Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Force Collector
Karr's parents worry that he's sick; his grandmother is convinced the visions come from the Force. But it's been years since anyone has heard from the last of the Jedi-Luke Skywalker. Are there any Jedi left to guide Karr in the use of his abilities? Is anyone even willing to talk about the Jedi and what happened to them, as their memory continues to fade and the First Order rises? Stuck on his isolated home planet, Karr becomes a collector of historical artifacts, hoping to one day find an object that will give him a vision about the secrets of the Jedi.
This week’s new book release takes fans on a historical trip through the Star Wars galaxy with Force Collector. Is the latest Journey to The Rise of Skywalker addition worth picking up? Check out my review to see what I thought!
Force Collector is the latest Star Wars book for the Young Adult crowd, as well as the latest in the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker tie-in material. The story is focused squarely on Karr, a teenager who’s struggles are a bit different from those of his peers. He goes to school and helps his family out like any other on his backwater homeworld, but he holds a secret: the Force.
Karr has the rare ability to see, through visions, into the past when he touches certain objects. This also happens to cause him to painful headaches followed by blackouts. In a time where the Jedi have been relegated to myth (this is set even before the Sequel trilogy) and Luke Skywalker hasn’t been seen in years, Karr struggles to figure out what’s going on with him.
His grandmother tells him stories of the Jedi and attempts to help guide him, but without the ability to feel the Force herself, she’s limited in what she can do. As such, Kar lives as something of an outsider with the rest of those his age, but is always searching for answers and hints about the real story behind the ancient peacekeepers. At school, however, it does nothing but cause problems between himself and his classmates. After his Grandma passes and his parents seek to send him away to a trade school on the other side of the planet, Karr fears he’ll never figure out the truth behind his powers.
Along with a new friend, Maize, whose Father is part of the First Order the pair embark on a planet hopping adventure to discover clues about the Jedi Order, what happened to them, and where Karr’s destiny may ultimately lie. The journey takes them to a handful of familiar planets in the franchise (including Jakku and Batuu), and a handful of familiar faces as well.
I don’t want to spoil some of the specifics, so I’ll leave it at that. What ultimately results is a fun look back at iconic moments in the Star Wars franchise through an all new lens. In Force Collector we get to see these events played out from the perspective of someone with no connection to them whatsoever. Having grown up in a time when the Jedi are myths who no one believes in anymore, or tend to look at them from the “Imperial” point of view, Karr sees these flashback/visions much differently than we normally see.
For him, the lack of certain context can be confusing, muddying his visions and making even iconic moments we know from the film seem different. By far, this is the book’s greatest asset and Kevin Shinick writes it well. He does an excellent job of delivering the story from Karr’s tight perspective, blending the familiar and new in exciting ways.
Character and Heart
To be honest, the overall plot of Force Collector is kind of….okay. Frankly, aside from planet-hopping, there doesn’t seem to be an overarching plot for the book to follow. Instead, this is much more of a “coming of age” story, as the series of events Karr happens upon forces him to change his outlook on things. So instead of events building toward a specific destination/plot point, it’s more of a slice of life compilation.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but those aren’t typically the type of stories I enjoy most. What I really loved, however, where how the characters were treated and handled. Karr and Maize are almost instantly relatable, and it’s easy to sink into their thought processes. As you take the journey along with them, you feel their excitement, joy, and even heartaches.
On top of that, Force Collector has a really strong message about destiny, finding yourself, and being okay with your place in the “universe.” It has a number of touching moments, and when it’s all wrapped up, you’re left with a sense of profound contentment and hope. Just the way you’d want a Star Wars story to make you feel. So where it may feel lacking in a larger story, it makes up for with a ridiculous amount of heart.
The Rise of Skywalker Factor
Force Collector goes under the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker banner, which means it has some connection that ties it to the film. Aside from one planet being visited that will feature in the upcoming film, I couldn’t honestly tell you about any other direct connections. That said, there are a TON of interesting implications in the book that I suspect will come into better focus once the film releases.
I don’t want to delve too much into it, as it would involve the back end events of the novel, but where things end up could have an interesting impact on Rey as she follows her own Jedi path. In that way I’m very excited to revisit the events of this story after TROS hits theaters. So if you’re picking this up specifically to get hints at the upcoming film, you may not find much to go on. Even so, there are some fun ideas explored that could have bigger story implications down the road.