John Jackson Miller’s “A New Dawn” is the first book not aimed at children spun off of the upcoming “Rebels” series. Miller in many ways had his work cut out for him. This is a book that has only fleeting cameos from a couple of characters from the films and stars people most of us haven’t “met” yet. It’s hard to carry a licensed book where the reader at this point isn’t emotionally invested yet in the protagonists.
So Miller does the best he can to keep us entertained with fast-paced action scenes and a mismatched crew of characters who find themselves taking on the Empire in order to save their mining moon from destruction. The details are more science fiction-y than the show is likely to be, but the book moves along at a pretty good clip. The main villain (not the Inquisitor from the show) is yet another Imperial cyborg whose initials are also “DV” (da da dum!) and the Imperial officer Sloane made me think of Mia Sara in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
If you’re looking for how everyone in “Rebels” meets, the only stars of the show who feature prominently are Kanan the ex-Jedi and Hera. That kid Ezra, Sabine the vandal, and the orange droid are not in it. Kanan has been hiding around the galaxy with an assumed name and working odd jobs, trying not to get noticed but he has sudden lapses into good guy-ism. He is a bit of a Han Solo type but he also appears to be the link to the past on the show. He was apprenticed to Depa Billaba. He quickly develops the hots for Hera, so I’m guessing they will be the show’s OTP.
Of course “A New Dawn” won’t indicate whether or not “Rebels” is going to be a good show. But at the very least it’s a pretty decent novel.