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Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Padawan’ by Kiersten White

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Star Wars: Padawan by Kiersten White takes us on Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first mission away from the Jedi Temple at 16 years old. Obi-Wan is finally a Padawan to Qui-Gon Jinn and life is changing quickly. He is going through being separated from his friends, trying to be the perfect Padawan, and prove he will be a worthy Jedi Knight one day.

[Warning: Spoilers for Star Wars: Padawan below!]

While finding a place to be alone Obi-Wan discovers an old carving on the wall of the banquet hall. Jedis Orla Janeri and Cohmac Vitus carved their names along with a planet unfamiliar to Obi-Wan.

Once Obi-Wan did his research and brought his findings to Qui-Gon they decide to go and study the mysterious planet called Lenahra. When Qui-Gon doesn’t show up to leave, Obi-Wan decides to break the rules and go alone. 

The journey for young padawan Obi-Wan

Part of Obi-Wan’s journey was facing all of the anxiety he was having. At this point in his life, Obi-Wan is a stickler for the rules because he believes his path to becoming a Jedi Knight is straightforward and shouldn’t be complicated.

A young Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace (Lucasfilm/Disney)

He’s been struggling to connect with the Force while following Qui-Gon’s teachings. They are opposites when it comes down to training. Qui-Gon is better at the spiritual side of things while Obi-Wan is a great fighter and diplomat which causes a rift between them. 

Many times throughout the book Obi-Wan starts this vicious thought cycle about how he isn’t good enough. Obi-Wan is afraid that he isn’t living up to Qui-Gon’s expectations. He comes up with scenarios over and over again about letting Qui-Gon or the galaxy he’s protecting down. Obi-Wan wants to be important to the order and do good as a Jedi but at the same time, he feels like he doesn’t belong. 

While we might not all find Obi-Wan’s troubles relatable, his anxiety and thought process definitely is. I’m glad this was talked about in Padawan. It shows that having fears and anxiety about the future is a normal thing to have. 

The Jedi were always taught that fear is what leads to the Dark side. In this story, I liked that Obi-Wan allowed himself these feelings of anxiety about the future and was able to talk himself down. He can’t control the future but he could control what was happening in the now, something Qui-Gon always told him to focus on. 

Lenahra & Orla the Wayseeker

By traveling to Lenahra Obi-Wan faces his fears and made peace with things he cannot control. Obi-Wan connecting to the planets mimicked Force system helped him find his connection to the Force showing him there is still so much he needs to learn. 

I thought Qui-Gon revealing that he sent Obi-Wan to Lenahra to remind him there is more to the Force than what was at the temple was a clever teaching moment. It showed him that the path to becoming a Jedi isn’t all set in stone and that there are things he will need to adapt to that the Force will guide him on.   

During the High Republic era, after studying Lenahra Orla helped fellow Jedi Elzar Mann reconnect to the Force. I think in a way Orla helped Obi-Wan find his connection to the Force too by leading him to Lenahra. I loved this parallel moment because it shows that the Jedi never stop passing on their knowledge after they’re gone. And that actions from the High Republic era affect characters we already know. It’s a nice reminder that these books are connected. 

Qui-Gon’s role in Star Wars: Padawan

Qui-Gon doesn’t have much presence in the book, but as in the prequels, he is always in the back of Obi-Wan’s mind guiding him. 

qui-gon jinn and obi-wan kenobi
Liam Neeson as Qui-Gon Jinn and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

Someone I wasn’t expecting to pop up was Count Dooku. From Obi-Wan’s point of view, we only hear Dooku but the rest of his Padawan friends seem to know everything. Once he is informed that Dooku is there to speak with the council and Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan let the thought of Qui-Gon leaving the Jedi to join the Lost and Dooku get to him.  

The Lost was something that piqued my interest while reading. I haven’t read many of the legends books so this was new to me. The Lost started in Legends and has recently made its way into Canon. The Lost is a group of 20 Jedi Masters who left the order and many are unknown in both legends and canon. They didn’t all follow the same path as Dooku some just didn’t agree with the Jedi’s rules anymore.  

The inclusion of Count Dooku in this story was to fuel the thoughts Obi-Wan had about Qui-Gon leaving him because he thought his master saw him as a disappointment. While this was needed for the plot there is more to him than being Count Dooku’s Padawan and I would’ve liked to see a different aspect of Qui-Gon’s life explored since there is a lot we still don’t know about him. 

Overall, I thought Padawan was a great addition to Obi-Wan’s character. I think he is one of the most relatable characters in Star Wars. For young adults and even adults reading this, it’s good to know that others have had these feelings. Although some parts were too cheesy, even from a YA point of view, White has written a memorable Star Wars novel. 

Rating: 7/10

Star Wars: Padawan is available now! You can visit Kiersten White’s official website here . Have you read Padawan yet? Let’s talk about it over @mycosmiccircus on Twitter. And don’t forget to follow us for more book reviews and Star Wars news.

Be sure to check out some of our companion/reading guides to Star Wars characters such as Padme Amidala, Leia Organa, and Darth Vader as well as my Obi-Wan and Anakin guide linked below! 

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker Companion Guide

Obi-wan kenobi and Anakin Skywalker

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