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Literature / Star Wars: Ahsoka

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Ahsoka is a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel by E.K. Johnston, and serves as a prequel to Rebels.

Taking place in the aftermath of Order 66 and fall of the Galactic Republic, former Padawan Ahsoka Tano goes into hiding on Raada to avoid gaining attention from the Galactic Empire. But when the Imperials threaten those around her, Ahsoka must take a stand and help those in need.

The novel was released on October 11, 2016.

Not to be confused with the series Ahsoka, the live-action show starring Rosario Dawson, centered on Ahsoka in a timeframe closer to the events of The Mandalorian.

Ahsoka provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: Tibbola, one of the first people Ahsoka meets on Raada, and one of the few people the rest of the community seems to actively dislike, noting that he's a mean drunk. It also makes him the first casualty of Raada's occupation, when he stews in his bitterness over the Empire by drinking until picking a fight with an Officer in the Cantina seems like a good idea, leading to a beating and public execution.
  • Amazon Chaser: Kaeden is in awe of Ahsoka's combat skills, and finds her particularly beautiful when she's wielding her new lightsabers. Foreshadowed earlier in the book when Kaeden sees Ahsoka carrying a very heavy pack with little effort and starts Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Ahsoka's feelings toward Kaeden are far more subdued than the other girl’s very obvious crush. While Ahsoka never openly acknowledges them, she does have few subtle moments that show the attraction is at least mutual, such as prioritizing Kaeden's safety over others, and at one point finding it amusing that when Kaeden sits on her bed that that is considered a very intimate action in Togruta culture. The book’s author, E.K. Johnston, would confirm Ahsoka's feeling for Kaeden over twitter in a now deleted post, but stressed not labeling her as anything and that her sexuality was up to the reader to interpret.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: While most of the book is told from Ahsoka's point of view, with some brief interludes told from the perspective of Kaeden or Jenneth Pilar, there's also sections from the perspectives of Anakin Skywalker, just before his first meeting with Ahsoka, as well as Bail Organa. Then, towards the end of the novel, we have a short interlude chapter of Obi-Wan on Tatooine. Having already failed numerous attempts at doing something. Apparently, he's trying to go deeper and deeper into meditation, passing by memories and such, to the point where even emotions are nonexistent. He's hit a "bottom level", but he realizes there's one more level below that. Once he lets go of memory itself, he enters that level, and once there, he hears a familiar voice:
    Qui-Gon: Obi-Wan, let go.
  • Asshole Victim: Tibbola might have been the least pleasant member of the Raada community, but his brutal execution at Imperial hands is no less horrifying to his neighbors.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The villain role is split between Jenneth Pilar, the Imperial agent responsible for selecting Raada for resource draining, and the Sixth Brother, the Inquisitor who attempts to hunt Ahsoka down when she is outed as a Jedi during their rebellion.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • A bunch of untrained farmers who have never seen real combat decided to overthrow the Empire since the occupation on their moon is relatively small and gives them some leeway still. All it does is get them killed and makes the conditions on Raada harsher.
    • Later, Ahsoka outing herself as a Jedi only leads to the Empire bringing down the hammer even harder on Raada, and while she is ultimately able to save most of her new friends, she also has to leave them and Raada forever because her presence inherently escalates the danger they face.
  • But Now I Must Go: Ahsoka says as much to Kaeden, though she does say they will probably meet again someday.
  • Call-Back:
    • The events follow Order 66 and how Ahsoka copes with it and the Empire.
    • Ashla was another Togruta Jedi Padawan (seen as a youngling in Attack of the Clones) that fans used to confuse Ahsoka with.
    • The prologue begins towards the end of the Siege of Mandalore, which is concurrent with Revenge of the Sith.
    • It's implied that Obi-Wan meditating may be his attempt to learn how to become a Force ghost, as instructed by Yoda who had contact with Qui-Gon during his Force ghost arc back in The Clone Wars and took to passing this skill to Obi-Wan at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
  • Call-Forward:
    • The story tells how Ahsoka became a rebel operative and met up with Senator Organa's part of the Rebellion, as seen in Season 1 of Rebels.
    • In Rebels, Ahsoka was surprised when Vader's Force signature was similar to Anakin's, having been unable to sense him after Order 66 and was led to assume he died. In the first chapter, it starts with describing exactly this.
    • Ahsoka figures out how to catch and deactivate a darksider's lightsaber, like she did to the Seventh Sister in Rebels. Although her technique needs work, as she accidentally blows it up in the process.
    • Obi-Wan thinks about how he's waiting for a signal to do something, and wonders if he'll have to wait until Luke grows a long gray beard of his own, which Luke does in The Force Awakens.
    • At one point, Ahsoka travels to Ilum and discovers that the Empire has drilled all the way down to its core. Jedi: Fallen Order, which was released three years later, outright confirmed that Ilum was eventually transformed into Starkiller Base.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Ahsoka chooses Raada because it's of no use to the Empire, hoping to be quietly out of the way. Sure enough, the Empire shows up, and she's soon forced to act.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Everything about the Siege of Mandalore and Order 66 flashbacks were overwritten by the events of the seventh season of The Clone Wars, which played out differently. However, the other events of the novel remain canon... at least they were until Tales of the Jedi, which featured an episode based on the same story outline as the novel, telling the same overall plot but changing several details, making it only a half-retcon.
  • Canon Immigrant:
  • Casting Gag: Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano, narrates the audiobook version of the novel.
  • Chair Reveal: Using darkness rather than a spinning chair. Ahsoka reintroduces herself to Bail by sneaking aboard the Tantive IV, sitting at his desk, and waiting for him to come in and turn on the lights. R2 helped her do it.
  • Character Title
  • Chekhov's Gun: Ahsoka spends the entire book carrying around random scrap from her repair jobs. Every time she touches it, or it comes up in the story, she insists that she isn't sure why she's so drawn to the particular parts. Naturally, those end up being the parts she uses to construct her new lightsabers.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Working as a mechanic and collecting small parts from her different gigs as a mechanic end up becoming the components to Ahsoka's new lightsabers.
  • Close-Knit Community: Raada's not perfect, but everyone takes care of each other and any newcomers are quickly brought into the fold. Since she's used to Coruscant and the criminal underworld, Ahsoka takes a while to adjust to it.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture:
    • Kaeden suffers this after being captured; the Imperials strap a machine to her chest which causes so much pain that all Kaeden can do is scream. Kaeden's torture at the hands of the Empire is noted for being particularly brutal by Star Wars standards; it's a chillingly realistic portrayal of a young woman being tortured by a fascist government for a YA novel, and can be difficult to read. Unlike the bloodless pain-boards used later in the timeline, the Imperial forces on Raada go for a flinch-inducing brute-force approach. By the time Ahsoka turns up to rescue her, Kaeden has been heavily drugged, had her arm broken with the armrest of the heavy chair she was strapped to, and subjected to the above-mentioned Electric Torture device — which was so intense that her captors had to check to make sure she didn't have any heart conditions before applying it. And then she was left alone in the dark, strapped immobile to a chair without food or water.
    • It should be noted that Ahsoka left on her rescue mission the instant she learned Kaeden had been captured. Try not to think about what they might have done to Kaeden if they'd actually gotten past the warmup.
    • It's also noted the torture was bungled, they came at the young woman too hard and too fast, putting her in so much pain and terror she couldn't answer, even though she dearly wanted to so they wouldn't hurt her again. The broken arm wasn't intentional, it was an accident caused when the chair Kaeden was strapped to was knocked over.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the planets Ahsoka considers hiding out on is Takodana.
    • Ahsoka recalls Barriss, and has the sentiment that while she definitely was in the wrong by bombing the Jedi Temple and framing her, she did have a point about the Jedi Order's corruption.
    • When Ahsoka reads updated bulletins about the Imperial treatment of Kashyyyk, she nearly weeps and begins to worry about her friend Chewbacca and his family.
  • Continuity Snarl: Mostly in the flashback interludes:
    • When Ahsoka recalls Rex's fake burial, she mentions that dead clones are indistinguishable from each other. However The Clone Wars episode "Missing in Action", where Republic Commando Captain Gregor debuted, established that all clones have an identifing barcode tattooed on their forearm, scannable by any astromech droid. While it's possible that Ahsoka didn't know about this, it's much more unlikely that Rex was also unaware of it, and it's stated he worked together on his fake burial with Ahsoka. Also, when Rex is later captured and identified by the Empire in the Rebels episode "Stealth Strike", Admiral Titus makes no mention of Rex having been presumed dead by the Empire, which of course could imply that the fake burial did not work, but there's no definite answer.
    • In Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Palpatine questions Vader if he knows about how Sith create their red lightsaber crystals, to which Vader replies he only knows that the method is called "bleeding the crystal", but the method was not discussed by Jedi. Yet, in this novel Ahsoka not only knows the method well-enough to explain it to Bail Organa, but she can even purify corrupted crystals. Keep in mind Vader used to be her teacher. It's somewhat strange that she's privy to Jedi secrets that her former mentor is not.
  • Could Say It, But...: Early in the book, when the Empire first arrives on Thabeska, the daughters of the rich Fardi family come to Ahsoka's shack early under the pretext of inviting her to a formal dinner meeting with the Imperial representatives; while they never directly tell her that she should go, Ahsoka understands the subtext and appreciates the warning. She also finds a ship left alone and unguarded in the Farsi shipyard, which she briefly muses might have actually been left that way intentionally by her former benefactors.
  • Damsel in Distress: Kaeden ends up captured twice and is rescued by Ahsoka both times.
  • Due to the Dead: Ahsoka contemplates the Sixth Brother's corpse and covers his disfigured face as a moment of compassion.
  • Easily Forgiven: While not at all absolving her for killing people and framing her for it, correctly noting that it made her a manipulative bully, Ahsoka seems to have forgiven Barriss Offee relatively quickly. It probably helps that Barriss was right about the situation in hindsight despite her wrongful methods.
  • Faking the Dead: During Order 66, Rex and Ahsoka make a run for it in the ensuing chaos. Eventually, they decide to do this by finding an already-dead clone and switching his armor with Rex's, burying him, then putting up a grave marker indicating his heroics of taking down Ahsoka Tano, suggesting someone witnessed it and buried him. Ahsoka also leaves behind her lightsabers on top of the grave to help further support the frame-up, though it wasn't easy.
  • Gaia's Lament: The Empire's farming methods on Raada leave the soil permanently wasted — ensuring that when they finish their harvest, the last livable sections of the moon will be completely dead.
  • The Ghost: Barriss Offee still weighs heavily on Ahsoka's thoughts, and toward the end she uses Barriss as a reason that good communication will make or break a message.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Ahsoka and Kaeden both consistently shield themselves, other characters, and by extension, the reader, from actually seeing the Imperial occupation's various executions.
  • Heroic BSoD: The events of Order 66 were the lowest point of Ahsoka's life, and at the beginning of the novel, it's clear that all she wants to do is hide within the galaxy and never connect to anyone again.
  • Honorary True Companion: Ahsoka reminisces about how despite leaving, the Jedi, Anakin in particular, still treated her as one of their own. This made her both happy and filled her with guilt that she had "walked away from them".
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The novel assumes that you're aware of The Reveal at the end of Season 1 of Rebels and, of course, The Clone Wars.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Kyber crystals grow slowly and uniformly for the person they're meant for. When their "chosen one" approaches, the crystals glow and emit signals to them through the Force (described as a "unique song"), though to others, the crystals would do nothing and appear to be nothing more than ice.
    • If a darksider gets a hold of a kyber crystal, they bend it to their will, forcibly twist them with the Force, causing the crystals to "bleed", hence the red coloration. Ahsoka assumes that Palpatine and the Inquisitorius raided these crystals from the Jedi Temple's storage and lightsabers of their late owners, as she senses that the Sixth Brother's kyber crystals are familiar.
    • However, it's possible to restore these "bleeding" crystals, as Ahsoka demonstrates. After she senses and reaches out to the Sixth Brother's kyber crystals and destroys his lightsaber (also killing him), she constructs her new lightsabers and upon activation, finds that they are white, a sign of their restoration/purification. It isn't clear if all restored crystals become white or if these specific crystals were white prior to corruption by the Sixth Brother, though.
  • Make It Look Like a Struggle: After agreeing to help Ahsoka meet with Bail Organa, R2 uses a circuit to make it look like she deactivated him so the pilots who he's currently working don't know what happened.
  • Mistaken for Racist: One of the field workers says that they'll get better service from the Togruta bartender since they have "Ashla" with them. His sister chides him for assuming all Togruta know each other, and he responds that he meant the bartender would spot them sooner because Ahsoka's new in town.
  • Mutual Kill: Ahsoka and Rex invoked this trope when faking their deaths by writing, on the headstone of his fake grave, an account claiming that he died killing her.
  • Mythology Gag: Like how Caleb Dume changed his name to Kanan Jarrus to avoid detection, Ahsoka briefly changes her name to Ashla, which, among other things, was her conceptual name.
  • Neutral No Longer: The events on Raada are the tipping point that causes Ahsoka to decide to help the fledgling Rebellion actively fight the Empire, instead of just drifting from planet to planet, attempting to survive under a false identity.
  • Never Found the Body: After creating the Faking the Dead scene, Ahsoka leaves behind her lightsabers on Rex's supposed grave.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Hoban plans his own, more violent rebellion on Raada in spite of Ahsoka's warnings. It gets him killed, results in the Empire putting the boot down on the moon, and forces Ahsoka to out herself as a Jedi — gaining the attention of the Inquisitors.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Subverted. Organa offers to settle the Raadan refugees on Alderaan, but Ahsoka then tells him that they want to help the Rebellion, so he decides to send them to an agricultural world where they can grow food for the Rebellion instead.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Ahsoka muses a few times that Anakin and Obi-Wan may have had different ways of entering a situation, but the end result was often the same, explosions and running.
  • Now or Never Kiss: Invoked. Upon spotting Ahsoka wielding her new lightsabers, while busting the prisoners from jail, Kaeden exclaims that she could kiss Ahsoka, confusing her. Kaeden then starts to explain that she knows the timing is terrible and all, but she just wanted Ahsoka to know in case they died.
  • Planet Looters: The Empire chooses Radaa as a target because of its large supplies of food, and its small population that could easily be subjugated or dealt with without much question.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The moral of the story as Ahsoka finds that because of her keeping secrets, some of her new friends were killed because they weren't properly informed enough as to what to expect from the Empire. She also thinks about her old friend Barriss who, despite having a legitimate concern that if properly voiced could have even saved the Jedi, was ignored because her way of communicating her concerns were completely wrong. These factors lead her to deciding to become Fulcrum.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Sixth Brother is a firm example. He doesn't blame any of the commanders of the Imperial base for failing to capture Ahsoka — after all, he wouldn't have to exist if regular Imperial Officers could deal with Jedi. He makes a point of criticizing the local torturer for the condition she left Kaeden in, but only because her broken arm indicated sloppy, imprecise work. He even writes up positive reports about stormtroopers, interrogators and officers that impress him because as an Inquisitor, it suits his Order's needs better if he can help get people who won't question the authority of the technically rankless Inquisitors and slow down their work promoted into higher positions of power.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Jenneth Pilar, a prospector hired by the Empire to locate Outer Rim worlds that can be easily annexed for resources like Raada. He makes it clear he's only doing it for the credits, and the lives and deaths of the people are nothing more or less than variables in his calculations.

  • Recurring Element: Ahsoka once again befriends a local girl her age on a new planet, this time a girl named Kaeden.
  • Rescue Romance: With Kaeden, three times.
  • Retcon: Almost everything the book covers on the Siege of Mandalore and Order 66 ends up retconed by season seven of The Clone Wars. The series also shows that the code name Fulcrum was used before the book, but the book implies the events it details are what lead to its use.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: Ahsoka initially tries to keep the Raadans from getting too violent or openly hostile in their rebellion, until Hoban throws any chance of non-violent resistance out the window.
  • Sherlock Scan: Due to her experience in the Clone Wars and the very real threat of the Empire hunting her down, Ahsoka immediately analyzes every place she arrives at as a potential battleground if things go south.
  • Spoiler Cover: The fact that Ahsoka has her white lightsabers reveals that she constructs them in the book — the last time she was seen prior to Rebels, she still had her green and yellow blades.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Several times, Ahsoka chastises herself for this; attributing it to still not being acclimated to life without R2 around to talk to.
  • Time Skip: The prologue begins during the Siege of Mandalore before jumping to the first Empire Day in the first chapter.
  • Trespassing to Talk: Ahsoka, with R2-D2's help, sneaks onto the Tantive IV while it's in space, consequently nearly giving Bail Organa a heart attack when he enters his office and turns on the light to find her sitting at his desk.
  • Unusual Euphemism: When Ahsoka warns Fardi that his niece, Hedala, is a Force-sensitive and will be hunted by the Empire if they find out, they do so while using the word "mechanic" to substitute out Jedi, for fear of being overheard.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • When Ahsoka reveals herself as a Jedi on Raada to save Kaeden, her sister, and friends, instead of showing gratitude, everyone gets angry with her because she had still been too late to save Hoban, and if she had told the truth from the beginning, they would have been better prepared to fight the Empire. This leads Ahsoka to take up the Rebel Alliance's information network so that no one has to die because of information gaffes.
    • Ahsoka herself feels guilty about having found a Force-sensitive child and doing nothing.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Ahsoka makes the Sixth Brother's lightsaber explode by using the Force to pull on the kyber crystals inside, killing him.

Alternative Title(s): Ahsoka