Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

The subtitle for this book could be “When Kanan met Hera.” It’s a more adult introduction to the Star Wars: Rebels animated TV show.

Star Wars New Dawn Front Cover (Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: A New Dawn Front Cover (Random House)

 

THE PLOT: Once upon a time, Kanan Jarrus was Caleb Dume, a Jedi in training. But then the Clones were given the order to eliminate the Jedi, and Kanan has been in hiding ever since, living a rootless life, getting into bar fights, and not using any Jedi abilities. His most recent home is the mining world of Gorse and its moon, Cynda. But then the Empire shows up in the form of Count Vidian, a cyborg with some interesting motives. Vidian receives word that the Emperor expects him to triple the quota of thorilide mined from Cynda. With the unwitting help of a conspiracy theorist named Skelly, who’s trying to prevent accidents, Vidian decides to blow up Cynda. This will get him the immediate thorilide he needs, eventually screw over his worst rival, and also kill a lot of people and destroy a world. Hera is there to gather info, but once she, Kanan, and Skelly meet and discover what Vidian is up to, they team up to stop him.

MY TWO CENTS: I was looking forward to reading this since I liked the author’s Kenobi so much, but the mining story just didn’t have the same draw for me as the “old west” feel of Kenobi. This is definitely more adult than the show. Kanan joins Hera mostly because he’s attracted to her, which I’m really not getting in the show. There are also nondetailed descriptions of Kanan’s womanizing, drinking, and fighting. Zeb, Sabine, and Ezra don’t make an appearance.

Although the reader knows that Kanan and Hera will survive this adventure, there are no guarantees for their other companions. I found that, and all the explosions, enough of a “danger hook” to keep the suspense level up.

Vidian is an interesting villain, certainly more interesting to me than General Grievous. I’m not sure if we’ll see him again, but I hope we do.

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re watching Rebels and want some background, this book will give you some. However, from the five episodes I’ve seen, reading this certainly isn’t necessary. Maybe I’ll feel differently as the show goes on. If they do more books about the Rebels cast, I would probably be interested in checking them out.

TEACUP RATING: About three-and-a-half out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: The book is available now in hardcover and eformats.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

Kenobi Front Cover (Random House Publishing Group)

Kenobi Front Cover (Random House Publishing Group)

This is my favorite Star Wars book I’ve read in a long while. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, though.

THE PLOT: After delivering newborn Luke Skywalker to the Lars farm on Tatooine, Obi-Wan Kenobi sets up his home on Tatooine to keep watch over the child. His intent is to change his name to Ben and keep a low profile…but he is reluctantly drawn into the problems of the nearby farmers and their ongoing battle with the Sand People (and each other). Annileen Calwell (nicknamed “Annie”…a deliberate move on the author’s part) is a widow who runs a general store with the “help” of her two teenage children. Her deceased husband’s best friend, Orrin Gault, is a smooth-talker who has started the  “Settlers’ Call,” an alarm to bring aid to settlers being attacked by Tuskens. We also get the point-of-view of a Tusken named A’Yark. Of course, all is not as it seems, and “Ben” is forced into the forefront in order to keep innocents safe.

MY TWO CENTS: I loved this book, which kind of shocked me. I actually devoured it within a couple of days, which I haven’t done with a Star Wars book in a long while. I loved the very “American West” feeling you get from the settlers, their farms, the general store, and their mannerisms. You get the slightest hint of romance when Annileen and her teenage daughter both develop crushes on Ben…which we know, of course, can never be reciprocated. In fact, there’s a lot of dramatic irony going on here. We know the whole story, while the settlers know pretty much nothing. Ben works hard to hide his true abilities from everyone, although the Tuskens are the first (and just about only) ones to figure it out. We get to see Obi-Wan struggle with guilt over what he did to Anakin and grief over his lost friends and way of life. The villain is pretty darn sleazy. Luke, Owen, and Beru do not appear, even though they are mentioned.

BOTTOM LINE: If your’e looking for the typical space dogfights or lots of Jedi action, this may not be the book for you. (There is SOME Jedi action, but it’s done pretty stealthily.) But if you’re interested in the gaps in Obi-Wan’s history, really love the idea of Star Wars as a Western, or just want something different from the norm, then I highly recommend it.

TEACUP RATING: I easily give this five teacups. I really enjoyed the writing and the characters.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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