Welcome to Book Reviews. In this series I will look to review any canon books that come out in the Star Wars galaxy. I am no expert in book critic or expert in writing (as you may be able to tell), so this is very much from a fan’s point of view. I will generally try to give a quick idea of what the story is about but avoid any spoilers. In each review, I will also try to point out a few “Moments in Canon” – moments that link into the wider canon and references to other canon stories – and also give my opinion if it is worth reading. Today I will be looking at Beth Revis’ Rebel Risisng.
Rebels Rising follows the story of Jyn Erso between the cold open of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the remainder of the movie where we find her in custody on Wobani. This shows her training and life with Saw Gerrera’s Partisans and her life after he leaves her behind.
Outside was silent.
And Jyn knew.
He wasn’t coming back for her. Not this time.
The story is shown from Jyn’s point of view and goes largely in chronological order, though there are occasional interludes to show her time on Wobani.
This was a really fun story and, like the novelisation of Rogue One, I think that it did a great job of expanding on Jyn’s backstory. We are able to find out how the way her parents raised her allowed her to have talents that made her useful to the Partisans and the way that she turns against her father over time and turns towards Saw as a new role model feels natural. Her training with Saw is well done in the way that she builds up to being able to fight over time, but she is still not made into a cold-blooded killer, which keeps her relatable and suitable for the audience.
Saw didn’t stop walking. He didn’t even look back at the fire or at Jyn. His shuttle was waiting for them, and Saw bounded up the boarding ramp. Jyn paused, glancing back at the smoke.
There was nothing left for her there.
Likewise, I think that Saw remains faithful to his other depictions in canon, being a brash warrior who does not know how to raise a child as anything other than a soldier. I also really enjoy how Saw’s readiness to fight is there already – which ties into Catalyst – while he is also immediately trying to find why Galen is working for the Empire again and what this means, something that we see become an obsession by the time of Rebels. We also see the beginnings of his paranoia as to people finding out Jyn’s identity which feels very much in line with the character Bodhi first encounters in the movie.
While these are the 2 recognisable characters, all the other characters in the book also feel very natural and individual, from the Partisans who all have different motives (including Idryssa, who tries to convince Saw to side with the growing Alliance) to the naïve Ponta family and corrupt Imperial officers… all these characters feel believable and that is so important for the story.
A planet was either for the Empire, or it was crushed under the Empire’s heels.
I really enjoyed the story on the whole as it never felt like Jyn was being put into situations that didn’t make sense for her. She was trained by Saw so that she could be useful and avoid any questions about why she is with the Partisans. This training and her skills leads to her being involved in missions, which leads to her being put into dangerous situations but Saw still trying to keep her away from the worst dangers. Even after being left behind by Saw, I really like how the story develops and puts Jyn in different situations that all escalate believably.
In terms of the writing style, I really like how Beth Revis manages to change the tone as the story goes on to show Jyn ageing and maturing as the story goes on. I definitely found myself more invested in the story once we got into Jyn’s later years with the Partisans as by this point the story was able to get darker and more serious, very much in line with Rogue One and the other stories involving the Partisans. I do feel though that Revis does a good job of making even some of the darker moments suitable for the young adult demographic. I would happily read more Star Wars novels from her.
Should I read it?
One fighter with a sharp stick…
It was impossible. It was stupid. But it was there.
If you enjoyed Rogue One and especially the character of Jyn Erso, then I highly recommend this novel. One of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard of the movie was that we didn’t get to know the characters very well, but Rebel Rising does a wonderful job of helping to make you understand where Jyn has been and how her experiences have shaped her.
Moments in Canon
“Lianna Hallick.” The lie came easily. She hardly ever thought of herself as an Erso anymore, and it hurt too much to think of the name Ponta.
- Saw tells Jyn the story of his sister Steela’s death, which can be seen in The Clone Wars
- Jyn sees a Lasat working with the Partisans. This is the same Lasat that ambushed Agent Kallus and his unit on Onderon
- Tanith Ponta had bloodburn and died of hadeira serum overdose – Greer Sonnel suffered from bloodburn in Bloodline, which also introduced hadeira serum as a treatment that could also endanger the individual
- Staven features as a member of the Partisans. The Rogue One novelisation has Jyn ask after him on Jedha and he was also the leader of the Dreamers in Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…