Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka

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Set an undisclosed time before Rogue One, this book for Middle Grade readers focuses on Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe, former Guardians of the Whills on Jedha. This book gave a great backstory to the war torn Jedha we see in Rogue One. Saw Gerrera and his partisans make an appearance shedding light on how he ended up on the planet, and we are introduced to a former Disciple of the Whills who runs an orphanage.

While a little short for a middle grade book plot wise, it was still a good story. However, due to the shortness it was a bit rushed. The pages had wide margins for a chapter book for this age group, therefore there was less text on the page as well as it being actually shorter than it appeared. I would have liked it to cover a wider span of time, perhaps even show the Empire’s arrival on Jedha and a time before the Imperial occupation before jumping to the events of the story. I think this would have painted a better picture of Jedha.

I loved the parts between chapters that featured views and meditations on the Force from an in universe tome on the Force. I know want that tome to be published for real. They included the Jedi and Sith codes, as well as the pray that Chirrut recites through out Rogue One. I loved this information because it painted a better picture of just how many different takes on the Force there are.

The story was also accompanied by random pictures. The were mostly black and white, except for the color red, a sacred color to Guardians and Disciples, that stood out from the page. It was a very nice effect. However, one of the adult characters who was described as shorter than her sister, was depicted as the same size as the children they looked after. At first glance I thought she was one of the children until I realized by the description of the scene and character she was supposed to be an adult. Even her facial features were depicted as that of a child. While I liked the artists style and the choice of coloring, this one little issue was a bit confusing.

I’m really struggling with a rating on this one. I initially gave it four stars on Goodreads, but after thinking about it and who short it really was, I think I have to give it a final score of Three and a Half Lightsabers.

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