December 2, 2022
Star Wars Brotherhood Review

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker become brothers in arms in Mike Chen’s Star Wars: Brotherhood novel.

It’s time to return to the literary galaxy far, far away with my review of Star Wars: Brotherhood. But did this brotherly adventure warm my heart? Or was it colder than the darkest corners of galactic space?

Shortly after the battle of Geonosis, a bombing devastates the normally peaceful planet of Cato Nemoidia. Despite Nute Gunray’s affiliation with the Separatists, Cato Nemoidia is officially neutral, declaring Gunray and his supporter’s extremists. When the Republic is accused of being the perpetrator of the bombing by Count Dooku, Obi-Wan volunteers to find a peaceful resolution in the hopes that he can find a way to force both sides into negotiations. But the task proves trickier than he expected with the arrival of Dooku’s mysterious representative, Asajj Ventress. With the help of a former Cato Nemoidia commando, Ruug, Obi-Wan investigates as tensions rise to a dangerous point. Without a little help from his rebellious former Padawan though, he and Ruug might not make it out of the investigation alive.

Obi-Wan’s investigative skills, calm mind, and penchant for negotiation are on full display here. He does his best to resolve everything without it devolving into further conflict. After reading this, it’s easy to see how he got the reputation of a negotiator. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t go his way. Things slowly go from bad to worse to extremely bad.

Anakin and Obi-Wan (Star Wars Attack of the Clones)

THE APPRENTICE RISES

A subplot is Anakin’s struggle to keep his recent marriage to Padme a secret and find his place as a Jedi Knight rather than a student. He wants to go with Obi-Wan fearing something will happen if he isn’t there to help his Master. Instead, he’s assigned a relief mission with another newly promoted Knight and a group of Younglings. He’s still searching for his place among the Jedi in this transition period and doesn’t quite know how to be a Knight without Obi-Wan by his side. Of course, Anakin wouldn’t be Anakin if he didn’t break a few rules and disobeyed orders. This time, however, it ends up being a good thing as he and his new Youngling friend rush to Obi-Wan’s aid.

One of the Younglings on his mission is a tween Zabrak girl, Mill, who can intensely feel the emotions of others. She feels the emotions so strongly, they can make her physically ill. Having missed her Gathering due to such illness, she’s been reassigned to the relief mission. She has no desire to go to Ilum for the Gathering and can’t understand her fellow younglings’ desire to make a lightsaber. A weapon however elegant it may be. Anakin encourages her to use her innate ability, and slowly come to feel others’ emotions without becoming ill. Her assistance proves invaluable in the final confrontation on Cato Nemoidia as she senses their opponent’s movements through his emotions. Anakin’s budding teaching skills and how much he cares for his young charge make it easy to see his potential as a future teacher for Ahsoka.

THE DARK SIDE CLOUDS EVERYTHING

While long-time fans are already familiar with Ventress from the Clone Wars, this marks the character’s first introduction to her in the timeline. Newer readers who aren’t familiar with the dark side using assassins will be in for a nice introduction to her as she slowly weasels her way into sabotaging Obi-Wan and Ruug’s efforts for peace.

Palpatine is also on hand influencing Anakin. Anakin expresses his worry about Obi-Wan going to Cato Nemoidia alone. And Palpatine, of course, offers a sympathetic ear and nurses the idea already in Anakin’s head that the two are better together. In this though, Palpatine is correct.

They are better together. Both Obi-Wan and Anakin acknowledge that things tend to go awry when both of them are involved. But they are also a great team. Ruug makes this observation too in the novel’s final scene where she observes them fighting side by side and internally comments that they are unstoppable together. Brothers in Arms she calls them. Obi-Wan also makes a similar observation in the end that he and Anakin have a stronger bond than mere teacher and student.

Obi-Wan & Anakin in Obi-Wan Kenobi
(L-R): Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in a scene from Lucasfilm’s OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

THE DUCHESS

Of course, I have to mention the references to Duchess Satine. What kind of Satine fangirl would I be if I didn’t? While she doesn’t make any direct appearances, she is mentioned by Dex who assists Obi-Wan in obtaining information. He teases Obi-Wan about his past relationship with her. And forwards a holo clip of her proclaiming Mandalore neutral. A final reference to her has Obi-Wan watching another speech of hers where she indirectly quotes own speech and Cato Nemoidia. He briefly wonders what could have happened if they had both chosen different paths, but puts the thought out of his mind deciding they wouldn’t be who they are if they had chosen differently.

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in Lucasfilm’s OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.

VERDICT

All in all, while slow to start I think that’s due to the investigation and mystery nature of the plot revs up as the story progresses. And it has some tense moments by the end. The novel’s strength though is in showing who Obi-Wan and Anakin are apart and together, and solidifying their “Brothers in Arms” relationship we see in Clone Wars. For that, I give it four lightsabers.

Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen is published by Del Rey and is available to buy now.

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