Retro Reviews: ‘Ahsoka’ by E. K. Johnston

October 20, 2020 at 1:00 am | Posted in Books, Disney Lucasfilm Publishing, Regular Feature, Retro Reviews, Reviews, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment
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Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston, is a young adult novel in the canon that was released in October of 2016. 

This book has an interesting place in my heart, because I had already started reading Star Wars books in 2016, but this was the first book that I bought on release day and read in a 24 hour period of time. 

After reading Queen’s Shadow and Queen’s Peril, I was disappointed with E. K. Johnston’s writing as a whole. When I realized I’d have to reread Ahsoka, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it now as much as I did back in 2016. 

I was wrong.

Ahsoka is a very simple novel which follows Ahsoka’s exploits about a year after Order 66. The book chronicles her journey to Raada and her eventual decision to join the Rebellion. This book had several similar plot points, tones, and themes that Kenobi by John Jackson Miller had (which is my favorite Star Wars book), so that made me appreciate it even more. I was also pleased when I heard in an interview that Kenobi was the first Star Wars novel that Johnston read, but it’s also her favorite, so we’re automatically on the same wavelength there. I’ll address this more later in my review. 

One thing I did like about the first half of the book is it’s melancholy tone. You can feel Ahsoka’s sadness and guilt about Order 66 and her feeling of hopelessness. However, there is still that overtone of hope that permeates the rest of the book and makes you root for Ahsoka that I found very palpable and enjoyable.

The Larte sisters, Kaeden and Miara were good protagonists, and they served as good anchors for the story. You saw a little bit of the story from their point of view, and they reveal how the majority of the galaxy views Jedi. There were some very minor lines here or there regarding Kaeden that I didn’t like, but it didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book. I overall thought the Larte sisters were a better attempt at what The Clone Wars writers tried to do in Season 7 with the Martez sisters.

That leads into another great thing about this book. It really reads as a love letter to Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars. If you loved either or both of those series, you’ll probably love Ahsoka, as it’s tailor made to that audience.

Another thing that is great about this book is Bail Organa. While he has very few chapters, his involvement is fantastic and I think that Johnston absolutely nailed his character and voice. I felt all of his actions to be exactly what Bail would do in the movies or television shows. 

There was one very short chapter about Obi-Wan Kenobi, and I loved it. Johnston said in an interview that she tried her best to incorporate Kenobi into the canon, and this book really just serves as an epilogue to that chapter, and the final line was exactly what I wanted from that book.

I do have a few minor complaints about this book. One complaint I do have is the minor villain, Jenneth Pilar is just boring and forgettable (I had to look up his last name just now to remember it). If Johnston had taken the time to make him fleshed out, he’d be interesting, but he leaves almost as soon as he’s introduced. As well as Pilar, I thought that the Sixth Brother should have been used more. He was on the page very little and the book suffered from a clear antagonist.

An overall problem that I have with most of E. K. Johnston’s books is that she has very little plot. Her books are character based (which I do like), but they are boring and hard to get into if you’re not invested in the characters. This book is the one exception I believe because Johnston had just enough of a plot to keep the story interesting to new and perspective readers.

Overall, I loved Ahsoka. It’s one of my favorite canon YA novels, and I think it is a model for how to write them in the future. I’d give Ahsoka a 4.5 out of 5. Excellent job Johnston!

My next book to read is Catalyst by James Luceno, one of my favorite canon books and my favorite tie-in novel.

Written by Jonathan Koan.

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