Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Release: May 2nd 2017
First things first, yes, I know this is a book intended for a younger audience, but I just love Chirrut and Baze so much I couldn’t resist learning more about them!
Guardians of the Whills explains a decent amount of the odd duo, giving us desperately sought after details. The plot itself is set before Rogue One (anybody that’s seen the movie shouldn’t be surprised about this fact, for obvious reasons), and focuses on the Empire’s military move on Jedha.
The timeline of Guardians of the Whills is one of struggle and peril. The Empire is taking over Jedha to gain access to the Kyber mines (side note: I’m obsessed with anything Kyber crystal related, so this was an exciting detail for me). There are pockets of resistance on the surface, and they strike against the Empire from time to time. Every single time they do, the Empire strikes back (forgive me for the pun!), but instead of hitting the rebels, the strike at the citizens of Jedha. The rebels finally unify under Saw Gerrera which arguably could have made things worse for Jedha, in the end.
Chirrut and Baze’s main focus throughout most of the conflict is making sure the orphanage remains safe and fully supplied. Unfortunately thanks to the hostility the number of orphans rises rapidly. The only permanent solution the men can come up with is to get the children (and their caretakers) off of Jedha.
I absolutely loved being able to get into Chirrut and Baze’s heads, even though I have no doubt that the author toned down Baze’s thoughts in order to make them kid friendly. I love the details about how Chirrut senses the force and moves around accordingly. We also get more information about Baze, and more specifically his preference for modifying weapons. There’s a hat tip to Rogue One too – the weapon (a Morellian 35c repeater) Baze uses in it is discovered during a raid – it turns out that the weapon should be mounted on a tank, not on a man. It gives you a whole new appreciation for Baze.
More details are also exposed about Gerrera, though not as much as I would like (I’m greedy like that). Mostly we learned about some of his fighting preferences, and how he got so badly injured. I would love a follow up story to go with him.
All in all Guardians of the Whills was a very well written story, with a few bonus drawings strewn throughout as well. It was a quick read, and at no point did the plot or story drag along. I find myself loving Chirrut and Baze even more, which I didn’t think was possible!