The Ahsoka novel, written by E.K. Johnson, is a perfect example of how diversity should work. We got a female writer taking on the story of one of my favorite female characters of all time, and she does it with heart and skill. Johnston uses character strengths, motivations and weaknesses to let the story flow naturally and dynamically. She understands the lore, and expands on it. And she works toward an immensely satisfying ending.
During Order 66 Ahsoka has changed her name to Ashla, and she is for all intents and purposes a refugee. She is trying to protect a Force-sensitive girl from being discovered when the Empire shows up at her doorstep, and she knows it´s time to move on. She can´t risk drawing extra attention to the girl, so she travels to Raada, a small moon in the Outer Rim. There she tries to get by as a mechanic, as she did on Thabeska. It goes well for some time, and she makes a couple friends among the locals. And then the Empire shows up again.
This is where the book gets incredibly interesting. Johnston does a fantastic job telling why the Empire would concern themselves with such a small moon; the Empire needs to feed its immense army. It´s not something I´ve always wondered about, but it really deepens out the lore. The Empire forces the locals to grow food in such a way that it deprives the soil for years to come. Instead of running away again, she decides to stay and help them. The choices that Ahsoka makes get close to heart when they affect the people around her. Her background as a Clone Wars veteran comes in handy as she helps the locals form a small rebellion.
Then the locals take it too far, and she is forced to expose herself in order to rescue her friends. The news of a Jedi showing up on Raada draws out an Inquisitor from Thabeska, where the girl that Ahsoka was watching over stayed hidden because she felt his presence like a dark shadow. She stays with the family for a while, making a living by smuggling goods and playing mechanic for them. Then a crime syndicate approaches her, claiming she cost them profits. Of course she refuses their offer to start working for them, and the resulting fight takes her into orbit, where she's rescued by none other than Bail Organa. Having worked with Jedi for decades, he is a lot better at tracking them down than the Inquisitor.
But the Inquisitor is not stupid. The friend that Ahsoka made on Raada is perfect bait, and Ahsoka has to come forward to rescue her. Before she does though, she needs her lightsabers. She left her old ones behind, so she has to make new ones. On Ilum, she discovers the planet is being plundered by the Empire. Unable to find crystals here, she meditates to find other Kyber crystals. Surprisingly, the Inquisitor's crystals call to her from Raada. The Force has spoken, and she accepts its will. She engages him without a weapon, using her experience and subtle Force-pushes to dodge his strikes.
I have to admit I didn't immediately like the new lore of red crystals, where they're being corrupted by the Dark Side instead of just synthesized. But the more it's being explored, the more it grows on me. When Ahsoka defeats the Inquisitor and cleanses his crystals, I find myself absolutely loving the new lore. Their unique white glow sets them - and her - apart not just for their color, but what they stand for. And she has more than earned them.
Article by: Joel "Mith" Storms