Star Wars Rebels: Rise of the Rebels is a juvenile fiction chapter book that highlights our new favorite crew of rebels. The novel is divided into four parts, and each part details a scene from the perspective of one or more of the characters. It’s basically an introduction into how the various characters (not just the Rebels, but stormtroopers, too) from the show think, and what their personalities are like. I’ll mostly be giving you my thoughts on the characters rather than the scenes themselves, so that hopefully I won’t spoil the show too much.
First off: a scene between Hera, Kanan, & Chopper. The relationship between these three is very compelling. Between Hera and Kanan, there is some chemistry; it’s pretty much just hinted that there might be something deeper, but I personally think that makes their interactions, and potential future interactions, all the more romantic. I like the fact that, even though Kanan is the leader of the crew, he appears to be very inspired by Hera and will doubtlessly rely on her wisdom more often than not. Hera herself is just as you would expect her to be from the trailers: smart, snarky, and wicked with a starship. But there are signs of sensitivity, too, which I love to see. The best part of this scene, though, for me, was the chapter from Chopper’s perspective. Let me just say: I love this droid. Seriously, he’s awesome. Grumpy, sarcastic, yet can take control of a situation like a boss. He’s still a droid, though, and has to follow orders, but he kind of does them on his own terms. Altogether, his personality struck a good balance between independence and servitude. He, along with his interactions with Hera and Kanan, made this whole first part of the book really enjoyable, and quite humorous, too. I can’t wait to see it played out onscreen!
Next up: Sabine! I have to say, Sabine is a pretty rad character. She’s sixteen years old, so she’s not a kid anymore; Kanan and the others entrust her to do some important (and dangerous) activities, so she’s definitely a full-fledged part of the team. But she still maintains a kind of innocence; the idealism of youth, I guess it could be called. She has dreams and ambitions; she’s loves to look at and create art, and is passionate about both. It’s this description of her character that I really liked about reading a scene through her perspective; you really get a sense of who she is, even more so than just seeing her onscreen, because you’re able to catch a glimpse into her very thoughts. She has the potential to be an awesome character, and I think that she, along with Hera, will do justice to the more feminine side of the Star Wars fandom.
As a side note: there were stormtroopers in this scene, and I liked what the show creators did with them. There is an explanation as to why stormtroopers tend to be mean and dim-witted that hit close to home, as it has to do with an issue a lot of kids deal with in the real world. Though, I do hope that they develop the idea that not all stormtroopers are that way, at some point in the future.
Part three takes us on an adventure with Zeb Orrelios, and believe you me, it’s a fun one! This character is wicked awesome. Seriously. And his interactions with Kanan: hilarious. I can only imagine what he’s like around the other rebels. One of the many great things about this character, is even though Zeb is referred to as “The Muscle” of the group, he’s not all physical feats of bucket head-cracking, literal muscle; he’s got a lot of heart, too. That may sound sappy, perhaps, but it’s true. And I think that this scene gets across the point that you can be a great warrior and still be compassionate (and also maybe be not as quick on the draw at all times). Another interesting thing that was revealed in this part of the book, was Zeb’s respect for Kanan. Kanan is definitely the leader of this group, and I am curious to see what it is that ties all the other characters to him so intensely.
Last, but not least, we have the primary protagonist of the television series: Ezra Bridger, the Lothal orphan who lives in a communications tower outside of the Lothal Capital City. This scene wasn’t as action-packed as those preceding it, but it was good to get some insight into Ezra’s character. My impression of him was endearing. He’s quick, clever and humorous; but his character goes deeper than that. He’s been through a lot in his fourteen-year life span so far, so much so that most of the time he doesn’t even feel like a kid. He wants that, though. He wants to be able to feel like a kid: to have fun, to be at peace. That latter point is the most interesting to me; I wonder how much “adventure and excitement” he will crave, or if it’s really just inner peace that he’s looking for.
This book is a great place to start for those wanting to get to know the heroes and heroines of Star Wars Rebels a little better. It doesn’t give away any major plot points (like where Hera and Sabine come from, what happened to Ezra’s parents, etc.), but it does give some insight into the characters’ personalities and their thought processes. Plus, it’s a chapter book, so it would be an easy read for the younger Star Wars fans.