With fans just coming down from the high of “The Force Awakens” and now turning around and getting amped up for December's release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” a book hit shelves on Oct. 11 that is the best book to be released in the new canon era.
E.K. Johnston “Ahsoka” follows Anakin Skywalker's former Jedi Padawan as she sets down on the remote farming world of Raada years after escaping the Empire's infamous Order 66 which wiped out out most of the Jedi. Now her name is Ashla, a nomad mechanic and pilot leaving her past life as a Jedi buried on a far off world – literally.
Ahsoka quickly falls into a group of young farmers after she repairs one of a piece of farming equipment. She now is there go-to mechanic and she finds the walls she's raised to protect herself to lower and to let them in. Kaeden is her main connection with the group and Ahsoka's hope of living a quiet life looks attainable. That is until the hulking form of an Imperial Star Destroyer surfaces in the skies above Raada.
Once the Imperials land and begin using the moon for their own means – no super weapon here folks, E.K. Johnston is too smart for that. Gone are the days of “here comes a baddies with a new super weapon to defeat” days of early Star Wars literature. The Empire is as ruthless as ever, but is instead using the moon's resources for more important matters – providing food for an ever-growing army.
When things begin to go bad, Ahsoka is forced to flee back to a family she left behind and a child who senses the shadow who is chasing Ahsoka. Her acts of kindness while on routine flight missions for the family land her on the radar of a pirate gang as well as a blossoming group of idealists whose vision of the future is one without the Empire.
In the end she must return to Raada not only to rescue her friends from the clutches of the Empire, but to free herself from a future she created for herself.
How did I know “Ahsoka” was a good book? I had to abandon this story about halfway through for a few weeks due to other commitments. Once I was able to pick it up again, I didn't have to go back and see what had happened or even look at a single note. As soon as I began reading, the imagery came flooding back and the story was as fresh as the moment I had to step away. Not many reads can do that.
Fans of “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” will delight as we see another aspect of the much beloved character. The final couple of pages are wonderful. With the plot of novel wrapped up, Johnston uses the last few pages to lead us into the “Rebels” series nicely.
You can see how these pages are going to come to conclusion from a galaxy away and I believe that's what Johnston intended. I found myself having to resist with every ounce of my being not skip to the bottom of the final page to see that wonderful payoff. It's nice to close a book after reading the last word with a huge smile on your face.
“Ahsoka” is the best book to come in the new canon era. The book is a young adult novel, but it will satisfy Star Wars fans of all ages. This is a story that deserves to be read and shows that new era characters have a deserving place in the Star Wars galaxy.