Editor’s Note: This is a spoiler-free review. Enjoy!
Ahsoka Tano. Introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Togrutan has made waves in the galaxy and in fandom. She left the Jedi Order during The Clone Wars animated series and reappeared years later (a few years in real life and over 10 years in Star Wars canon) in Star Wars Rebels. We got to know her as an agent working for the budding Rebel Alliance. But what happened to her in the intervening time? Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston delves into unexplored territory for the character.
The Clone Wars ended unexpectedly. Given that, Lucasfilm has a trove of untold stories. Some of the ones regarding Ahsoka made their way into this young adult novel, and though it doesn’t answer all the questions about Ahsoka’s past it does make great strides by getting into Ahsoka’s head and seeing not only what’s happening with her, but also what’s happening to the galaxy as the Empire starts to show its true colors.
The best part about this novel is likely also its weakest link: This is a story for people who already know Ahsoka Tano. You’ll enjoy it if you know her from watching Rebels, but you’ll get the most from your time with her in the book if you spent years with her in The Clone Wars. Fans of Ahsoka are legion—I’m one of them, it’s hard for me to put into words how much this character means to me—and this book is for them. It’s not something I would recommend to people looking for their first Ahsoka experience.
But if you know the character? Pick this novel up. I just mentioned my strong feelings for Ahsoka, so I’m admittedly biased, but at the same time, I read this book with a critical eye. I’m protective of the Togrutan—though she certainly doesn’t need it—and I want to make sure the story did right by her. I’m happy to say it felt like I was in her head and hearing her thoughts and voice. She’s faced with difficult decision after difficult decision, and I experienced anxiety and despair on her behalf.
In broad strokes without spoilers: Ahsoka covers where the former Jedi was when Order 66 happened, what her recovery from the tragic event has been like, how she starts life over, how she ends up with the weapons she has in Rebels, and—yes—how she comes to be a part of the Rebellion. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but with the use of flashbacks and memories, Johnston executed the task without making the book feel overloaded. It left me wanting more.
There were a few times when Ahsoka’s dialogue didn’t ring true to me, but all of her actions did. This is a character who has suffered loss across the spectrum since she left the Jedi Order—she’s been in straight-up survival mode. The nugget at the heart of the novel is how she learns to hope again and regain a sense of self the Empire sort of took away by causing her, a Force user and therefore an enemy, to stay on the run.
Johnston didn’t have an easy task. I mean, I can’t imagine taking a beloved character and telling a story fans have been clamoring for. She pulled it off. She not only continued Ahsoka’s journey, but expanded it and brought forth new facets about her that affect how I see her in Star Wars Rebels. Ahsoka is a character exploration with sides of action, politics, and drama with an emotional center that gives me a greater appreciation for Ahsoka’s role in the galaxy.
Are you reading Ahsoka? Head to the comments and tell me what you think or come talk with me on Twitter.
Featured Image: Disney Lucasfilm Press
This review was completed using a copy of Star Wars: Ahsoka provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press.