Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller - Paul's REVIEW

***I was provided an ecopy of this graphic novel from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review***

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Title: Star Wars: Kenobi
Author:  John Jackson Miller
Year Published: 2013

Synopsis: 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.

Review: Have you ever wondered what Obi-wan did for all those years from the end of Episode III to the start of Episode IV? How did he become that Crazy Old Ben? This story takes place shortly after the conclusion of Episode III. Obi-wan is there for the whole story, but he isn't the main character. The only parts of the book from his perspective are meditations at the end of some chapters in which he tries to communicate with his former master. 

The main characters represent the normal inhabitants of Tatooine: a shop owner, a moisture farmer, a Tusken Raider. Since there are so many new characters, it was a slow start for me. I wasn't invested in their stories. I just kept waiting to find out more about Obi-wan, but after about halfway through the book I was hooked. All the different factions began to clash and interact in interesting ways. People turned out to not be who they appeared to be. I liked the many twists. 

I liked seeing the Tusken Raiders' lifestyle. There were also many references to things we know about Anakin and the Tuskens. If you are familiar with some of the Star Wars comic books that take place before and during the prequel movies, A'Sharad Hett and his son are mentioned as well. Jabba the Hutt, the ever presence on Tatooine, is there as well. I'm sure there were other references to Expanded Universe stories I am not familiar with. I found myself googling the alien species mentioned to see what they looked like. This book definitely takes place in the Star Wars universe, but there isn't much stars or wars. 

The story had some interesting parallels to Anakin's story. Overall, it showed Obi-wan dealing with what just happened to him at the end of Episode III. He is dealing with being one of the only jedis left in the galaxy and the fact that his closest friend and former padawan fell to the Dark Side. I feel like I understand where the Obi-wan of Episode IV came from now.

You don't have to be someone who reads every Star Wars Expanded Universe book to pick this up. You just have to be familiar with Obi-wan Kenobi. Although the start was slow, I really liked this book once I got into it. I enjoyed the character of Annileen and wouldn't mind seeing her adventure continue. I give this book a 4/5.


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