The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
It’s safe to say that whenever I see a new Star Wars book being released I get excited. I love Star Wars in it’s many forms, with the original trilogy movie being my favorite and the expanded universe books coming in second. But recently I have found that the quality of books, in my opinion, have decreased quite a bit. So because of this I did have some reservations about A New Dawn. Of course some of that also stemmed from reading John Jackson Miller’s other recently released Star Wars novel Kenobi. I did hope though that this book would turn out to be better.
Things started off slow but honestly I wasn’t expecting this book to instantly pull me in. The short introduction chapter is of course used to help set up events for the rest of the story but I fell like it could have been left out. Once it gets to the first true chapter things get a little better.
Captain Sloane was a fairly alright character. She didn’t strike me as a great character, especially for someone who is a captain, albeit temporary captain, of a Star Destroyer. Her character did not seem strong enough to be in that role. Even with someone such as Count Vidian being there to overthrow her authority and put her to the ultimate test I felt that she wasn’t the right character for the job. But perhaps that was the whole point and why the author introduced such a weak Imperial officer into the mix right from the get go.
Now Vidian’s character I liked. He would do whatever it took to get what he wanted and wasn’t opposed to killing a few people or thousands to reach his goal. In fact he was really the only reason I even gave the book two stars, if it wasn’t for him this likely would have been a one star review. I do tend to like a solid villain character, and while Vidian wasn’t the best villain I had ever seen, he certainly did the trick for this book. I also kind of liked Skelly’s character, but again it wasn’t enough to make me like the book any better. Two characters that appeal to me out of dozens found within this book is not a good sign.
Kanan, Hera and the rest of the characters that were introduced throughout this story felt very rough and unpolished. Finding out Kanan’s history and hidden identity did nothing to make the story appealing. It kind of bothered me to have a character named Hera since I associate that name with Greek mythology and not the Star Wars universe. The minor character within the story didn’t stick with me, I know some died, some survived but honestly couldn’t tell you who had what fate in the end.
As far as the story goes, well it was dry and boring. I felt like I as reading Kenobi all over again, except that this book had just a bit more action to it. I had to force myself to keep reading and not put the book down because I know if I did I likely wouldn’t pick it back up. Things moved a bit too slow and it was only in the last quarter of the book that things finally began to pick up.
I’m glad that this book only ends up introducing two of the main character in the new Star Wars Rebels series because if it added all of them I wouldn’t give that new series a chance. In fact, after reading this book I lost a lot of my desire to even watch that new series. I know it’s not written by this author but as this is sort of a prequel to the series it’s hard not to have this book affect my onpion of the TV series.
Overall I was disappointed in this book. The story was slow, the plot lines was boring and the characters all seemed pretty darn lackluster. I absolutely hate giving Star Wars books bad reviews but I also refuse to lie about it as well. The book was bad, there is no getting around that. The story had potential to be good but the writing and characters really killed it for me. I wonder if it would have been better had it been handled by a different author, one with more experience in the Star Wars universe. I honestly wouldn’t recommend this book but I am certain that there will be some people out there who will enjoy it. I don’t know if I can bring myself to read another Star Wars book written by John Jackson Miller after this.