Review by C.J. Bunce
How did the Empire power all those Star Destroyers anyway?
The new, Disney era of Star Wars story continuity begins today with the release of the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn. Fans of the Star Wars tie-in novels shouldn’t be disappointed with this new story and completely new characters living in that galaxy, far, far away between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Its primary draw for those fans willing to give the new Star Wars a chance is the introduction of a trained Jedi named Kanan Jarrus and a mysterious Twi’lek named Hera. But its best success is in author John Jackson Miller’s world building (or galaxy building)–one with more lead female characters than male.
In the galaxy that George Lucas built, the rarest creature to be found was a woman, whether a human, a rebel, an Imperial, or an alien. Miller does not skip a beat to redefine Star Wars from chapter one. We meet a black female captain of a Star Destroyer named Captain Rae Sloane, a character who could be on her way to be the next Mara Jade. She’s young but smart, and exactly the kind of leader a government led by Emperor Palpatine would need to conquer so many systems. Unlike even the original trilogy, including its often bumbling stormtroopers and officers that fail to follow their Dark Lord’s orders, the personnel building the Empire in A New Dawn don’t make the same mistakes.
Sloane works for a typical Star Wars villain, Count Demetrius Vidian, a cyborg like Darth Vader and General Grievous, which would lend us all to believe a defining piece of Star Wars is a dark cloaked bad guy who has already been blown apart a few times. The word survivor does fit Vidian. He is a decisive imperialist, precise, unyielding and villainous–everything you want from your Star Wars bad guy.