The Saga Continues: ‘Ahsoka’ by E. K. Johnston

After watching the finale of The Clone Wars, I was eager to follow Ahsoka’s story further and discover what happened to her in the time after Order 66. The YA novel Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston does just that, but given that it was published in 2016, several years before there was any hint of a seventh and final season of The Clone Wars, I wondered if the story would still ring true.

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The Ahsoka novel begins on the first-ever Empire Day, one year after Order 66 wiped out the Jedi Order and gave rise to the Empire. Ahsoka, now using the pseudonym Ashla, is hiding out on the planet Thabeska until she is given a warning about a sudden increase of Imperials and decides it is time to move on. She settles on the farming moon of Raada where she establishes herself as a mechanic and starts to make friends with some of the locals.

Ahsoka prepares to meditate, Image Sophie Brown

Unfortunately, the Empire also has plans for Raada, and all-too-soon Imperial troops have arrived and started to make changes that have terrible consequences for the people living there. Ahsoka finds herself torn between her desire to run once again and keep herself hidden and to help her new friends take back control of their home. Straddling that line, Ahsoka soon finds herself making new allies and discovering new enemies, but despite everything, it may well be too late for Raada to recover.

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I felt that Ahsoka did a great job of showing us the confusion, fear, and loneliness Ahsoka experiences after Order 66. Having parted ways from Rex, she is now entirely alone in the galaxy in a way she never was before. Even during meditation, when previously she could connect to countless other Jedis through the Force, she simply finds herself alone in the void. She still has a strong desire to help others and desperately wants to stand against the Empire, but without the support she’s used to from Anakin, Rex, and the 501st Legion, she’s unsure of how to do that.

Ahsoka feels powerless, Image Sophie Brown

The present-day story is interwoven with flashbacks to the time surrounding the Siege of Mandalore, Maul’s escape, and Ahsoka’s own experiences during Order 66. These do vary ever so slightly from what we saw on-screen during season seven, but the differences were such that they could almost be accounted for as Ahsoka’s memory being faulty, not entirely unreasonable given the trauma she went through. These scenes added a new layer to what I saw on screen, giving me more insight into the conflicted emotions Ahsoka was experiencing at the time while the book also lays the foundations of the connections we know Ahsoka has made by the time of her first appearance on Star Wars Rebels.

There was also a sweet and subtle LGBTQ plotline running which surprised me in a good way. One of Ahsoka’s new friends on Raada—a farming girl named Kaeden—almost instantly develops a crush on Ahsoka, much to the amusement of her younger sister Miara. This adds a welcome touch of brightness to what could be a dark and depressing story because we see that even throughout the brutality of the Empire’s rule, teenagers are still out there developing awkward crushes!

Ahsoka experiences muscle memory, Image Sophie Brown

Although this was an enjoyable enough read, it is surprisingly short and feels more like the first entry of a series designed to continue Ahsoka’s story, stopping just as things really begin to get interesting. I’d love to have seen it continue with additional books covering the years between this story and Star Wars Rebels, but so far there has been no hint of that happening.

Those looking for a story that really broadens the Star Wars galaxy in a meaningful way may find themselves disappointed here, but if you’re simply hoping for an Ahsoka-heavy tale with some action and adventure and a deeper dive into the post-Order 66 era, then make sure to pick up a copy of Ahsoka. Don’t forget to read more Star Wars book reviews in the rest of our The Saga Continues column

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This post was last modified on September 3, 2020 1:35 pm

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