Book Review – Teenage Obi-Wan Kenobi embarks on his first off-planet adventure in ‘Star Wars: Padawan’

We Star Wars fans have gotten to know Obi-Wan Kenobi better recently. between the live action Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series on Disney+, the novel Star Wars: Brotherhood of Del Rey and the Comic Book Miniseries Star Wars: Obi-Wan from Marvel, the past few months have truly been Kenobi’s summer.

And now, just weeks ago, Disney and Lucasfilm Press released the new young adult novel. Star Wars: Padawanwhich centers on a teenaged Obi-Wan Kenobi as he embarks on his first solo adventure after becoming an apprentice of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn.

padawan begins with Obi-Wan as an unusually anxious sixteen-year-old, navigating the Jedi Temple of Coruscant while facing semi-friendly competition from other apprentices his age, a hard-to-read master at best and worst , utterly inscrutable, and nagging concern that he might not be cut out for the difficult life of a Jedi. It’s weird to see this famously balanced character so nervous, but it’s arc writer Kiersten White (Paranormality) chose for him, and it ultimately works because we haven’t seen him much before this point in the current Star Wars timeline. Kenobi worries that Qui-Gon doesn’t even want him as Padawan – and worse, that Jinn might leave and join. his old master Count Dooku as a “lost” Jedi Knight, now that Dooku has abandoned the Order. But when Obi-Wan stumbles across a message from the High Republic era (yes, there’s a recurring connection to Lucasfilm’s current cross-platform publishing initiative), he finds himself drawn to a mysterious, uncharted planet in the edge of the galaxy. .

Given Kenobi’s age in this story, one would naturally assume that he is joined by his master Qui-Gon on this quest, but (SPOILER ALERT) for reasons that remain ambiguous until the very end of the novel, Obi-Wan ends up traveling to a strange world known as Lehnara in the Unknown Regions, accompanied only by an astromech droid, where they encounter a clan young near-savages and teenagers who live in the wreckage of a crashed ship. Kenobi soon discovers that the planet and its vast fauna seem to be openly hostile to its sentient inhabitants, but what’s even stranger is that these youngsters are all able to demonstrate Force-like abilities. Obi-Wan befriends the youngsters and soon even begins to envy their freewheeling lifestyle, but when he finally begins to unravel the mystery of where their powers originated – not to mention what happened to all adults on this planet – things take a turn for the most dangerous.

But Star Wars: Padawan It’s not just about Obi-Wan Kenobi discovering an isolated civilization and helping them understand why their environment obviously doesn’t want them. It’s also about the young Jedi finding their own path in the Force, reconnecting with the universe around them, and accepting that fear, loss, and change are a part of life. Kiersten White does a good job of establishing Kenobi at this point in his evolution and then following his narrative until he gets a little closer to how we meet him as a young man in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. It also introduces a number of new characters, some of whom are more memorable than others (the only one whose name I think I can remember and spell correctly, having just finished the book, is Casul – and that’s because it’s an anagram of Lucas). The kids all have their unique personalities and quirks, and their fledgling society is kind of like a slightly friendlier version of lord of the fliesbut I don’t necessarily think any of them are compelling enough for anyone to claim their return.

The villain, who is introduced early on via brief interstitial point-of-view chapters but doesn’t become a major presence in the main story until just before the final act, is a bit more interesting overall. But due to the nature of his goals, he doesn’t really get much page time – his real function is to act as a personification of the novel’s “power corrupts” message, which is fine if a bit on the nose, and the climax is quite exciting once you get there. But I found Obi-Wan’s inner journey here more fascinating than any of the secondary characters – though there is one notable exception in the form of a very welcome familiar face that I’ll refrain from. spoil in this review. White also has a tendency to hammer home his points, to the point where the prose starts to feel slightly repetitive, and there were a few passages where it seemed like Kenobi was miles behind the reader in figuring out what was really going on (for a curious Jedi of his age you’d think it would be the other way around), but otherwise I had a great time with this book. The new locations were intriguing and well defined, the action was exciting, and I really walked out the other side feeling like I knew Obi-Wan better than I already did, even after all the content he received. This year.

Star Wars: Padawan is now available wherever books are sold.

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