Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire (spoiler-free book review)

This book is a treasure trove of fun.  Actually, Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire is two books in one plus some delicious goodies added on.  Repackaged in trade paperback form, The Rise of the Empire contains both the first book in the new era of Star Wars novelization A New Dawn and Tarkin the second book published.  Like a McDonald’s Big Mac, these two meaty morsels are surrounded by three short stories that not only add to the lore of the Star Wars universe, but connect each story, one to the other.

The Rise of the Empire is a collection of these two novels - A New Dawn and Tarkin
The Rise of the Empire is a collection of these two novels – A New Dawn and Tarkin

“Mercy Mission” opens the book and is a story about the early adventures of Hera Syndulla who fans of Star Wars Rebels know as the captain of the Ghost.  In this story, she has yet to captain that ship and is more of a story about her budding leadership skills and her credibility as an ace pilot.  Written nicely by Melissa Scott who has a huge number of original novels to her credit as well as dips into the Star Trek and Stargate ponds, this is her first foray into Star Wars history.  This story serves as a bridge between Lords of the Sith and Tarkin chronologically, revisiting Moff Mors on the planet of Ryloth.  But it also is a lead in to A New Dawn.

“Bottleneck” by acclaimed Star Wars author John Jackson Miller bridges the narratives in Tarkin and A New Dawn.  Quite fitting as Miller is also the author of A New Dawn. His story is an exploration of the relationship between the newly promoted Grand Moff Tarkin and Count Vidian who plays prominently in Miller’s novel.  It does a great job of extending the political intrigue of Tarkin with the action and pacing of A New Dawn.  If you’ve never read A New Dawn this is even better as it gives you deeper insight into Vidian’s character before you encounter him in the novel.

“The Levers of Power” by Jason Fry may seem out of place chronologically, but it serves as a wonderful end tale for this collection.  Chronicling the history of now Admiral Rae Sloane, this story ties together both Tarkin and A New Dawn while also serving as the introduction into the post-Emperor Star Wars universe.  Taking place during the final battle of Endor from the bridge of one of the Star Destroyers, Admiral Sloane reflects on her ties to both Tarkin and Vidian while managing to set the stage for the new Empire after the destruction of the second Death Star.  Fry is able to masterfully tell an engaging story without it seeming to be a bridge story between books at all (although it actually is a “bridge” story in more ways than one).

Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire brings together two great books plus additional material
Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire brings together two great books plus additional material

Title: Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire
Author: James Luceno and John Jackson Miller (along with Melissa Scott and Jason Fry)
Cost: $15
Age: 12 and up
Publisher: Del Rey
Genre: Star Wars, science fiction

For fans of the Star Wars books, you’ll want this new edition even if you have both novels already.  The added material makes it worth the read and at a price of only $15.00 maybe you can gift your other books and just keep this one on the shelf.  Plus with new artwork on the cover, it is a nice addition to your collection.  For those who haven’t yet read A New Dawn and/or Tarkin this is the perfect book for you!  For the cost of less than one hardbound, you receive two stellar novels plus bonus material only available here in this collection.  Quite the steal.

  • Read about A New Dawn and the beginnings of the Star Wars Rebels saga
  • Hear from John Jackson Miller in our exclusive Disney Nerds interview with him
  • Find out why you should be reading Tarkin by James Luceno
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