Welcome back to Star Wars novels 101! I'm your neighborhood nerd ready to take you from padawan to master.
Speaking of padawans, today we get to talk about my favorite character: Ahsoka Tano. If you don't know who that is, please read this article before you continue reading this one, so you have some background info.
We're gonna start off with the basic details of the book, then jump into the finer details (AKA spoilers).
Published: 2016 by Lucasfilm Press, an imprint of Buena Vista books
Legend or Canon: Canon!
Time Period: Between Episode Ill: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. If we want to get really specific, between Clone Wars and Rebels.
Setting: The planets Thabeska and Raada in the Outer Rim. In some flashbacks, Mandalore.
Characters You Already know: Ahsoka (I hope), Bail Organa, Princess Leia (as a kid), and Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan are players within flashbacks.
Synopsis: After narrowly surviving the end of the Clone Wars, Ahsoka Tano goes into hiding on a small planet in the Outer Rim. In order to protect her identity, she assumes the name Ashla and seeks work as a mechanic. When Empire officials ask a local family to introduce them to their talented mechanic, Ahsoka runs for it. She finds herself on the small agricultural planet of Raada. The quiet planet seems to be the hideout she's been seeking, but before long the Empire arrives to drain the planet of its natural resources. Will Ahsoka stay anonymous to protect herself or help lead an uprising?
If you're intrigued, grab a copy of the book and get to reading. As a biased fan of Ahsoka, I highly recommend it. But if you just want the details, keep reading.
Okay for context, Star Wars Rebels premiered in October 2014, this book was published in 2016, and the final season of The Clone Wars aired in 2020. So the book answers Ahsoka questions from Rebels and fleshes out details that hadn't been answered by Clone Wars (yet). When the final season of Clone Wars did premiere, it followed most of the details Johnston laid out to prevent the book's demotion from canon to legend. (It's also just a really good narrative.)
The book begins in a flashback to the Siege of Mandalore and then snaps us to "present day" where Ahsoka is still trying to cope with the end of the Jedi Order. Although she left the Order, she was still included on the list of targets for Order 66. Like many others who survived the Purge, she's gone into hiding out of safety and regret. Multiple times throughout the story, Ahsoka comments on how she should have been on Coruscant to help Anakin and the other Jedi. Of course, at this point she doesn't know her master has become Darth Vader.
Art by Raikoh Illust
We also get a glimpse of the Empire in all its glory. The story's narrative begins on "Empire Day," a celebration of the fact that the Empire took over. Parade attendance was mandatory, and when Ahsoka was tipped off that an officer wanted to meet her, she wiggles her way around a horde of stormtroopers and gets off the planet.
Ahsoka just so happens to land on the same planet the Empire decides to occupy. The Empire arrives on Raada shortly after Ahsoka to force the agricultural workers to grow nutrition sticks for stormtroopers. Ahsoka (as Ashla) befriends two sisters who work in the field: Kaeden and Miara. The girls integrate Ahsoka into their friend group and she listens to their complaints about the Empire takeover.
Kaeden Larte by vladgheneli
Without giving too much away about her past, she helps them plan a rebellion. Some members of the group didn't believe Ahsoka's plan would be quick enough, and they snuck behind her back and launched an attack that not only failed but forced Ahsoka to use the force in front of everyone (including the Empire), revealing that she was a Jedi. For some reason, everyone gets mad at her for not mentioning that she was a Jedi before. This makes no sense to me considering A. She just saved them from certain death and B. the Empire is quite literally hunting Jedis down like dogs.
Kaeden ends up getting captured and tortured by the Empire, and Ahsoka goes to rescue her before leaving the planet. (She convinces herself that the people of Raada will be safer if she disappears.) We find out that Kaeden has a crush on Ahsoka and that is some lovely content that came out ahead of its time.
Ahsoka returns to Thabeska to check in with the family who had previously employed her. Why? One of the young girls was Force-sensitive and Ahsoka wanted to make sure she was okay. Ahsoka begins working for them again and starts running relief missions. Her work catches the eye of Bail Organa, and the book ends with her recruitment into the Resistance and adoption of the code name Fulcrum.
Rebel Fulcrum by Raymond Lee
BUT before the book can end, she has to go help liberate Raada.
The most important nugget of information within the novel is the explanation of Ahsoka's white light sabers. When she started waving them around in Rebels it was very much "WHAT?! HOW?!" because no one has had a white saber, let alone two.
Throughout the book, Ahsoka collects odds and ends and eventually constructs two lightsaber hilts. Before returning to Raada, she searches for the kyber crystals to place in them. However, none of the crystals on Ilum called to her, so she searched the Force to find where her crystals were. Turns out they were on Raada.
While working to liberate Raada, Ahsoka faces off with an inquisitor. The Inquisitor wields a double-sided saber, and within the saber are the two crystals calling Ahsoka. After an intense battle, Ahsoka is the victor (duh) and removes the crystals from the Inquisitor's hilt. She uses the Force to purify the crystals; instead of the crystals turning the typical blue or green, they turn a brilliant, bright white.
Art by sleepysarkany
With the purification of the crystals, Ahsoka officially joins the rank of the Gray Jedis. Traditionally, a Gray Jedi is either one who walks the line between light and dark or one who was trained by the Jedi order and distanced themselves from the Jedi code. As we know, Ahsoka left the Jedi order and is still incredibly strong with the Force. Her acceptance of her Force abilities and adoption of the light sabers shows that she is ready to walk the path of the Jedi. But she'll continue to play by her own rules.
Ahsoka is the embodiment of the Light Side. Especially when you remember that her life Force was renewed by The Daughter. Ahsoka is all goodness, which is why her purified crystals become white. Heck, that's why she's able to purify two kyber crystals in the first place.
All this just to say: Ahsoka is the best.
It's not too late to get the book and get to reading. Until our next class in Star Wars school!
Ahsoka by Michele Frigo