A Look at Each Upcoming Star Wars “New Canon” Book- The Sampler Review

canon-samplerThe new Star Wars canon books will start coming out in September. Recently, I discussed how a sampler was released (and it remains available free here) to survey four of these upcoming novels.  I read through the sampler in its entirety and I would like to offer a brief thought on each of these samples. Each section starts with the publisher’s blurb.

A NEW DAWN by John Jackson Miller

Set during the legendary “Dark Times” between Episodes III and IV, A New Dawn tells the story of how two of the lead characters from the animated series Star Wars Rebels first came to cross paths.

I found this one to be really quite intense. The story immediately grabbed me and the characters seemed really interesting. I liked the style and intensity. The blending of character development alongside immediate action was done well, and I think that can be quite hard to do. I really look forward to this one, which is surprising because I thought it would be the one I’d enjoy the least. I don’t think I’ll be able to watch the “Rebels” show until it comes out on DVD so I hope the book does well as a stand-alone.

TARKIN by James Luceno

Bestselling Star Wars veteran James Luceno gives Grand Moff Tarkin the Star Wars: Darth Plagueis treatment, bringing a legendary character from A New Hope to full, fascinating life.

I expected to like this one the most because I think Tarkin is a character who could have a whole lot of awesome background development. However, I was surprised to find this one didn’t really grab me. I’ve enjoyed Luceno’s work in the Star Wars universe before so I’ll give some benefit of the doubt here and hope that Tarkin’s character carries the book more than he seemed to in this brief snippet. I think the main problem is the format, as I barely felt I had a chance to get the “feel” of Tarkin at all in the brief parts in which he was speaking apart from the action.

HEIR TO THE JEDI by Kevin Hearne

The author of The Iron Druid Chronicles tells a thrilling new adventure set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and-for the first time ever-written entirely from Luke Skywalker’s first-person point of view.

Oh boy… I don’t know what to say about that one. I love Luke Skywalker. He remained one of my favorite characters throughout all the Expanded Universe novels, so I have a bit of a bias for him. That said, I’m not sure that this format will work for a Star Wars book. I did quite enjoy the sample, but it seemed like Luke spent a bit too much time explaining who other people were and what they were doing. Moreover, it seemed consciously self-referential in a way that undermined the genuine feel that first-person narratives need. I remain cautiously hopeful for this one, though. I enjoyed it, but I was also perhaps overly critical in my reading due to my attachment to the character.


When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their awesome martial skills to prevail.

Honestly this was probably the least memorable of all the samples. I expect this one to be awesome, because, after all, it is about Vader. But really I was barely impacted at all by this sample. Hopefully it was just a poor selection, but I barely even remember what happened. Admittedly, part of that may have been that I was sick while reading it and probably read it around 4-5AM as I was trying to get tired again. Maybe I should re-read it!

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I will probably pick up at least one of these in hardcover for posterity, so I look forward to engaging with this new go-round of the Star Wars universe. I really hope they’re good and although I remain really upset about the fall of the Expanded Universe, I think this will be a fun run.

Did you read the sampler? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear them.


J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!

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