Final Score: 9.6
★★★★★ Personal Enjoyment
This book review contains spoilers for those who have not yet read Kenobi by John Jackson Miller.
From the moment I picked up this book and began reading the bar scene through the hilarious eyes of a drunk I knew it was going to be rollicking fun – while at work I found myself wanting to be home reading instead!
- The western themed plot is excellent. Even though the physical area of Tatooine covered in the story is small (the amount of time covered, too) the depth of characters and challenges fill everything out.
- Obi-Wan wants to be left alone, but is continually dragged into romancing and protecting the locals from Tusken Raiders, gangsters, and themselves.
- Everything that happens advances the story, and there’s a lot that happens to each character. Each has their own desires and challenges, and the conflict remains constant throughout.
- I especially like that the plot is driven by the decisions and actions of all characters involved, and things happening to them outside their control are minimized, if existent at all.
- I love these characters. They are small town folk, each with dreams and hopes for their future and the others surrounding them. All very relatable – even A’Yark, our leading Tusken, surprisingly.
- The story is never progressed through Kenobi’s perspective. The scenes he’s in are all told from another character’s point of view, which I think was an excellent choice on the author’s part. We only get insight from Ben after the fact (meditation), which allows for reveals in hindsight, as opposed to the possibility of hearing his innermost Jedi intuition in the moment. I find this way more exciting.
- Each character has their flaw, but excel at something, too, which keeps things fun and interesting. There is lots of sarcasm from a few of them, which is even more enjoyable in this limited perspective! There are some pretty funny locals like Wyle Ulbreck and Erbaly Nap’tee.
- The writing is very character-aware and clever, and kept me engaged throughout. Miller is able to maintain a high level of interest throughout the story, mainly due to the use of limited third person. He tells the story a piece at a time through the eyes of different characters one at a time. The reader gets the full story, but only as it unfolds for the characters.
- The dialogue is straightforward and reads very quickly, and the pacing of major plot beats throughout the story line up perfectly to carry through to the surprises at the end. The mother reveal of A’Yark was well done.
- It never occurred to me I had only been reading her name and gender-neutral pronouns until that point!
- While this book touches very close to home on the Star Wars mark for me, some readers might not like the lack of Jedi and Sith action, absence of any space battling, and heavier symbolism of greater good vs evil.
- There is tons of original trilogy fan service in this book, all the way down to the details of the speeder models and geographic locations on Tatooine. Jawas, cantinas, sarlaacs, Krayt dragons… everything you expect.
- The beliefs the sand people have of the twin suns and how they dictate their lives because of it is intriguing.
- The family driven stories for each character bolster the Star Wars-iness throughout.
- The tie ins with the information we learned about Tatooine life in A New Hope are expanded upon masterfully, nothing being included for fan-service sake. Explanations of the vaporator farming lifestyle, tribal knowledge of both the local human settlers and also the Tuskens – If its included, its relevant to the story.
- Obi-Wan and his abilities are kept a mystery throughout the story, which plays excellently with the mystical feel surrounding the force in the original trilogy.
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