A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....
"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....
The first Star Wars novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, Star Wars: A New Dawn is set during the legendary "Dark Times" between Episodes III and IV and tells the story of how two of the lead characters from the animated series Star Wars Rebels first came to cross paths. Featuring a foreword by Dave Filoni.
©2014 John Jackson Miller (P)2014 Random House Audio
I was wondering if this would be consistent with the other stories in the Star Wars universe,shouldn't have worried. The new characters were intriguing and the story was entertaining and enjoyable. Once again Mark Thompson has done a fantastic job with the portrayal of the different characters voices, he makes the different characters come to life.
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, I love to learn about a great many things, and I enjoy a wide variety of genres. Me, bored? Never!
Following on the success of his previous Star Wars offering, Kenobi, and in conjunction with the newly-formed Lucasfilm Story Group, John Jackson Miller throttles us forward from the end of the prequel era and into the Dark Times, the largely uncharted territory between trilogies. The Clone Wars are over. The Empire has risen. The surviving Jedi are in hiding, hunted by Darth Vader and his minions. The management style of the day is subjugation, murder, and wanton destruction. And there are some people in the galaxy who truly see what's going on, and they can't just lie down and take it like "good citizens."
This book takes place some 6 years before the events of the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels animated series, which itself will take place 5 years before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope. In other words, 8 years after Revenge of the Sith, and 11 years before A New Hope, squarely in the midst of the worst time the galaxy has ever suffered.
The story here covers the first encounter of our newest heroes, Jedi Kanan Jarrus and freedom fighter Hera Syndulla (perhaps related to Clone Wars era fighter Cham Syndulla?) as the Rebellion begins in the form of small, isolated cells. It also provides our first look at the new era of Star Wars, wherein everything is officially canon, so in this regard it's a New Dawn in more ways than one.
Although Kanan and Hera are most definitely at the forefront, their first adventure gives us a supporting cast as strong, rich, and three-dimensional as any that Miller has offered in the past. From the conspiracy theorizing Skelly to the Imperial monster Count Vidian (who is a most worthy addition to the Star Wars villains list), the supporting cast give us a very close look at what ordinary life is like under Palpatine's Empire... and what it means to rebel against it.
Kanan and Hera themselves seem to have the banter we've seen in the preview videos already intact, harkening back to the classic days of Han Solo and Princess Leia. It's that kind of dynamic, without being a carbon copy of it. With them, they bring along all of the adventure and swashbuckling we've come to know since 1977. I was excited for Rebels before. Now I'm chomping at the bit for it.
The audio production is as high quality as any of the offerings from the Star Wars camp in recent years. Veteran narrator Marc Thompson plays the roles to the hilt, and the subtle additions of John Williams theme music and those famous sound effects are dropped in to add that extra layer of awesome you just don't get from most audiobooks.
If everything that's been hinted at is true, this animated series will not only tie the trilogies together, but it will eventually play on themes offered from Clone Wars and offer some new threads to be continued in the upcoming Episode VII. As a fan, that's simply too hard to resist. The future looks bright ahead, and this book is the on-ramp.
After having watched the first several episodes of the new Star Wars: Rebels series with my son, I was interested in this book that gives an introduction and some back story to a couple of the main characters. I was also hopeful as this is the same author who also produced the most excellent "Kenobi" novel recently.
While decent, it's no "Kenobi". That's unfair to a degree, I know as this story has to essentially introduce new major characters to the new Star Wars canon, while "Kenobi" gave us a missing chapter in the life of a well known existing character.
Still, while the novel serves as a useful introduction to the characters, I think they deserved a better story. This one has something of a carbon copy feel of other Star Wars stories we've seen and read about before. Miller is definitely capable of better.
The biggest saving grace of this story, at least for the audiobook form that I consumed it in, is once again Marc Thompson's excellent narration.
tbh, there's a lot of things that I'd change if I could but at the same time, there only needs to be one change: the direction. It doesn't matter what direction, any would be fine. It seems like they're so busy trying to make sure they don't spoil anything with the books, for the movies/shows, that you don't get anything of real substance. This isn't really a fugitive book about someone that's really become someone else, it's not really a romance between two people who meet and then inspire each other, this is certainly not an action book with well-defined fight scenes. Also, Hera really seems to be a fleshed out character, more-so than any of the others here, Kanan however is basically a lump of flesh that isn't very bright, charismatic or even charming. Hera acts as both the brains of the "operation" as well as the moral compass, meanwhile Kanan is there to beat things up, without a lightsaber because... reasons? I know why he isn't using a lightsaber and it makes sense but... c'mon! Star Wars! Seriously!? /weep. Even if there had been a few really great fight scenes without a lightsaber I'd have been happy but the ones that were there just seem to be there to validate Kanan having a lead role.
Just wrapped up Heir to the Jedi which followed this one for me, I'm now on the fence about Tarkin and any of the Pre-Ep7 stuff... so probably won't be a Star Wars book.
He gave a great performance and I thought he did well with all of them, probably best with Hera though. The way that he sounded while performing her dialogue really gave a sense that she was thoughtful and cautious in almost every scene.
Began to inspire me to not read Pre-Ep7 stuff, Heir to the Jedi very nearly cinched it. Maybe there'll be one that comes out soon that actually has some kind of worthwhile content. I'll keep checking reviews.
From a technical standpoint I think this book is fine. I don't think the author is/was bad and if he was writing something outside of Star Wars I'd give it a listen, as stated before however, there's just so little true content here that even the budding relationship that takes place between the main characters seems like a leap since so little happened for them to get to know one another. In closing, if you're a hardcore fan who wants to link up every side character to whatever screen time they may get on the Rebels show or possibly (doubt it) the movies, you may want to check this out for that reason. If you're a casual fan who's looking for a good story you may want to look elsewhere.
The book is expertly performance and production makes it feel like one of the old radio dramatization they did in the70's and 80's. The characters are fresh and new unless you watch Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD. An excellent villain brings into mind some of the villains from the 50's Zorro television show. Story felt sparse in spots but like where it is headed. It is interesting that Lucasfilm / Disney decide that the future of Star Wars is so deeply rooted in the past. With episode VII coming out at the end of the year Rebels seems to be the only info that might glimpse into the future.
My love of Star Wars stretches back almost as far as I can remember. My dad bought, and still has, very early copies of the original trilogy on VHS that we watched countless times throughout my childhood. My first job at 14 years old in 1999 was at a little used bookstore called. It was there, with my employee discount that I really fell in love with reading and especially Star Wars novels. My first Star Wars novel was Heir to the Empire. I shortly thereafter read every one we had in stock and started special ordering all the ones we didn't and started reading all of the new series as they came out starting with the New Jedi Order.
When Disney bought Star Wars and Lucasfilm I was worried about what would happen to future novels. The Expanded Universe was and is very dear to me. I was even more worried when they said they would basically be rebooting the EU canon, but I was very excited about a new, unified canon throughout the films, novels, comics, video games, etc.
So it was with a lot of excitement and a lot of anxiety that I approached this book, and I'm happy to report that my fears and anxiety are gone and my excitement for future Star Wars novels is through the roof.
A New Dawn has a little bit of a slow, meandering start, but it picks up quickly after that with great action, comedy, well-developed characters, a satisfying and terrifying villain, and that very tangible Star Wars feel. I loved it.
My favorite character was hands down Zaluna. I loved everything about her. Pulled into something she didn't ask for and didn't quite understand, she still rose to heroics and sacrifice, all to honor a friend.
All of the character development in this book was very good and believable. Skelly, Kanan, Zaluna, Hera, all of them changed because of the story and the way the separate threads were woven together speaks very highly of Miller's ability as an author. The only character I wish I'd learned more about was Hera. Her past is still a mystery and I really hope they explore her backstory more in the TV show, Rebels.
This book does a very good job of standing alone as a novel even if the TV show wasn't coming afterwards, though it also does a good job of making me want to see the show.
One last note, I listened to this book as an audio production from Audible, which is how I would recommend everyone read any Star Wars novel. The productions are always high quality. The sound effects and music make you feel even more like you are having that epic Star Wars experience, and the narration is really spectacular. Marc Thompson nailed it, he was a spectacular narrator.
This book made me laugh, cry, cheer, and reflect. I couldn't ask for more. I am incredibly stoked for the future of Star Wars, and I can't wait until I next get to visit that galaxy far, far away.
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