Discover how Hera Syndulla and Kanan Jarrus, two of the lead characters from Star Wars Rebels, originally met in this thrilling novel set between Episodes III and IV.
“The war is over. The Separatists have been defeated, and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning.”—Emperor Palpatine
For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights brought peace and order to the Galactic Republic, aided by their connection to the mystical energy field known as the Force. But they were betrayed—and the entire galaxy has paid the price. It is the Age of the Empire.
Now Emperor Palpatine, once Chancellor of the Republic and secretly a Sith follower of the dark side of the Force, has brought his own peace and order to the galaxy. Peace through brutal repression, and order through increasing control of his subjects’ lives.
But even as the Emperor tightens his iron grip, others have begun to question his means and motives. And still others, whose lives were destroyed by Palpatine’s machinations, lay scattered about the galaxy like unexploded bombs, waiting to go off. . . .
A New Dawn of Hope for Fans
I was among the many fans disappointed to find out that the Expanded Universe was ending, declared non-canon, and rebranded “Legends” by Lucasfilm/Disney. However, I was hopeful that it would truly mean what was being promised: a new, cohesive canon, where the films, shows, games, books, and comics all intertwine and reference one another.
And that promise came true. We now have a Clone Wars character in Rogue One, Thrawn in Rebels and his own upcoming novel, Rae Sloane in multiple novels and the comics… It’s a better time than ever to be a Star Wars fan, and it all starts here, with A New Dawn, the first canon novel.
The novel itself is a great read. John Jackson Miller, who I already loved for his KotOR comics and Knight Errant, does these characters justice in a way that’s especially impressive considering Rebels hadn’t yet begun when he wrote this book. It has adventure, heart, and sets up characters who have become incredibly important and beloved.
It may be new, but...
Star Wars novels get bashed for being simplistically written at times, which is occasionally warranted. However, JJM has been my consistently favorite Star Wars author, especially after reading "Kenobi" and "The Lost Tribe of the Sith" short stories. While I'm still recovering from the seemingly erasure of the Expanded Universe at the hands of Mickey Mouse, my irritation was met equally with excitement that the new canon novels would begin with another hopeful gem from JJM.
Unfortunately, while the book is good, the downsides of it are very widely promoted on forums and reviews. For the first 30-40% of the book, the story spends entirely too much time reciting unnecessary details about mining and not enough character development. By the end, some of these complaints are redeemed, specifically understanding of the main characters that will be featured in the Star Wars: Rebels series. However, as I've also read in many places, it just doesn't have the complete feel of a true Star Wars story.
Placement-wise, it's between Episode III and IV. While there are other books that cover how the clones transition into stormtroopers, there are elements of this book that just seem to happen. Eliminating some of cool elements of the former Expanded Universe will eventually be overwhelmed with new material that many younger readers probably won't care, but for those of us in this from the beginning, it seems a bit arrogant to have discarded some elements of the Expanded Universe that were actually interesting storylines.
The characters in this novel seem like altered versions of characters we've already seen before, so attaching emotion or interest in these characters is a little more difficult to achieve. I didn't want to dislike this book because of its importance, especially the expectations of having JJM write it. However. this was also his first book written by committee. The feel, the voice, is more elementary, possibly even generic, which is unlike JJM, so my gut tells me there were too many chiefs involved in its creation.
Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the older generation is no longer the target audience, which would make more sense after reading this book. Perhaps it will work. There are a line of more interesting novels coming that may help provide some depth to these characters that we are allegedly supposed to embrace. Let's hope so.
Phenomenal novel by a phenomenal writer
I read this when it first came out but because I hadn’t caught up with Rebels it didn’t have much impact on me. Reading it now after having seen Rebels (I personally think it’s the best animated show Star Wars has done) I can hear the voices and understand the characters and JJM nailed it. The story was fantastic and has a terrifying villain, we see Sloan (and will again) and got to see the team up of Kanan and Hera who are the best characters from Rebels. I only wish we had gotten more Rebels novels (and more Star Wars novels by JJM).