Can an epic story still be low-key? Kenobi, the latest Star Wars novel may have proven it can. The book by SW veteran John Jackson Miller tells the initial solo adventure of Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the last two living Jedi Knights, following his battle with Anakin Skywalker. With Anakin's infant son, Luke, he has arrived on Tatooine. After giving Luke to his Owen and Beru Lars (Anakin's stepbrother), Kenobi attempts a self-imposed exile, while attempting to keep an eye on the Lars family.
Miller's attention to detail instantly brings back the memories of figures like Mos Eisley Cantina and the Jawas. The story is multi-pronged and dense without being weighed down. We meet several Tatooine locals and spend as much, if not more, time with the likes Annileen Calwell (a widowed shopkeeper) and Orrin Gault (town blowhard and entrepreneurial moisture farmer) than we do with now-Ben Kenobi.
The characters are interesting enough, to be sure, but the really fascinating content comes from two places. Kenobi offers something never seen or heard before, the turmoil within its title character. A psychological analysis of the Jedi Master, and his his own perception of his role in creating the galactic evil empire, isn't something that had been previously explored – at least not in the context of the film universe but using pieces from other books as well.
The other character study comes within the Tusken Raiders, whose leader A'Yark gets the inner monologue treatment. We really get to know about the culture of the “Sand People” and what they value. That they value anything should be news to many. They weren't exactly brimming with personality in the films.
The book does a great job of telling a big story without the reader feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of content. There's a lot going on but things move at a healthy, brisk pace. Miller as given fans the first, in what one hopes is many, glimpse of such a central character in the Star Wars saga at a lost point in his journey.