Before I begin the review, I should probably confess something. I’m a total Star Wars nut. Have been since I was a youngling. As a wee Gen X’er, I knew Alec Guinness as the wise older Obi-Wan. As a grownup, I was amused by the younger, funner, funnier Obi-Wan of Ewan McGregor. Even if the poor guy was saddled with that horrible Anakin kid. The Obi-Wan of this book is clearly the Ewan McGregor version, as evidenced by the cover shot, as well as the wry humor of the character in the story.
I should probably confess something else. I read this book for CBR7. Twice. And I just read it again. And I’ve been agonizing over this review for the better part of a year. Last year I reviewed another book by this author, tweeted it, and he thanked me! So now I’m afraid to write anything that Miller might read. Not because I have anything bad to say about this book (I don’t), but because I enjoy his books so much, anything I write will pale in comparison.
Anyway, canon-wise, the story takes place just after the Sith have gotten their [R]evenge. Order 66 has decimated the Jedi, and those that survived have gone underground. Obi-Wan Kenobi has escaped to Tatooine carrying the infant Luke Skywalker. As far as he knows, his friend Anakin is dead, and he and Yoda may be the last of their kind. Yoda has given Obi-Wan a task while he’s in hiding: try to communicate with his old master Qui-Gon, who has become one with the force. Obi-Wan’s difficulty with this leads him into a bit of a mess later on.
No sooner does Obi-Wan get to Tatooine than he gets into a scrape with some locals. So much for keeping a low profile. Then he draws more attention to himself by rescuing Kallie Calwell, daughter of Annileen, the pretty, widowed owner of the only real store in town. He introduces himself as just “Ben,” no last name necessary. Ben continues to fail keep a low profile, despite all of his efforts to live as a desert hermit.
There’s too much in this story to go into without retelling the whole story. Miller touches on some interesting aspects of the Star Wars universe, like how Obi-Wan Kenobi went from Ewan McGregor to Alec Guinness in 19 years (hint: sunscreen is important when you live on a planet with two suns). He also delves into the lives and culture of the Sand People – perhaps the monster is in the eye of the beholder.
Even though he’s supposed to be underground, Obi-Wan is who he is. No matter how hard he tries to hide, he will always be a Jedi, and will act and react as one. His first instinct will always be to help others, often to his own detriment.
Kenobi is an entertaining story, whether one is a Star Wars fan or not. You don’t even really need to know much about the Star Wars universe to enjoy the book – most of the people at the outpost on Tatooine don’t know what’s going on out there either. I’m looking forward to reading more of Miller’s work. You should definitely check it out.