Book Review – Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller

Summary

Ever since the Jedi were marked for death and forced to flee Coruscant, Kanan Jarrus has devoted himself to staying alive rather than serving the Force. Wandering the galaxy alone, from one anonymous job to another, he avoids trouble—especially with the Empire—at all costs. So when he discovers a deadly conflict brewing between ruthless Imperial forces and desperate revolutionaries, he’s not about to get caught in the crossfire. Then the brutal death of a friend at the Empire’s hands forces the ex-Jedi to make a choice: bow down to fear, or stand up and fight.

But Jarrus won’t be fighting alone. Unlikely allies, including a bomb-throwing radical, a former Imperial surveillance agent, a vengeful security officer, and the mysterious Hera Syndulla—an agent provocateur with motives of her own—team up with Jarrus to challenge the Empire. As a crisis of apocalyptic proportions unfolds on the planet Gorse, they must stand together against one of the Empire’s most fearsome enforcers—for the sake of a world and its people.

StarWarsANewDawn

A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, released September 2, 2014, was the first Star Wars novel published as a part of Disney’s new canon for the franchise. It is also said to be the first narrative product of Lucasfilm Story Group, a division of Lucasfilm Ltd. founded in 2013 with the responsibility of determining all Star Wars Canon. The novel serves as a prequel for the television series Star Wars Rebels, featuring two of the lead characters Kanan and Hera, telling the story of how they first met six years prior to the series.

To be honest, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to reading this book. On my laundry list of new Star Wars novels to read it ranked pretty low in terms of my enthusiasm. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, only I had no meaningful investment in the Rebels series. So, I was not particularly attracted to the idea of diving into its prequel. What I failed to consider, however, was that a novel like this might be precisely what I’ve been looking for.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/24

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersI’m still slowly making my way through 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. I haven’t made as much progress as I wanted to, but I really wanted to get some other things finished instead. I’m still in the midst of female archetypes, a continuously useful section. I’m finding I might have to blend elements from different models together. These archetypes are meant to be a foundation from which you build up characters, so I’m hoping mixing and matching elements that could work together won’t complicate things too much. Regardless, there’s still much for me to work out, so we’ll see.

Recently Finished

StarWarsANewDawnMere minutes before starting to write this post I finished reading A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, the Star Wars novel following Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels in their first adventure together. Maybe it was because I was pushing myself to get through it a bit too much, but I found it to be much longer than it likely needed to be. At times the drawn out, continual action felt tiresome. Despite this, I think it is one of the best of the new canon novels I have read thus far. My review will probably be up by Friday.

Reading Next

SpookAfter a lot of thought, I’ve decided my next book will by Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach. It’s a book I was able to secure a copy of a few months ago after having been on my radar for a little while. It’s a nonfiction, humorous look at ghosts and life after death from a scientific perspective. I’m an atheist (secular humanist if you want to get specific), but I’ve never been able to help a fascination with the paranormal. Taking a look at the subject from this perspective was hard to resist once I’d come across it and I look forward to digging into it over the next week.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/17

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

45MasterCharactersI’m currently in the middle of a couple books. The first is 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, a reference book about writing character archetypes and crafting character journeys throughout a story. One of the protagonists in a story I’ve been formulating for years is a young woman, so I’m especially appreciating Schmidt’s emphasis on the feminine journey and female archetypes. As far as I can tell the masculine journey is given just as much detail, which will definitely be useful as well, but I’m appreciating the former being at the forefront of the book. I feel I have the most to learn in that area.

StarWarsANewDawnI’m also reading A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, a Disney Canon Star Wars novel following Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla, two of the main cast from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. The book serves as a prequel to the series, so I wanted to get reading it out of the way before watching the show. It’s not bad so far — though I’m only a little over 50 pages in — I just don’t care about these characters very much. I might have if I’d watch the show first, but I don’t feel like working backwards with this sphere of Star Wars stories. I enjoy reading about the cyborg villain Count Vidian, who mechanically vocalizes loudly at people to be more efficient. I find him both menacing and comically over-the-top.

Recently Finished

Shortly after my post last week I finished reading Universal Harvester by John Darnielle, which you can read my full review of here. I enjoyed the novel for what it was, there were great things about it, but I couldn’t help coming away from it a little disappointed.

KananTheLastPadawanI also read the two volumes of Star Wars: Kanan by Greg Weisman et al — The Last Padawan and First Blood — a limited comic book series following the Star Wars Rebels character during his time as a Jedi Padawan at the end of the Clone Wars. Again, I’ve no attachment to these characters right now, but I could appreciate the unique perspective on the execution of the Jedi; the character being quite young when he had to flee his betrayers and survive on his own. The volumes were pleasant little pockets of story that expanded the universe a little more. I especially liked the brief emphasis on Separatists who truly believed in their cause and their spite toward those who fought for the former Republic.

Reading Next

ShiverI’m not quite sure what I’ll get to next in terms of novels; I’m pretty occupied with the two books I’m reading already. I definitely want to get to Shiver by Junji Ito though, a manga collection of horror stories. I was able to get a new copy on sale on Boxing Day over the holidays, a find I was really pleased with. I loved Ito’s work in Uzumaki I’m eager to experience more of his one-shot stories firsthand.

WWW Wednesday – 2018/01/10

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

UniversalHarvesterI’m about three quarters of the way through Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. It’s a lot more of a slow burn than I was expecting, the nature of these strange tapes still left nebulous to the reader at this point. It’s a lot more focused on people’s lives, their roots, processing grief, and trying to figure out their place in the world. It’s amusing to me to think that this novel is essentially an internet “creepypasta” turned into literature, where normally a story like this would be entirely fixated on the the creepy premise, this novel is building out its people and their world carefully. Where this falls in my esteem will ultimately have to do with its payoff.

Recently Finished

Nothing yet, but I expect to have Universal Harvester done any day now.

Reading Next

45MasterCharactersAs a supplemental read I think I’m going to finally start reading 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt soon. It’s a book I picked up for reference a while ago, but with my growing drive to actually get started on a book I’ve been building up in my head for years now, I want to use more of the tools available to me to help me make it as good as it can be. Other than that, I will probably start Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller as my next novel, as I’ve got a lot of those books that I want to get through this year.