Star Wars: A New Dawn

Oh my goodness me, this book was amazing!

Having picked this up almost a year ago, I’d been putting off reading this book for so long, almost entirely because I’ve not been all that interested in the Rebels cartoon, and the cover makes it pretty clear there are some strong ties to that. However, I finally started it at the weekend, and it hooked me quite early on.

Set during that nebulous timeframe between episodes III and IV, we follow Count Vidian as he inspects the mining planet of Gorse, to see if he can make improvements in the Empire’s logistical chain. He is accompanied by Captain Rae Sloane, who was a central character in Aftermath. On the planet, he is stalked by the mysterious Twi’lek, Hera, who is trying to find out what he’s up to for her own nefarious purposes. We also meet Kanan Jarrus, apparently a down-on-his-luck drifter who works piloting explosives for the mine workings. So that’s the basic premise, I guess. It doesn’t really sound all that exciting, but don’t be fooled!

The book acts as a prequel to the Rebels cartoon, and due to both this and its placement in the timeline (though if I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure where it’s supposed to take place, as there isn’t much specific history in there) I expected there to be the usual trite foreshadowing, as we see the big bad Empire at work, ad nauseum. In actual fact, while there are indeed a few references – in particular, to the Empire breaking up moons for the minerals contained therein that presages the original Death Star design – the narrative doesn’t make these things a huge focus as other books tend to do. In general, the sense of history is quite neatly described, and I think that, more than anything, is a huge thing in its favour.

John Jackson Miller is no stranger to the GFFA, of course, having written the long-running Knights of the Old Republic comics and the Knight Errant comics/novel, the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories and the full-length novel Kenobi. I thought it was nice to have an established Star Wars author at the helm of the first novel to be published under the new continuity – not that we have any massive departures from what can be considered “the norm” (much like Heir to the Jedi, really).

There is an episodic feel to the book, not really helped by the fact that the chapters are really quite small. Maybe it was just me, but I definitely felt it harkened to JJM’s comic-writing career, where story would be bite-sized to fit into individual issues. It doesn’t really detract from the overall feel, though there was a moment in the rough middle where I felt the book appeared to be winding down to a conclusion, then just picked up the pace again. It felt weird, but nothing major.

I think more than anything else, this book has made me interested in the characters from the cartoon series. There’s a Kanan comics series being published by Marvel that I’ve not been all that interested by, but I’m now going to buy in trade paperback, and I’m even looking into the DVDs for the show. If you’ve read my earlier post from when the cartoon was just kicking off, you’ll see just how much of a deal this is for me!

This is the firth”new” Star Wars novel I’ve read now, and while not as good as Heir to the Jedi, it’s certainly a solid second place, ahead of Lost StarsThe Force Awakens and Aftermath.

In short, this is definitely worth picking up!

Musings on Star Wars

Hey everybody!
Easter is fast approaching, which means I’m turning my attention to Star Wars once more – I think I’ve mentioned this before, but Easter is the time of year above all others when I get really nostalgic for the franchise, and for years have made it a tradition to watch the original trilogy movies over the long weekend. This year will be no different, of course, though I was reflecting this morning, and came to realise that Star Wars has been somewhat absent from my life since the fuss around episode seven around Christmas.

There’s nothing much to read into this, as I’m not losing interest in something that has been such an immense part of my life for so many years, but it just got me thinking about all the new stuff we’ve got coming out nowadays, and how out-of-touch I feel generally about it all. I’ve talking about feeling a bit meh about the new releases in a previous blog, and it seems like that has continued as I’ve focused on other stuff, notably getting into the whole New 52 thing from DC Comics (ironically, just before they launch their Rebirth thing that will have a further impact there!) as well as the ubiquitous Warhammer stuff.

All of my Star Wars novels are contained within three bookcases opposite my bed, and seeing them there while thinking about getting up is what prompted my reflections, I guess. In years gone by, I would be salivating at the prospect of the upcoming Star Wars novels for any given year. Since the reboot happened, that has almost entirely fallen by the wayside, as I’ve lost almost all touch with news of what’s coming up, and was totally surprised to discover there are in fact only three novels that seem to be upcoming all year according to the release schedule – Bloodline in May, Aftermath: Life Debt in July, and a tie-in to the upcoming Rogue One movie in October.

However, looking at that linked schedule, there is a preponderance of young-reader books, which has gotten me thinking: is Star Wars being pitched at a much younger age bracket nowadays? I know I’m getting older, sadly, but it surprised me to see how few “adult” novels there are nowadays. Not trying to start some kind of conspiracy here of course, but it stood out enough that I’m curious!

At least I can kinda relax, that I’m not as behind the times as I’d thought – I wasn’t aware of any more novels coming out because none are coming…

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It's been too long since I last read a #StarWars novel!

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I’m going to start reading A New Dawn today, anyway, which I’ve been thinking about for a while, but despite having bought the book almost a year ago, I’ve been a bit reticent to read it knowing the two folks on the cover are from the Rebels cartoon, which bore no interest for me when it was first announced, despite having John Jackson Miller at the helm, whose Knights of the Old Republic comic series I really enjoyed. A New Dawn was the first novel to be published in the new canon, so there is quite a bit that interests me in how it’ll play out. I really enjoyed Heir to the Jedi, of course, so I’m going to just have an open mind and see what happens! There will, of course, be a follow-up to this once I’ve read it!

I’ve rambled on for quite a bit now, anyway, and I’m not entirely sure what I was intending to say when I started this. At any rate, Easter is coming, and I’m back reading Star Wars stuff! Happy Saturday, everyone!