Book Review: Rebel Dream

Aaron Allston finally makes his glorious return to Star Wars literature with Rebel Dream, the first book in the Enemy Lines duology.

For those of you who are disgruntled, and barely want to continue reading the New Jedi Order, I understand. However, if all the NJO books were as well written as Rebel Dream, your attitudes would be completely opposite. Allston has done a great job with this novel, and I must applaud him for it.

He brings great life to nearly all the characters, making none of them feel two-dimensional, like many other books have done so far. Jaina is portrayed as a young woman going through difficult times, and not knowing how to deal with her emotions. She is very likable and understandable in this novel, and brings a great amount of depth to this story.

Wedge Antilles becomes a completely new character (as far as I’m concerned), when dealing with his wife Iella and his children. Never before has this side of the story been told; it makes Wedge even more likable than before.

Jagged Fel displays some emotion in Rebel Dream, and starts to become a three-dimensional character, and finally, is good enough for our Jaina.

I just can’t say how well Aaron Allston portrayed all the characters in this story. Lando is believable, and even gets a bit of story-time. I also liked the way Allston portrayed Tahiri in this book, continuing what I felt was a pretty crucial plotline.

But the real savior of this novel, and, as I’m sure will be the case in the conclusion in Rebel Stand, is the tactics.

Allston keeps up the suspense throughout the book–and keeps just enough to himself–that the reader is often wondering just what’s going to happen, but knowing that it’s all part of a plan. Seldom have I seen an author do this well in any genre. But Allston excels at portraying military tactics, at least as far as Star Wars is concerned.

On the side of the Yuuzhan Vong, I was very happy with the way they were portrayed, even though little of it delved very deeply. Some of the things I enjoyed were seeing how Tsavong Lah respected his father, who was challenged by Tsavong for the position of Warmaster. It also shows that there were arguments about even coming to the Galaxy, far, far away in the first place. Nen Yim makes her reappearance, finally, and does pretty well, though the subject matter could be considered rather gruesome.

The fate of the New Republic is poor, I’m sorry to say, and the fate of Coruscant staggering. Never before have I considered what is happening there, and I shudder just thinking about it, but I am also salivating wanting to know more about the future of this story, after the Vong are eventually driven out.

I’m sure you’re wondering about the humor aspect as well. Naturally Allston gives us the goods, as usual, with several humorous sections, and even bringing in the old Ewok joke; I was certainly glad to see that. Being a rather dark series, small points of light making us smile are very welcome, and for that, Aaron, I thank you.

All that being said, and I know it’s a lot, there are very few things that I disliked about Rebel Dream. The most nagging thing I can recall was early on in the book. There were two phrases which got a little old for me. First was when Luke “knew how they felt”, or something to that effect. Another was when everyone would “suit words to action” and I think this was actually transposed somewhere, but I’m not certain. I mean, can’t someone just “follow their own orders” or something worded differently, but mean the same? I know, I’m not a professional author, and I’m sure writing books is difficult, I’ve tried. But these are the nit-pick things I’m forced to come up with when reviewing a good piece of work such as this.

I also didn’t care for the whole Tarc kid. He played his part well in Star by Star, but it’s certainly time to let him go. I never expected to see him again after Dark Journey, and I felt his reappearance to be fairly annoying. I certainly can’t see a plot for his character at all, and I wonder why he’s still hanging around. I DID like, however, the way Han deals with him in the book, being very stern and father-like. But his character wallows in “adopt me to replace Anakin”-itis and I pray that Del Rey does NOT fall into that trap. I would lose what respect I have left for this series if they did.

This may possibly be my favorite book in the New Jedi Order, but once again, I still give that edge to Vector Prime, simply for the excitement factor. I wish all of the books had been like this one; the series would be much stronger.

I really can’t find much else to complain about, except that the story does kind of drop off at the end. Not really a big deal, since the concluding book in this duology comes out in two months. In the meantime, we have the Attack of the Clones novelization, and of course that little thing like the movie, to keep ourselves entertained. But don’t forget folks, the New Jedi Order goes on, and does so only a couple weeks after the attack of the Clones.

– Reviewed by Bradley K. Brown