Review: Star Wars – Kenobi / Author: John Jackson Miller / Publisher: Del Rey / Release Date: Out Now
As John Jackson Miller describes it himself, Kenobi takes the familiar Obi-Wan Kenobi character and drops him into the middle of an old-fashioned Western tale. All that old Ben is missing is some tobacco and a spit bucket. Yeehaw.
From the moment you read the prelude, this book firmly grabs your attention. As soon as Obi-Wan seeks directions from a barkeep at a rowdy establishment, Kenobi takes the reader on a character-driven, evolving and unique path. Picking up after the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, we see the Jedi Master on his mission to deliver a baby called Luke (you may have heard of him) to his future home on Tatooine with the Lars family. The delivery of Luke to Owen Lars is not the only promise that Obi-Wan keeps, as he also regularly does his best to contact his old Master, Qui-Gon Jinn.
After the initial ‘bang’ with which Obi-Wan arrives into the story, the book then takes a different route, holding back for a while before our hero returns to the fray. In the meantime, we’re given a large slab of Tuskan Raiders on our plate, as the Sand People are running amok on Tatooine. Going up against them, we also have various other parties, all seemingly out for land, power or pride. Battling families, feuds that have ran for generations, and reveals and revelations are just part of the fun in Kenobi. Of course, they’re the chips that accompany the steak that is Obi-Wan himself.
With this book, Miller has given us a unique look into the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he makes the choice to go underground and become plain ol’ Ben Kenobi, having to keep the lightsaber and magic tricks firmly under wraps for the most part. It’s a very raw, basic, and novel approach to the character, and an approach that hasn’t been touched upon too much in any previous Star Wars works. Added to that, given that it follows on from Episode III, there are also glimpses into the titular character’s struggle with what happened to Anakin Skywalker. You really feel Obi-Wan’s pain at essentially having to slay his ‘brother.’ Similarly, we’re treated to Kenobi coming across small clues and unheeded warnings of Anakin’s descent towards the ‘Dark Side’ and what he would become.
Kenobi captures a lot of what’s great about the lead character. It’s humorous, playful, yet serious, thorough and impactful too. Hell, Obi-Wan even gets some attention from the ladies. Can’t be bad, no? And he didn’t even have to get his lightsaber out.