If ever you're in the mood for a book in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that gives you something you've never seen before, fills in a vital mystery in the Star Wars mythos, and is so well written it's disgusting, Kenobi might just be your book.
Set in the weeks after the events of Revenge of the Sith, Kenobi sees our favorite Jedi master delivering an infant Luke Skywalker to the Lars' and his struggles finding his place in this new life as protector, wizard, and crazy old man.
Surprisingly, Kenobi is more of a supporting character in his own book, playing the Byronic western hero in the middle of a dispute between the settlers (in this case moisture farmers) and the bad guys (in this case Tusken Raiders.) But John Jackson Miller takes the dilemma a step further: should Ben be helping the moisture farmers of Tatooine?
He's there to protect Luke Skywalker and that is his only mission.
Would playing Jedi to settle local disputes attract unwanted Imperial attention to his secret exile?
There's a transition between General Kenobi and Ben Kenobi that we haven't seen in any medium, neither books and comics nor cinemas and television, and it's long overdue.
The book reads like a western and plays heavily on knowledge that just about anyone getting into Star Wars would be able to appreciate it. But that doesn't mean it ignores all of the best continuity from The Clone Wars and other bits of the Expanded Universe. In fact, some of the most poignant moments in the novel occur when Miller makes subtle mentions of characters like the Duchess Satine, whose fate played out before Kenobi's eyes in the fifth season of The Clone Wars. Mentions to other places in continuity are relevant and placed in a context that anyone can understand.
The novel plays out in many of the same ways the classic western Shane does, right down to a brilliant, action filled climax with an emotional core to it that leaves you reading faster and faster.
The writing, however, is so good that you'll want to take it slow and savor it for every moment you can.
It captures the feel of a Star Wars movie. It's funny, it's emotional, it's action packed, it's paced quickly, and when it's all over, you feel like you've been some place. It's just perfect down to the last letter.
At the center of the book is an incredibly strong female character who takes an interest in Kenobi, but things are interfering with her business, the lives of her children, and the Settler's Call, a warning system designed to protect the settlers from the Tuskens. Often, it's little more than a lynch mob.
We also get into the heads of the Tuskens, and I don't want to spoil anything there, so I'll simply shut up about it.
This book is top tier Star Wars writing and what the Expanded Universe should look like. It's written with a passion and excitement for the source material, shows us something we haven't seen before, and is wholly competent.
This book is, to my mind, instantly a classic of Star Wars fiction. It's going up there with the likes of The Heir to the Empire Trilogy, Darth Plagueis, Shatterpoint, and the like. This is Star Wars fiction at its absolute best. It's a Star Wars book that explores stories from the movies and television series, fleshes them out and adds further dimension to what we know or think we know.
Do yourself a favor and order the book now.
Read it. Quickly. You're going to love it.