This review of the audiobook presentation of Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Force Collector may contain minor spoilers.
The publishing journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker continues with Force Collector by Kevin Shinick, with audiobook narration by Euan Morton. Force Collector follows a young man by the name of Karr Nuq Sin as he sets out to discover the meaning behind the headaches and visions that plague him when he comes into contact with certain objects.
Gently guided by his grandmother, Karr begins to understand that he could be sensitive to the Force — like the Jedi of old. However, Karr isn’t entirely sure he believes in the Jedi. Stepping back a moment, Force Collector is set before the events of The Force Awakens, so Karr has the view of the Jedi most share — They’re a myth. We’re certainly familiar with Rey and her disbelief when it comes to the Jedi. It’s the same with Karr. Until be begins to explore what’s happening to him.
Karr comes to the realization that when he touches objects either associated with the Jedi, or objects that were witness to powerful events, he can look back and see the events surrounding the object play out. (It’s an ability shared by Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos, known as psychometry.)
Joining Karr on his quest to find more Jedi-related objects — and unlock the key to who he is or supposed to be — are Maize, a fellow student and daughter of a First Order officer, and RZ-7, a droid built by Karr. What follows is a journey from planet to planet, chasing clues discovered in Karr’s visions. The adventure in Force Collector plays out on worlds familiar in the Star Wars saga, new and old, as well as some very familiar faces, tying together threads from various forms of canonical material.
Karr’s visions allow him to see key events from the saga, clear to us from the films (in particular), but a puzzle to Karr himself. Seeing how he puts the pieces together is an interesting aspect of this book. It’s a bit of a history of the Jedi, and the Skywalkers a bit more specifically, with Karr needing to find his place within that story. Is he a Jedi? Or is he something else?
I found Karr to be very likeable, and was invested in him finding resolution to his self-appointed mission. He’d be an interesting character to follow-up with in the future, to see where he ultimately ends up and what he can contribute. The other characters are used in a support capacity. RZ-7, as the loyal droid companion, lacks the quirky charm we’ve seen in others, such as C-3PO, K-2SO, or BB-8 for example. Maize is sidelined in the story for a time, and while I liked her character well-enough, I felt the story moved along at a better pace during her absence. She has a lot of personality, and serves her purpose, but I just didn’t connect with her for some reason.
This review is for the audiobook presentation, so I will say a few words on that specifically. I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, but I’ve heard a few Star Wars-related ones in recent years. The narration of Force Collector by Euan Morton was stellar. It’s the first I’ve heard him, and I’m hoping to get the chance to hear more at some point. He’s really good. I listened via earbuds on my iPad, and also on my computer, and the sound was clear and crisp on both. Obviously, you pick up more details and ambience (the sound effects, music, etc.) listening through earbuds (or headphones, if that’s what you prefer). I’d imagine audiobook aficionados will be very satisfied with this quality presentation. It’s about eight hours in length (28 chapters), and it took me two days to listen, dividing it up throughout each day.
Overall, I enjoyed Force Collector. It’s not the strongest entry, but it has its place and is worth checking out if you’re looking for a quick Star Wars fix. Given where it’s set on the timeline, there wasn’t a lot connecting it to The Rise of Skywalker — at least not overtly — unlike the recently released Resistance Reborn. Granted, that book was intended as more of a lead-in to the upcoming film, but I was expecting to see more connective tissue in Force Collector. I might take that back after I see the film, of course. Sometimes seeds are planted, but we have to wait to see the blooms.
Force Collector by Kevin Shinick, with audiobook narration by Euan Morton, is available now on Amazon.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Audio for providing this audiobook for review purposes.Powered by Sidelines