Is Force Collector the Harry Potter of the Star Wars universe?
While not as sweeping as J.K. Rowling’s seven-book and Broadway play saga, Force Collector by author Kevin Shinick, the book does double duty paying homage to the entire history of the Star Wars universe while also being an engaging story in its own right about a boy trying to find his place in the world. The Emmy award winning writer makes a big leap from his debut into the Star Wars Universe which began with the children’s picture book Chewie and the Porgs (equally fun and delicious by the way). Yet he seemingly transitions without problem into the YA world of young romance and self-identification without a hitch. And if you’re an adult Star Wars fan like myself, you’ll find much to like in the deft way Kevin handles the story in a way that draws you in and helps you to connect to these young heroes.
The story is about a teenager named Karr who seems like a typical kid growing up. He has trouble in school, he’s a bit of a nerd, really misunderstood except by a loving grandmother who accepts him just the way he is, and…he’s Force sensitive. Many books hint at what it means to be Force sensitive, but almost all of them delve into “becoming a Jedi.” But do all Force sensitives become Jedi? Is there only one path in the Force? And why is it that Karr has images of things he’s never seen simply by touching certain objects? Karr meets Maize early on and the two of them, along with their robot companion RZ-7, begin a galaxy romping adventure to understand this great mystery before Karr gets sent off to become a tailor – a profession he does not feel he is meant for.
It’s so much fun to delve into Karr’s adventures! Even if you’ve never read a single thing “Star Wars” you would easily understand this book. But for those who are well-versed in the language and lore of this epic space opera, gems and hidden treasures are found all throughout the story. His journey seems a bit incredulous (would he really be free to romp all over the universe with just a robot and another teenager?) and although harrowing at times the story covers massive amounts of ground in seemingly short spans of time. But it is so enjoyable to read and to place yourself into the story, those points don’t seem to matter as much. For every teen and every person who has felt out of place, who wondered where life was taking them, who wasn’t sure if a “grand adventure” was written in the stars for them, they will feel a kindred spirit to Karr, Maize, and RZ-7. And for every Star Wars fan who loves to explore the uncharted regions of very familiar tales, this book is a gold mine to dig into.
Perhaps it feels like a Harry Potter story because narrator and voice actor Euan Morton does such a masterful job relating Karr’s story. His voice reminds me so much of Jim Dale who successfully rendered all seven of the original Harry Potter books. And like Dale (with that distinctive accent), Euan is able to immerse you into the heart of the narrative. He does the voices of all the characters so well that they come to life in your mind and are distinctive on their own. His reading simply adds to the already well-written story by Kevin Shinick. Is this book as in-depth and encompassing as Harry Potter or something like Lord of the Rings? No. But is it a fun, enjoyable, light-hearted teen adventure sure to please both die hard Star Wars fans and novices alike? Most definitely, yes!
Title: Force Collector – Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (print edition and audiobook)
Author: Kevin Shinick / Narrated by Euan Morton
Cost: $17.99 (but on Amazon for only $8.99 right now – a BARGAIN) / $22.54 on Audible
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Star Wars
- Thank you to Disney Lucasfilm for sharing a copy of the book with me for review!