The Republic has fallen. Sith Lords rule the galaxy. Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything….Everything but hope.
Tatooine - a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as "Ben," the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Ben - Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy's last hope - can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi - and the formidable power of the Force - in his never-ending fight for justice.
©2013 John Jackson Miller (P)2013 Random House Audio
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
Tatooine. Some call it the cradle of the Star Wars universe. It's home to the creatures the fans know and love: Jawas, Banthas, Sarlaccs, Krayt Dragons, and Tusken Raiders. And now it is the home of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker.
Beginning shortly before the end credits roll on Revenge of the Sith and covering the ground in the first weeks after the movie, this book reveals the long-awaited tale of Kenobi's transition from venerable Jedi Master to "just a crazy old hermit." As one might expect, it's not easy to simply stop being who you are, and "Ben" finds himself neck-deep in settlement affairs and sand people attacks before he knows it. The end result is all the heart of an old western and the storytelling magic of Star Wars as John Jackson Miller gives us a look into the depths of the soul of a failed hero.
Narrated by Star Wars audiobook veteran Jonathan Davis, this book is given an even greater depth thanks to a bona fide performance. To be honest, I was hoping for a full one-man show from James Arnold Taylor, who voices Kenobi on The Clone Wars, but Davis' performance is strong enough to stand on its own for the right reasons. The strength of both writing and narration allow one to simply get sucked in and see it play out on the movie screen of the mind. Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but that's what happens for me when Star Wars returns to its roots within the scope of the film saga and finally expands out our understanding of one of its central characters.
While technically a stand-alone adventure, the very nature of the story is that it requires a familiarity with the films to fully appreciate it. But then, if you're not already a fan, why would you be reading this book? As one who is a little more deeply entrenched into the EU, I can say without really spoiling anything about the plot that canon cops are going to be screaming over the rather important reference to Sharad Hett. If you don't know who that is, don't worry - it gets explained, and it works within the scope of the story well. There's just that one tiny point that will irk the diehards specifically because of how woven it is into the backstory. For myself, I don't let it bother me. I found it to be a rather cool nod to an early prequel era comic, and let's be honest here: neither the novels nor the comics are actually canon. Forget this "layers of canon" nonsense, because Star Wars is the only franchise where the younger fans haven't figured it out yet. Regardless... it's a non-issue to the plot of this story. I will simply say this instead, that much like with Darth Plagueis, this book should probably be elevated to a higher level closer to the canon of the films because of the material it does cover.
What IS an issue to the plot of this story is an inside look at the culture of the sand people. As with other appearances of this race here and there throughout the EU, they are suitably creepy and fearsome, and it's a treat for this fan to get a story revolving around them.
One tiny personal disappointment I do have, and this is a bit of a character spoiler, but not a plot spoiler, is that Kenobi at no time learns that Darth Vader is still alive. I was hoping to have this scene, but perhaps they'll leave that for another story. There is no Vader in this story; it's Kenobi-centric, and all that implies. Tatooine is remote, after all, and the news travels slowly. A sense of how slowly is depicted here.
To make up for that tiny little disappointment, what we're given is a range of characters, most of them moisture farmers, who are actually interesting. These characters are so well written that you come to care for their plight in short order, which connects you to Kenobi as he fights his instincts to get involved.
I'll also add that I am a huge fan of ironic justice, and the ending of this book just works for me. It's brilliant, it's huge, and it's a bit disconcerting, and I'll say no more about that.
From there, you sprinkle in a few well-placed classic Ben Burtt sound effects and musical cues from the maestro John Williams, and what you have is one of the better written, better performed, and better produced Star Wars audiobooks on record. I've heard it said in early reviews that it's perhaps better than Darth Plagueis. I don't know that I'd go quite that far, but it is an excellent companion novel to Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader, covering pretty much the same time frame and type of character transition in the wake of Ep. III.
Bottom line, in terms of importance to the EU and caliber of quality, this is one of the best in the line, and one that the fans simply must have.
I place it among the top 10%
It was different than a typical Star Wars book. It is a small and intimate story without a great evil power or epic space battles. I enjoyed the change.
Jonathan Davis did an excellent job making each character sound distinct and bringing them to life. The audio version (as the Star Wars versions do) also had background audio -- when someone pours a drink, you hear a drink being poured, but it didn't overpower Jonathan Davis' performance.When voicing Obi-Wan, Jonathan Davis sounded exactly like Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan. I have a hard time believing he wasn't brought in to do some of the voice acting. If it really was Jonathan Davis, he did an incredible job.
I haven't read (or listened to) a Star Wars book in a long time, but this one sounded interesting. One reviewer described it like the 1985 Clint Eastwood movie "Pale Rider", and I agree. It was essentially a Western and not a typical Star Wars science fiction book. No space travel or big starship battles. It wasn't "the future of the universe turns on these events" kind of story.
Instead it was a rather small, intimate story set on Tatooine right after Obi-Wan Kenobi (now going by Ben Kenobi) drops off the baby Luke Skywalker with his aunt & uncle. Ben Kenobi tries to settle into a hermit's life near a small settlement, trying not to draw attention to himself or reveal himself as a Jedi Knight (which would draw the Empire's attention to him and Luke). But of course there are attacks by Tusken Raiders, bad guys to deal with, the harsh conditions of Tatooine itself, and a little romantic tension thrown in.
Caring for people and righting wrongs while remaining as aloof and as anonymous as possible are Ben's challenges. It was a nice change of pace for a Star Wars story.
The Star Wars audiobooks narrated by Marc Thompson and Jonathan Davis are always fantastic. Their voices capture the different characters and species amazingly well through out the whole performance. Music and sound affects from the movies is provided at appropiate places complimenting the fantastic storyline.
Obi-wan's first trip to the Claim.
Jonathan Davis does a true credit to Obi-wan but his performance as the antagonist Oran Galt resonates. Preception of Galt slowly sifts throughout the novel and Davis carries this remarkaly well so that even as Galt's character shifts you see the traces of the person he once was, is precieved to be and the villan he becomes.
Obi-wan's strength and moral intergrity. Even in the face of what he's lost and when confronted by an evil similar to what he's just escaped Obi-wan refuses to surrender who he is to the Dark Side, there is a moment when he can take out his loss, sorrow and grief on another and once again choose to do what is right.
There are too few books that do true credit to the character of Obi-wan Kenobi. Even in the movies his story is shadowed by another. In Episode I he is the apprentice to a great Jedi Master. In Episode II and III while a Master in his own right he is overshadowed by Anakin's deeds and powers, and the audience is enraptured by Anakin decline.
Respected throughout the Jedi Order, Obi-wan is considered the ultimate Jedi, one who embodied all a Jedi is supposed to be. Star Wars Kenobi caputres that core essence of who he is and provides reasonable explanations for how the Ewan McGregor character evolved into the cray wizard and hermit Alec Guinness supposedly is when first introduced at the begining of a A New Hope.
I have listened to literally dozens of audio books based on the Star Wars Universe and this has got to be the best one yet. Jonathan Davis should win an award for his amazing reading of this book and John Jackson Miller hit the perfect pitch with this book. Perfect companion to discover what happened to old crazy Ben after dropping off Luke with the Owens in Episode III. Nice references little references to the other elements of the expanded Star Wars universe in comics, books, and movies.
A part time Library Assistant and general lover of books and stories.
The three words I'd pick to sum up Kenobi are: Personal, Western and Emotional.
He brings the characters of the story to life with excellent voice acting. Especially Kenobi himself.
Definitely Jonathan Davis. It will depend on what the subject matter John Jackson Miller writes about as to whether I would read another one of his books or not
For the die hard Star Wars fan, yes. But for the casual fan, I would recommend 'Darth Plagueis' instead. While the narration was well done and the story well written, there was nothing extraordinary about it. I found nothing revelational about this particular story of Ben (Obi Wan) Kenobi's residency on Tatooine. I expected maybe a revelation that Darth Vader (a.k.a. Anakin Skwalker) had survived their epic encounter or maybe a mentioning of atrocities committed by the newly formed Empire. But, there was hardly a mentioning except regarding known events that occurred in Episode III. We hear his one sided conversations with Qui Gon Jinn, but don't hear his former master's reply. Ben is there to keep vigil while Luke Skywalker grows up, but is evidently doing so at a distance. This story also conveys that Obi Wan is for the most part in an information vacuum in the outer rim on Tatooine. And the story makes it pretty obvious that the will of the Force is to make sure that Ben's true identity as a Jedi Knight is kept a secret, no matter how much trouble he finds himself in.
Jonathan Davis does a fantastic job of pacing the story as well as varying up the voices enough that you know who is speaking without having to hear or read "Said, such and such character." The sound effects and music that accompany his narration of Star Wars audio books also lends to the telling of the story.
You mean like hiding out in the desert and talking to ghosts of former mentors? LOL! Not really.
LIke I mentioned before, Kenobi is a well written Star Wars story, but unfortunately, it isn't very exciting. There are a lot better Star Wars novels to choose from than 'Kenobi.'
Mike and Jenny
the Audio edition of Kenobi is just as entertaining as John Jackson Miller's written novel. Both crafts were done excellently. A must have!
Ben Kenobi makes new friends on Tattooine...
Kenobi's 'Meditations' scenes teach you patience; even when prayers aren't always answered.
The ending leaves you satisfied...
Great Character driven scenes and John Jackson Miller makes Tattooine shine brighter than its two suns. For the past years, Jonathan Davis has always been the perfect for Kenobi; he gets better every time!
I love SciFi and Fantasy books. I love any Star Wars book. Some of my Fav's are Harry Potter, Eragon, Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones.
Struggle, Fear, Love.
That it shows how hard it was for a Jedi to be a Hermit!
Love this guy, can do great character voices!
Made me LMAO in parts! :)
I would have to say in the top 10.
It wasnt Kenobi going out to save the galaxy, just him dealing with normal everyday life.
I have liked all of Davis's preformaces. I don't the Star Wars world would be the same if he didnt do it.
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"Yes......absolutely! It ties in several questions I'd often wondered about, about the 'Tatooine' connection.......
Tusken Raider leader referring to the 'great tradegy' in the wastelands.....
A long time ago, in a galaxy far....far...away.....
This is one of the BEST books I've listened to! Easily in the top five!
"Well Written and Read..."
Outstandingly written and read - draws you in. Great story
Meditation... very lighthearted moment ;)
I could have done, but it made perfect listening going to and from work, Made the journey home in the rain fly by.
"Not a good example."
I suspect John Jackson Miller is a new author so I wouldn't prejudge him. As time goes by and he releases material it is very likely that he'll improve; especially if he listens to his readers. I enjoyed Jonathan's performance of the material and the extra sound effects... but the book itself was a disappointment.
Being a Jedi is a hook. It was my reason for buying the book. I always wondered what old Ben Kenobi had done out there in the wilderness for all those years. I wanted to understand more of what being a Jedi did to your character and thought processes. What did he think of his failure to bring Anakin around? How much did he understand about Palpatine's influence and Anakin's insecurities? How stoic was he? How deep did the stoicism go in his Jedi training? How resourceful would that make him emotionally? How far did his amiable nature take him in dealing with others in a desert like Tatooine and maybe even a little backstory on Ben/Obi Wan the man. His parents.... friendships in the order, desires, dreams, regrets unrelated to the Anakin issue. I didn't get them. Also the characters John wrote were petty.... a shop keeper with a "bad" temper that wasn't really so bad. He didn't give her any feminine mystique at all. He barely even described her beside auburn hair tending toward brown as she got older. Was there ANY physical attribute that would attract a man to her? We didn't get any of the things that might have lured a romantic interest ... we also didn't get any clue to the wiles women might use (or advice she might have taken) or their rationalisations for using them to attract a man like Ben. The bad guy was an utter disappointment. I won't go into detail because he was just WRONG and any editor or regular reader would know why. The action wasn't very good either. No understanding of combat was conveyed. The flourish of a lightsabre... the concerns of aiming a blaster, the differences of the Tuscan weapons.... just basic mistakes that John should have had pointed out to him. The appearance of the Crate Dragon was so laughable I really couldn't believe he went there. And SO badly. On the whole I don't imagine that John understands the benefits of Jedi training and as such couldn't convey a convincing Kenobi character.
It is unfortunate but there are too many things wrong with the story to list. The botched intimidation by Jabba's guys in Mos Eisley, the failure to make any headway into why Annie's kids were so attention seeking or any true conversations between her & them addressing the issue. The predictable but absent scene where Annie's daughter offers herself to Ben. The conversation between Ben and Annie's son... that also should have appeared but didn't. Any physical descriptions of ANY women in this story.
He could benefit from good advice on what to concentrate on in any future work.
Good narration is like a working raincoat. You only notice it if it doesn't work or works far better than you expected. Joe Abercrombie had a Narrator on The First Law series that added to his work immeasurably. Jonathan Davis did a good job. I cannot fault him. .
I'm glad someone wrote about Ben's adventures. I'm hoping someone does it well. I always meant to find time to read some of the Star Wars books... I'm just sad that this was my first experience of it.
Redeeming qualities? John isn't a terrible writer. The book isn't terrible. I wasn't good though. No I can't think of a redeeming quality because it was bland, unimaginative and a waste of my time.
I'm sad that Authors are not given more support. This is the publishers failure as much as the authors. There ought to be more advice and suggestion to allow a better product. It didn't need to be this bad.
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