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Star Wars: Padawan Book Review

‘Star Wars: Padawan’ is surprisingly introspective.

Written by Kiersten White, ‘Star Wars: Padawan’ is no doubt a tie-in release to the recent ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ Disney+ series. In this YA novel, the story revolves around a 16 year old Obi-Wan who has recently become a Padawan to Qui-Gon Jinn. At this juncture, Obi-Wan is an insecure Padawan who is struggling to meditate. When he stumbles upon a possible path to an uncharted planet, he decides to scope out the planet alongside Qui-Gon. Alas, he ends up going alone due to a bold decision he makes. Upon arrival on the seemingly hostile planet Lenahra, he discovers a group of feral teens who are living without any adults. Moreover, they appear to possess Jedi-like powers. As Obi-Wan investigates the mysterious planet, the source of the powers, the teens’ background history, and a beacon, he embarks on a journey that will forever change him. 

For the Star Wars fans out there who have always wondered what Obi-Wan Kenobi was like as a teen, ‘Star Wars: Padawan’ has you covered. This is very much an introspective coming-of-age story as Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to come to terms with his fears, his place in the world (and with the Jedi), his connection to the Force, and trusting his own feelings on his first solo mission out in the galaxy. In many ways it feels like a companion piece to ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ in that this story mirrors the beginning of that series in which Kenobi is a bit lost and cut off from the Force. Above all else though, Kiersten White deserves credit for telling a story that really internally encapsulates the path of a Jedi. It’s the story’s strong suit to be sure.

As one might expect the story is also filled with plenty of little surprises for the Star Wars devotees. It was particularly satisfying to see a High Republic connection, a tidbit about Count Dooku, more moments with Qui-Gon Jinn, and, best of all, a surprise cameo that marks the first meeting between 2 characters (you’ll know it when you read it).

The book does have a few shortcomings. There’s no question that it leans into the Young Adult genre a bit too hard. There are a lot of recent SW novels in the YA field that felt more adult. This one goes a bit overboard with the teen angst both with Obi-Wan and the teen characters we meet like Audj, the shapeshifter Zae-Brii, Casul among others (even if it’s obviously a major part of the story). The book also suffers from being rather overwritten at times. Several statements are repeated ad nauseam that could have easily been cut out. One could also make a case that the general plot is a bit overly familiar as it has shades of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, the nature aspects of ‘Avatar,’ the ‘Star Trek’ episode ‘Miri’ and even ‘Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome.’ However, there’s enough originality here to cancel those thoughts out.

July 27, 2022 - Posted by | Book review | , , , ,

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