Go/No-Go: Ahsoka

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Ahsoka.  Lucasfilm Press has been killing it with their middle grade/Young Adult novels and there’s definitely a lot of anticipation for this particular book.  How does E.K. Johnston handle the crazy task of filling in the blanks about such a beloved character?  To mission control for the verdict!

Bria:  Ahsoka is one of those books that I was mostly enjoying but that really got my attention about halfway through.  It might be because that’s when we finally got the promised Organa Factor because that’s around the time when a lot more starts happening.  Set only a year after Revenge of the Sith, Ahsoka’s in hiding on some backwater planet and trying to avoid the Empire’s attention but, because she’s Ahsoka Tano, she can’t help being drawn back into the galactic conflict.  I liked the story but thought it could have been more effective if it had been set perhaps three years after Order 66 instead of only one.  It doesn’t feel quite far enough removed from the war.  What I did really like is how Johnston builds up a fairly diverse cast and really places emphasis on female friendships and relationships.  I’d definitely like to see more of some of those characters…who I shall not name for fear of spoilers.  I also really enjoyed how she wrote Bail and how she got into Ahsoka’s head.  Some of the most effective bits are the handful of flashbacks scenes peppered throughout.  (Please please please just give us the Siege of Mandalore already!)  At the end of the day, Ahsoka is a relatively small scale book that starts at slow but gets very exciting in the second half AND handles a beloved character quite well.  Ahsoka gets a GO from me.

Nanci: Ahsoka is one of those books that’s very hard for me to review because while it’s not a bad book, it didn’t do much for me. At times like these I need to put my Star Wars interests aside and think, what will other fans think of this book? In this case, I think fans of Ahsoka Tano, The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels will really enjoy the story E.K. Johnston weaves in Ahsoka. It’s a hard challenge to show how the Ahsoka who left the Jedi Order became Fulcrum (one of many agents with that name, as we learned in the latest episode of Rebels)but Johnston succeeds. Still, like Bria, I thought the story could have been larger in scope, set across many years and many periods of Ahsoka’s life. I also enjoyed the diverse cast, but would have appreciated more of Bail Organa (and, perhaps, even Breha). While Ahsoka isn’t a book I got super excited about, I enjoyed it and give it a GO for fans of Ahsoka especially.

Matthew: A slightly wonky structure and a lack of focus in the second half of the novel can’t sink Ahsoka, the long-awaited tale of (some of) what happened to Ahsoka Tano between The Clone Wars and Rebels. E.K. Johnston clearly knows the character and the universe well, and her prose is sharp and clear. The novel tries to be too many things at once and it suffers not only from the aforementioned lack of focus, but also a strong consistent antagonist (even if that antagonist had been Ahsoka herself), but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable novel all the same. Despite my issues with it, I have no qualms giving Ahsoka a GO.

Flight Director’s Ruling: Ahsoka is a GO for launch!

Note: An early review copy of this novel was provided by Disney/Lucasfilm Press