Force Collector by Kevin Shinick Book Review

Released as a part of ‘Journey to The Rise of Skywalker’ wave of books and comics, ‘Force Collector’ doesn’t really tie into the latest film at all. I have seen people mention that it would have felt more at home as a part of ‘Journey to The Force Awakens’, given how it follows in the vein of Claudia Grey’s ‘Lost Stars’ where we see events from the Prequel and Original Trilogies from different perspectives and have minor ties to the Sequel Trilogy, the most direct tie to ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ being the planet Kijimi.

That being said, the book is enjoyable but certainly not the top of any ‘Best of Star Wars Books’ list (for me anyway).

The story follows a young, Force Sensitive man named Kerr who has the gift of psychometry, where touching certain objects can give him Force visions of the objects history.

He meets Maize, a young woman who’s father works for the First Order and along with Karr’s homemade Droid RZ-7, the three of them head off on an adventure to carry on Karr’s Force education, which started with his now deceased grandmother, J’Hara.

On their travels they visit Utapau, Jakku, Batuu, Kijimi and Takodana, finding Force relics that allow Kerr to piece together the past and the history of the Jedi during the Prequel and Original Trilogy eras.

When one artefact, a broken Inquisitor lightsaber shows Kerr a vision of himself killing another Jedi, he begins to worry that he will turn to the Dark Side, but after finding clues back at home in his Grandmother’s old room as well as his parents, he learns that his Great-Grandfather was a former Jedi who left the Order before the events of the Prequels.

With Maize and RZ-7 along for the ride, they visit the last known location of his Grandfather who clears up the confusion of the vision he had and gives Kerr that connection he has been longing for before they have to leave and return to their regular lives.

For me, the first half of the book dragged, even when they start their adventure, the trips to Utapau and Jakku felt more like fan service fiction than an original story. Once on Batuu though, the adventure seems to find its own footing, giving us Kerr’s vision with the Inquisitor’s lightsaber and throwing him onto a much more personal path rather than hitting the fan favourite locations. Even his time on Takodana with Max Kanata and the vision of the Prequel Era and the Jedi Purge, which took a lot from ‘Revenge of the Sith’ felt like a better fit to the story than the previous locations.

Whilst enjoyable, I really felt like the book could have lost a good 50 pages, whilst Shinick ties the visions and plot together well, the whole time he is finding out about Kenobi on Utapau and Jakku feels like it’s going nowhere other than Kerr learning the name ‘Skywalker’, which I feel could have been done more succinctly.

The two leads fit the mould for YA protagonists, Kerr the outsider and a target for bullies as well as Maize who is the new kid in school who feels her parents don’t have the time for her and so they become friends, it doesn’t become romantic which was a relief, as the story didn’t really warrant a romantic subplot.

Despite criticisms, I will say the book is a fun read and gives a new perspective on Force Users in the Sequel Trilogy Era so give it a go, but probably wait until it’s on offer somewhere.

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