt the narrative leaned too hard on what we know happens to Ahsoka in later years and her interactions with characters not featured in this novel. I want the Fardi criminal family adventures and you will too! It was fun to see a criminal enterprise whose members are kind-of do-gooders, as opposed to Jabba’s cartel and the other organized syndicates.
Don’t Let the Young Adult Categorization Turn You Away from a Great Audiobook
You’ll find this book in the Young Adult section of the bookstore, though its writing style is fairly close to the “adult” novels, so don’t let that put you off. There’s plenty of peril and loss and grief, all adult themes. The writing edges closer to YA, a little more “easily accessible.” If you enjoy audiobooks, I would definitely suggest it, because Ashley Eckstein narrates.
Another fun note: this novel was written by a woman, which can be hard to find in Sci-Fi but is becoming more prevalent. She also wrote Queen’s Peril and Queen’s Shadow, the canon novels about Padmé Amidala.
Conclusion - Would Recommend: 8/10 Lightsabers
The final chapters of the book are fantastic and gave me goosebumps. Join Ahsoka for this great read!