Warning: There are spoilers in this review. If you do not want to know what transpires in this chronicle please do not read any further.
To be honest, it was our resident Jedi Consular who convinced me to read the SW young adult novels. Before that, I refused to read them. Yet I learned the error of my ways after reading the Young Adult novels that happened before Episode I. I was able to learn much about the Jedi temple, the padawans, and the Jedi Council that the other EU novels or DH comics did not cover.
When I learned that there were going to be Young Adult novels that take place right after Ep III, I looked forward to reading them. When I realized that Jude Watson, who authored the post Ep I Young Adult novels that focused on Obi Wan and Anakin Skywalker as a padawan, I knew I would be in for a treat.
The story takes place a few months after the events in Ep III. We are reintroduced to a solemn yet frantic Obi Wan Kenobi who is now known as Ben Kenobi to the inhabitants of Tattoine and the revelers in Mos Eisley. Every day he pretty much stays outside of the Lars home (Owen and Beru, who take Luke Skywalker in at the end of Ep III) watching over Luke from sun up to sun down. Then he returns to his desert hovel in the Jundland Wastelands.
While making his occasional excursions into Mos Eisley to keep tabs on the Empire, he overhears a discussion about a former padawan who quit the order named Ferus Olin (who were introduced in earlier Jude Watson novels) who is wanted by the Empire. After conferring with the astral form of Qui Gon Jinn, Kenobi heads to Bellassa in the Ussa system.
Bellassa is a planet that originally refused to conform to the Empire's new order. So the Empire decided to make Bellassa an example to any who would defy the Emperor. Due to the military takeover, removal of the elected governor, and the replacement with an Imperial officer, a small rebel faction is created spearhead by Olin. Ironically Olin, who is an inspiration to those who are openly supportive of the rebellion and does who aren't, has "forgotten" his Jedi ways. Kenobi ensures that he "remembers."
The book demonstrates Kenobi's strength in the Force and also gives us a glimpse of the SW universe directly after Ep III. The clone troopers are now known as Stormtroopers. The Jedi are hunted and their contributions are pretty much forgotten. What makes this story important is the fact that Olin with the help of Kenobi, helps to plant the seeds of rebellion that would later become the Alliance in SW: A New Hope.
I also like the fact that Obi Wan Kenobi continues to blame himself for Anakin's road to the darkside. It shows that Kenobi has a concious and is very strong. He feels that everything that is happening in the galaxy is a result of the decisions that he has made. People suffer because of hise heartfelt duty to his former master to train Anakin. Even though Qui Gon tries to convince him otherwise, he takes the burden anyway. It's ill to see this conflict and it shows us that he is not the invincible Jedi we come to love. He is a human being. To compound this feeling, we are re-introduced to Olin, a person who left the Order because of Anakin and even warned Kenobi about the path that Anakin would eventually take several years before his fall to the dark side. So Kenobi is faced with this memory again. When Olin asks where Anaking was, Kenobi bends the truth and says he died in the purge.
The only flaw is that the Stormtroopers are relegated to being dumb ass flesh droids. During the Clone Wars, we learn to see them as more than clones. They are seen as professional and efficient soldiers who can not only follow orders but can improvise and think creatively. In this book, we see them as bumbling idiots who stumble all over each other like keystone cops. One would think that after ridding the galaxy of almost all of the Jedi, capturing or killing, heck even hurting, one Jedi Master and a washed up one would be a cinch.
Overall, the book is worth reading. This is the first in a series so there will be more revelations to come.