Publisher: Del Rey
Author: John Jackson Miller
Released: September 2nd 2014
While watching Star Wars: Rebels did you ever find yourself wondering how the characters ended up meeting each other in the first place? A New Dawn doesn’t tell us the full story, but it does tell us how Hera and Kanan met, and since they’re both my favorites of the series (cough totally not biased cough) I’m inclined to consider their meeting the most important.
As far as where A New Dawn fits in with the rest of the canon series, I can give you a pretty good estimate for that one. Movie wise it fits in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. As far as the books go it’s tucked between Thrawn and Lost Stars (both are fantastic, in case you were wondering).
A New Dawn is not quite what I was expecting, but I loved it anyway. This was a great prelude to the Rebels series, if I may say so. I for one have always had questions about many of the characters in Rebels, but in particular I’ve been wondering about Kanan and Hera, and this novel finally gives me a few of the answers I’ve been hoping for. Granted, it doesn’t tell me everything, but I’ll take what I can get!
For some reason I had always assumed that Kanan had gotten Hera into the Rebellion, rather than the other way around, but I’ve officially been proven wrong. In this novel we have Kanan essentially in hiding after the fall of the Jedi (for more information on how Kanan survived that, go ahead and read his graphic novels). Meanwhile Hera is the bold and brave agent trying to gather information and make a difference in the galaxy. I wasn’t expecting that twist, and while Kanan immediately steps up to help Hera out, the fact remains that he may not have had she not been there. It’s interesting food for thought.
I loved the character interactions in this story, as well as getting a chance to know the characters without having the others around (not that I don’t love them all – especially Chopper). So often we’ve been forced to see one or both of them guarded, but here they’re a bit more open. Okay, that’s not completely true, as they both have a lot of secrets, but there’s an instant connection between the two that draws them to each other (okay, it’s mostly Kanan being drawn to Hera, but still).
It was interesting to see both characters in a different point in their lives. Hera is confident in her abilities, but she hasn’t hit the point where she feels comfortable working in a team (even thought that is vital for finishing many of the missions she hopes to take on). Meanwhile Kanan is still hurting from his past, and unsure of what he should make of his future. By joining the Rebellion he’s essentially decided to stop sitting on the sideline and instead start fighting for hope. It’s a great change for him, and is wonderful to see it happen.
The antagonist for the series is an interesting one. While he is more physically intimidating than Tarkin, I almost want to put him on the same level. Vidian is a scary dude – and that’s before taking his cyborg body into account. He’s cold and calculating and clearly has no problem coming to lethal conclusions for the sake of business. In short he’s the perfect antagonist for our newly founded team.
I know I’m biased because I love Hera and Kanan (though mostly Hera – she’s one of my favorite characters in all of Star Wars, which is saying something), but I really enjoyed this novel. It’s fast paced and witty and everything else one would hope to find in a Star Wars novel. Even the battle scenes (the few that there were) were pretty great. I know it’s unlikely we’ll see another full novel about any of the Rebels characters, but I would so love it should another one come out. Here’s hoping!