A New Dawn (Star Wars)
Written by: John Jackson Miller
Published by: LucasBooks
A New Dawn is a novel that was written by John Jackson Miller and was released on September 2, 2014. It serves as a prequel for the television series Star Wars Rebels and is set six years prior to the events of the show.
Star Wars: A New Dawn
by John Jackson Miller
If there’s one thing you should know about Star Wars: A New Dawn, it’s this: it’s just like The Clone Wars animated series, but with more booze and brawling.
This novel is a straightforward, quick read and serves well as the first salvo in the oncoming cavalcade of new Star Wars canon. We’re introduced to several key characters from the upcoming Rebels animated series, which I appreciate – I’m definitely going to be watching the show, and getting some more depth out there on the characters before it starts is good form. I also appreciate the diversity the author (or canon designers) are invested in showing: there were many women of multiple species in positions of import, including a human female POC acting Captain at the helm of a Star Destroyer. She even comes out relatively well in the end – for an Imperial, anyway.
(If you think it’s a spoiler that the Empire does well enough for itself in this novel, have you even seen Star Wars? Come on, now.)
Was this novel, just like The Clone Wars but with more booze and brawling, enough to salve the loss of said Clone Wars? Cancelled in its prime, before they fully explored all their intended storylines? Those threads so damaged and dangling, with no resolution to Ahsoka or Cad Bane or Darth Maul?
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”0553392867″ cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”buzmag-20″]The answer is a little bit. It’s a pleasant diversion, full of action and only hampered somewhat by the prose. There’s a barely-a-Jedi on the run, and the fates of however many Jedi escaped the execution of Order 66 has always been a furiously intriguing one. It’s absurd to think that Obi-Wan and Yoda were the only ones left of an order that spanned the galaxy, and it’s not like Force-sensitive children suddenly stopped being born. There’s a rebellious undercurrent – the nascent Empire may be growing by leaps and bounds, but there’s a Rebellion stirring around its edges, feeling out the people and dreaming what it could be. And there’s both acknowledgement and exploration of the post-war experience for veterans of the Clone Wars – a sobering look into how they were largely cast off, forgotten, with ill-fitting prosthetics and disregard for their continued existence. The only sore spot there was that there seemed to be no Clones in the novel at all – they made a point of showing the Imperial forces are definitely not staffed by Clones anymore. And why would they be? Clones are hell on the budget. But there should be a number of cranky old Clone soldiers or down-and-out retired Clones scattered throughout the galaxy. (Besides the 501st, of course.) That absence was glaring.
The prose tends to be serviceable with a number of weak spots, including much repetition and passive descriptions of events after the fact. (If Hera smiled gently or gently smiled one more time…) The plot is narrow, focusing on a small piece of the Empire. The characterization of the main villain left much to be desired, leaving us with an uninteresting and monochromatic madman. But the hints and exploration of the mechanics of the Empire, along with allusions to the development of planetkiller tech, were quite absorbing.
I should be fair that there were a few great lines, though – like this one, from villain and efficiency expert Count Vidian.
“But murder motivated everyone. It belonged in every supervisor’s tool kit.”
Oh, you simple, murdering rascal.
In any case, if you’re a Star Wars fan, read this book! It’s canon and you’ll appreciate the background when you settle in for the premiere of Rebels on October 3rd. I’m glad I did, though I’ll leave you with one final complaint: they failed to honor Chekhov’s Lightsaber, and that’s just not on.
Deborah J. Brannon
Find other Star Wars Novel reviews from Deborah below!
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith
Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars
Star Wars: Tarkin