Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has resulted in quite a few books. Naturally, with a handful of new characters and history to explore, this shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone. For fans of the movie, these novels are perfect companions that’ll allow you to explore these characters since it’s unlikely we’ll see them in any further films (because they’re dead, duh). The latest release is Star Wars: Rebel Rising, written by New York Times bestselling author Beth Revis.
While the likes of Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel explored Galen Erso and his involvement in the Death Star project, Star Wars: Rebel Rising follows his daughter, Jyn, and her history that was briefly skimmed over in the film. Finally, we get to find out about how Saw Gerrera (as played by Forest Whitaker in the film) took her in and trained her to fight. This relationship felt like somewhat of a missed opportunity in Rogue One, so it’s good to discover what actually happened.
If you’re looking for a happy story, though, you’ll be duly disappointed by this novel. Jyn’s backstory is filled with much sadness and hopelessness. After all, this is someone who saw her mother being murdered at the age of eight and her father taken away to serve the Empire. She’s not exactly going to turn into a motivational speaker, is she?
That’s not to say that it isn’t a good read, because it is. Revis captures the essence of Jyn’s sadness and translates this in a story that feels as if it could slot right into the Rogue One timeline. It chronicles the hero’s experience and rough treatment in a succinct manner, never spending too much time in one single period, and building up her defiant nature.
Additionally, Revis’ layering succeeds in creating the sombre tone. No matter the small victories that Jyn achieves, she knows in her heart that happiness has abandoned her. It’s glum, yes, but it makes her sacrifice in Rogue One that much more powerful in hindsight. As Revis told StarWars.com, “I do like the way I was able to explore the prison life, as well. The story is told with interstitials of her in prison for the months that she was there. To me, her being in prison was the last moment before she lost all hope.”
After the divisive nature of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, it’s possible that fans will be looking to sink their teeth into different areas of the mythos, and that’s where Star Wars: Rebel Rising could find its biggest supporters. Again, we must stress that this isn’t a happy story, so if you’re looking for something filled with hope and optimism, you won’t find it here.