Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Ronin Reads – Star Wars: A New Dawn


Title: Star Wars: A New Dawn
Author: John Jackson Miller
Type: Novel
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, an Empire is squeezing the air out of its citizens. Such is the case on the planet Gorse and its moon Cynda, where the arrival of Count Vidian, a ruthless resource baron for the Empire, results in the workers being overtaxed and even killed in an effort to get more material for Star Destroyers. But in the midst of all this despair, there are two bright stars: Hera Syndulla, an outspoken Imperial critic trying to recruit people to a cause, and Kanan Jarrus, one of the last of the nearly extinct Jedi Order. Though they start as strangers, they begin to form a bond and attract allies to help stop a plan from Vidian that could have apocalyptic consequences.

This book covers the story of how the two characters from the animated series Star Wars: Rebels met and began their relationship, but it also holds up as its own solid adventure. The whole thing has a very Dresden Files feel, with the entire adventure spanning a few days and the chapters covering short spreads of time with a lot of details about the characters and locals. Unlike Dresden Files, however, it is not limited to one perspective; you get a chance to see inside the heads of all the major players and understand what drives them. Even if they aren’t the least bit sympathetic, like the Count himself, they are all incredibly fleshed out and you really get to know them through the course of the story.

Another standout element is the atmosphere in the different locals, which is rich and immersive. It really delivers the feel of a dingy mining tunnel, the hushed bustle of a surveillance center, or even the cold interior of an Imperial ship. The locations have as much character as the people, making Gorse, Cynda, and even some of the structures in space feel like their own organic presences. It allows the stakes to be high without them resorting to some cosmic cataclysm that will doom all of reality. You want Gorse and Cynda to be saved from Count Vidian’s short-sighted plan and you want our heroes to do it, lovable rogues that they are. You feel for these people and these locals, and that, above everything, is what keeps you turning the pages.

All in all, it feels like the original trilogy-era Star Wars, with charming and compelling characters in a desperate struggle against a powerful enemy with plenty of fun action and a lot of heart. As an example of the new Star Wars Expanded Universe, it holds up fairly well and I might even recommend it to casual fans too. It does expand on the elements of Rebels, but not to a point where you need to see the show to understand the book. Although, quite frankly, watching Rebels is a wonderful use of your time, so get right on that. The Force is strong with this one.

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