Star Wars Book Review: Force Collector

  • Author: Kevin Shinick
  • 225 Pages
  • Published in 2019
  • Canon (Young Adult)
  • Placement in Timeline: 32 ABY (Just before The Force Awakens)

What It’s About:

Karr Nuq Sin is a young man who lives on the planet Merokia with his family of tailors. He goes to school there, but he doesn’t have many friends because he’s, well, a little strange. Sometimes, when he touches an object with his bare hands, he sees images–events that object may have witnessed over time. The problem is, with this power comes blinding headaches, and he often passes out.

His grandmother, J’Hara, had told him that he has the Force, and explained to him about the Jedi. Though she had no Force sensitivity herself, she tried to teach him what she knew about it, and how to meditate. She never told him how she knew about these things, and most people at this time didn’t even believe that the Jedi had existed. Or if they did, they believed them to be evil.

At the opening of the book, Karr’s grandmother had already died, and he was on his own. His parents think his headaches are a medical problem, and dismisses his grandmother’s beliefs about the Force. He tries to find out as much as he can about the Jedi by looking for possible Jedi-related items and touching them, gleaning what he can from the images he receives.

He meets a headstrong girl at the school called Maize Raynshi, the daughter of a Mirialin mother and a First Order officer father. Maize, along with everyone else, doesn’t believe in the Jedi, but she takes an interest in Karr. She doesn’t have many friends, either–her family just moved to Merokia because of her father’s work, and she had to leave all her friends behind.

Karr’s parents tell him they want to transfer him to a technical school run by his uncle on the other side of the planet, since he’s not doing so well at his current school. This is the last thing he wants, since he just met Maize, and he’d rather continue his search for Jedi objects. Maize is unhappy at the news as well, and on top of that her father has left Merokia for work, leaving her behind with her mother, who she does not get along with.

Maize concocts a plan to steal her father’s First Order shuttle, the Avadora, and they can go wherever Karr wants to find evidence of the Jedi and learn what he can about them. Once in space, they decide to go to Utapau, since the Jedi were said to have fought alongside the clone soldiers there in the Clone Wars.

Thus starts a quest story, as Karr and Maize travel from planet to planet, following clues that will ultimately lead to a revelation that will forever change the direction of Karr’s life.

What I Thought:

This small young adult novel really captured my imagination, and I absolutely loved it. There’s not much in the way of action–no battles, no lightsaber duels, nothing of that sort. It’s a very straightforward story: this boy with strange powers, along with his friend, try to piece together the story of the Jedi–who they were, what happened to them, and if there are any left. It’s a kind of detective story, but also the exploration of a mystery.

I found it fascinating to look at the history of the Jedi from the point of view of the average person at this point in time. It’s been decades since Order 66, and most people don’t even know about it. If they believe the Jedi existed at all, they believed Palpatine’s propaganda that they were evil sorcerers who tried to overthrow the government. They deserved to be destroyed. Looking at it from this perspective hammers home the true tragedy of the Emperor’s victory: the Jedi were not only killed, their Order destroyed; but their reputation, their very soul, the spirit of the Jedi, had been cruelly destroyed.

And though they are mentioned in a few history books–Karr clings to these little pieces of proof of their existence–most have dismissed them as mere myth. They’ve been erased, and they’ve never recovered from that. Only mystery remains. For most of us who know every detail of their story, it’s hard to imagine NOT knowing about them or how they were betrayed. This story is a breath of fresh air, bringing with it the mystery of the Jedi, a mystery to be solved.

Throughout the story, Karr seems to have a lot of luck finding the right person, the right object, on the right planet to help him in his quest. It seems a little too easy. It can be a bit unbelievable at first, but he often mentions that he’s being directed by the Force itself. And why not? Perhaps the Force itself WANTS him to succeed, WANTS the Jedi to be rediscovered, and Karr is its instrument. Some often mention the “will” of the Force, and I think it’s merely asserting that will in this story.

I loved the familiar scenes and Jedi that Karr sees in his visions, and though we know exactly what’s going on in them, he has no idea, and can only guess at what’s happening and what the story is. He mixes things up a little bit, which is only understandable. He eventually gets the whole story, from a familiar character that actually makes a lot of sense, but I won’t spoil the story.

Throughout the book, I kept getting the sense that there’s more to Karr’s personal story, as well, through his grandmother J’Hara. How does she know about the Force and the Jedi? Is Karr’s Force sensitivity as random as it seems? These questions and more are answered in this wonderful little book that I tore through in less than three days. It’s a great read!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Lightsabers

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