John Jackson Miller has provided the first official book from the new canon material. A New Dawn gives Star Wars fans an insight into the Life of Kanan Jarrus after the events of Order 66, highlighting how he began fighting the Empire, his love for women and how he met a very special woman who would have a huge impact on his life moving forward; that of course being Hera Syndulla.
A New Dawn sees Kanan leading an aimless life on Gorse, ungracefully drifting between bars, one night stands and dangerous jobs, purely for the fact that he can. He’s had to hide his true identity as a Jedi after Order 66 took place, resulting in Kanan even suppressing his force ability; that is until the Empire arrived on Cynda, the neighbouring moon of Gorse.
Captain Rae Sloane and Count Vidian bring their forces to the moon as Sloane is keen on the idea of industrial Imperial expansion. Cynda is an ideal choice for the production of certain metals used in the manufacturing of Star Destroyers.
Despite his best efforts to stay undetected for so long, Kanan finds himself getting involved with a small group that aren’t best pleased with the Empire taking refuge on Gorse’s neighbouring moon. The group consists of Skelly, a clone wars veteran who seems to be quite unhinged and potentially dangerous. There’s also Sullustan surveillance agent Zaluna and the Twi’Lek Hera Syndulla and her rebellious motives.
Hera is definitely one of the standouts from this story. She ends up on Gorse to look for suitable candidates to join her growing team as well to gather intelligence, when she meets Kanan. Hera provides insights to the birth of the Rebellion and what makes them so effective against a force like the Empire. She mentions how dissidents must unite when they strike against the Empire, as the actions of one man/woman acting out of personal vengeance will not make a difference in the bigger scale of events. Hera is exactly who Kanan needs in his life, she’s a brave, caring pilot who feels every wrong the Empire commits to the galaxy.
With regards to the main villain, Count Vidian is a cyborg who has been rebuilt after nearly dying from a disease, and is now ready to do whatever he can to stay in favour with the Emperor. He is partnered alongside Captain Rae Sloane, a young Imperial who aims to rise up in the Imperial rankings.
A New Dawn is a slow burner; a small scale story that shows how life under the Empire affects communities. Gorse, a planet dedicated to mining has seen only a small glimpse of what the Empire is capable of, but nothing in comparison to what the Empire will do in order to achieve the results required. The book becomes more and more encapsulating as the story progresses as Kanan, Hera and the others start to work together, despite being the unlikeliest of “Teams”.
This book was a great start for the new canon novels and also a fun read in general. Fans of Star Wars Rebels will thoroughly enjoy seeing the life of both Kanan and Hera before the Rebels series takes place, and those of whom looking to watch the series for the first time; I would suggest reading this beforehand as it provides a bit more background to two of the main characters.