It’s a whole new galaxy for Star Wars themed fiction. For the first time since the creation of the Extended Universe, every individual novel being published is canon . That means a character like Zare Leonis who appears in the Star Wars Rebels episode Breaking Ranks, can be further explored in a series of his own. And all of his adventures are weaved into the larger tapestry of the Star Wars universe.
I brought this book solely for the fact that Zare is a refreshing bit of diversity in one of my favorite fandom's. Once I started reading this story my fangirling increased exponentially. Fry’s story not only gives fan insight into the “missing years” between Episodes 3 & 4, but we also get to met an educated family of color who are prominent members of the planet Lothal’s scientific and military community.
At the opening of the novel Zare is very much in “Luke mode", as he watches his sister entering the Imperial Academy while he must spend a frustrating year alone, before entering training as an Imperial Soldier. The highlight of Zare’s days are communications from his sister Dhara. Then one day communications from her cease and then the family is told that Dhara has gone Awol from the Academy.
Zare immediately knows something is wrong. His sister would never abandon her training or her family.
His entry to the Academy has become more about finding answers about Dhara, than serving the Empire. In the time leading up to his entrance date Zare also sees how the Empire is making changes to the farming communities on Lothal, as well as other policies that are restricting the citizens of Lothal’s freedoms.
I really loved this book! Fry does a great job with Zare and his community. I also loved that one of Zare’s most important friends is a very intelligent young woman who is instrumental in uncovering data about his sister.
I also really loved Zare’s debut on Rebels. I was surprised to find myself tearing up a bit during his scenes with Ezra.
Star Wars has come really far in regards to diversity, with characters like Ahsoka from The Clone Wars, Sabine & Hera from Rebels and now Zare.
One of the things I love about Star Wars is that at it’s core its about connectivity. I never felt like an unwelcome guest in Star Wars fandom, but its such a joy to see more diverse characters.
It pleases me to think that one day an ethnically diverse young boy or girl will see Zare and realize that they too have a place in the galaxy. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series