Obi-Wan Kenobi goes on a solo journey of self-discovery in Star Wars: Padawan, the new novel by Kiersten White.
It’s time for Obi-Wan Kenobi to discover his true calling in Star Wars: Padawan, the new novel from Kiersten White.
At sixteen, Obi-Wan longs to go on his first mission with his Master, Qui-Gon Jinn. All his friends are learning new things from their Masters and going on missions, and all he seems to do is meditate with Qui-Gon. While exploring the carvings in the formal dining hall, the brooding and anxious Obi-Wan discovers and message from Orla Jareni and Chomac Vitus carved into the wall. Upon looking Orla up in the archives, he discovers a long-lost planet and a mission she was unable to complete. Excited, he convinces Qui-Gon it should be their first mission.
But when Qui-Gon doesn’t show up Obi-Wan decides to go on his own. What he finds is a lush planet and a group of young inhabitants who seem to be using the Force with no training. But not everything is as it seems. When a mysterious second ship arrives with nefarious intentions it’s up to Obi-Wan and his new friends to save the planet
Obi-Wan is discovering his way in Padawan. Like most teens, he’s also full of anxieties and worries. He desperately wants to be a Jedi but is afraid of failing at it. Afraid of never helping anyone in the galaxy. Afraid he’ll fail Qui-Gon because he can’t meditate. And on and on. These feelings are overwhelming him and keeping him from connecting to the Force fully. It’s his journey here that helps him tame his anxieties and learn to live with them.
His anxiety is a great way to show that even Jedi can have insecurities. It also makes him very relatable to modern teens who will be reading this. Hey, Obi-Wan was just like me as a teen! Even with the anxiety, it’s clear that he’s on the path that will lead him to be the character we all know and love. He already wants to negotiate first before jumping into a fight.
The cast of characters includes two Mikkians, three Nautalons; a Changeling, and other species among the group he meets. One is non-binary. And at least two others, a pair of Mikkian siblings, are queer. The male Mikkian, Casul, is initially interested in Obi-Wan, but by the end decides he’s not his type.
While Obi-Wan is with them, he ponders if he’s attracted to any of them or not and what it would be like to kiss one. Or all of them. While some might read this as him being bisexual, I read it as more him not knowing yet what he’s attracted to, if at all. I’d peg it as more on the asexual spectrum. Specifically demisexual, as he doesn’t actually show any interest in any member of the group. His only interest is in helping them find a better way to live.
This was a great story of self-discovery set in the Star Wars universe. Obi-Wan goes in insecure but leaves more confident in his abilities and who he is as a Jedi. He completes his first solo mission, even if it is unsanctioned, and takes his first steps into a larger world. I don’t want to spoil the mystery of how the group appears to have the Force, but I’ll say it does have something to do with the planet itself.
The only thing I felt was out of place was the nod to Orla and The High Republic. I know it serves as the impetus for his journey, but it felt a little off to me. But that’s me being nit-picky. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read with a nice little mystery and some action and adventure thrown in.
Star Wars Padawan by Kiersten White is published by Disney Lucasfilm Press and is available to order now.
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I’m Mina, the Jedi Librarian. I’m a teen services librarian, lover of all the books, and a lifelong Star Wars fan. I’m also secretly a Jedi.