Bryan’s Review of Star Wars: A New Dawn

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Message board poster and friend, Bryan Waters, shares his Star Wars: A New Dawn review with us:

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Through the Dark Horse comic series Knights of the Old Republic, and novels such as Knight Errant and Kenobi, talented author John Jackson Miller has established himself not only as a fan favorite author, but one who seemingly specializes in stories about outcast characters. In “A New Dawn”, fugitive lapsed Jedi Kanan Jarrus from television’s Star Wars Rebels takes his place among Miller’s original Jedi outcast characters, Zayne Carrick and Kerra Holt in the world of Star Wars literature.

A stranger on a message board was kind enough to send me their advance readers’ copy of “A New Dawn”, which as a huge fan of Star Wars books in general, I had to have. I love a lot of the “old” EU, and the whole Legends hullabaloo makes no difference to me. I am looking forward for what’s to come, I’m very excited that these new books are canon, and lots of EU fans on Star Wars message boards the internet-wide are on a complete fool’s errand by getting up in arms about this situation. Once these people get ahold of the book (because they will buy it anyway, despite the countless petitions and threats of boycott), they will find a novel that can stand toe to toe with the EU’s best.

To me, John Jackson Miller is up there with the cream of the crop of Star Wars writers. His characterization can’t be beat, and his books are themselves characterized by the well written, yet easy and breezy style of the prose. “A New Dawn” is a page-turner, just like the rest of Miller’s work. I’ve always thought Miller was superb at creating villains. Knight Errant, set in the Old Republic days, has a couple of great, tremendously evil and intimidating villains in Lord Odion and Lord Daiman. Tradition continues in A New Dawn as we are introduced to the unpredictable Count Vidian, who presides over the Empire’s subjugation and mining of the planet Gorse, as well as its orbiting moon. The sheer volume of mining activity has left these two stellar bodies in a state of near-destruction. I think this character was supposed to bring Vader to the reader’s mind, since he is cybernetically upgraded and has an electronic voice, but Miller does a knockout job making him stand on his own, as a villain who can go from calm to homicidal at a moment’s notice.

Kanan and Hera, the two chief characters who will star in Rebels, are brought to life alongside a varied cast of characters that accompany them on their mission, including the conspiracy theorist/mad bomber Skelly, who I thought stole the show. One subplot I enjoyed was Captain Sloane’s (who is in temporary command of the Star Destroyer Ultimatum) behind the scenes politicking and scheming alongside Count Vidian, to take permanent command of the Ultimatum away from its true captain. It will remind you of the Xizor/Vader/Palpatine backdoor plotting from Shadows of the Empire and The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy. We get to see a bit of Kanan’s background as a Jedi padawan during the Republic era as well. “A New Dawn” is a real winner.

Thanks to Bryan Waters for sharing his thoughts with us!

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