Written by: Dave Wolverton
Published by: Scholastic
There are so many Star Wars novels out there that it can be hard to decide which ones you might want to read. There are multiple timelines, different stories that may or may not be canon to the franchise we know and love, so it helps when you can find reviews for some of them to guide you. That’s why I decided to review this book, as it is the first in a collection of 20 books in the Jedi Apprentice series. The Jedi Apprentice series tells the story of young Obi-Wan Kenobi and his journey to becoming a Padawan under the guidance of Master Qui-Gon Jinn.
With only four weeks left before his thirteenth birthday, Obi-Wan Kenobi is desperate to become a Padawan, or else he will be cast out from the Jedi Temple on Coruscant and forced into a life as a farmer in the Agricultural Corps. However, despite his training from Master Yoda, the young aspiring Jedi still has much to learn when it comes to controlling his emotions. He is brash but worse than that, he lacks the ability to properly control his anger and his fear.
Master Qui-Gon Jinn is due for a visit to the temple to witness the skill of the young students in training, like so many times before, but every time he visits, he leaves empty-handed, full of doubts ever since his last padawan was lost. Obi-Wan has one last chance to prove himself worthy, but it will not be at the temple.
Why I like it
This is a great story full of action but also a lot of emotion. It’s as much about the deeper thoughts and feelings of Obi-Wan than it is about the actions he takes to try and prove himself worthy. It’s an emotional journey in a literal sense as we see Obi-Wan evolve into a smarter, more concentrated young man who learns more about life outside of Coruscant in just three days than some would learn in their lifetime. He witnesses evil and terror, but also friendship and strength.
Though this book and the rest of the series are targeted at younger readers in terms of its simplicity to understand its contents, it is a great book that really expands the universe of a franchise I have loved since I was young. The book is thin, with short chapters, which meant that even someone like me, who isn’t comfortable with reading novels, can read this book with ease. I was able to read the book in a single day which means that it was such an interesting story that captured me from start to finish.
With every page, I wanted to learn more about Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn, because this isn’t a simple story of a Master being impressed and suddenly taking on a Padawan, it’s much deeper than that. Qui-Gon consistently expresses his objection to taking on a new pupil, and this book gives us a journey within Qui-Gon’s mind that shows us how he becomes more connected to young Kenobi through the force.
Wolverton also manages to capture that brilliant sense of humour that audiences love the character of Obi-Wan for, such as his snarky little digs at people and brilliant commentary on current situations.
What others might not like
As mentioned before this is a book for young readers, and there are 20 books within the series, so for those who do not enjoy long series or simple formats, this may not be one for you. Other than that I see no issues with the book as a whole. It’s a great expansion to the characters we know and love, whilst also introducing new characters to interact with them and help bring them closer to the versions of their character that we know and love. Young Obi-Wan shares some similarities with the brash young Anakin Skywalker which means that by reading Kenobi’s story the audience learn to understand his relationship with Anakin more as well, whether it’s canon or not, the expanded universe will still have an impact on the way you view these characters in other media.
Overall this was a great read. If you yourself, or someone younger, that you know wants to start getting into the expanded universe of the many Star Wars novels, then the Jedi Apprentice series is a great place to start as they are easy reading for even someone of my capabilities, who struggles with books, with The Rising Force being a spectacular first entry. I will eventually find the rest of the books in this series as even with the Obi-Wan Kenobi series coming out on Disney+ next year, I’d like to read more on his rise from boy to Padawan in this extended universe story that came before all of the new shows and films that are considered more canon.