Ahsoka Tano may not be a character that the average Star Wars fan will know but she is an incredible important character to the franchise. Starting out as a padawan to Anakin Skywalker before quitting the Jedi Order, Ahsoka has managed to become one of the most beloved characters in the Expanded Universe.
Ahsoka most recently appeared in the ‘Rebels’ TV show but what happened to her after she left the Jedi Order? Where did she go? How did she survive Order 66 and survive under Imperial rule? These questions and more are all answered with the new book ‘Ahsoka’.
A quick plot summary. It has been a year since Order 66 and the destruction of the Jedi Order. Ahsoka has managed to survive, living in the Outer Rim under the name of ‘Ashla’. Jumping from planet to planet, Ahsoka sets up shop in the agricultural moon of Raada and begins to make friends. When the Empire shows up looking to turn the moon into large food producer, Ahsoka tries to help her friends without revealing her true identity as a Jedi.
Writing a novel about such a beloved character is certainly a mighty challenge and it is one that author E.K. Johnston does so brilliantly. In the television show, we see how confident, feisty and resourceful Ahsoka is as a Jedi. Johnston writes like she created Ahsoka herself, she successfully captures the spirit of the character and builds on it. This is not quite the same Ahsoka that we’ve come to know, Order 66 has changed her and Johnston does a fantastic job of building this into Ahsoka’s persona. She’s less sure of herself and is emotionally broken at the loss of her fellow Jedi. Ahsoka doesn’t know what her place is in the universe anymore and it’s interesting to follow Ahsoka’s journey as she finds her path in this new world. If you watch ‘Rebels’ then you’ll already know what Ashoka goes on to do but regardless, it’s still exciting to see her on a journey to that decision.
Also along for the ride is Bail Organa, adoptive father of Leia and one of the founders of the Rebel Alliance. It was a really smart move for Johnston to include Organa to help tie the book in with the ‘Rebels’ TV show and give the book much more weight in the Star Wars canon. Bail was criminally underused in the prequel trilogy so it’s great to see more of him and his fight against the Empire. It’s really interesting to find out more about how he builds the foundation of the Rebel Alliance and how Ahsoka eventually becomes involved. And there is the Inquisitor, sinister force-weilding agents of the Empire who hunt the galaxy for Force Children. First seen in the first season of ‘Rebels’, this was another great addition and tie in to the larger Star Wars world. This Inquisitor, known as ‘The Sixth Brother’ is nowhere near the strength and villainy of the Inquisitors we’ve met elsewhere but he still poses a threat to Ahsoka and her friends. One of my favourite moments in the book is when Ahsoka asks her force-sensitive friend Hedala to describe the Inquisitor and her answer was ‘a shadow’. It’s a really menacing moment and really conveys the constant threats Ahsoka has to deal with.
The only issue I found with the story was with the interludes that were dotted throughout the story. They pulled me out of the story and into another one, ones that I didn’t feel really added anything to the overall plot. At times, I felt like skipping the interludes and returning to them later as I just wanted to find out what was going to happen next. For some, the lack of overall action will frustrate them. Most of this story revolves around Ahsoka’s inner turmoil and trying to survive while hiding from the Empire. If you are coming into this story expecting Ahsoka to be taking on Inquisitors every other chapter then you will be disappointed.
This is a fantastic read and I very much enjoyed reading about Ahsoka pre-Rebels time. It was a nice change of pace as well, to focus more on the characters than on constant action. I finished this book and felt like I understood the character of Ahsoka better than ever and came to like the new characters as well. It would be nice to see some of these new characters appear in Rebels and continue tying the books and TV/Movies together. I think it goes without saying that if you are an Ahsoka fan then this is a must read. For those unfamiliar, then I suggest you get yourself familiar as you are really missing out.