It started sometime last year with me catching the fan-made Kenobi trailer. Is it heavy on the Vader asthma? Yes it is. Other than that, you can’t watch it and NOT want to see a Kenobi spin off movie.
Flash forward to last month. I watched Miles Ahead, the decent Miles Davis biopic with Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor. That film got me onto a Ewan McGregor kick, and I watched Last Days in the Desert, from which most of the Kenobi “trailer” was taken.
Of course a week after that the Star Wars audiobook Kenobi popped up in my Overdrive suggestions, complete with the Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan on the cover. These were the droids I looking for–yeah, I had to put that line in here.
First off, I’m a Star Wars fan, but not a fanboy. I haven’t memorized everyone in the Mos Eisley cantina, the specs to the Millennium Falcon, or any of the other thousand pieces of minutiae from the SW films. Secondly, I didn’t read Kenobi to point out inconsistencies in the SW canon. I’m interested in the Obi-Wan character and I like well-crafted stories.
Now I’ve read a couple of the other SW paperbacks before (Tales of Jabba’s Palace and another one that centered around a young Han Solo), so I knew not to expect The Great Gatsby before going into this one.
Kenobi reminded me of an old western. The struggle between the ranchers (Tatooine moisture farmers, in this case) and the indigenous Indians (Tuskens) with the mysterious ex-gunslinger (a post-Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan) trying, unsuccessfully, to stay out of the conflict. The author, John Jackson Miller, did a decent job setting up the Tuskens and the farmers while weaving Kenobi into the story. I especially enjoyed the bit of Tusken mythology Miller threw in. But 2/3 of the way through the tale, he desperately tried to tie Jabba the Hutt’s cohorts into the plot and everything fell flat. The outcome of the villain at the end felt especially forced (yuk yuk) and tacked on.
It was nice to get some background on a young Obi-Wan in his first days on Tatooine though. There are many scenes of Obi-Wan meditating/attempting to contact the glowing, Force “ghost” version of Qui-Gon Jinn to figure out his next step. This added a lot of depth to the book.
If you’re a fan of the Jedi/Force aspects of SW or an Obi-Wan fan, you might like this book. Otherwise, don’t bother. Had I read this book instead of listened to it, I’m not sure I’d have stuck around for the last third of it. The villain’s fate felt heavy-handed and the final denouement with the moisture farmers just felt like a bland afterthought.
2 out of 5 stars.