STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN

PrintE-mail Written by Scott Varnham

BOOK REVIEW: STAR WARS: A NEW DAWN / AUTHOR: JOHN JACKSON MILLER / PUBLISHER: LUCAS BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Star Wars was never very good as an example of subtle political commentary. It never felt like the right place for it. That's why we sort of tuned out during the New Republic power squabbles, the New Jedi Order series and the various 'of the Force' series. After a while, the novel line just stopped feeling like a sprawling space saga of rebellion and romance and turned into Heroes in space, full of on-going plotlines it was very hard to give a shit about.

This brings us to A New Dawn. The prequel book to the new TV series Star Wars Rebels, it introduces us to Kanan Jarrus, a likeable and funny Jedi-in-training who managed to survive Order 66 (sometimes it feels like every bloody Star Wars book features one of those). Kanan is drifting from job to job without giving away his secret until he rolls up to Gorse, the setting of this book's political intrigue. This is the main issue we have with the book. It's the victim of a plot that requires us to follow supporting characters who are just discovering that the Empire - gasp! - might be doing bad things (and this is 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, so they've had a while). Then it turns out that the main problem is caused by evil businessmen, like, taking our natural resources and hurting the environment, you guys. Don't get us wrong, the actual storytelling was effective. Information is masterfully held back until the right moment and there were twists we didn't see coming.

Miller is clearly a very skilled writer who makes use of clear and efficient prose to conjure up a vivid mental image. (We do feel a bit like we're writing a report card here). But, all the same, a plot it's hard to be interested in means that we'll probably not be coming back to it in the same way we will the X-Wing novels.


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