Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: KENOBI (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Dante1120 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2006
    Sharad Hett is A'Sharad Hett's father, and was the one referenced throughout the novel. A'Sharad is the one who Ben fought in Legacy.

    Anyways, fantastic novel, the most fun I've had reading a Star Wars book since Knight Errant. It was ridiculously easy to hear Ewan throughout, and the Meditation sequences were easily the highlight. A perfect novel? No. The climax was actually a little rushed, but by the end of the novel I was immensely satisfied. I look forward to rereading it once I get through my immense backlog.

    10/10
  2. CooperTFN TFN EU Staff Emeritus

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 1999
    star 6
    Ignore, Dante beat me.
    Last edited by CooperTFN, Sep 4, 2013
  3. JediMara77 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 4
    Cross-posted from my review:

    Kenobi is the best Star Wars book I’ve read in a long time. Other books, like Choices of One and Mercy Kill, may have hit more of my buttons, but Kenobi is an absolutely fantastic novel and I’m hard-pressed to name a better one that’s come out in recent years. Like Darth Plagueis, Kenobi greatly enhances the prequel era, but it’s a great book on its own. The characters are fleshed out, the plot is perfectly paced, and it feels exactly like the Star Wars I know and love. Not since Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor has a book so eloquently captured the tone and spirit of Star Wars. If this is the type of book we can expect from John Jackson Miller, I hope Del Rey gives him a blank pass to write whatever he wants from this day forward. 10/10
    Last edited by JediMara77, Sep 5, 2013
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  4. AlyxDinas Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2010
    star 4
    EDIT: Ignore, like Coop's post. Or delete.
    Last edited by AlyxDinas, Sep 5, 2013
  5. mbruno Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2010
    star 1
    If you're referring to the Legacy comic series don't you mean Cade rather than Ben?
  6. HWK-290 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 29, 2013
    star 2
    No.

    Show Spoiler
    At one point during Legacy, Krayt has a flashback to Tatooine where he encountered Obi-Wan, who obstinately refused to allow A'Sharad and his clans to pass through/by a particular moisture farm.
    Last edited by HWK-290, Sep 5, 2013
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  7. mbruno Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2010
    star 1
    Oh, ok, I haven't gotten around to reading Legacy yet. I'll have to pick up the three hardcover volumes at some point.
  8. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 165.25/17 = 9.72
    Last edited by Havac, Sep 6, 2013
  9. Trip Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2003
    star 4
    So after much deliberation I settled on giving it a 6/10. It was good! But it didn't really blow me away and I was kinda underwhelmed by Obi-Wan tbh.
  10. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Of course.
    Last edited by GrandAdmiralJello, Sep 6, 2013
  11. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 171.25/18 = 9.51
  12. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    10/10

    I was pulled in. I genuinely felt like I could relate to these characters. It also kept me glued to my seat. I couldn't stop reading! This truly is god-tier EU.

    The meditations touched my heart, getting inside Obi-Wan's head in such a personal way was very effective.

    These are what stood out the most to me in Kenobi. I really want JJM to make another SW novel!
    Last edited by BoromirsFan, Sep 7, 2013
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  13. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 181.25/19 = 9.54
  14. JediMatteus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 16, 2008
    star 4
    i kind of agree. i gave it a better rating then you did, but as good as it was, and it was one of the better eu books, i did not get pulled in except at times. I wanted more from it.
  15. Pax Bandica Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2013
    8.5

    Sent from my Secure-A3 comlink
  16. pronker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2007
    star 3
    Kenobi was similar to reading Louis L'Amour at his best. The characters ride, walk and live in the familiar Tatooine setting, and as for 'Ben,' he had such trouble hiding his Jedihood that it must have taxed even his ingenuity. His meditations towards Qui-Gon ached with his guilt while the mention of Satine and her connection with the name 'Ben' gave him a bit of a past that even a reader unfamiliar with The Clone Wars animated series could relate to. Annileen's motivations stayed securely in character, even her desperation for a lover somewhere on her level. Outside of Orrin, who was there? As she herself mentioned, Mullen was not husband material. As for Orrin, he worked hard to survive, succeeded, yet succumbed to poweritis, a common story. Orrin's fate, as grisly as it was, turned him back into an honest farmer. I did wonder if Veeka were added to the tribe as a captive, but no. Miller wrote another strong female character in the multi-planet story Knight Errant's Kerra Holt and he has shown a fine sense of fun and 'Star-Warsiness.' I like his writing and hope he works more in Star Wars. Miller also wrote the 'oooh, no sex, please, we're British Jedi!' into Errant, and also in Kenobi. As in Dark Lord, the sense of immediacy to the Purge hangs over the novel, with the Empire's changes to the galaxy not yet disseminated to outlying areas. The small-town/rural atmosphere really hung together for me, where everyone knows the business of everyone else, no matter how one tries to disguise or simply live quietly: people are born to gossip. All in all, a happy read.

    10/10
  17. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 199.75/21 = 9.51
  18. LarryG Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 1
    Never before has the taste of water been described so vividly. Magic tasty water. That is what will sustain Obi wan thru the years.
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  19. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    10/10

    This was just an awesome book. I listened to the audiobook version, in which they brought back the superb Johnathan Davis. Davis really has a feel for Kenobi, and it shows in his voice acting. Its down right awesome.

    There were scenes in this book, voiced by Davis, that were so alive I felt like I wanted to cry. No other author, except Stover (still my #1!), has made me feel that way.

    Less Denning, More JJM.
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  20. pronker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2007
    star 3
    Yes to Davis! I've got the audiobook on order. He also does a stunning Palpatine. Jeff Gurner, as much as I liked his VA, fell down in Palps' case.
  21. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 209.75/22 = 9.53
  22. Jedi_Master_Forte Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2003
    star 1
    10/10

    Beautifully paints Obi-Wan as a tragic character in a way that I hadn't thought about. Of course, we feel it at the end of Ep3 but how much more he suffers beyond just Anakin's betrayal (his own guilt, his loss of every friend, his struggle to not be a Jedi and help people and the conflict it brings on him, his inability to form close ties for who knows how long) is brought out so well here with surprisingly so little from Obi-Wan's POV. The end was very emotional, even more for Obi-Wan and the position he was in than for Annileen. Great characters and engrossing plot! Probably the quickest read for me in a long time, partly b/c I was on vacation at the beach but partly because I just couldn't put it down. Also, loved all the subtle nods to the movies and EU, done in a masterful way.
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  23. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 219.75/23 = 9.55
  24. JackG Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 15, 2011
    star 4
    Cross posting FTW.

    This is a superb book. There is no doubting that, in my mind.
    Beyond that, where do I begin?

    Let’s start with the characters, excluding Obi-Wan. As I started to read Kenobi, I didn’t think I would come to really care for the characters, which in my mind were just distractions from the main show: Kenobi himself. The ending of the novel proved me very, very wrong. The Calwell clan grew on me as I progressed through the novel, and I felt as if these characters were more fleshed out than some perennial favourites of the Expanded Universe such as Jacen or Jaina. When Obi-Wan rejected Annie, I truly felt for her; it was quite moving, let’s be honest. I know I have more to say about the Calwells, but I think it all has been said before. I hope we see them again sometime. As for A’Yark: what a revelation. And I don’t mean purely the revelation regarding her sex, but rather how refreshing it was to have a strong female mother character, who wasn’t even a Jedi, but rather a Tusken! She was all kinds of compelling to read about. As for the revelation of her gender, what a tricky move! A moment when I went, “oh, hey . . . wait a minute, now”, and I don’t often get surprised in SW novels. There's obviously much more to be said of the novel's created characters, but I won't go any further than that. Lastly on this point, I would like to

    Let’s now discuss Obi-Wan. I’m not sure I liked only having Obi-Wan’s thoughts appear in his meditation, but I had to accept that. I also see why it occurred: how people perceive ‘Ben’ entirely depends on their experiences with him, not just who he is. Obi-Wan at the start of the novel quickly rushed to use his lightsaber to end a bar fight, with Luke Skywalker in his hands. Obviously such a course is unsustainable if Obi-Wan is to keep Luke safe from prying eyes, and the Galactic Empire. Contrast Obi-Wan’s actions at the bar at the beginning to his last interaction with Annileen: not only does he coldly tell Annileen the hard truth that she can’t remain on Tatooine with him, but also after everything they’ve been through he doesn’t even reveal he is a Jedi. A small courtesy, a secret she could hypothetically keep. He even admits he had lied to her about almost everything. This is a man to whom the galaxy, and everyone but Luke are secondary thoughts: he can’t help them all. By the end, Obi-Wan is profoundly changed. However, considering Luke is the key to helping all of the galaxy, this is actually typically Obi-Wan: helping in any way he can.

    I found the scope of the novel to be challenging at first, but ultimately rewarding. Kenobi’s exile certainly isn’t a galactic war, and as such I wondered if it would be an interesting period to read about. I presumed that A’Sharad would feature prominently and his duel with Obi-Wan was an absolute given. But it turns out I was wrong in this too, like I was wrong about caring for the novel’s original characters. So little time progresses, if we look at it. I didn’t expect this. Also, can someone tell me when or if Obi-Wan discovers that Anakin = Vader in this book? I know it occurs in Dark Lord, but I’m unsure if they clash. Furthermore, I think that whilst this novel doesn’t cover as much time or as many events, and reveal as much as Darth Plagueis, a natural comparison, I think it is a better novel. Unfortunately, I would hesitate in recommending Kenobi to a friend due to how little, when looked on paper, occurs.

    The amount of action and violence in this novel compared to say a LotF novel was miniscule, but it made the action more meaningful and realistic, in my opinion .It also made this novel much better for it; huge chunks of battle sometimes reveal an author’s inability to construct a story non dependant on it. Obi-Wan used his lightsaber sparingly, which was hugely refreshing. Furthermore, the scarcity of death in this book fits in well with the period portrayed. A’Yark’s son, Mullen, the other farmer and a few no name settlers, Jabba’s thugs and Sand People are the only deaths which spring to mind. For a novel with few deaths, it really punches above its weight; revealing new insights into an old character and leaving a last impact which novels featuring galaxy-spanning conflicts could only dream of. I also respect that choice to not kill off the major antagonists (Orrin or Mosep) or protagonists (Annie or A’Yark), which is becoming far too frequent in novels not centred on the Big Three, I think. It shows a truth that not all tales end in death.

    The continuity in this book was perfect. Ties to Star Wars: Obi-Wan, a relatively unknown Xbox game from 2001; Outlander comics; foreshadowing to Claws of the Dragon – it was all handled subtly and in a way which didn’t exclude readers whom were unfamiliar with the content from enjoying it. Of course, there were also the heavy ties to Attack of the Clones, which I thought was really great. Obi-Wan seems to be on the verge of understanding that incident, too. “Ben started to say something, but stopped.” The ties toOutlander also tickled my fancy, me being a canon fiend and all. When stuff can tie into a work like this, supplement and enhance it: go for it. I thought A’Yark was actually going to be A’Sharad at the beginning, but she was better; a nice link to Sharad, too. When she spoke to Obi-Wan that first time, it was one of those, “whoa!” moments for me. Not only did it connect Outlander to A’Yark through her half-sister and Sharad joining the Sand People, but it also greatly foreshadowed Claws of the Dragon in that A’Yark yearned for another Force-user to take command of the tribe and lead them to eminence once more, which is exactly what A’Sharad will do later. Maybe it is even the same tribe which he goes on to lead? There was also Jabba’s townhouse in Mos Eisley, which appeared in the Dorling Kingsley locations sourcebook, if I’m correct. Also, huge shoutout to JJM for that mention of Siri Tachi! I may have been one of the three people in the world who were happy you not only recognised her existence, but also mentioned her on the same page as Duchess Satine, whom inevitably gets a lot more attention as Obi-Wan’s love interest nowadays. As an avid reader of the Jedi Quest and Jedi Apprentice series as a junior schooler, this was wonderful.

    In terms of diversity, many species appeared, and more importantly, many stereotypes were subverted by JJM in this novel. The Tuskens were sympathetic, not monsters, and the humans (the Gaults especially) were actually those who acted like savage beasts; not only did they slaughter Tuskens needlessly - they also tricked their fellow Oasis residents. Orrin also made a move for Kallie, which I think is also worthy of a mention given how weird and disturbing that was. Definitely something which had direct consequences, which I thought was appropriate given its gravity. What a sleaze. Also, a Zeltron whom didn’t appear to be completely a sex worker was nice.

    One thing that grew on me in the end was the ambiguity of Qui-Gon’s ability to hear Obi-Wan, and if he was just choosing to not respond. This annoyed me in the beginning, but I think it was Jinn’s way of making sure that Kenobi wasn’t reliant on his wisdom. It is a nice link to Heir to the Empire when Obi-Wan made it clear to Luke that he would have to work things out on his own, without Kenobi’s guidance. Yeah, I would have loved some epic Qui-Gon revelations, but this was about Kenobi and I get that. Obviously Jinn responds in the end, as Kenobi does become a Force Ghost, so there’s that.

    Other things I liked: Ulbreck was drinking Fizzz; “Alderaan still exists, doesn’t it?” - just more the people Obi-Wan put in harm’s way; Obi-Wan’s crazy introduction to the Calwell family; A’Yark deciding to inform all the Tuskens to leave that “wizard” alone.

    I have a few pieces I didn’t agree with: I thought the timeframe of the novel could’ve been longer, but that was just my expectations. I immediately drew comparisons and unrealistic expectations that this novel would be just like Darth Plagueis, when I first heard of its announcement. Further to this, another expectation of mine that wasn’t met (yet I think should’ve) was the Larses. I can see why JJM choose not to focus on them too much, but I would have like to at least see a little of an Owen/Obi interaction, given that they seem to have a reputation for not seeing things eye to eye. I guess I had to settle for Obi-Wan’s lamentation on this matter in his meditation to Qui-Gon. This would’ve been the perfect time to have some conversations appear, but oh well.

    Sometimes I couldn’t quite imagine the locations described, especially the tiered scene of the massacre, but it was probably just me. Also, the shoehorning in of Kerra Holt andZayne Carrick on the same page was a bit obvious. However, when that is the biggest problem of a novel in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, you know you have done an excellent job.

    Bravo to John Jackson Miller for a brilliant novel, and one of the EU’s best! It’s definitely up there in my top favourites.

    I give it a 9/10.
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  25. Krusty the Clone Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2013
    star 1
    9/10
    Best sw book in a long time