Star Wars: Rebel Rising Book Review

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By: Liz Vallish (@elizziebeth)

“Something small and broken really can be powerful.”

What do you call it when a prequel needs a…well, not quite a prequel, but something to fill the gaps between when we see Saw Garrera rescue Jyn from the underground bunker and when we see her again as a prisoner on Wobani in Rogue One? Rebel Rising is just that.

There are still time jumps here and there, but Rebel Rising gives the audience more about how Jyn became a document forger, especially to trick the Empire. Saw teaches her how to fight on his ship and finally takes her on a couple of missions. She, of course, knows he’s trying to find her father, Galen Erso, who was taken by the Empire to work for them. Anytime he’s brought up, it’s through Jyn’s feelings of betrayal as if he left her to willingly work on what the audience knows is the Death Star.

Saw is definitely a harsh man and the reason Jyn doesn’t completely side with the rebels. His willingness to slaughter Imperial commanders and others who have anything to do with the Empire leads her to believe that he is no better than them. Well, this, along with him abandoning her on Tamsye Prime.

The rays of sunshine in Jyn’s life boil down to Akshaya, Hadder, and Jyn’s mother. Jyn meets Akshaya and Hadder while escaping quite the jam and ends up staying with them, promising to help them with forged documents so that Akshaya can continue bringing ore to Skuhl for the refinery. Sadly, none of these people are in Jyn’s life for very long before the Empire comes to find her.

Jyn spends most of the novel doing shady work to get by. The book flips between her time jettisoning around the Five Points System and her time in the Wobani prison. In both time periods, she is constantly trying to figure out if she wants to join the rebels (thanks Hadder) or if she wants to remain neutral. The decision is made for her when a series of events involving forging documents and resisting arrest leads her to the Wobani prison camp.

There are elements in this novel that seem very timely, like the fact that the Empire doesn’t like anyone who isn’t human or anyone who sympathizes with those who aren’t human. There was a certain species that was turned away from an event because they weren’t human. Also, don’t forget about the prison camp. It was mostly referred to as the prison, but the prisoners all had jobs.

The audiobook for this novel was absolutely amazing. Some audiobooks start and end with a little bit of music, but this production went all out. There were sound effects for a lot of things including blasters, ships, crowds, and more. Saw’s ship noises were a bit annoying at times, but overall the sound effects were great. For the score, John Williams is credited, but there may have also been pieces from Rogue One, which Michael Giacchino wrote/conducted. Either way, it was a great production.

This book is absolutely stellar. Author Beth Revis has already proven herself to be an amazing sci-fi writer, so this feels like the great pay-off. Does it get any better than giving Jyn Erso a more vivid backstory? Every character gets details that fit so perfectly into the story and many get at least a little bit of backstory to aid in making them so real. It’s an absolutely majestic book to behold and to read. Whether you like sci-fi and Star Wars or your only introduction to this book is the Rogue One film, you will enjoy Rebel Rising by Beth Revis.


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