Review: The Rebellion Begins by Michael Kogge

Star Wars Rebels DVD cover

Star Wars Rebels, The Rebellion Begins by Michael KoggeThe Rebellion Begins. Michael Kogge. October 21, 2014. Disney Lucasfilm Press. 176 pages. [Source: Personal copy]

Spark of Rebellion, the one-hour animated television movie premiere of the popular animated series Star Wars Rebels, follows a band of rebels who dare to rise up against the Empire’s tyrannical rule over the galaxy and who come across a 14-year-old boy, Ezra Bridger, who’s more like them than he initially realizes. But, what if I told you that you haven’t seen everything that Spark of Rebellion has to offer? As the novelization of the premiere, Michael Kogge’s The Rebellion Begins fills in the gaps and creatively expands upon the story. Not only that, but the novel also explores and goes inside the heads of the main characters, something that’s not available in the fast-paced introduction to the series.

The story takes place fourteen years after the events see in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and primarily stays on Lothal, an Outer Rim planet developing under the iron fist of the Empire. This is the home of Ezra and the only place he’s ever known. As the story picks up, he and the rebel crew–pilot Hera Syndulla, Jedi-in-hiding Kanan Jarrus, Mandalorian weapons expert Sabine Wren, ex-member of the Honor Guard of Lasan Zeb Orrelios, and astromech droid Chopper–clash and Ezra becomes intertwined in their business of tormenting the Empire for the sake of doing good. Throughout the novel, the relationships progress into the initial stages of understanding and support, leading Ezra to join the crew and refine his skills as a Force sensitive individual.

The Rebellion Rises gives readers tidbits here and there that build on the characters and make them all the more intriguing. For example, when Ezra boards the starship Ghost for the first time, he asks Sabine, “Are you a Mandalorian? A real one?” Sabine remains silent, but we see her thought process in response to Ezra’s question, and as a result of diving into her mind, the book gives us another detail about the status of Mandalorians during this time period. Other details, including Agent Kallus and his interactions with brand new character Captain Hiram Zataire, Zeb’s brief thoughts about Hera’s past, and what Ezra thinks and feels as he consciously or unconsciously uses the Force, make for an engaging and satisfying narrative.

As a result of adding insights into characters and enriching the story, The Rebellion Begins would interest both longtime fans, and of course, young independent readers who may have never picked up a book about Star Wars. It’s a well-rounded story from beginning to end, successfully adapting the teleplay originally written by Rebels executive producer Simon Kinberg. The author’s style is lively and full of action, keeping a proper balance between adding more to the original story and staying true to it.

For more about Michael Kogge’s experience in translating the animated series premiere into book form, read “Writing The Rebellion Begins” over at the official Star Wars site.

Purchase a copy of The Rebellion Begins today.

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