SW: A New Dawn, first of the new continuity novels - thoughts?

Apr 28, 2013
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I have less than 100 pages to go. Took it to work the other night and got through about 30+ pages. Hoping to finish by week's end.

It's interesting the book is more of a prequel to the new show, which I wasn't expecting. It's a good stand-alone book with an 'oh, I hadn't thought about that' storyline and gives the reader a taste of what life under the Empire is really like.

The last JJ Miller book I read was the Lost Tribe of the Sith, and I wasn't too thrilled about. Thought it jumped around too much. But New Dawn reads better, more focused.
 

Mr. JabbaJohnL

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Nov 12, 2001
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I finished it a couple weeks ago. I thought it was good overall but it never really completely grabbed me. I can say the same for most of the EU I've read, which is really one of the reasons I never got into it too much.

My biggest problem with Miller's writing is that his action can be muddy and difficult to follow, so the fights can get a little confusing.

Light SPOILERS ahead...

It does a good job of setting the stage for Rebels, and I did enjoy the final moments with Kanan seeing the Ghost for the first time. Skelly's revenge was nice if a bit predictable. I was surprised to see Sloane turn against Vidian, though.

Hera was described as having been too young to remember the Jedi in action, but she's 24 at the start of Rebels so she would've been about 10 during Order 66. That makes her about seven or eight during the liberty of Ryloth as seen during the first season of TCW, so I guess it's plausible that she wouldn't remember much. There was a reference to her father but Miller didn't come out and say it was Cham Syndulla, so their relationship is still something of a mystery.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

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Aug 16, 2001
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I'm a bit more than halfway done; stupid work giving me virtually no reading time! :upset: It's decent; I have some guesses how it could end.

I found an editing error... that was correct (and clearer) in the advanced copy. The horror! :eek:
 
Apr 28, 2013
1,215
6
I finished it a couple weeks ago. I thought it was good overall but it never really completely grabbed me. I can say the same for most of the EU I've read, which is really one of the reasons I never got into it too much.

My biggest problem with Miller's writing is that his action can be muddy and difficult to follow, so the fights can get a little confusing.

Light SPOILERS ahead...

It does a good job of setting the stage for Rebels, and I did enjoy the final moments with Kanan seeing the Ghost for the first time. Skelly's revenge was nice if a bit predictable. I was surprised to see Sloane turn against Vidian, though.

Hera was described as having been too young to remember the Jedi in action, but she's 24 at the start of Rebels so she would've been about 10 during Order 66. That makes her about seven or eight during the liberty of Ryloth as seen during the first season of TCW, so I guess it's plausible that she wouldn't remember much. There was a reference to her father but Miller didn't come out and say it was Cham Syndulla, so their relationship is still something of a mystery.
Minor spoilers....






While I enjoyed the Rebels movie, I kept thinking if the book's storyline would've made for a better launching for the series. Or an abbreviated version of it. Also wondered if Vidian would make a good reoccurring character in the series.
 

JediTricks

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Aug 14, 2001
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I want to not like this book, since it's the first of what is replacing three+ decades of EU stories, but it's been decent, at least through the 1/5th I've read so far. I do miss the "Dramatis Personae" list page at the front; it makes re-checking who's-who so much easier to follow.
Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I suppose if they had included a who's who it would have defeated the purpose of this particular story though. ;)

It's interesting the book is more of a prequel to the new show, which I wasn't expecting. It's a good stand-alone book with an 'oh, I hadn't thought about that' storyline and gives the reader a taste of what life under the Empire is really like.
I think putting Kanan and Hera on the cover helped focus it, but I too wasn't expecting it to be so specific to those characters making it a true prequel to Rebels.

The "living under the Empire" aspects really were interesting, that's part of what drove me forward, this was the first source to really deliver a sense of understanding to the populace of that galaxy and show why some would rebel while others would assist the Empire.

I finished it a couple weeks ago. I thought it was good overall but it never really completely grabbed me. I can say the same for most of the EU I've read, which is really one of the reasons I never got into it too much.

My biggest problem with Miller's writing is that his action can be muddy and difficult to follow, so the fights can get a little confusing.

Light SPOILERS ahead...

It does a good job of setting the stage for Rebels, and I did enjoy the final moments with Kanan seeing the Ghost for the first time. Skelly's revenge was nice if a bit predictable. I was surprised to see Sloane turn against Vidian, though.

Hera was described as having been too young to remember the Jedi in action, but she's 24 at the start of Rebels so she would've been about 10 during Order 66. That makes her about seven or eight during the liberty of Ryloth as seen during the first season of TCW, so I guess it's plausible that she wouldn't remember much. There was a reference to her father but Miller didn't come out and say it was Cham Syndulla, so their relationship is still something of a mystery.
That's interesting you found the fights difficult to follow, any specifics?

I thought the first time Kanan saw the Ghost was in the beginning while he was on the cargo ship run. Once I get my copy back, I need to re-read that because I remember liking that moment.

Good point about the timeline, whoops!

I'm a bit more than halfway done; stupid work giving me virtually no reading time! :upset: It's decent; I have some guesses how it could end.

I found an editing error... that was correct (and clearer) in the advanced copy. The horror! :eek:
Ha! Really now? So they de-corrected something from the copy I loaned you? What did you find?

Minor spoilers....

While I enjoyed the Rebels movie, I kept thinking if the book's storyline would've made for a better launching for the series. Or an abbreviated version of it. Also wondered if Vidian would make a good reoccurring character in the series.
I definitely think the series launching without a lot of origins is better for the show. Star Wars was created intentionally with the idea that the story was already underway when the audience steps in, like they missed a previous episode and had to figure out the previous story stuff from the few pieces they could pick up during the story they WERE seeing, and I think Rebels landed that pretty well. Also, the nuance you get from the book with the Sullustan Zaluna and explosives expert Skelly would have been lost in a short format like TV, and for them that was utterly vital because they both get a face-turn. As for Vidian, I really don't think I could have taken week after week of corporate Darth Vader, but as a flashback I think he could make a visually-interesting one-off villain.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
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Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
Glad to hear you're enjoying it. I suppose if they had included a who's who it would have defeated the purpose of this particular story though. ;)

Ha! Really now? So they de-corrected something from the copy I loaned you? What did you find?
There have been some EU books that purposely left certain characters off the "Dramatis Personae" page due to surprises/spoilers, so I have rarely found one that hurts the storylines.

I don't recall the exact page, but in the advance copy, it was two short sentences that made sense; in the released version, apparently the editor preferred a compound sentence, but IIRC forgot a conjunction, pronoun, or an article that muddled the whole thing.

I'm at chapter 36; thank goodness JJM wrote short chapters. I might even finish it before October ends.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
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And it gets the dreaded "eh" rating from me. I realized that some of the Disney-ized books have stolen the titles of SW & EU classics: A New Hope = A New Dawn, Heir to the Empire = Heir to the Jedi, Lords of the Sith = Glove of Darth Vader. :p And if JJ Miller is going to "be" the new Zahn or KJ Anderson, I fear for the future of Star Wars fiction.

I won't even label these comments as true spoilers, but feel free not to read ahead if you haven't read it all yet.




The Emperor is teased; couldn't have even a recording of what he said/transmitted? No significant SW characters or places named either (aside from the Kenobi message at the start... which for me was HOPE for a good story)? No suspense for me, opportunities for character development that were flat to non-existent (especially as others mentioned about Hera). The more I write about it, the less positive I feel. :(
 

Mr. JabbaJohnL

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Nov 12, 2001
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That's interesting you found the fights difficult to follow, any specifics?
The earlier fight in Shaketown (I think it was) sticks out as an example. Maybe it wasn't hard to follow and I was actually just glossing over and not paying as close attention as I should have during those moments. I had similar issues with Kenobi, especially the big shootouts at the end.

I thought the first time Kanan saw the Ghost was in the beginning while he was on the cargo ship run. Once I get my copy back, I need to re-read that because I remember liking that moment.
You're right – I had forgotten that he does see it briefly during the cargo ship run at the beginning. I was referring to him seeing it during the final chapter, when Hera finally reveals it to him up close.

Bel-Cam Jos said:
And it gets the dreaded "eh" rating from me. I realized that some of the Disney-ized books have stolen the titles of SW & EU classics: A New Hope = A New Dawn, Heir to the Empire = Heir to the Jedi, Lords of the Sith = Glove of Darth Vader. :p And if JJ Miller is going to "be" the new Zahn or KJ Anderson, I fear for the future of Star Wars fiction.
Heir to the Jedi was planned as part of the Han/Leia/Luke Empire and Rebellion trilogy, so I wonder when it was titled. The Star Wars Books Twitter said that it was partially an homage to HTTE.
 

JediTricks

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Aug 14, 2001
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And it gets the dreaded "eh" rating from me. I realized that some of the Disney-ized books have stolen the titles of SW & EU classics: A New Hope = A New Dawn, Heir to the Empire = Heir to the Jedi, Lords of the Sith = Glove of Darth Vader. :p And if JJ Miller is going to "be" the new Zahn or KJ Anderson, I fear for the future of Star Wars fiction.

I won't even label these comments as true spoilers, but feel free not to read ahead if you haven't read it all yet.

The Emperor is teased; couldn't have even a recording of what he said/transmitted? No significant SW characters or places named either (aside from the Kenobi message at the start... which for me was HOPE for a good story)? No suspense for me, opportunities for character development that were flat to non-existent (especially as others mentioned about Hera). The more I write about it, the less positive I feel. :(
I didn't mind a lack of direct connection to main characters, but I can see where their absence would affect things. To me, the feeling of living in the SW universe was what worked, you don't run into Darth Vader every day if you're just a regular schmo.

Hera's lack of character development has been infuriating both in this novel and on the show, there's hints that she's interesting and a proper driving force behind these characters, but then she goes nowhere. Sorry it didn't grab you, but at least you didn't pay for it. ;)

The earlier fight in Shaketown (I think it was) sticks out as an example. Maybe it wasn't hard to follow and I was actually just glossing over and not paying as close attention as I should have during those moments. I had similar issues with Kenobi, especially the big shootouts at the end.
That fight was a mess, but I think why it worked for me was that feeling of a barroom brawl - it's confusing because it's confusing. I can't speak to Kenobi though as I passed, same author tho.

You're right –*I had forgotten that he does see it briefly during the cargo ship run at the beginning. I was referring to him seeing it during the final chapter, when Hera finally reveals it to him up close.
True enough, I see what you mean.
 

Mr. JabbaJohnL

Jedi Council Member
Nov 12, 2001
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John Jackson Miller published production notes to his blog, which are pretty interesting.

Regarding the new canon alignment, he didn't even know about it until he was pretty much done writing the novel; aside from working with the Story Group, it was the same process it had been previously, and he referenced previous stories most of which just so happened to have been written by himself.

He also noted that "refresher" was removed to make it more accessible to new readers, but "caf" was kept since there could be more than one kind of caffeinated beverage in the galaxy. So now we know why some EU terms have been changed or kept.
 

Bel-Cam Jos

Jedi Council Member
Aug 16, 2001
16,012
57
105
Where 'text' & 'friend' are nouns
The paperback edition came out last week... and to FURTHER separate these new books from the previous EU ones, they aren't the same size! Have to start a new shelf, if this will be the standard size (I don't like it, though; the size itself OR the differences in height). Only about 3/4"-1" taller I'd guess.
 

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Mr. JabbaJohnL

Jedi Council Member
Nov 12, 2001
22,895
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29
Tatooine
The paperback edition came out last week... and to FURTHER separate these new books from the previous EU ones, they aren't the same size! Have to start a new shelf, if this will be the standard size (I don't like it, though; the size itself OR the differences in height). Only about 3/4"-1" taller I'd guess.
Yeah, I've seen it mentioned the non-Legends paperbacks will all be this new size.