In Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston, The Clone Wars are over, the Jedi have fallen and the Empire is rising. Ahsoka managed to escape the mass Jedi killing but now she is all alone. With nowhere really safe now, she heads to a tiny little moon at the edge of the Outer Rim to hide. The moon manages to grow enough food to feed those there but little more. It seems like the perfect place to avoid the Empire. Until the Empire decides it’s going to take the moon to grow its own crops.
As a brutal Empire crackdown begins, Ahsoka will have to decide whether to run again, and keep running, or make a stand and help her new friends. Her choice will affect more than just herself, it may just affect the whole galaxy and lead to a new hope. Continue on for more of what you can expect in the Ahsoka novel!
[Warning: My review of the Ahsoka novel contains some spoilers!]
Ahsoka is all alone
The Jedi are gone. Ahsoka searches for them through the force but she can’t find anyone, she is alone. It’s possible that there are other Jedi out there hiding like her but Ahsoka doesn’t know where to find them. So she finds a dusty planet in the Outer Rim called Thabeska to hide. There is nothing there to interest the Empire and no real Empire presence. She thinks she’ll be safe there. And after a year of working as a mechanic for the local crime family, she begins to think she is.
But then the Empire shows up. Ahsoka has kept to herself for the past year, but her closed-off attitude was enough for her boss to know she doesn’t want to be found. So he gives her a warning that the Empire has landed and is asking about new people on the planet. Ahsoka takes the warning and runs. She finds an even more isolated place to call home, the moon Raada.
Raada is a tiny moon orbiting an uninhabitable planet in the Outer Rim. There is nothing there at all to draw the Empire’s interest. The farmers barely grow enough food to feed themselves. There are no imports and no exports, just farmers. Ahsoka meets Kaeden, a farmer (of course), as soon as she lands. Ahsoka isn’t looking for friends but Kaeden doesn’t really give her a choice. Soon Kaeden, her sister, and their farming crew are all getting closer to “Ashla”, Ahsoka’s alias since the Jedi fell.
No coincidences in the Force
But of course, a book about Ahsoka fixing farm machines and trying to both make friends and not make friends at the same time would be rather boring. Unknown to Ahsoka, the Empire has set its sights on Raada. It’s been decided that Raada is the perfect place to grow some of its vile nutritional plants for its nutrition paste. The plant completely destroys the ground it’s planted in after one growth cycle, leaving the soil unusable for years after using up the nutrients. The Empire has no plans to compensate the Raadans for their land or move them to a new home afterward. They’re just going to effectively destroy the moon and leave the Raadans to die.
When the Empire arrives on Raada, Ahsoka is shocked. It’s more than a little unnerving to have the Empire appear again so quickly and in such an unexpected place. Ahsoka is faced with a choice: run, and probably continue running for the rest of her life, while abandoning her friends to their fate, or fight the Empire and save her new friends and home.
Ahsoka was taught that there are no coincidences, everything is tied together by the Force. The fact that the Empire keeps showing up where she is means she is meant to fight. But fighting now will be different from fighting before when she had well-trained troops that listened to her commands without question.
Will Ahsoka be able to help the farmers mount a successful resistance? Or will the Empire be adding one more dead Jedi to the total? And if everything is connected, what kind of impact will Ahsoka’s choices have on the rest of the galaxy?
The Ahsoka novel is a nice adventure that fills in some story gaps
Ahsoka fits in between the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and before her appearance at the end of Star Wars: Rebels season one. It helps to connect the dots of where Ahsoka went, what she did, and how other circumstances came to be in the Star Wars universe.
Now happily, E.K. Johnston includes enough information (without turning into a textbook) to allow people that aren’t acquainted with Star Wars to enjoy Ahsoka. At the same time, Johnston includes lots of Easter eggs to please Star Wars fans. She manages to strike a good balance between the original story and nostalgia which is very fun to read.
A study on trauma and personality
I liked seeing how Johnston has Ahsoka deal with the trauma of losing the Jedi and becoming a fugitive. Obviously going through something so terrible has a big effect on a person. Ahsoka becomes very closed off and untrusting after losing everyone she loves. But over time she again connects with people and begins trusting again. And even though she is committed to staying off the Empire’s radar, she can’t stop herself from helping people.
Deep down Ahsoka is a hero who wants to help others and once the shock of her trauma wears off, that shines through again. Indeed, once she has some time to process what happened, she becomes more determined than ever to help others. Ahsoka often remembers when she “failed” to help in the past and uses that experience to guide her moving forward. It’s a good example of how events influence us, but our natural tendencies will always come out in the end.
Perfect for Star Wars fans, but great for everyone
So obviously Ahsoka is a Star Wars book. Anyone who likes Star Wars even a little will enjoy this book. Fans of The Clone Wars series will especially enjoy Johnston’s story. But the really nice thing is that if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, this is still a great story and it’s written in a way so that even if you know nothing about Star Wars you can still root for Ahsoka and the citizens of Raada (and you won’t feel lost while doing so).
I am far from a Star Wars fan. I have seen the original trilogy, once, I have seen the first season of The Mandalorian, once, and I have played Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga, twice. That’s the extent of my experience with Star Wars. But I still greatly enjoyed Ahsoka, and I think that everyone else will too, no matter their level of Star Wars knowledge.
My Rating: 9/10
Ahsoka by E. K. Johnson is available now. Will you be checking it out before Ahsoka the series arrives on Disney+? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.