Though The Rise of Skywalker‘s release date is growing ever closer, it remains, tantalizingly, many weeks away. And while EW can’t make time move faster, we can offer you a sneak peek at a new Star Wars YA novel that serves as a prelude to J.J. Abrams‘ trilogy-closing film.
Set just before the events of 2015’s The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Force Collector follows a restless teenager named Karr Nuq Sin, who suspects he may be in touch with the Force. He sets out to uncover the history of the legendary Jedi and learn more about his emerging powers, which manifest in the form of excruciating headaches and mysterious visions — some of which will be familiar to Star Wars fans.
“It’s a stand-alone story for people who know everything about Star Wars but also for people who know nothing about Star Wars, because it’s about discovery,” Shinick tells EW. “Karr learns things he wants to know and things he doesn’t want to know, about the Jedi, and about himself. And he must learn his place in all of it. You either take the journey with him anew or you watch and cheer or cringe as he moves closer or farther from his goals. But in the end, you relate, because it’s a journey of self-discovery we all go on at some point.”
Star Wars: Force Collector will publish Nov. 19 and is available for pre-order. Check out an exclusive excerpt of the novel below.
Excerpt from Star Wars: Force Collector, by Kevin Shinick
When he opened his mind’s eye, Karr noticed he was still on the ship. Was the vision not working? Normally it transported him to a different time and place, but he was still beside the holochess table.
Suddenly, a blue lightsaber sliced through the air, erasing any doubt in his abilities. Whatever the orb had witnessed, it had witnessed it on that very freighter. Karr tried to focus on the face of the person wielding the lightsaber, but his talents weren’t that honed yet. Was it a Jedi?
“Now that you’re comfortable holding the lightsaber,” he heard someone say, “why don’t we move on to technique?” Something about the voice pinged in Karr’s head. He knew it from somewhere but just couldn’t place it. Karr followed the voice until it led him to a different figure. He couldn’t see that one’s face, either, but the man was wearing a flowing robe. Now that, Karr thought, was definitely a Jedi.
“You’re not going to make me fight you, are you?” said the person waving the lightsaber.
The man in the robe laughed. “No. But we should work on your connection to the Force.”
A nearby golden blur—a droid, maybe?—asked, “May I be of any assistance, Master Kenobi?”
Master Kenobi? Karr did a mental double take. No wonder the voice sounded familiar. It was the same Jedi he had seen in his earlier vision.
Kenobi responded, “No, Threepio. Young Skywalker here must do this on his own.”
Skywalker, too! This was too much of a coincidence. They must have been two very important Jedi to come up twice in his visions. And to think they once stood on the very spot Karr was standing. Although much earlier, he imagined, since Kenobi seemed to be training Skywalker and he had not yet become the General Skywalker of the Clone Wars vision.
Karr watched as Kenobi crossed to something that had caught his eye. He pulled from a compartment the very orb Karr was holding. For a moment, Karr felt he was sharing something with the Jedi Master. Not just the vision. Not just a lesson. But a connection.
“Try and defend yourself against this,” Kenobi suggested.
“What if I can’t?”
“The bigger question is, What if you can? Besides, it’s a training remote. It is equipped with nonlethal blasters specifically for those who wish to practice. I’m guessing our pilot handles that blaster better than we imagine.”
“Unless this belongs to the Wookiee,” Skywalker joked.
Kenobi smiled as he tossed the remote into the air. “Focus.”
Skywalker faced off against the target as it hissed and darted across the room. With each dodge and swing, Karr couldn’t help copying the Jedi in training, almost as if he was waiting his turn.
Until something stopped them both.
Kenobi reached for his chest and looked for a place to sit down. Skywalker retracted the lightsaber.
“Are you all right? What’s wrong?”
“I felt a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”
Then, just like those voices, Karr’s vision was silenced.
When his eyes were working correctly again, he saw that RZ-7 must’ve gotten a few more lights on. The room was brighter, and tiny rows of secondary indicator lights blinked softly on standby. His head was splitting, but he didn’t care—not at all. He grinned from ear to ear.
Maize stood above him. She smirked and put one hand on her hip. “You look pretty happy for a guy who just fell and hit his head.”
“I hit my head?”
“On the seat,” she said, cocking her head toward the bench.
He climbed to his feet. “I didn’t feel it. How long was I out?”
His droid supplied, “Nine point zero two seconds. Approximately.”
“Worse than my reaction at Sconto’s, but definitely worth it,” Karr said.
“If you say so,” Maize said skeptically. Satisfied that he wasn’t going to die or anything, Maize slid onto the bench seat and put her feet up on the rounded table between them. It was bolted to the floor. Her boot heels scraped the top, but it didn’t wobble.
“The first time I fainted, I was out for ages. My parents thought I was dead.”
RZ-7 backed him up. “You’re on a strong upward trajectory, sir. You’ve emerged from your trance after nine seconds with a smile. This is your most successful vision to date! Assuming that your head doesn’t explode within the next hour.”
“I don’t think it’s actually going to explode. It just . . . kind of feels like it.” He rubbed at his temple and tried not to groan.
“Was it worth it? What did you see? Did you get anything new?”
He flung himself onto the seat beside her. “Totally worth it! I got those names again. The same ones as before.”
“Skyhopper or something?”
“Skywalker,” he corrected her with an eye roll. “And Kenobi. But it was earlier.”
She asked, “What do you mean?”
“Skywalker wasn’t any kind of a general in this vision. And he didn’t seem to know much of anything about the Force. He was . . . training. Like me, in a way. Only he had a true mentor. A real Jedi to show him the way.”
Maize could see Karr’s spirits dampening. “Maybe,” she added. “But you know what he didn’t have? A cool friend helping him find what he needs by flying him around the galaxy.”
Karr smiled. “That’s true.”
“And you’ll get there. Just give it time. We’ve really only just started if you think about it.”
Karr realized Maize had a point. If that same struggling Skywalker went on to become a Jedi who could pull ships from the sky using only the Force, then maybe there was hope for Karr yet.
Excerpted from Star Wars: Force Collector by Kevin Shinick, on sale Nov. 19 , 2019.