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The transition from Obi-wan to Ben
on 24 April 2015
Set entirely on Tatooine, this novel is concerned with Obi-wan Kenobi’s adjustment to life in hiding at the edge of the Jundland Wastes. That isn’t to say that this novel covers the entire twenty or so year period that Obi-wan spends on Tatooine, living like a hermit and meditating. That would, of course, become extremely tedious and dull. Instead the focus is on his arrival on the planet and how he comes to terms with recent events and his new enforced lifestyle. It is concerned with his initial failure to slip into obscurity and how this failure affects those around him. As such the reader bears witness to much of Obi-wan’s internal musings and struggles which brings the character to life in a different way to the films.
The characterisation of Obi-wan is extremely convincing. His inner turmoil at the actions of Anakin and his own guilt and responsibility for them feel utterly in keeping with the character and the films. It also sows the seeds for the slight bitter edge he possesses in ‘A New Hope’. Of course, this is an Obi-wan who is not yet aware of his former Padawan’s survival or of his transmogrification into Darth Vader. It nails Ewan McGregor’s performance perfectly. Much of this novel, particularly in the earlier stages, features the prequel trilogy portrayal of Obi-wan. As the story continues, however, there are slight, subtle nuances of the Alec Guinness version beginning to creep in.
There are several well written for characters but other than Kenobi the one that is most interesting is A’Yark. Seeing things from the perspective of a Tusken/sandperson provides an insight into their culture and behaviour, making them a more rounded species and more than just savages. It also enriches the world of Tatooine, which has played such a prominent role in the Star Wars universe.
In essence this is a western/pilgrims style story transposed into the Star Wars universe. Much of the content is concerned with the developments and issues of a fledgling community full of conspiracy. This all forms the foundation for a well-structured storyline with some good plot twists and developments.
There is also a short story included at the end of the book. Although this is placed at the back it is probably more of a benefit to read this first as it almost serves as a prologue to the actual novel.