There are few characters as beloved by Star Wars fans currently as Ahsoka Tano. If you don't know who that is: Anakin Skywalker had a Padawan learner during The Clone Wars, and she wasn't introduced until that series began. She has gone on to have a life beyond the Jedi Order and survived its destruction. Her story, by necessity, occurs in the margins where casual fans don't wander.
Regardless, she's a fan favorite. Star Wars fans have watched her character develop from child to adult, like Anakin, but with decidedly different results.
Recognizing her status as a fan favorite, Disney/Lucasfilm resurrected the character for Star Wars Rebels. They even delivered a much-anticipated moment when Ahsoka realizes what became of her old teacher.
There was a gap in her story, though. No one was sure what had happened between The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. How had she survived? What had she been doing, and how did she get to be involved in the rebellion?
That leads us to this book. You may remember it made my list of items which I was most anticipating for Fall 2016. Regardless of hosting Aggressive Negotiations, I'm on board the Star Wars train.
After reading Star Wars: Ahsoka, I wouldn't recommend this book for any but a die-hard Star Wars fan, or at least a dedicated Ahsoka devotee. You could make an argument as well to give it to a younger fan with less of a critical eye. I've given it to my eldest daughter to get her reaction since she's got an interest in Star Wars, and is aware of who Ahsoka is.
I've read Young Adult novels for the franchise before. Lost Stars was a superb retelling of the Star Wars saga from a different set of perspectives. Star Wars: Ahsoka most closely resembles the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig with its structure, relying on “interludes” to convey larger aspects of the story. To the credit of author E.K. Johnston, it's a more effective use of that structure than Wendig has managed; the interludes at least relate in a meaningful thematic way to the main story.
In the final summation, Star Wars: Ahsoka is a missed opportunity. The problem is precisely what affects so many franchises, especially in their ancillary material. It may relay a story, but it's not really “about” anything. Despite some flashes where it ties into the larger narrative involving the rebellion that are enjoyable enough, it doesn't validate my decision to spend money and time consuming it; it's fast food for the fan brain.
It didn't have to be this way. They've revisited characters whose Clone Wars arcs were blunted before to more effect and with greater dramatic impact, most notably Asajj Ventress in Christie Golden's Star Wars: Dark Disciple. In a sense, Star Wars: Ahsoka comes across as a cash grab leveraged against fan loyalty. I know that consumerism plays a huge role in any franchise, but given the character's history, I wish they'd taken advantage of the deep love for this character and relayed something epic and impactful.
As it stands, it's not a bad book, just not a particularly memorable one.