The Approaching Storm (Star Wars) is a 2002 science fiction space opera novel written by Alan Dean Foster, published by Del Rey Books. The story follows Obi-Wan Kenobi and padawan Anakin Skywalker are sent to the planet Ansion to join Jedi Master Luminara Unduli and her padawan Barriss Offee to settle a dispute as growing unrest threatens the Republic’s stability prior to Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
- Great writing
- Awesome, well-written characters
- Great world-building
- Compelling story
- Slow paced read
- Forgettable antagonists
Plot: The plot is set on the world Anison, where a political move to destabilize the planet is set fracture a failing Republic in the wake of the a separatist movement called the Confederacy of Independant Systems. Dispatched to the small, isolated planet are Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luminara Unduli, and their Jedi padawans Anakin Skywalker and Barriss’ Offee to negotiate a treaty with the world’s populace. However, unknown to them, there are other parties working in the background to ensure the Jedi do not succeed. The story is motivated by politics so there is some political intrigue but it isn’t nearly as interesting as the journey set by the Jedi. It goes at a pretty slow pace but does a great job of establishing and developing the characters. (4 out of 5)
Characters: The main protagonists are Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luminara Unduli, and their Jedi padawans Anakin Skywalker and Barriss’ Offee. Now, the dynamic between the four characters is definitely there. Obi-Wan and Anakin have great chemistry together and it’s easy to see the mentor/student bond. Also, we get to see how much these two characters stick out from other Jedi pairings. Anakin is actually going through the characteristics of the confusion of the normal teenager and even though Barriss is a teenager too, her training allows her to be a bit more reserved. Luminara is awesome and I like the little rivalry between Barriss and Anakin. The Jedi Masters have their shared opinions and differing views but they work well together. There are other parties in the background but it’s the Jedi that are the highlight of the book. (5 out of 5)
Writing: Alan Dean Foster just does a fantastic job with the writing and direction of the novel. What makes the writing feel special is that it is a personal journey despite the high stakes. The author explores what it means to be a Jedi. The patience, the wisdom, all the factors that help make their society and beliefs great. Ansion is a pretty active setting. The descriptions of the different creatures, flora, and societies make for an immersive setting. The world feels as important as the characters and I was intrigued at what the world had to offer as well as the challenges our heroes must face. There isn’t a lot action but when it occurs it’s handled well. The use of the Force is described in an effective way without feeling like it’s overly descriptive. All-in-all, the writing is done really well. (4 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, The Approaching Storm (Star Wars) is a great novel, one that is so memorable I remembered reading it like more than a decade ago. Yeah, it’s a slow read, but it does a wonderful job of establishing its characters and the setting of Anison. Thumbs up to the writing for just a fantastic reading experience. The Approaching Storm (Star Wars) gets 4 out of 5.