Review of Kenobi: Star Wars by John Jackson Miller

SFFaudio Review

kenobiKenobi: Star Wars
Written by John Jackson Miller; Read by Jonathan Davis
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 27 August 2013
ISBN: 9780804148221
[UNABRIDGED] – 13 hours; 36 minutes
Download Excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / Star Wars / Jedi /
Publisher summary:

The Republic has fallen.
Sith Lords rule the galaxy.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything . . .
Everything but hope.
Tatooine—a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.

Star Wars Kenobi takes place between the events of Episode III and Episode IV and explains how Obi-Wan Kenobi settled in on Tatooine and became “Old Ben” that we see at the beginning of Episode IV. While that is mostly true, the feel I got from this book was more like, “The adventures of a bunch of frontier settlers on Tatooine who have problems with Tusken Raiders and each other with a Jedi in hiding mixed in”. While the title of the novel is “Kenobi” more of the story is centered around those settlers and their problems than around Obi-Wan himself. The book isn’t bad for it, it’s just not necessarily what I would have expected based on the title and description.

I liked the book overall. There were some points where it felt like the story could have resolved sooner but I found the overall conclusion satisfactory. The western/frontier setting is pretty interesting with the sets of problems that frontier life and sand people can give you. I liked John Jackson Miller’s portrayal of Obi-Wan as this passive guy that perpetually avoids conflict but gets forced reluctantly into action. You get some more insights into how Obi-Wan is reacting to the events of Episode III and where he thinks things went wrong.

If you like Star Wars books, this is a definite read. If you don’t haven’t read many, this book is not a bad place to start since it doesn’t rely on any back story beyond the movies. The pace of the book keeps up pretty well throughout with only a few slow moments so overall this was a quick fun book. I have to admit that I was into the book enough that I wanted to hit some of the characters if they didn’t get theirs eventually.

Jonathan Davis does a great job reading this book. His Obi-Wan impression does not disappoint and he does a great job with the other characters. One of the main characters is a bit of a schmoozer and he pulls it off really well (I just wanted to smack that guy sometimes.) The sound effects and music are always a plus in Star Wars books. My only grief here is that there are many scenes at a local store and the background sounds are that of a grocery store scanner – which I found incredibly distracting.

Posted by Tom Schreck

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