Ahsoka: A fun but inconsequential tale about a Star Wars favourite

Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsAhsoka by E. K. Johnston science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsAhsoka by E.K. Johnston

It struck me on reading this YA novel that there’s a definite hierarchy to the stories that are told within the STAR WARS universe. Obviously the movies are the most important: they are seen by the most people, and encompass the most important events in the overarching space epic. They’re “tent-poles” so to speak.

In second place are the animated television shows such as The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels which build on the canon that’s laid out in the movies, and very occasionally (usually through minor cameos) get to overlap with them.

After that come the books and comics, which are best described as “fillers”. They’ll usually deal with origin stories of certain characters; of filling in the gaps that couldn’t be explored in the films or shows due to time constraints.

As a character who has never appeared in any of the films, but who is an important component of both television shows, Ahsoka was a natural choice for a spin-off novel, but it’s obvious that author E.K. Johnston had limitations on what she was allowed to put into her story.

E.K. JohnstonAlthough we get some background onto how Ahsoka joined the Rebellion, found the khyber crystals for her twin lightsabers, and even acquired the codename “Fulcrum”, Ahsoka’s story on the whole is filler. It can only touch lightly on things such as her role in the Siege of Mandalore or her feelings about former-friend Bariss Offee, since there’s every chance one of the shows will want to dramatize these things on-screen at some point.

Instead Ahsoka deals with Ahsoka’s life after leaving the Jedi Order and hiding from agents of the Empire, and how she tries to help those in need without drawing undue attention to herself. The stakes aren’t very high, and the supporting characters not hugely memorable, but it serves as a nice little window as to what Ahsoka was up to between the Clone Wars and the Rebellion. It’s not really allowed to be anything else.

Still, Johnston captures Ahsoka’s voice nicely (I could almost hear Ashley Eckstein’s cadence) and you could feel her profound loneliness as someone whose friends are dead — or so she believes — and who must constantly stay on the run.

There are little glimpses into the wider universe, such as what the Inquisitors and Bail Organa were up to during this time, and a few little flashbacks into the past, but like I said above, Johnson is prevented from delving into the real juicy stuff. For fans of the character, it’s nice to spend some time with Ahsoka, but the greater part of her story will no doubt be told elsewhere…

Published in 2017. Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance….

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REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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