Aright, part two of what I hadn’t intended to be a two part thingy. At this point I’ve finished Thrawn: Alliances, Bloodlines, and Kenobi. I would totally watch Ewan McGregor do an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie after that book. He’s the perfect age, and as much as I’ve wanted Disney to slow it down a little on the Star Wars movies I’d hate to let this chance slip by. I’m well aware that they can CGI people to look younger, but I really don’t think we should let that become a thing unless it’s absolutely necessary for a minor role. But we’re not here to talk about such grown up Star Wars books. We’re here to talk about why I read Star Wars “young adult novels”. If you haven’t read the first part, and maybe want to know about your more adult book options you can read that here. Or you can skip how I got on this kick and just find out whether any of these books are worth your time.
And the overall answer is: yes. Some more than others, but I’ll break it all down in a second. I just realized that I read 29 Star Wars books for kids in one month. That’s well worth my $10 Kindle Unlimited subscription. As you’re reading this please keep that 29 book thing in mind though. I might get some of them mixed up, and it isn’t entirely my fault. The really shitty ones stood out, and got notes. If there was anything super fantastic I’d have made notes of that too. I didn’t so that should tell you something about where we’re heading. Were they all great? No, absolutely not. But let’s take into account that most of these books are aimed at pre-teens. I guess that isn’t the cool term anymore, and they prefer to be called young adults. Whatever – you’re still kids, and I read your books. Deal with it. So here’s how it went down, or if you prefer: a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…
A young Anakin Skywalker has become the padawan of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Jedi Quest is an 11 book series that takes place between the events of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. There was a 10 year gap so that’s a lot of fodder for authors before it all became “legends”. It follows the adventures of Anakin as he trains to become a Jedi, but he’s also young and gets into a lot of childish mishaps. Anakin has a rival who’s story will become pretty important in books of a different series. It’s about what you’d expect from a book about young Jedi-in-training. Anakin gets some cool moments, but is ultimately made out to be kind of a dick. And to be perfectly fair, he was. You do get better insight on how he starts down the path to the dark side though. Obi-Wan is the star of this show (for the adults at least), but kids might relate to how having feelings makes everything hard and ultimately awful. There is some character development, but they don’t spread over too long of a time period. Just like most books for kids (looking at you Harry Potter) grown ups won’t get enough of the better characters that they want to see, but this isn’t aimed at us anyway. Not bad, and not sorry I read it, but wouldn’t go back to it again.
Then it was on to The Last of the Jedi. Many years later Obi-Wan is settling down on Tatooine when a survivor of Order 66 needs his help. Anakin’s old rival left the Jedi Order, but is trying to help others like a Jedi does. Emperor Palpatine is probably still looking for Jedi and force adepts who escaped his clone kill switch. “So let’s all go to Coruscant!” seems like a great plan. I do like the padawan who walked away better than I like young douchey Anakin, and it is a much more compelling story arc. I don’t know if I buy Obi-Wan running out on what he considered his sacred duty all fast like that, but maybe they used him as a way to get adults or to tie to two series together. The main thing this series has over the other is that there aren’t nearly as many kids running around. The main thing against it is that some of these characters are really good, and it’s sad that they’ve been pushed out. Although we never thought Grand Admiral Thrawn would be canon again so stranger things have happened. I ended up liking this series much better than Jedi Quest.
After that I jumped timelines over to Rebel Force. It’s the adventures of Luke, Leia, and Han after A New Hope, but before Empire. Well, some of their adventures at least. I’m gonna be totally honest and say that with all the Star Wars reading I’ve done over the last few months I can’t really remember anything about this 6 book series. If it had completely sucked I would have moved on, but I know I read them all. I just can’t tell you anything about them. They were in danger a lot. That’s about all I’ve got for you.
And then to The Wrath of Darth Maul. It kind of sort of explains how Darth Maul got from The Phantom Menace to The Clone Wars. It’s more about how he became Darth Maul in the first place. Let’s just say that the rest of Palpatine’s apprentices got off very easy. And it sparks a big pet peeve for me. If Maul had to train from the time that he was four to become a Sith Lord then how did Count Dooku get there so quickly? Sure Dooku was a former Jedi and all that, but I don’t see why that would make him quite so amazing. He was able to train General Grievous and Asajj Ventress, and then beat down Obi-Wan when Maul got chopped in half like a bitch. Even after reading it I still don’t understand how he lived. Not only lived, but continued to be a thorn in the Jedi side until Obi-Wan finally finished him off in Rebels. Maybe. I liked it in the way I liked Phasma though. Background story for a character who you just knew was cooler than they were allowed to be in the movies. Or in Maul’s case, singular movie.
And now we get to the one that made me realize I was reading kid’s books. The Rise and Fall of Darth Vader. It was in no way good, and made me check the reviews where I finally discovered that I was reading a book intended for ages 8-12. D’oh! The first review I saw called this book “a stunning tour de force”. That person has clearly never read a book before. And yes, that review was clearly written by an adult. Either that or some sort of child genius. It was immature (even for Anakin’s low standards), and almost entirely stuff taken from other books and movies. If the prequels didn’t ruin Darth Vader for you by making him whine about sand and cry about hating Tusken Raiders then this will certainly do the trick. What’s more annoying than listening to little Anakin say “yipee”? Reading it. The diminutive of Anakin is Annie instead of Ani. What is he, some red-headed orphan girl? And how does Vader cut a guy down with his lightsaber and leave him laying in a pool of blood? I thought those suckers cauterized wounds. My biggest irritation was really minor, but happened repeatedly and took me out of the story every single time. It’s called coming out of hyperspace, not coming out of hyperdrive. I’m the kind of jerk/nerd who gets pissed at that kind of shit.
I enjoy Star Wars books because I love it, and really just want it to keep going forever. With the number of books I haven’t read I think I can make that happen. I also read these books to fill in gaps still left after a gillion episodes of The Clone Wars and Rebels. Even though they aren’t canon if you love Star Wars like I do, and don’t mind that they aren’t adult novels maybe give a few of these a chance. I might look into the Jedi Apprentice series next so I can read all about Obi-Wan’s training. Like Darth Maul and Phasma I don’t think Qui-Gon had enough time to be awesome. Or I could just wait a few weeks, and get Master and Apprentice and read a grown up book. Who am I kidding? I’ll probably end up doing both.