Let me begin with: if you haven’t seen Rogue One, there’s going to be spoilers below. So stop reading, watch the movie, then come back.
Okay are you done?
Okay let’s go.
I’m a huge fan of Rogue One. In fact, it’s possibly my favorite Star Wars movie. It’s the prequel to Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, it has a fun Oceans 11 vibe, Vader kicks some sweet rebel ass at the end, oh, and spoiler alert… EVERYONE DIES (okay okay that’s not a great thing, but it’s an honest move by the filmmakers). All that and more is why this film is one of my favorites which is why I got so excited when some additional material in the timeline entered the fray. Two great prequels to the prequel, Catalyst by James Luceno and Rebel Rising by Beth Revis. While I’ve read both, this particular review is about Rebel Rising, which I had the pleasure of finishing earlier this week.
Rebel Rising is another addition to the Star Wars literary universe following the “young adult” themes of Ahsoka (E.K. Johnson), Leia: Princess of Alderaan, and Lost Stars (both by Claudia Gray). What qualifies a book to be “young adult” is beyond me, as there are themes within all these novels that border “adult adult”. In Rebel Rising alone we are exposed to torture, terrorism and implied sex. For my daughter’s sake, “young adult” is going to be thirty-eight.
The book spans ten to twelve years and starts with the execution of Lyra and the abduction of Galen Erso by Orson Krennick and his Death Troopers (it’s the first five minutes of Rogue One) to Jyn’s rescue on Wobani by Cassian Andor and the Rebel Alliance. In the timeline, we get to see the amazing relationship that forms between Jyn and Saw over the course of several years worth of training in the art of defense and sabotage. These skills propel her through the storyline from Saw’s band of partisan fighters, to a potential “settling down”, to a final bargain with the Empire to secure her freedom from the chase. The story is a familiar one, where you develop such a rich relationship with the protagonist that you turn into their cheerleader, hoping they’ll make the right decisions and rooting for them when the tide starts turning in their favor. There were several moments in the book where I was able to breathe a sigh of relief for my new friend Jyn as I thought for a brief moment she was able to settle down and stop her hiding, only to be brought back to reality when the Stormtroopers come a knockin’.
In the end, it’s a hefty read at 416 pages. And don’t let that “young adult” thing fool you – there are moments in there that Harlequin, Samantha Anne, or Cosmo would be proud of. It’s a great addition to the Rogue One storyline and in essence, completes it. Starting with Catalyst (where Jyn is born), into Rebel Rising (where Jyn grows to be the rebel we know and love), to Rogue One (where Jyn propels the rebellion forward and eventually buys the farm).
Star Wars: Rebel Rising
by Beth Revis
Disney LucasFilm Press (May 2, 2017)