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[ Star Wars Books & Comics ]
Staff Review.

[A New Dawn]

A New Dawn
Author: John Jackson Miller
Published: 2014

Reviewer: Ewan, Star Wars Books & Comics
Reviewed: 2014
Review rating: 4 / 5

Spoilers are kept to minimum however cannot guarantee spoiler-free.

Although publisher supplied copy for review purposes, all opinions are those of reviewer.

Publisher's Summary:
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...

As the first novel of Lucasfilm Story Group's new canon, there has been high expectations for this novel. So, I'll state right out of the box that this is not Heir to the Empire 2.0. Neither is it a re-invention of the Expanded Universe, rather A New Dawn continues in the same style of Star Wars storytelling that we have all grown used to over the past twenty-three years: both of our story's heroes and villains are clearly defined within the Star Wars mythos. A New Dawn is as instantly recognizeable as being Star Wars as Heir to the Empire was.
Miller takes a small, tight cast of characters, who for differing reasons, find themselves together in a single location trying to reslove what, from the outset, would appear to be nothing than a minor local issue, but actually has ramifications for the whole galaxy should the "wrong side" succeed. Thus, our rather unlikely heroes, Kanan and Hera, are brought together as they assist a mining colony who find themselves being brought under the heel of an Imperial jackboot. And this particular jackboot is worn by one of the most sadistic and vile Star Wars characters ever created. Yet Miller takes time to explore this character's motives: loyal to Palpatine's Galactic Empire and some-one who clearly believes that the ends justify the means. On the otherhand, Miller also gives us Captain Sloane, a more idealistic Imperial while Kanan and Hera are partnered by a former Imperial surveillance operative who has had their "eyes opened" to Imperial methods. With Miller having a Master's Degree in comparative politics, readers will see parallels between Miller's depiction of the formative years of Palpatine's Empire and comparable times in 20th Century dictatorships, in particular Hitler's Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. Yet however grim the situation appears for our characters, Miller subtely diffuses the difficulty, for both character and reader, with an injection of humour at just the right moment making A New Dawn an altogether pleasurable read.
Comparisons to Miller's last Star Wars offering, the award-winning Kenobi, are inevitable. While this book is not quite on the same par as Kenobi, perhaps due to the fact that in that book Miller captured the character of Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi so brilliantly (a characterization he repeats in A New Dawn's prologue), we have not had enough time to get to know Kanan and Hera in the same vein as we know Obi-Wan. But, as an introduction to two of Star Wars Rebels leading characters, and as the first novel in a new storytelling approach to the Star Wars universe, and as a Star Wars novel, A New Dawn is an enjoyable, entertaining and pleasurable read.

Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller is available now in hardback from Century in the UK and Ballantine in the US.


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