Book Review: Star Wars: Ahsoka

ahsoka tanoStar Wars: Ahsoka
by E. K. Johnston
Space Fantasy (Star Wars)
356 pages
Published 2016

I’ve been wanting to read this novel for a long time, as Ahsoka Tano is my favorite character from the Clone Wars cartoon, and second-favorite in the entire Star Wars series. (Because General Leia exists.) I picked the book up at a used book store in Oregon when we went home from the holidays, but I’ve just had so many other things to read. I finally read it for May 4th, Star Wars Day.

I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. I’ve read another book by Johnston, That Inevitable Victorian Thing, which I enjoyed but thought was too fluffy. And comparing this to the last Star Wars book I read – Phasma – this tilts that way too. It’s not as fluffy as TIVT – people die, and the Empire is the ever-looming possible doom that it always is – but it just didn’t feel as gritty as Phasma did. Perhaps it shouldn’t; Phasma is a villain, and her backstory is suitably dark. And Ahsoka, here, is floundering a little in the wake of Order 66, and being alive when none of her compatriots, to her knowledge, are.

I did enjoy learning how she got her lightsabers back, and the story should lead well into the Rebels cartoon, which I have yet to watch.

So I don’t know. It was an entertaining book, and it was effective at furthering Ahsoka’s story, it just…wasn’t quite what I wanted.

The book does, however, fit the Popsugar 2018 prompt of “Takes place on another planet.”

From the cover of Star Wars: Ahsoka:

She thought her war was over, but a new battle is just beginning…

Ahsoka Tano, once a loyal Jedi apprentice to Anakin Skywalker, planned to spend her life serving the Jedi Order. But after a heartbreaking betrayal, she turned her back on the Order to forge her own path, knowing Anakin and the other Jedi would still be there for her should she ever need them.

Then the Emperor took over the galaxy and the Jedi were ruthlessly murdered. Burdened with grief and guilt, Ahsoka is now truly on her own, unsure she can be part of something larger ever again. She takes refuge on the remote farming moon Raada, where she befriends a young woman named Kaedan and begins to carve out a life for herself. But Ahsoka cannot escape her past or the reach of the Empire. When Imperial forces occupy Raada, she must decide whether to become involved – even if it means exposing her Jedi past. Her choices will have devastating effects for those around her . . . and lead her to a new hope for the galaxy.

 

Friday 56 – May The Fourth Be With You!

ahsoka tanoThe Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice. The rules are simple – turn to page 56 in your current read (or 56% in your e-reader) and post a few non-spoilery sentences.

 

Today’s quote is from Ahsoka, by E. K. Johnston, who also wrote That Inevitable Victorian Thing.

Ahsoka followed Miara’s gesture and saw a tall Togruta male standing behind the bar. His skin was the same color as hers. His left lekku was mostly gone, though, cut off at the shoulder, and there was scar tissue where the injury had been sustained.

“Farming accident,” Vartan said. “A long time ago. They can give you prosthetic hands and feet, but they can’t do much about your lekku.”

I’ve been meaning to read this book for quite some time, Star Wars Day finally gave me a reason to do so! I’ve loved Ahsoka Tano since she was introduced in Clone Wars. I REALLY need to watch Rebels.

You can also read my review of the Phasma novel here!

Book Review: Star Wars: Phasma

Journey to the Last Jedi Star Wars PhasmaJourney to The Last Jedi: Phasma
or Star Wars: Phasma
by Delilah S. Dawson
Sci-fi
401 pages
Published 2017

Star Wars: Phasma is one of a series of books that is supposed to help us bridge the gap into The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. They call them Journey to the Last Jedi, but given that Princess of Alderaan explores Leia’s early years, parts of them at least are set prior to the original trilogy. The Journey set includes Bloodline, about Leia’s struggles to organize the New Republic, and the birth of the First Order. It also includes Legends of Luke Skywalker, but as that is actually billed as legends and tall-tales told about Luke, and not necessarily true stories, I’m less inclined to read it.

Back to Phasma! So far, all we’ve seen of Phasma was the enigmatic Storm Trooper Captain, in chrome armor, powering down the shields when forced to in The Force Awakens. We never even saw her face. (Gwendolyn Christie had a wonderful opinion on why her face wasn’t shown, in an interview with Stephen Colbert the other night. You can watch the video below.)

So in the novel, we learn Phasma’s true origins. The story is told via a framework – a Resistance spy, Vi Moradi, is captured by Captain Cardinal, Phasma’s chief rival within the First Order. He forces her to tell him all she knows about Phasma, which she does, because it’s not info directly about The Resistance, and she’s hoping to turn him to her side. Phasma’s life began on a once thriving planet that had been decimated about 150 years before her birth by some force. (I don’t want to reveal too many surprises, and this book is full of them!) One of her old tribemates told the entire story of Phasma’s youth, rise to power in the tribe, and eventual escape from the planet to Moradi. It’s a story of survival at all costs, and illustrates just how good Phasma is at it.

I rather hope we see Captain Cardinal in The Last Jedi, as he grew on me even as he was interrogating Moradi. He goes from loyal First Order soldier with a grudge against Phasma to a conflicted man who’s beginning to see how much he’s been brainwashed. It’s intriguing to read. The revelation that The First Order rewards the ruthless while overlooking those who play by its own rules also breaks him a little bit.

I really enjoyed this book, and I will definitely be picking up Bloodline and Princess of Alderaan, because I can never get enough Leia. If you’re not a Star Wars fan, I’d definitely take a pass on this book, because it won’t really mean anything. But as a fan, it’s a fascinating look at the beginnings of a villain.

(If you’re interested in more Star Wars, I have also read and reviewed Ahsoka, by E. K. Johnston.)

From the cover of Star Wars: Phasma:

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

#90sInJuly – July 5 – Aliens Exist

thrawn

I don’t actually have too many books about aliens, but this was one I checked out from the library a while back. If you can find the 20th anniversary edition, it’s worth it for the author’s notes scattered throughout. This trilogy got me excited about Star Wars again. (I read it just before The Force Awakens came out.) Thrawn is an amazing villain. He’s intelligent, and capable, and cunning. If you only read one set of Star Wars books, make it this trilogy.

 

 

 

The 90s In July index post is here.