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4/5: Kenobi

Kenobi - John Jackson Miller

It's been more than a few years since I read a Star Wars book, and I wouldn't have picked this one up if I hadn't bought it for my wife – and she picked it for the cover.

It covers the early years of Ben Kenobi's life on Tatooine, and his adjustment to 'civilian' life after the rise of the Empire.

The spin that Miller puts on this is a great one – this is a western, complete with Sand People as Native Americans, The Tough Widow who Runs the Store, The Smiling Villain, and, of course, Kenobi as The Mysterious Stranger without a Past

Miller takes these tropes and spins them in another intriguing direction for a Star Wars book: Kenobi isn't the protagonist. So we see the action from The Widow or The Smiling Villain's point of view, just a blast of blue light from Kenobi's lightsaber that they can't identify, and Kenobi leaves behind a mystery.

So for a book called Kenobi, he's actually not in it that much, and we follow the other characters storylines. Fortunately, their problems and plot line make for an entertaining enough tale so that I didn't really notice. Jackson has a grip on his characters and knows them inside and out, and that knowledge comes through the page and makes the characters live.

He does tend to lay on the adverbs sometimes – "Kenobi drank thirstily" – why not gulped or swallowed? And they seemed to creep in more towards the end of the book. I wouldn't have really noticed, but some of them seemed very clumsy: Words like guiltily and thirstily, for instance.

Overall though, a great book with a nice spin. It was good to see the Expanded Star Wars universe from the small end of the telescope for a change.