Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller – review by Emrys Merlin

“This was a well-plotted, action-packed tale. The author kept a brisk pace moving between characters and situations and handled it smoothly.” – Amazon Reviewer


“The book is a great back story for those of us who are Star Wars Rebels fans. You really get to know Kanan and Hera and what motivates and drives them.” – Amazon Reviewer


Plot Summary:

Ever since the Jedi were marked for death and forced to flee Coruscant, Kanan Jarrus has devoted himself to staying alive rather than serving the Force. Wandering the galaxy alone, from one anonymous job to another, he avoids trouble – especially with the Empire – at all costs. So when he discovers a deadly conflict brewing between ruthless Imperial forces and desperate revolutionaries, he’s not about to get caught in the crossfire. Then the brutal death of a friend at the Empire’s hands forces the ex-Jedi to make a choice: bow down to fear, or stand up and fight.

But Jarrus won’t be fighting alone. Unlikely allies, including a bomb-throwing radical, a former Imperial surveillance agent, a vengeful security officer, and the mysterious Hera Syndulla – an agent provocateur with motives of her own – team up with Jarrus to challenge the Empire. As a crisis of apocalyptic proportions unfolds on the planet Gorse, they must stand together against one of the Emperor’s most fearsome enforcers – for the sake of a world and its people.

Initial Thoughts:

While this book wasn’t spectacular by any means, it’s got it where it counts and overall makes for a fun read!

The Plot:

The storyline of this novel is rather simple – Kanan Jarrus and Hera Syndulla are trying to stop the Empire from blowing things up. Did I mind this? No, not particularly. Lack of plot isn’t something that’s ever bothered me much. I’ve always thought well-rounded characters are much more important to the overall story than plot.

The Characters:

I’ll be honest, I read this book purely out of a desire to learn the story of how Kanan and Hera met. I’m not a major shipper, but I’m a pretty big fan of these two, so I was very curious to learn more about them and the circumstances that threw them together. I was very delighted to find that this story more than delivered on that account!

Kanan, in particular, is the character who I think really stood out in this book. He has some added complexity in this that is relatively untouched on in Star Wars Rebels. After the events of Order 66, he has lost all his trust in the Force to the point where he refuses to use it whatsoever. He’s also deeply afraid of becoming comfortable again, so much so that he keeps himself at a steady distance from all other inhabitants of his current homeworld, Gorse.

He’s a bit younger and more immature in this, too, which I know might put some readers off, but I personally liked it and thought it was realistic. (After all, this does take place several years before Rebels, so he’s bound to be this way at least a little bit.)

However, while Kanan was very well-rounded, Hera left… something to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, she still had the same personality as she did on the show, but we didn’t get any sort of backstory or motivation from her beyond, “I hate enforced control and the Empire wants to control everything so I must stop them.” I just wish that she had some sort of arc to deepen her character a bit. I’m not saying she was terribly written, she just paled a bit in comparison to Kanan.

Character Development:

The character development is another thing I thought this novel did exceptionally well! Kanan undergoes a lot of change and growth throughout the novel. He becomes a little less selfish and arrogant by the end of it, showing flashes of the Kanan we get to know in Rebels.

I also really liked how Kanan and Hera’s dynamics were built up! It was a very slowly built up thing, which I realize might turn some people off, but I personally thought it was very realistic! Dynamics aren’t built overnight, after all.


Despite its flaws, this turned out to be a very solid book! It’s a fun, classic Star Wars novel that I would recommend to any fans of Star Wars Rebels.

Editor’s Note: as a matter of course, The Elven Padawan always provides a list of content on the books it reviews. Here is the content review for A New Dawn, from Shay.


Kanan works in a bar at night and lives in a room rented to him by the owner of it. It’s understood that he drinks heavily, though most of that isn’t shown.

Kanan also flirts with pretty much every female thing he sees, and Hera is no exception. It’s very clear that Kanan is smitten with Hera from the moment they first meet. But she’s quite busy with her job of rebelling, and always has a short-and-sweet way to push him back when he tries to get too close.

Language tops off at two uses of “h—“.

It should be noted that as far as Kanan goes, although this book does mark the beginning of an amazing character transformation for him, the last pages of it in no way mark the ending of that growth. He’s still quite a flawed, disillusioned man by the end of A New Dawn. He’s on the right path, but he’s still quite a way away from anything that could be considered faintly “Jedi”. But that makes sense; if his whole story was told here, what would be the point in watching Star Wars Rebels??

A huge “thank you” to Emrys Merlin for writing this review of Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller for The Elven Padawan! Please check out his blog at and give him a follow on Twitter at @EmrysMerlin15.

Have you read this book? Did you have a favorite moment or character from it? Do you have another favorite Star Wars book? Let us know below, we always love chatting with you all!!

Ezra Bridger, Hope of Lothal

Even though the adventures of the Ghost crew have ended for the moment, I’m definitely not ready to stop talking about them. As I thought through everything that happened with the last few episodes, I kept coming back to how stinking proud I am of our “Blueberry”. He’s changed so much, that when I go back and watch “Spark of  Rebellion”, he hardly seems like the same person. (Aside from his unique sense of humor and dorkiness, which will always be a part of him.) In this post dedicated to him, I want to go through some of the main ways he’s grown through the series and some of my favorite Ezra moments.

Continue reading “Ezra Bridger, Hope of Lothal”

Star Wars Geek Girl #101 – AKA Shay guests on another podcast!

So most of you have probably noticed already that there was no new episode of The Elven Padawan podcast this past Saturday. And I am here to tell you that there is a legitimate reason for that this time, and it’s not just another case of “Shay-got-bogged-down-with-schoolwork-and-also-forgot-and-also-didn’t-feel-like-setting-up-the-microphone-when-Saturday-finally-came.”

The reason? I did record a podcast, just not with The Elven Padawan!

Continue reading “Star Wars Geek Girl #101 – AKA Shay guests on another podcast!”

The Elven Padawan – #14 – The State of the Fandom Address

In which Shay begins the podcast by delivering a rant about how she sees the current state of things in fandoms, and how it bothers her, and finishes by offering some thoughts about the latest episodes of Star Wars Rebels.

Continue reading “The Elven Padawan – #14 – The State of the Fandom Address”

A Farewell to Star Wars Rebels: part 2

In part 1 of this Farewell to Star Wars Rebels, the team of The Elven Padawan discussed their favorite characters and episodes, and why these picks hold a special place in their hearts. Now they’re back to talk favorite creatures and what Rebels means to them individually.

Continue reading “A Farewell to Star Wars Rebels: part 2”

A Farewell to Star Wars Rebels: part 1

In just a few days, the amazing show Star Wars Rebels will come to its conclusion.

We’ve had four seasons of the Ghost crew and their fight against the Empire, each member learning as they overcame challenges of all kinds together. I started watching this show only a year ago, and even though I know the Finale is going to be fantastic and well-thought out, I am extremely sad that it’s ending. It will be missed greatly. In honor of Rebels, the team of The Elven Padawan – Shay, Kitten, and I, Audrey – talk about our favorite characters, episodes, and why we love Rebels so much.

Continue reading “A Farewell to Star Wars Rebels: part 1”

Calling the Padawan Artists!!

Kristin Baver has sent out a call for artists and fan who have art or photos that they would like to see possibly make it into an issue of Star Wars Insider, and a special invitation to the Padawans of the fandom who have something they’d like to share!!

Continue reading “Calling the Padawan Artists!!”

Why Fandoms are Important to Me

“Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” 

– G. K. Chesterton

To some people, books and movies are just books and movies. A way to entertain themselves, maybe use their imaginations for a short time and then go back to normal life. That’s not how it works for me.

Continue reading “Why Fandoms are Important to Me”

Brand-New Clips From Mid-Season Premiere of Star Wars Rebels Have Been Dropped!!

Two new clips from next week’s mid-season premiere of Star Wars: Rebels, featuring previously unseen moments of the crew preparing for a major mission, have been released!!

The first clip, originally released via the official Disney XD Twitter account, gives us the scene where Kanan very ceremoniously cuts his long ponytail off in preparation for the team’s new big mission: attempting to rescue Hera Syndulla from Imperial captivity on Lothal.

The second clip, which was released as an exclusive to ABC News, takes place before the one above (as is obvious by Kanan’s still-intact hair), and features an interesting conversation between the Jedi and his Padawan, Ezra Bridger, as they begin to make plans for the mission regarding the rescue of their captain.

Watch the second clip here:

The same article that included this video, which is linked above, also featured some interesting comments from Dave Filoni concerning who all actually knows how Rebels will end, as well as a few cryptic comments regarding his own involvement with those up-coming Star Wars television series we recently heard of.

Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Kanan’s new look, I do have to admit that seeing him commit the act of shaving it off is pretty awesome, as he does so in a way that makes me wonder if this sort of thing is a tradition among Jedi that we just haven’t heard of until now.

And I find it fascinating that Kanan is being so cautious in the way he handles this mission, especially with the extremely mature decision to let Ezra do all the planning and leading on it. He’s fully aware of his feelings for Hera and how they could compromise the entire mission if he doesn’t keep careful control of them (which I have to point out as yet another support for my long-running argument that their relationship is probably the most healthy and all-around amazing one to exist so far in the Star Wars canon, especially when you consider that it involves a Jedi, and remember the track record Jedi relationships have had so far.)

However, it also makes me a bit worried for what Ezra could go through if his plan ends up failing in any way… If this rescue attempt ends in tragedy, especially for Kanan, Ezra will blame himself and grieve to an extreme amount. It’s just the kind of person he is. And when you remember how often he’s voiced his worries about losing his adoptive family, and how many times he’s gone to great lengths to protect them, even giving in to the dark side on several occasions to try to keep them safe… I don’t want to see what it could do to this boy to lose his master at all, but especially not in a way that he might see as due to some fault of his own.

The last few episodes of Star Wars Rebels will begin airing on Monday, Februrary 19, at 9 p.m.

The Elven Padawan – #13 – Featuring special guest, Aceofstars16!

Finally, another episode of The Elven Padawan podcast!
In this episode, Shay interviews Star Wars fanfiction writer, Aceofstars16! Ace is also a HUGE Star Wars Rebels fan, so you probably already know where this is heading.
Besides the interview (and obsessing over Rebels), the girls also discuss their Star Wars OTPs, social media, The Last Jedi, Mortis connections with the rest of the saga, and what the canon lifespan of a Twi’lek is.

Continue reading “The Elven Padawan – #13 – Featuring special guest, Aceofstars16!”