Jelena’s Review: “Ahsoka” by E.K.Johnston


Star Wars fans have followed Ahsoka Tano over the years and watched her grow and change from Anakin Skywalker’s padawan during the Clone Wars to the agent of the Rebellion called Fulcrum. In her novel simply titled Ahsoka, E.K. Johnston provides another facet of Ahsoka’s story and a bridge between these two images. Starting exactly one year after Order 66, the book follows the title character over several months as she finds a new path – in life, in the Force and within the Rebellion.



We find Ahsoka on the Empire Day on planet Thabeska where she works as a mechanic under the name of Ashla for a large, friendly, smuggling Fardi family. Warned that the Imperials are asking for any newcomers, Ahsoka ‘steals’ one of their ships and runs away. She finds her way to the moon of Raada which is inhabited by a small, farming community and finds her place within the community thanks to her mechanical skills. She believes that Raada has nothing of interest for the Empire and would be a safe place for a former Jedi on the run, but she couldn’t be more wrong.



Most of the story centers on Ahsoka helping the farmers when they find themselves targeted by the Imperial machine. Though she left the Jedi Order, Ahsoka’s moral code does not allow her to simply watch injustice, but getting involved brings another set of problems and dangers – for herself and others. It isn’t easy to simply fall back to her war experiences when dealing with inexperienced, but very motivated and eager farmers. In order to save lives, Ahsoka reveals her true nature and must run again after promising that she will come back. Her humanitarian activities attract attention not just of the Empire and criminals whose businesses she is damaging, but also of a certain Senator who happens to be in the possession of a certain astromech droid Ahsoka is familiar with. Together they are able not just to help the people of Raada but also to help each other.


r2-d2, anakin, obi-wan and ahsoka


It was interesting to spend time in Ahsoka’s head and watch her change over the course of the book. In the beginning, she often recalls Anakin, Obi-Wan, Rex and even R2-D2 and thinks about the things they would do or say in certain situations. While some of her recollections are amusing, it is clear that, as much as she misses the support system they represented, Ahsoka is heartbroken and lost. By the end of the novel, we see her muse about the mistakes Jedi made and how they could have been prevented. We see her struggle to marry the lessons of the past with her new experiences and forge them into the new path to follow. When she does, it’s glorious.


The author interspersed the story with little inserts that gave us a look into Ahsoka’s past including a snapshot of the Siege of Mandalore. Anakin gets one of his own, but my favorite was Obi-Wan’s (more about that in spoiler section). E.K. Johnston captured Ahsoka’s voice perfectly; she is a couple of years older, a bit more jaded, but still with her well-known spark – a perfect bridge between Snips and Fulcrum.


While the book doesn’t lack action, Ahsoka is first and foremost character book. It’s small in scale, but offers a window into a larger world – through the eyes of one of the favorite Star Wars characters. The novel is a great addition to the expanding Star Wars canon and it will leave you wanting more. Most of Star Wars fans will find enjoyment in it, but I think Ahsoka fans will love it. Ahsoka is highly recommended.




This part of the review contains FULL SPOILER details. If you don’t want to know, turn back.


Like I mentioned, we get a snapshot of the Siege of Mandalore. We learn that Anakin not only offered Ahsoka half of his men but also brought her old lightsabers from the Temple. During the battle, Ahsoka draws Maul into a trap, but he escapes when she chooses to save Rex’s life. After Order 66, Ahsoka and Rex fake her death and she leaves her lightsabers in the grave so they could be found. They go their separate ways.




Over the course of the novel, which covers several months, Ahsoka is gathering metal scraps, circuitry and other bits and pieces and carries them with her wherever she goes. At first, she doesn’t know why she is doing it; it is almost as she is compelled to do so. Later on, she begins to recognize their possible purpose. Finally, she uses the pieces to construct the two lightsaber hilts. But, the sabers are missing the necessary crystals so Ahsoka goes to the one source she knows – Ilum. She finds the planet surrounded by the Imperial ships and heavily mined. The once perfectly white, frozen planet is completely ravaged. Ahsoka turns to the Force which, surprisingly, shows her the way back to Raada. Since the moon has its share of caves, I thought she would find the crystals there. But, E.K. Johnston managed to surprise me and gave me a perfect fist pump moment that I will not spoil here – I want you to enjoy it.


Crystal Cave on Ilum


We also get further explanation of kyber crystals. They are completely translucent and in the ice of Ilum completely invisible. The crystal chooses its user by ‘singing’ to them while remaining invisible to anyone else. The connection to the user is giving the crystal its color. The crystal will never ‘sing’ to a Dark Sider. They practically take the crystals which belong to someone else and bend them to their will – they ‘make them bleed’ giving the crystal its deep red color. While the places like Ilum have large quantities of crystals and are considered holy, the crystals appear in other places but they are harder to find.


The Grand Inquisitor


E.K. Johnston also provides us with the first chronological in-canon appearance of the Inquisitors. We find the Sixth Brother observing the Fardi family because it is suspected that one of numerous girls is Force sensitive. And, she is and Ahsoka knows it, which is another source of worry for her. But the girls all look alike; the child feels the ‘shadow’ and is smart enough not to openly use the Force. The bored Inquisitor finally decides to go after bigger pray – a Jedi reported on Raada moon. At the end of the novel, even the Grand Inquisitor makes an appearance.


I mentioned Obi-Wan’s short ‘interlude’. Obi-Wan thinks about the past and everything that happened since the first time he visited Tatooine. He meditates deeply trying to follow Yoda’s instructions and ‘break through’. He fails again and again. But, finally he is able to break the wall through life and death, Living and Cosmic Force, and he is able to hear the voice he wanted to hear the most.


“Obi-Wan,” said Qui-Gon Jinn. He was sure the voice was stronger this time. “Let go.”


Barriss Offee


The most important and, for me personally, the most impactful thing is the path Ahsoka chooses. While not considering herself a padawan or a Jedi, over the course of the novel Ahsoka falls back to Jedi teachings whenever she finds herself in a difficult situation. The pain caused by the Jedi destruction and guilt about her survival aren’t helping things. But, Ahsoka grows increasingly dissatisfied with looking at the bigger picture and finds herself feeling for the suffering of the actual people. At the end of the novel, she gives her assessment of the past events:


“Barriss Offee was wrong about a lot of things. She let her anger cloud her judgment and she tried to justify her actions without considering their wider effects. She was afraid of the war and she didn’t trust people she should have listened to. But she had a point about the Republic and the Jedi. There was something wrong with them, and we were too locked into our traditions to see what it was. Barriss should have done something else. She shouldn’t have killed anyone, and she definitely shouldn’t have framed me for it, but if we’d listened to her—really listened—we might have been able to stop Palpatine before he took power.”


Ahsoka Leaves the Jedi Path (The Clone Wars)


Ahsoka doesn’t want to be a general anymore and keep sending people to their deaths, but still wants to be useful to the Rebellion.


“I want to be the one who listens to what people need, who finds out what people can do and then helps them do it.”


Ahsoka leaves the Jedi ways and the bigger picture behind, deciding to dedicate her future to the actual people she can help, she chooses the present, the middle road as the Bail puts it. Don’t get confused by his phrasing, Ahsoka isn’t Bendu, she walks firmly in the Light as the Force confirms by granting her the pure white lighsabers.


Ahsoka chooses to become Fulcrum.


Fulcrum Helps The Rebels



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Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

Jelena Bidin (LadyMusashi)

Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.

8 thoughts on “Jelena’s Review: “Ahsoka” by E.K.Johnston

  • October 12, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Bravo Jelena, WELL written excellent review!!

  • October 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    I enjoy reading the Star Wars novels, but am disappointed in every one to some degree because the plots dance around obvious questions readers want answered (which the authors can’t divulge so as not to spoil upcoming films.)

    • October 13, 2016 at 5:25 am

      Yeah, I agree. That’s one advantage that the old Eu had. They didn’t have to worry as much about dancing around important plot points and answers.

    • October 21, 2016 at 4:17 am

      I don’t think it’s about spoiling upcoming movies but for those important answers to be made by the films. You arent going to get major answers in a book that maybe 10% of your audience sees. New canons job is to enrich the backstories and connect everything, not to provide major answers.

  • October 12, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Nice job on the review 🙂

    I also wanted to say that I REALLY appreciate that there was a spoiler/no spoiler section of the review. Sometimes I just want to hear about everything, and sometimes I only want enough to whet my appetite. It’s an excellent way to do reviews, IMO. Keep it up!

  • October 12, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    I started reading this book and suddenly it was done.

  • October 13, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for the review, Jelena!

  • October 20, 2016 at 9:51 am

    If so… How is it possible to use two or more swords of two different
    colors at the same time? Are Pong Krell (green+blue), Ahsoka
    (green+yellow) and Grievous (green+blue) schizophrenic?

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