Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen
Set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, explains what Anakin and Obi-Wan were talking about with “that business on Cato Neimoidia.” Obi-Wan is sent alone to an unfriendly planet to investigate who was behind a catastrophic terrorist attack.
- Brisk reading with the right scope and focus, trying to convey a galactic conflict in terms of how it affects a small number of characters
- New characters like a cynical Cato Neimoidian sniper, and an extremely Force-sensitive Jedi Initiate, are memorable additions among all the familiar characters
- Sticks to a philosophy that’s somewhat unusual in Star Wars, which is that war is bad, actually, and Obi-Wan is most interested in de-escalation
- The format of devoting each chapter to the perspective of a single character is a neat structure and is perfect for this story in particular
- Some of the characters tend to be two-dimensional, or just illustrate their one identifiable character trait over and over again
- Lots of words are devoted to describing Obi-Wan and Anakin’s relationship, and how it’s changing from master-and-apprentice to genuine friendship, but it would’ve been stronger to show that actually happening in action moments, instead of just resorting to internal monologues
- There’s quite a bit of repetition, making it feel like a short story that had been stretched out to novel length
- The demands of licensing and continuity make this often feel more like a novelization of an episode of The Clone Wars animated series, rather than a standalone novel
The book accomplishes what it sets out to do, which is give the reader more time with some characters they like from the movies and animated series. I wish it had shown a little more insight into the characters’ motivation or a more nuanced or complex characterization, but I don’t think it aspires to be a character study.