This is my favorite Star Wars book I’ve read in a long while. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, though.
THE PLOT: After delivering newborn Luke Skywalker to the Lars farm on Tatooine, Obi-Wan Kenobi sets up his home on Tatooine to keep watch over the child. His intent is to change his name to Ben and keep a low profile…but he is reluctantly drawn into the problems of the nearby farmers and their ongoing battle with the Sand People (and each other). Annileen Calwell (nicknamed “Annie”…a deliberate move on the author’s part) is a widow who runs a general store with the “help” of her two teenage children. Her deceased husband’s best friend, Orrin Gault, is a smooth-talker who has started the “Settlers’ Call,” an alarm to bring aid to settlers being attacked by Tuskens. We also get the point-of-view of a Tusken named A’Yark. Of course, all is not as it seems, and “Ben” is forced into the forefront in order to keep innocents safe.
MY TWO CENTS: I loved this book, which kind of shocked me. I actually devoured it within a couple of days, which I haven’t done with a Star Wars book in a long while. I loved the very “American West” feeling you get from the settlers, their farms, the general store, and their mannerisms. You get the slightest hint of romance when Annileen and her teenage daughter both develop crushes on Ben…which we know, of course, can never be reciprocated. In fact, there’s a lot of dramatic irony going on here. We know the whole story, while the settlers know pretty much nothing. Ben works hard to hide his true abilities from everyone, although the Tuskens are the first (and just about only) ones to figure it out. We get to see Obi-Wan struggle with guilt over what he did to Anakin and grief over his lost friends and way of life. The villain is pretty darn sleazy. Luke, Owen, and Beru do not appear, even though they are mentioned.
BOTTOM LINE: If your’e looking for the typical space dogfights or lots of Jedi action, this may not be the book for you. (There is SOME Jedi action, but it’s done pretty stealthily.) But if you’re interested in the gaps in Obi-Wan’s history, really love the idea of Star Wars as a Western, or just want something different from the norm, then I highly recommend it.
TEACUP RATING: I easily give this five teacups. I really enjoyed the writing and the characters.
Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.