Hitting digital and store bookshelves TODAY is Star Wars Rebels: Ezra’s Gamble, by Ryder Windham. This junior novel is admittedly directed at younger audiences, but it’s still fun for the older fans. Read on for my review:
Ezra’s Gamble sees Star Wars Rebels’ youngest hero take off on an uproarious adventure with the sinister Trandoshan bounty hunter, Bossk (an alum from The Empire Strikes Back). This story is packed with fast-paced action, but it also carries a little bit of mystery and dastardly plotting. I appreciated that, because it made the story more interesting for me then it would have been with only shootouts and chases in every scene (which can get monotonous after awhile). It’s a relatively short read for adults at 154 pages, but I don’t think that the younger readers will have any trouble staying hooked on it; the quick progression and the intrigue can keep readers of all ages interested.
What was also cool was the amount of original trilogy references contained in this story (hint: expect a line about a bad feeling…), which were by turns entertaining and thought-provoking. Bossk, of course, was a reference in and of himself. Through this story, you can kind of understand why he wasn’t the one to catch Han Solo and the Millenium Falcon in The Empire Strikes Back. He’s smart, there’s no doubt there, but he’s a bit conspicuous and not much of a one for subtlety. That just adds to the amount of fun it was to read his personality; he was classic and snarky, but still dangerous.
Some of the younger fans may not realize the significance of Bossk or any of the other film references before reading this novel, though, which will open up an excellent opportunity for their parents to introduce them to the original trilogy. It’s a smart marketing move on Disney’s part, and caters to fans of all ages.
As for Ezra himself, the fourteen-year-old is just as charming as we’ve come to expect from the descriptions and the footage that we’ve seen so far. What I really like about him, though, is that he doesn’t seem particularly full of teen-angst. In this novel, he wasn’t bratty, or really selfish, or even angry. He was clever and still retained some innocence of youth, despite being a street con. Some of his private musings were pretty deep, and augmented, I assume, by his Force sensitivity (which he knows nothing about at this point). I look forward to following his career in future novels and onscreen.
Ryder Wyndham did a stellar job with this first Star Wars Rebels junior novel, in my opinion. He wove an interesting tale that was fun, but not too shallow. He didn’t use condescending language in order to dilute the story down to a lower level of reading skill. The book is, as I said, able to be enjoyed by both the older and the younger fans. It is also a good way to tide said younger fans over with Star Wars literature until they’re old enough to appreciate the adult novels.
Needless to say, I’m interested in reading any forthcoming junior novels by Windham or any other Star Wars authors. The best part is, this is hard, significant canon, so it can hold its own within the ranks of official Star Wars lit.
Star Wars Rebels: Ezra’s Gamble is available for purchase now at amazon.com, here.