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Friday, September 13, 2013

KENOBI by John Jackson Miller

What does Ben Kenobi do for all of those years while he's waiting for Luke to grow up?

Published by LucasBooks in August of 2013.

Between the two Star Wars trilogies there is an empty space. What happens in the 20 years or so between the birth of Luke and Leia and the events of Episode IV: A New Hope. Fans know, of course, that Leia was sent off to Alderaan and raised as part of the royal family - hidden in plain sight. Luke, on the other hand was taken to Tatooine and secretly raised by his grandmother's relatives in a place as far away from the Emperor as possible. As Luke famously describes his home planet in Episode IV"Well, if there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from."

So, what does Ben Kenobi do for all of those years? This book gives the reader an idea about the first few months and leaves the possibility for more books.

Kenobi is much more like a Western than the typical science fiction book. A typical Western has a mysterious stranger arrive in a troubled town. Typically, a widow is struggling with a farm or business and a local banker/rancher/rich guy is pressuring her in some way. Sometimes, there are interactions with Native Americans.

In Kenobi, Ben Kenobi is the stranger, the widow is running a store and her deceased husband's best friend, the area's biggest moisture farmer, is pressuring her, both personally and professionally (although mostly professionally). The Tusken Raiders (Sand People) take the role of the Native Americans in this space western.

Ben tries his best to stay out of the lives of the people of this frontier because he is supposed to be secretly watching over Luke. He  chooses to live as a hermit in the midst of some of the most dangerously wild areas. But, Ben's do-gooder ways keep him involved. Plus, the widow lady is quite fetching to this old cowpoke ... er, Jedi.

The most interesting aspect of the book for me was the up close look at Tusken Raider society. Miller creates a plausible reason for farmer/Tusken hostilities. The story itself was solid, but not a particularly great Star Wars story (or Western, for that matter).  The supporting characters were pretty much one-dimensional, although sometimes quite amusing. The ending was all tied up in a much-too-neat package. That being said, I was glad to have read it just for the additional insight to Tatooine and the Sand People and would like to read further adventures of Ben Kenobi on Tatooine.

Note: I received an e-book copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I rate this book 3 stars out of 5. 

This book can be found on Amazon.com here:  Kenobi (Star Wars - Legends)
Reviewed on September 13, 2013.

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