Star Wars: The Clone Wars is, in my opinion, one of the best Star Wars stories available. I recently finished the series that is responsible for introducing one of the greatest, most complex characters in Star Wars lore: Ahsoka Tano. As the series progresses, it’s clear that it really becomes her story – the years-long war as seen through the eyes of a young Padawan. Thankfully, I’ve come to learn that The Clone Wars was not Ahsoka’s final destination. In fact, not only does she appear in the next animated series on my watch list, Rebels, but she is also the protagonist of her own novel, Star Wars: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston.
On the first Empire Day – exactly one year after the fateful Order 66 that saw the death of the Jedi Order and Palpatine’s rise from Chancellor to Emperor – Ahsoka Tano makes her way to the Outer Rim moon of Raada in hopes of evading imperial troopers. Unfortunately for Ahsoka, the empire’s reach is wide, and no matter where she runs, there’s nowhere to hide. But just as the might of the empire seemingly knows no bounds, so too does a fierce and powerful dissent amongst its subjects grow across the galaxy.
Ahsoka is a fun addition to the Star Wars canon novels. Its charm comes from its connection to the wider universe: the history of kyber crystals, major events from The Clone Wars that shaped Ahsoka’s character, the ever-imposing threat of the Galactic Empire, and foreshadowing to characters and events Star Wars fans have already seen, but have yet to take place for Ahsoka and her allies.
“You have to remember every piece that's been played, even the ones removed from the board, because some of them might count against you in the end.”
The greatest aspect of Johnston’s story, however, is in the symmetry she creates between the emperor and the rebellion. The story of Ahsoka is meant to remind the reader that Emperor Palpatine played the long game: years of calculated manipulations, political maneuvering, and cunning betrayals all while secretly and intelligently designing a universe shaped in his image. However, the early leaders of the rebellion, too, are seen in this story to patiently wait, orchestrating small-scale missions, while secretly increasing their numbers and galactic influence. This idea is beautifully presented through Johnston’s prose and Ahsoka’s continued growth through understanding people and the world(s) around her.
An engaging look at a beloved character, Ahsoka is a thoughtful and introspective tale with a cinematic feel. Star Wars tie-in novels can be hit or miss, but if you’re a fan of The Clone Wars and Ahsoka Tano, this is one you’ll not want to brush off.