Kenobi - John Jackson Miller Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths Reviews

A long time ago in a galaxy far,
far away . . . .


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EPISODE III ½

The Trials of Tattoine

Gone! The Galactic Republic has been
erased from the pages of history by the Sith.
Palpatine and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker
having destroyed the Jedi Order and
founded the Galactic Empire!

But there is still hope! Yoda and
Obi-wan Kenobi survive, fleeing across the
vastness of space with Anakin’s infant twins.
These fragile children the only hope of one day
overthrowing the vile Sith overlords and
restoring peace and security to the galaxy.

With the whole Empire searching for him,
Obi-wan takes infant Luke Skywalker to Tatooine,
to live among the rugged desert dwellers.
With his heart broken and injustice all
around, how can Obi-wan turn his back on
those in need - even when the fate of
the galaxy requires it . . .


The story crafted by John Jackson Miller begins there: Obi-wan having just arrived on Tatooine and wishing to remain inconspicuous. With Palpatine hunting all Jedis and Luke in tow, our favorite Jedi Master’s mission requires him to not become involved, but to place Anakin’s son with the Lars and watch over him. However, within minutes, Obi-wan finds himself involved in a blaster fight, trying to save people without revealing his identity. It seems that, even when he tries, Obi-wan cannot remain outside events, but is subconsciously drawn to them. Thus, he determines to settle in an abandoned house at the edge of the Jundland Wastes, because surely he cannot become embroiled in anything out on the frontier of civilization.

And the waste is surely the edge of Tatooine civilization. On one side of the invisible line, there is desert and rugged mountains with only Jawas and Tusken Raiders for company; on the other, there are the rugged farmers, who scrap a living moisture farming, and fighting hard against their savage neighbors: both the Tusken Raiders and Jabbas’ gangsters in town. To make the situation worse, an especially fierce tribe of Sand People has camped near Obi-wan’s place, lead by the fearless Plug-eye; their gaderffii constantly raised against their neighbors.

Giving the situation, it is no surprise when Obi-wan is forced to decide between obscurity or notoriety. When a local girl is put in harms way, our hero intervenes, only to discover that she is the daughter of the oasis’ mercantile owner: Annilee Calwell. Annie is a widower and immediately takes a “liking” to the mysterious stranger, who has saved her daughter. As the owner of Dannar’s Claim, she is also one of the most well-known people in the oasis, and news of her daughter’s rescuer spread around the frontier, much to Obi-wan’s chagrin. Soon, our Jedi Master is a local celebrate, known all around as Ben Kenobi, who lives out by the waste. But the funny doesn’t stop there, because Orrin Gault, a wealthy farmer, approaches Ben about becoming part of the Settler’s Call: a local militia that protects the settlers from the Sand People.

What is Obi-wan Kenobi to do?

His Jedi nature tells him to help those in need, but he also must remain hidden so as to watch over young Luke from afar. Above all these things, Obi-wan is torn apart inside. The fall and death of Anakin (He believes he killed his former padawan) is leaving him guilt ridden, and yet the greatest loss he feels - the one he cannot come to terms with - is that of the Jedi Order itself. For as he himself puts it: “I’ve never lived without the Jedi Order to fall back on, to help me when things went badly. What does it mean to be a Jedi alone?”

The tale that results from all of this is an entertaining one, making one hear the triumphant Star Wars music play in the background at every climactic moment. It is definitely meant to be a bridge story between the ending of Revenge of the Sith and the original Star Wars: A New Hope, explaining the whys and hows of Obi-wan’s initial time on Tatooine, but Mr. Miller never gets bogged down in those details. His book introduces enough original characters from the frontier and plausible plot lines that it never feels like just a history book. Indeed, the rousing fights between Sand People and settler, betrayal of one friend by another, and ultimate conclusion of the “frontier” problems are all page turners. But the books most poignant moments come from the passages where Obi-wan is meditating, trying to emotionally survive the loss of every person he has ever loved and depended on. It is there in those quiet moments with Obi-wan Kenobi that this book gets it right.

Netgalley provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The review you have read is my own personal opinion.