It’s been a few solid months since Rogue One debuted, and ever since, one question that’s been in mind is “what happened to Jyn between the time that Saw Gerrera retrieved her and when she was being “rescued” from Wobani as Liana Hallik?” Rebel Rising explores this time period and details Jyn’s growth, as well as the budding rise of the ebellion. Written by Beth Revis, Rebel Rising gives us a vivid picture of the growing conflict between The Empire and the galaxy it is oppressing.
Between Catalyst, Rogue One and Rebel Rising, Star Wars fans will have a tight grasp of Jyn Erso’s character and the struggles that shape her. At a young age she learned that she and her parents were on the run from The Empire. While she didn’t know all the details, she did know that her father knew about crystals and that The Empire wanted to use that talent. She was no stranger to danger, and roundabout when she was 6-years-old, and her mother was killed, she was well prepared for the change.
Revis does an excellent job of keeping us informed of Jyn’s feelings towards the people and worlds around her. When she’s young, she loves her mother, father, and Saw, but throughout the book as traumatic events occur her thoughts about certain things begin to change until eventually conflict leaves her emotionally hollow. Books like this expound upon what the “War” in Star Wars is, and what it means to the people that the book refers to as “ants.” After seeing her mother die, her father seemingly turn to the Empire, and Saw leave her, her heart is shredded again and again.
Still, her harsh life had taught her how to survive. She escaped the conflict and found a nice family, and even fell in love with a boy her age named Hadder. But when conflict between the Rebellion and The Empire takes that happy slice of life away from her, she swears away from the both of them. This is the Jyn we see at the beginning of Rogue One. This is the Jyn that wants nothing to do with the Rebellion, and is only reinvigorated when she finds that her father is not the traitor she thought he was.
Beth does an excellent job of handling the micro conflicts throughout the book. She introducing situation after situation that Jyn must overcome, and makes each one of them interesting. At one point she comes into contact with an Imperial officer who is down on her luck due to a gambling problem and she is hired to help her, as opposed to being turned over to the authority! And when one problem is solved, another swoops in to take its place. Conflict after conflict is my idea of great writing.
Another aspect that Revis tackles well is Saw Gerrera’s character. He didn’t get much screen and page time until now. In Rogue One, he’s a very, very cynical man, scarred by deception and marred loyalty. The events in this book show why he’s like that. A man lacking trust, and growing more militant by the day. The Empire’s oppression has burdened him so heavily that it’s twisted its sense of morality, creating a man whose life and mind was nothing but war. I loved reading the intensity of his character as well as his love for Jyn.
Like many of the Star Wars New Canon books Rebel Rising is yet another necessary read for a true Star Wars fan. I just love seeing different stories revolving around the time period of the original trilogy. It makes the universe so much more real. It helps us to really feel the state of galaxy during that time and what people were going through, and it’s quite amazing to see what Star Wars has grown into as a result of all of this content, to say the least. Beth Revis did a job well done and I hope to see more work from her in the Star Wars Universe in the future.