Star Wars: A New Dawn

Star Wars: A New Dawn

4.3 50
by John Jackson Miller

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
“The war is over. The Separatists have been defeated, and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning.”—Emperor Palpatine
For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights brought peace and order to the Galactic

…  See more details below


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
“The war is over. The Separatists have been defeated, and the Jedi rebellion has been foiled. We stand on the threshold of a new beginning.”—Emperor Palpatine
For a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights brought peace and order to the Galactic Republic, aided by their connection to the mystical energy field known as the Force. But they were betrayed—and the entire galaxy has paid the price. It is the Age of the Empire.
Now Emperor Palpatine, once Chancellor of the Republic and secretly a Sith follower of the dark side of the Force, has brought his own peace and order to the galaxy. Peace through brutal repression, and order through increasing control of his subjects’ lives.
But even as the Emperor tightens his iron grip, others have begun to question his means and motives. And still others, whose lives were destroyed by Palpatine’s machinations, lay scattered about the galaxy like unexploded bombs, waiting to go off. . . .
The first Star Wars novel created in collaboration with the Lucasfilm Story Group, Star Wars: A New Dawn is set during the legendary “Dark Times” between Episodes III and IV and tells the story of how two of the lead characters from the animated series Star Wars Rebels first came to cross paths. Featuring a foreword by Dave Filoni.

Praise for A New Dawn
A New Dawn is a fine start to the new Expanded Universe. [John Jackson] Miller steps confidently into the unexplored territory and owns it; he’s crafted a story with pacing and dialogue that feels like classic Star Wars.”Nerdist
“An entertaining adventure . . . with a cast of heroes that mixes laughter with intriguing depths of character. . . . John Jackson Miller packs in plenty of action and surprises.”Roqoo Depot

“A confidently told story that gives fans a lot of reason to be hopeful about what’s to come as we move into this new phase of Star Wars . . . The book certainly got me even more excited for Rebels and to see more of Kanan and Hera’s adventures. We’re also introduced to other characters I would love to see again at some point, whether on Rebels, in another book or, who knows, in live-action at some point.”IGN
A New Dawn delivers a classic Star Wars experience that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy. It is extremely well-written, with an incredibly diverse cast too. Miller’s prose can easily suck readers in, and leave them speechless when 100 pages have flown by in the blink of an eye.”—Far Far Away Radio
A New Dawn brings us into this new dawn of storytelling with energy, excitement, and characters that have become instantly ensconced into the Star Wars vernacular, and the results will satisfy Star Wars fans of many different palates.”—Coffee with Kenobi
A New Dawn is a well-written novel full of intrigue and twists and turns that does an excellent job of letting Star Wars fans get to know Kanan and Hera.”—Tosche Station
A New Dawn finds an era never before written about in the Star Wars universe—the years prior to the original movie, Episode IV—in robust good health. The narrative takes place on two worlds and a handful of ships in between them, but as with the best of all Star Wars moments, hints at hidden depths beyond.”Mashable

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A New Dawn is a fine start to the new Expanded Universe. [John Jackson] Miller steps confidently into the unexplored territory and owns it; he’s crafted a story with pacing and dialogue that feels like classic Star Wars.”Nerdist
“An entertaining adventure . . . with a cast of heroes that mixes laughter with intriguing depths of character. . . . John Jackson Miller packs in plenty of action and surprises.”Roqoo Depot

“A confidently told story that gives fans a lot of reason to be hopeful about what’s to come as we move into this new phase of Star Wars . . . The book certainly got me even more excited for Rebels and to see more of Kanan and Hera’s adventures. We’re also introduced to other characters I would love to see again at some point, whether on Rebels, in another book or, who knows, in live-action at some point.”IGN
A New Dawn delivers a classic Star Wars experience that fans of all ages will be able to enjoy. It is extremely well-written, with an incredibly diverse cast too. Miller’s prose can easily suck readers in, and leave them speechless when 100 pages have flown by in the blink of an eye.”—Far Far Away Radio
A New Dawn brings us into this new dawn of storytelling with energy, excitement, and characters that have become instantly ensconced into the Star Wars vernacular, and the results will satisfy Star Wars fans of many different palates.”—Coffee with Kenobi
A New Dawn is a well-written novel full of intrigue and twists and turns that does an excellent job of letting Star Wars fans get to know Kanan and Hera.”—Tosche Station
A New Dawn finds an era never before written about in the Star Wars universe—the years prior to the original movie, Episode IV—in robust good health. The narrative takes place on two worlds and a handful of ships in between them, but as with the best of all Star Wars moments, hints at hidden depths beyond.”Mashable

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Star Wars Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“Sound collision!”

Only a moment earlier, the Star Destroyer had emerged from hyperspace; now a cargo ship careened straight toward its bridge. Before Ultimatum’s shields could be raised or cannons could be brought to bear, the approaching vessel abruptly veered upward.

Rae Sloane watched, incredulous, as the wayward freighter hurtled above her bridge’s viewport and out of sight. But not out of hearing: A tiny scraping ka-thump signaled it had just clipped the top of the giant ship’s hull. The new captain looked back at her first officer. “Damage?”

“None, Captain.”

No surprise, she thought. It was surely worse for the other guy. “These yokels act as if they haven’t seen a Star Destroyer before!”

“I’m sure they haven’t,” Commander Chamas said.

“They’d better get used to it.” Sloane observed the cloud of transports ahead of Ultimatum. Her enormous Imperial-class starship had arrived from hyperspace on the edge of the appointed safe-approach lane, bringing it perilously close to what had to be the biggest traffic jam in the Inner Rim. She addressed the dozens of crewmembers at their stations. “Stay alert. Ultimatum’s too new to bring back with a scratched finish.” Thinking again, she narrowed her eyes. “Send a message on the Mining Guild channel. The next moron that comes within a kilometer of us gets a turbolaser haircut.”

“Aye, Captain.”

Of course, Sloane had never been to this system, either, having just attained her captaincy in time for Ultimatum’s shakedown cruise. Tall, muscular, dark-skinned, and black-haired, Sloane had performed exceptionally from the start and ascended swiftly through the ranks. True, she was only substituting on Ultimatum, whose intended captain was serving on assignment to the construction committee—but how many others had helmed capital ships at thirty? She didn’t know: The Imperial Navy had been in existence by that name for less than a decade, since Chancellor Palpatine put down the traitorous Jedi and transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. Sloane just knew the days ahead would decide whether she got a ship of her own.

This system, she’d been briefed, was home to something rare: a true astronomical odd couple. Gorse, out the forward viewport, lived up to its reputation as perhaps the ugliest planet in the galaxy. Tidally locked to its parent star, the steaming mudball had one side that forever baked. Only the permanently dark side was habitable, home to an enormous industrial city amid a landscape of strip mines. Sloane couldn’t imagine living on a world that never saw a sunrise—if you could call sweating through an endless muggy summer night living. Looking off to the right, she saw the real jewel: Cynda, Gorse’s sole moon. Almost large enough to be counted in Imperial record keeping as a double planet with Gorse, Cynda had a glorious silver shine—as charming as its parent was bleak.

But Sloane wasn’t interested in the sights, or the travails of all the losers on Gorse. She started to turn from the window. “Make doubly sure the convoys are respecting our clearance zone. Then inform Count Vidian we have—”

“Forget the old way,” snapped a low baritone voice.

The harshly intoned words startled everyone on the bridge, for they had all heard them before—just seldom in this manner. It was their famous passenger’s catchphrase, quoted on many a business program during the Republic days and still used to introduce his successful series of management aids now that he had moved on to government service. Everywhere, the Republic’s old ways of doing things were being replaced. “Forget the old way” really was the slogan of the times.

Sloane wasn’t sure why she was hearing it now, however. “Count Vidian,” she stated, her eyes searching from doorway to doorway. “We were just setting up our safety perimeter. It’s standard procedure.”

Denetrius Vidian appeared in the entryway farthest from Sloane. “And I told you to forget the old way,” he repeated, although there was no doubting everyone had heard him the first time. “I heard you transmit the order for mining traffic to avoid you. It would be more efficient for you to back away from their transit lanes.”

Sloane straightened. “The Imperial Navy does not back away from commercial traffic.”

Vidian stamped his metal heel on the deck. “Spare me your silly pride! If it weren’t for the thorilide this system produces, you’d only have a shuttle to captain. You are slowing production down. The old way is wrong!”

Sloane scowled, hating to be talked down to on her own bridge. This needed to seem like her decision. “It’s the Empire’s thorilide. Give them a wide berth. Chamas, back us a kilometer from the convoy lanes—and monitor all traffic.”

“Aye, Captain.”

“Aye is right,” Vidian said. Each syllable was crisply pronounced, mechanically modulated, and amplified so all could hear. But Sloane would never get over the strangest part, which she’d noticed when he boarded: The man’s mouth never moved. Vidian’s words came from a special vocal prosthetic, a computer attached to a speaker embedded in the silvery plating that ringed his neck.

She’d once heard the voice of Darth Vader, the Emperor’s principal emissary; while electronically amplified, the Dark Lord’s much deeper voice still retained some natural trace of whatever was inside that black armor. In contrast, Count Vidian had reportedly chosen his artificial voice based on opinion research, in a quest to own the most motivational voice in the business sector.

And since he had boarded her ship with his aides a week earlier, Vidian had shown no qualms about speaking as loudly as he felt necessary. About Ultimatum, her crew—and her.

Vidian strode mechanically onto the bridge. It was the only way to describe it. He was as human as she was, but much of his body had been replaced. His arms and legs were armor-plated, rather than synthflesh prosthetics; everyone knew because he made little effort to hide them. His regal burgundy tunic and knee-length black kilt were his only nods to normal attire for a fiftyish lord of industry.

But it was Vidian’s face that attracted the most awkward notice. His flesh lost to the same malady that had once consumed his limbs and vocal cords, Vidian covered his features with a synthskin coating. And then there were his eyes: artificial constructs, glowing yellow irises sitting in seas of red. The eyes appeared meant for some other species besides humans; Vidian had chosen them solely for what they could do. She could tell that now as he walked, glancing outside from convoy to convoy, ship to ship, mentally analyzing the whole picture.

“We’ve already met some of the locals,” she said. “You probably heard the bump. The people here are—”

“Disorganized. It’s why I’m here.” He turned and walked along the line of terminal operators until he arrived at the tactical station depicting all the ships in the area. He pushed past Cauley, the young human ensign, and tapped a command key. Then Vidian stepped back from the console and froze, seeming to stare blankly into space.

“My lord?” Cauley asked, unnerved.

“I have fed the output from your screen to my optical implants,” Vidian said. “You may return to your work while I read.”

The tactical officer did so—no doubt relieved, Sloane thought, not to have the cyborg hanging over his shoulder. Vidian’s ways were strange, to be sure, but effective, and that was why he was on her ship. The onetime industrialist was now the Emperor’s favorite efficiency expert.

Gorse’s factories produced refined thorilide, a rare strategic substance needed in massive quantities for a variety of Imperial projects. But the raw material these days came from Cynda, its moon: hence the traffic jam of cargo ships crisscrossing the void between the two globes. The Emperor had dispatched Vidian to improve production—a job for which he was uniquely qualified.

Vidian was known for squeezing the very last erg of energy, the very last kilogram of raw material, the very last unit of factory production from one world after another. He was not in the Emperor’s closest circle of advisers—not yet. But it was clear to Sloane he soon would be, provided there was no relapse of whatever ailment it was that had brought him low years earlier. Vidian’s billions had bought him extra life—and he seemed determined that neither he nor anyone else waste a moment of it.

Since he’d boarded, she hadn’t had a conversation with him where he hadn’t interrupted at least a dozen times.

“We’ve alerted the local mining guild to your arrival, Count. The thorilide production totals—”

“—are already coming in,” Vidian said, and with that, he marched to another data terminal in the aft section of the bridge.

Commander Chamas joined her far forward, many meters away from the count. In his late forties, Chamas had been leapfrogged in rank by several younger officers. The man loved gossip too much.

“You know,” Chamas said quietly, “I heard he bought the title.”

“Are you surprised? Everything else about him is artificial,” Sloane whispered. “Ship’s doctor even thinks some of his parts were voluntarily—”

“You waste time wondering,” Vidian said, not looking up from where he was studying.

Sloane’s dark eyes widened. “I’m sorry, my lord—”

“Forget the formality—and the apology. There is little point for either. But it’s well for your crew to know someone is always listening—and may have better ears than yours.”

Even if they had to buy them in a store, Sloane thought. The ragged fleshy lobes that had once been Vidian’s ears held special hearing aids. They could obviously hear her words—and more. She approached him.

“This is exactly what I’d expected,” Vidian said, staring at whatever unseen thing was before his eyes. “I told the Emperor it would be worth sending me here.” A number of underproducing worlds that manufactured items critical to the security of the Empire had been removed from their local governors’ jurisdictions and placed under Vidian’s authority: Gorse was the latest. “Messy work might have been good enough for the Republic—but the Empire is order from chaos. What we do here—and in thousands of systems just like this one—brings us closer to our ultimate goal.”

Sloane thought for a moment. “Perfection?”

“Whatever the Emperor wants.”

Sloane nodded.

A tinny squawk came from Vidian’s neck-speaker—an unnerving sound she’d learned to interpret as his equivalent of an angry sigh. “There’s a laggard holding up the moonward convoy,” he said, staring into nothingness. Looking at her tactician’s screen, Sloane saw it was the cargo vessel that had bumped them earlier. She ordered Ultimatum turned to face it.

A shower of sparks flew from the freighter’s underside. Other vessels hung back, fearful it might explode. “Hail the freighter,” she said.

A quavering nonhuman voice was piped onto the bridge. “This is Cynda Dreaming. Sorry about that scrape earlier. We weren’t expecting—”

Sloane cut to the point. “What’s your payload?”

“Nothing, yet. We were heading to pick up a load of thorilide on the moon for refining at Calladan Chemworks down on Gorse.”

“Can you haul in your condition?”

“We need to get to the repair shop to know. I’m not sure how bad it is. Could be a couple of months—”

Vidian spoke up. “Captain, target that vessel and fire.”

It was almost idly stated, to the extent that Vidian’s intonations ever conveyed much genuine emotion. The directive nonetheless startled Chamas. Standing before the gunnery crew, he turned to the captain for guidance.

The freighter pilot, having heard the new voice, sounded no less surprised. “I’m sorry—I didn’t get that. Did you just—”

Sloane looked for an instant at Vidian, and then at her first officer. “Fire.”

The freighter captain sounded stunned. “What? You can’t be—”

This time, Ultimatum’s turbolasers provided the interruption. Orange energy ripped through space, turning Cynda Dreaming into a confusion of fire and flak.

Sloane watched as the other ships of the convoy quickly rerouted. Her gunners had done their jobs, targeting the ship in a way that resulted in minimal hazard for the nearby ships. All the freighters were moving faster.

“You understand,” Vidian said, turning toward her. “Replacement time for one freighter and crew in this sector is—”

“—three weeks,” Sloane said, “which is less than two months.” See, I’ve read your reports, too.

This was the way to handle this assignment, she realized. So what if Vidian was strange? Figuring out what the Emperor—and those who spoke for him—wanted and then providing it was the path to success. Debating his directives only wasted time and made her look bad. It was the secret of advancement in the service: Always be on the side of what is going to happen anyway.

Sloane clasped her arms behind her back. “We’ll see that the convoys make double time—and challenge any ship that refuses.”

“It isn’t just transit,” Vidian said. “There are problems on the ground, too—on planet and moon. Surveillance speaks of unruly labor, of safety and environmental protests. And there’s always the unexpected.”

Sloane clasped her arms behind her back. “Ultimatum stands at your service, my lord. This system will do what you—what the Emperor—requires of it.”

“So it will,” Vidian said, eyes glowing blood-red. “So it will.”

Hera Syndulla watched from afar as the scattered remains of the freighter burned silently in space. No recovery vehicles were in sight. As unlikely a prospect as survivors were, no one looked for any. There were only the shipping convoys, quickly rerouting around the wreckage.

Obeying the master’s whip.

This was mercy in the time of the Empire, she thought. The Imperials had none; now, to all appearances, their lack of care was infecting the people.

The green-skinned Twi’lek in her stealth-rigged starship didn’t believe that was true. People were basically decent . . . and one day, they would rise up against their unjust government. But it wouldn’t happen now, and certainly not here. It was too soon, and Gorse was barely awake politically. This wasn’t a recruitment trip. No, these days were for seeing what the Empire could do—a project that suited the ever-curious Hera perfectly. And Count Vidian, the Emperor’s miracle man, practically begged investigation.

In previous weeks, the Imperial fixer had cut a swath through the sector, “improving efficiency.” On three previous worlds, like-minded acquaintances of Hera’s on the HoloNet had reported misery levels skyrocketing under Vidian’s electronic eyes. Then her associates had simply vanished. That had piqued Hera’s interest—and learning of the count’s visit to the Gorse system brought her the rest of the way.

She had another contact on Gorse, one who had promised much information on the regime. She wanted that information—but first she wanted to check out Vidian, and the system’s notoriously anarchic mining trade offered her a variety of chances to get close. Industrial confusion, the perfect lure for Vidian, would provide excellent cover for her to study his methods.

Emperor Palpatine had too many minions with great power and influence. It was worth finding out whether Count Vidian had real magic before he rose any higher.

It was time to move. She picked out the identifying transponder signal of a ship in the convoy. One button-push later, her ship was that vessel, as far as anyone trying to watch traffic was concerned. With practiced ease, she weaved her freighter into the chaotic flood of cargo ships heading to the moon.

None of these guys can fly worth a flip, she thought. It was just as well it wasn’t a recruiting trip. She probably wouldn’t have found anyone worth her time.

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Star Wars: A New Dawn 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 50 reviews.
Rahl1293 More than 1 year ago
So I must begin by sharing that I am an avid Star Wars reader. I own now over 200 Star Wars books, and I have read over 100 of them. The ones I have not read, I have at least read up on. It is also important for readers to know that this marks a new beginning for Star Wars novels. All previously published novels have been marked as legends, which means they no longer will correspond with any new Star Wars novel, film, TV show, etc. This is the first Star Wars novel that will coincide with future Star Wars material (Specifically Star Wars Rebels - the new cartoon tv show) Ok, now that you know all that, let me say I really did enjoy this book. It established some background for two characters who will be in the tv show. You get to know the way they think, which is one thing I love about books compared to movies/tv shows. It didn't quite feel like other star wars novels, so anyone could read this book without missing out on anything. If you have read and appreciated star wars novels before, I still suggest reading this, although it is a very different feel. If you are looking forward to the TV show, I strongly suggest you read this book for background sake. I have read other works by John Jackson Miller and enjoyed them, so if you like his other works, you will like this too. The novel follows several characters (some good, some bad, some you don't really know) and it takes a little while to get into the book because there are at least 5 viewpoints being developed. The action was OK, nothing spectacular, no outstanding duels or anything, but it was by no means boring. The last third of the book I read in one sitting because it was that good. Chapters are also really short, so you can read and put down easily, which I found nice. Anyway, hope that helps give you an idea about the book. For fans of sci fi and Star Wars, I think it is a good read, and although not an essential read, it is an enjoyable one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great foray into the new EU and a wonderful way to get to know the characters before they come alive on television.  This is definitely something that will help me bridge the gap between my mental image of the characters and the readily apparent "Disneyfication" of the characters in the show.
Revan97 More than 1 year ago
I got the Exclusive Advance Reader's Edition of "A New Dawn" signed by both the author and cover artist themselves and although it contains a large amount of errors, I know that this doesn't represent the final copy. The story itself is interesting enough and I managed to down it all in six days. Surprisingly, no main characters appear in the book besides a brief appearance by Obi-Wan Kenobi in a segment at the beginning of the book set in the prequel trilogy era. The font is the smallest I've ever read in a Star Wars book and if the text where normal size, the book could well be one hundred pages longer. One thing that I really like is that the story is not too terribly dumbed down and I have hopes that the "Rebels" TV series will also contain a not overly juvenile plot. Rounding out the newness of the novel, Del-Rey's traditional logo is no longer the word "DEL" over the word "REY", but rather a small brown circle with the Random House house inside and the words "DEL REY" spelled out underneath. I guess that kind of helps drive home the rebootyness of "A New Dawn". It is a new dawn for Star Wars story telling and with the all new Lucasfilm Story Group leading the charge and SW veterans such as John Jackson Miller, James Luceno, Paul S. Kemp and more cranking out their stories to refill the Expanded Universe, things look to be functioning in a far more orderly fashion than ever before.
AIryoda More than 1 year ago
This is a solid Star Wars story that provides some cool back-story for Star Wars Rebels. John Jackson Miller has a consistently fun writing style, so I'm inclined to like anything that he writes. He does a good job again with this one. He has a talent for creating interesting characters that bring different elements to the story. In this book, I enjoyed the characters again, particularly Skelly and Zaluna. For viewers of Rebels, it is cool to see how Kanan and Hera came together as well. It has added a little depth to watching those episodes, which is cool. This is a relatively small-scale story, with really only a couple of locations. If you're looking for a galaxy spanning adventure, this won't give you that. But, if you're looking for a good Star Wars story with some interesting characters, you won't go wrong with A New Dawn.
AndrewPCatton More than 1 year ago
Spoilers below, so if you want just my review, stop after this paragraph: A perfect re-start, and a good starting place for new readers in a galaxy far, far away. Character-driven, vivid, and with an interesting mystery, this story should be quite pleasing to most. “Star Wars: A New Dawn,” the aptly titled first entry in the canon novels, is nothing short of perfect when it comes to building up to “Star Wars Rebels” the TV show. We are introduced to the state of the galaxy under the Empire, with many in support of Palpatine's regime, and others starting to think that things were better before the Empire. Hera is introduced as a woman with a vision of a better galaxy that could be brought about by the most unthinkable of actions: rebellion against the government. She's searching, not rushing to become a rebel. Everyone she meets with any feelings against the Empire is a study for her. She's piecing together a team that will take years to forge. She's smart in political and street senses in ways that the TV series is starting to reveal as well. Kanan's history is explored. A fascinating opening begins his story, in which, during the Clone Wars, Obi-wan Kenobi is forced to think about the beacon in the Jedi Temple when asked by a student – Kanan, in fact, though by his birth name of Caleb. Obi-wan's realization that the beacon could be used to send Jedi away from the temple reminds us that he sets it to do just that in “Revenge of the Sith.” We even get to read the words his message sent to survivng Jedi. A few lines that never received a follow up. Kanan/Caleb, left without a master after Order 66, is forced to forge a life for himself, deciding to ignore his life as a Jedi except for forming attachments. Kanan is described as never remaining in one place long, and his journey in this story – from worker to rebel, himself, burns slowly and precisely. The side characters are likable, including the interesting mix of companions Hera and Kanan pick up along the way. The villains, Count Vidian and Captain Sloan, make for an interesting pair. All the time you think the latter is under Vidian's thumb, only to learn later that she is able to deceive with the Empire's best. Vidian is a Grievous/Vader-like being with a mysterious past that is exposed along the way. I thought I knew where it was going, but the turns were very exciting, and Vidian's brutal behavior, excused as an agent of the Empire, only helped to strengthen the novel overall. A must-read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading the background on these characters, and the fact that it's officially part of the new canon made me like it even more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exciting story, full of intriguing characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought going into this read that it was going to be aimed primarily for children, because of its tie-in to the Disney show, but the story is surprisingly adult. It is gruesome in some parts, intelligent throughout, and packed with action. The villain is well thought out, while he and the story itself reflect current real issues, such as the modern day company focus of efficiency versus people. The only issue I have is that there are some small sections that could have been described better, but they are few and far between. A great read. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Star Wars A New Dawn is exceptional, and a must read for any Star Wars fan. This is a story about Kanan meeting Hera, and their accidental journey together. Like I said, a must read.
Zxielle More than 1 year ago
Have you wondered what happened after Order 66 almost wiped out the Jedi? This fast paced novel will draw you in to the desperate chaotic times that followed. A must read for every Star Wars fan!
Arn More than 1 year ago
The coming of age of a young Jedi is always fun in this series. The pace is good and surprises well placed. Of course I'm a fan.
bserkr More than 1 year ago
Birth of a Rebellion Our story takes place on the imperial mining planet of Gorse and its moon Cynda. Eager to supply its fleet with an ample supply of thorilide to keep up its production of Star Destroyers, the Empire sends its industrial efficiency expert Count Vidian to maximize mining yield by any means necessary. As the system continually fails to meet imperial quotas, the count brutally abuses his power to increase production. Meanwhile two complete strangers have arrived on Gorse as well, the independent spacer Kanan Jarrus, and the mysterious pilot Hera Syndulla. The Force only knows what will happen when these three collide. A common trend I see in many Star Wars books is the emphasis on characters and plot rather than setting. Such books seem to rely on lightsaber duels and grand space battles with little character interaction with the setting itself. While such writing does have its merits, it makes it difficult to picture what the Star Wars universe is like. How do normal citizens live their day-to-day lives? What effect does imperial rule have on them? These questions are hardly explored in Star Wars media. However, I am happy to say A New Dawn breaks that trend by delivering colorful characters on top of a meticulously-crafted world. By far the strongest part of A New Dawn is how it explores the imperial setting. As I read through the book, I really got the feeling of how the Empire gets the job done and what it’s like to live on its outskirts. Though this world-building can make the first half come off as slow at times, the world piqued my curiosity and wanted me to learn more. This is further shown through its characters each representing very different walks of life in the Star Wars universe. Kanan clearly embodies the roguish, “Han Solo” element of Star Wars, being a womanizing spacer who does whatever he wants. The miner Skelly symbolizes the earnest working class who ultimately is tossed aside at the Empire’s convenience. Finally Count Vidian personifies the politics and industry of the Empire, claiming to act toward its interests but really out for personal gain. Additionally, though many would just write him off as a cheap Darth Vader rip-off, his obsession with industrial efficiency makes him a unique character in his own right. In this sense, the novel kind of reminds me of Animal Farm as the characters in both books represent different groups of people in a larger political body. I would be remiss to not mention Hera in this review, the mysterious femme fatale character whose past is kept shrouded in mystery. What we do know is she is an idealist who constantly fights against the tyranny of the Empire and isn’t afraid to use her feminine charm to achieve her goals. While we don’t learn as much about her as we could have, I very much enjoyed her character and especially her relationship with Kanan. This partnership between the scoundrel and the freedom fighter was highly reminiscent of Han and Leia during the movies and the exchanges between them were highly entertaining. The unsolved mystery behind her character only added to her appeal for me. Overall I found this book to be a great introduction to the written Star Wars universe. John Jackson Miller has perfectly conveyed the feel of the original movies while at the same time fleshing out the universe. The characters on their own tell stories within stories and truly represent what Star Wars is all about. ALTERNATE BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: Allegiance and the Thrawn Trilogy (Heir to Empire, Dark Force Rising, and the Last Command) all by Timothy Zahn. Zahn is famous for writing great characters that perfectly convey the feel of Star Wars while at the same time add to the Star Wars experience. Both are great introductions to his work.
Skip_Wiley More than 1 year ago
True to its title, A New Dawn blazes nothing but new territory. Though the surroundings and trappings of the Star Wars universe are mostly still in place - very little about this book feels welcoming to a veteran Star Wars readers. There are zero characters to be recognized except for an early appearance from Obi-Wan Kenobi in the flashback prologue. The continual references to Master Depa Billaba in this flashback cause the first major ripples in canon vs EU. Billaba is said to be the master of Kanan Jarrus - the book's protagonist - when he was a young apprentice at the temple. His musings and recollections describe her gentle wisdom and guidance. Details of her death are not detailed but it is implied that she died during the purge and Jarrus feels a sense of failure for not being able to protect her - in fact the reader is left with the sense that her death was a sacrifice intended to let Jarrus escape. Now readers of the EU may recognize Billaba from her role in the novel Shatterpoint during the Clone Wars. She has fallen to the dark side when Mace Windu locates her and she ends up locked away in the temple's prison ward on Coruscant by the end of the novel. It is highly unlikely that someone with that kind of record during the war (not to mention the fact that she was perhaps permanently comatose) would be back teaching apprentices by the time of the purge. So there it is: start chalking up the differences. Depa Billaba is not a crazy fallen Jedi prone to murder (if not genocide) - she was a wise and gentle master who fell during Order 66 and the resulting purge. So, as I said, the story feels rather foreign - much like reading Crosscurrent or Scourge - with the only familiarity coming from its surroundings and galactic events. However, not all is familiar. I can't tell if it's simply John Jackson Miller's writing style or an intentional choice by Lucasfilm's new story group, but it seems some terminology has changed. There were mentions of "hovercrafts" and "repulsorlifts." I've never heard a vehicle in the Star Wars universe referred to as a hovercraft before and the term "replusorlift" has always been used to describe a type of technology that gave anti-gravity flight capabilities to vehicles. In this novel, the term is used to describe an actual type of vehicle. Instead of a speeder equipped with repulsorlifts, for example, the speeder itself is simply called a repulsorlift. Normally such differences wouldn't be worth my attention but, in this case, I was desperately trying to find any familiarity in this new world of unified story development. The result was that these minor changes were more noticeable than they should be. I'm hoping it isn't a sign of things to come because the greatest joy of reading Star Wars novels for me is the instant familiarity of settings, technology, and terminology - even if the plot and characters are unfamiliar. If you can get beyond the initial requisite canon vs non-canon analysis and the uncertainty it brings, the novel reads like most Star Wars novels. This certainly isn't JJM's first rodeo in this galaxy, so that's no surprise. I did find that the plot twists seemed a bit forced, unlikely, and ungainly though. Toward the end I found myself confused by who was deliberately misleading who and what the actual truth was. I'm sure some of that was intentional but I'd like to think that most author's aren't actually trying to lose their audience by confusing them completely. The same can be said for Kanan's personality shifts. He cares, he doesn't care. He's callous, he's protective. Hot and cold constantly. Some of this is certainly him trying to put on an appearance to hide his former self, but much of it is also the person he's chosen to become to avoid the pains of his past. So it can be assumed that this dual nature was intentional, but it often feels more disjointed than it should. Even in his internal dialog where the reader is privy to his private thoughts, there is a repeated inconsistency to his character. Honestly there were times where I wasn't particularly sure I wanted to root for this guy. Again, this was probably intentional to some extent but it seemed like it just went too far. In the end, this was an adventurous story with tones of good vs evil (always), greed, conservationism, and a quest for justice in a society where the meaning of that word has been forgotten. The plot developments often seemed a bit too convenient and designed solely to bring story lines together for the climax. For all the talk of the Empire's iron fist and total control of everything and everyone, this band of renegades seems to have little difficulty slipping out of every situation in which they find themselves. So readers may rest easy knowing that even in this new galaxy of canonized unified story development, the stormtroopers (poster children for evil, efficient brutality) still are a bunch of bumbling fools who can't shoot. Never-the-less it was an entertaining read with a semi-satisfying conclusion. My biggest regret was that the only two characters we saw from the upcoming "Rebels" series are Hera and Kanan. I was hoping to see Chopper and, at least, get more of a feel for The Ghost. Instead the ship was left as a mystery for the entire novel and not really revealed at the end except in the barest of details. As a first glimpse of a new (yet old) universe, I'd say it was marginally successful. It was an entertaining enough read that showed that the new world order at Lucasfilm isn't completely abandoning the old ways (as Count Vidian would have us do). In the meantime, I'll need to read a few more before I make total judgement on this new canon.
-Roc More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. The pace of the story was fast, the characters very enjoyable, and I liked getting glimpses into this time period of the Star Wars universe. This story also felt like Star Wars, that is no easy feat considering all the characters are new and unknown to us. For me the book read fast and I liked the short chapter structure. That should not be taken as the book was simple or childish, because it was not. This is an adult Star Wars book. I've read a lot of Star Wars EU books over the years, and honestly I was not someone who was upset with the announcement that the EU would be relabeled as "Legends". That being said this book did not rewrite anything in the old canon and actually incorporated some things from the EU. So I think those that were upset with the EU changes will be very happy with this first book in the new canon. After reading this I am really looking forward the other upcoming novels.
ryan1234500 More than 1 year ago
Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller Spoilers Ahead! The first book published in the new Star Wars canon is five star. I have read all the novels in the Star Wars timeline set in the prequel era and before, and A New Dawn is easily in the top five. It is set eight years after Revenge of the Sith, and eleven years before A New Hope. It is a prequel novel to the animated series Star Wars: Rebels, which will take place six years after the events of this book. The story opens with a great flashback to a young Jedi (whom I correctly assumed to be the future REBELS hero, Kanan) during the Clone Wars. After Order 66, Kanan grows up to be a somewhat sad, ordinary civilian, usually drowning his sorrows at the local cantina. But he can't help himself from getting involved when people need help, despite claiming to want nothing to do with sticking his neck out for people. The line which perfectly captures Kanan's character early in the book is his protestation: "I don't know who you think I am, but I DO NOT go around randomly helping people!" This was a great story point and Kanan's characterization was really one of my favorite aspects of this book. Hera, the Twi'lek heroine of REBELS, is cautiously putting out feelers, searching for people and information that will be useful someday in a rebellion against the Empire. She has no idea that that 'someday' is not as far away as she believes and that the galaxy is slowly awakening to rebellion. Hera was so great in this book it was easy to see why Kanan was so infatuated with her. I never warmed to Imperial Captain Sloane, but it was interesting to see a female in a powerful position during the reign of the Empire. The main villian in the book was a very interesting choice. Cyborg Imperial Count Vidian is like no other villian I have experienced in Star Wars. He isn't a force user, nor even a very powerful fighter. He has super human strength due to his cybernetic augmentation, but he rarely uses his brute force. Instead his manifests his particular brand of evil in that he is a ruthless, utilitarian businessman. He is out to make things work well for the Empire and for his pocketbook. Vidian can see no value in a person unless he is useful to his plans and the will of the Empire. The only negative about Vidian is that I never really got into the subplot about his backstory and the revelations of his history. One of the interesting aspects of the novel is the thoughts it has to give on the surveillance state that has built up on the planet Gorse. This is especially relevant in today's world. The final chapters of the book are really the highlight of the story for me. Kanan picks up his lightsaber before heading off for what is sure to be the climatic battle of the story, all the while trying to convince himself that he has no plans to ever use it. And in the end he is forced to reveal to Hera that he is a force-user. They head off into the galaxy to slowly spark the fires of rebellion. The biggest lingering thread from this book is what intrigues me most. As Hera is contemplating the fact that Kanan must have been a very young Jedi and somehow escaped Order 66, her thoughts go to what could have happened to allow him to escape. She wonders if someone warned him about what was about to happen, and if that person is still alive today? This moment seemed to be alluding to something which will happen in the series, perhaps a reunion with this person who helped Kanan survive Order 66. I'm left wondering if this person is someone we have seen before. Could REBELS bring us the eventual return of Captain Rex? Or even more interesting, Ahsoka? I'd give A New Dawn 9 Stars out of 10. I'm very much looking forward to the next book, Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno.
Anonymous 24 days ago
Iron-Angel 27 days ago
Anonymous 4 months ago
If luke an laya are twins then im a triplet!
uglygosling 7 months ago
Once you get started reading this book you will have a hard time putting it down.
JohnathanPayne 8 months ago
After Order 66 very few Jedi were left in the galaxy and those that did survive were "forced" (see what I did there?) to go into hiding. Kanan Jarrus, the main character of this novel is one of these Jedi. Because of this it is easy to understand why he is a reluctant hero. A New Dawn also introduces Hera Syndulla, who has a vendetta against the Empire. Miller introduces and provides the backstory here for two of the main characters in Star Wars Rebels and shows how Kanan, who has avoided conflict and the force decides that he must take a stand and fight back. Plenty of action & adventure makes A New Dawn an exciting and worthwhile read for any Star Wars fan looking to get into the new canon.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I must say this book is amazing. Any other teen Star Wars freaks out there? It was like reading published fanfiction.
eric424 More than 1 year ago
Good background story for anyone who likes the new 'Rebels' television series. If one is not familiar with the series the reader will not feel in the dark. There are no traditional characters, but the story has the Star Wars Empire era feel to it. An overall good book, not one of the best I have ever read, but worth the effort
JDDavis More than 1 year ago
This was a great read by a pretty good author. Despite being displeased that the EU was no longer considered canon (at least most of it for now), I did enjoy this fresh start to the Star Wars universe. It brought to life the normal beings that inhabit the galaxy and their contributions to various causes. I recommend for any old or new Star Wars fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nor read any of the books. I rather dropped out of Star trek series after Deep Space Nine and tried to revive by watching dvds of series and sent back season four half watched. One's tastes change over the years and book continuations of any series and that includes book authors too often dont appeal to a former fan. i would have to go back and review all the movies in order then start with the books in order to arrive at any interest with this book star trek books cover include the name of former captain the actor but books are written by twi other screen writers
JLMess More than 1 year ago
A very strong start that dwindles throughout the book. Rather than building to a climax, the story starts string and became more boring to me as it continued. I did enjoy the characters and the fact that we have a Star Wars book without a single lightsaber ignition. The book works great as an introduction into the Rebels cartoon series and adds some depth to the stories of Kanan and Hera. I would like to see more stories like this, but with perhaps more engaging storylines.