Star Wars Ahsoka REVIEW: The Journey After Order 66 by Miriam Orr
Why I’ve decided to write this review while munching on crackers and drinking a delicious cup of tea I’ll never truly understand. But, as I look out the window to inky blackness of early morning beyond my desk, only to see the dusting of the moon begin to shy into the sky, I can think of no better time to write a review on book. Especially a Star Wars one.
To be honest, I was never one of those authors that got into writing book reviews outside the classroom – if I liked the book, I simply told my friends, made a quick Facebook post, and stored it on my shelf (depending on level of interest, it would be put in the front row of books rather than the back. Why are there two rows of books? Because I have no self-control). But, seeing as I’m currently ridiculously obsessed with Star Wars novels and am obligated to at least put some effort into being an author on this blog [nervous laughter] I decided why not? Why not take a stab at a book review – after all, all the authors are doing it. Right? Right.
Ok. I’m focusing with my tea – back to the task at hand. Over the month of December (I’m a procrastinator, ok?) I spent a ton of time reading the book that’s been captivating the Star Wars fandom, sitting now eleven weeks (at the time of writing this) on the NYT bestsellers list. That book, a stirring YA novel that answers a lot of questions fans have had for so many years, is entitled simply, Ahsoka.
Dedicated fans know Ahsoka as the former Togruta Padawan of Anakin Skywalker, who was cast out from the Jedi Order after being falsely accused for events stirred by Master Luminara Unduli’s Padawan, Bariss Offee. After Offee’s treason was exposed, Ahsoka was welcomed back into the Order, but refused. Instead, she filtered out of the Jedi, and thus out of the spotlight for the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Introduced in the pilot episode, Ahsoka makes her exit in the twentieth episode of the series’ season five. Then, fans are left wondering what happened to the beloved character known as “Snips”.
Which brings us to Ahsoka. Written by E.K. Johnston, the book follows the events of Ahsoka’s exit, and takes place between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, sometime after Order 66. In hiding, Ahsoka sojourns the galaxy while trying to stay out of trouble – keeping to herself as she contemplates the fall of the not only the Jedi, but also the Republic. A brilliantly told tale with an engaging plot transports fans back to the time when they grieved Ahsoka’s parting, and dazzles them with wonderfully down-to-earth writing and glimpses into other characters throughout the piece.
Ahsoka answers, at least in part, the overall question of what exactly happens to the former padawan and how she handles her downfall. It introduces new characters that are both compelling and mysterious, each well-conceived and executed with precision and skill. Readers are left hanging in suspense some places, while in others giddy and beyond themselves with delight. The plot carries them effortlessly from one chapter to the next, sometimes not in such a cut-and-dry way.
What is most impressive is Johnston’s inexplicable handling of the personas and their pre-conceived auras. For instance, she writes an excerpt from the exiled Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi that is both heartbreakingly accurate and beautiful apart from the book as a whole. Aside from tasteful execution, Johnston adds unique flair to her portrayal of the people fans have so come to love; in the form of depth we do not necessarily see in the films, series, or other novels. Her unique eye for detail and personality shines through each page and each engaging moment with both old, and new, faces.
The moral dilemma of the story is though-provoking, even at its very least – Ahsoka Tano struggles with the ideas of not only attachment, but what it means to be a part of a “larger whole”, as the summary on Johnston’s website reflects. Having been almost flippantly discarded by the Order for wrongdoing which she is falsely accused of, Ahsoka left fans with the startling – and thus answered – speculation whether the Order’s loyalty to its Jedi is concrete, or not.
Deciding to strike out on her own would be a risky feat whilst having no attachments (or life, for that matter) outside the Jedi Temple, as well as frightening for the, at the time, young-adult. It would also be emotionally challenging, as she would walk away from not just the only family she’s ever known, but her beloved friend and master, Anakin Skywalker.
The book takes readers through Ahsoka’s journey of emotionally preparing to be involved with something other than her own existence – and she handles the struggle well. From uneasy meditations, to visions, to movements in the force, readers feel an authentic connection to the realm – one that feels like the Star Wars they know and love, and not fabrication. Her perception of the universe, even having not published anything related, is oddly seasoned; as if handled by an author brimming with both knowledge and experience of the written Star Wars world.
Overall, Ahsoka is a moving piece. While it is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction of the universe fans have loved for years. While it does not add as much, or cover as many realms of post-Jedi Ahsoka as fans may have anticipated, it gives us a glimpse of character development and how a once-Jedi handles emotions she is unprepared to face.
Many have protested that the book should have been an extensive history of Ahsoka’s parting with the Jedi, but that was not the book’s prerogative. It does well what it was intended to do – bring Ahsoka back to the forefront, and set her at the Rebellion’s door. What is more, it brought us back to Ahsoka – her legacy continues, thanks to Johnston’s creative genius. And, Ahsoka continued to season as much as she ever did before our eyes. She paints for us a beautiful picture of selflessness and virtue, as well as struggle and victory. Ahsoka show us just how human Jedi are, and can be, even in the wake of devastation.
And she is just that – a Jedi. Just as she ever was.
Get your copy of Star Wars: Ahsoka at your local bookstore or from Amazon.
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Miriam Orr has dreamed of writing adventures to capture audiences from all walks of life since the age of five. Currently, she is pursuing the adult world as a graduate of Minnesota’s own Crown College with a Bachelor’s in Communication, if one can even begin to understand the trade. If there is one thing she has learned, it is that life never goes according to plan, so it’s best to have a plan B – and, you might as well have the rest of the alphabet planned out, too. They probably won’t go according to plan, anyway. Her passions and writing interests range from science-fiction to Christian living, but mostly consist of ridiculous action- adventure plots and film scripts. She hopes to live life according to Isaiah 6:8, found in the holy scriptures of Yahweh, and pursue Hollywood as a filmmaker and scriptwriter. You can follow her on instagram (@miriamruthorr), or through Facebook.