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Force Awakens Connection in Star Wars Rebels Novel!

Jedi Jondee here at Arkanis,

Servants_of_the_Empire_The_Secret_Academy   The Secret Academy by Jason Fry.

The fourth book in the Servants of the Empire series, “The Secret Academy”, is by Jason Fry who worked on the other books and also wrote Weapon of a Jedi. Imperial cadet Zare Leonis was introduced in the Star Wars: Rebels young readers novel, Edge of the Galaxy, before showing up on the Star Wars: Rebels episode “Breaking Ranks” and “Vision of Hope.” He was voiced by Bryton James. Zare helped Ezra Bridger steal a decoder at the academy and also a fellow cadet, Jai Kell, who is Force sensitive bringing the Inquisitor something that also happened to his sister. He has survived the academy on Lothal through the help of his girlfriend, Merei, but lost her with his obsession to find his sister, Dhara. Zare is transferred to the academy on Arkanis where he suspects his sister is being held. Zare and another cadet, Penn, take the strange diplopods to a town outside of the base where Zare makes a comm home to his parents. His mother convinces him to call Merei who warns him about the search for his sister. Commandant Brendol Hux described as “a stocky man with red hair gone gray at the temples and bright blue eyes.” This is an older vision of actor Domhnall Gleeson who plays General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Zare_Leonis_2 Zare Leonis in Star Wars: Rebels.
Zare is tested not only in the classroom, but also on the high-gravity world, Sirpar, which reminded me of Starship Troopers, the book and film. He is placed in charge of stormtroopers to use missiles, but the launcher is disabled so Zare has his troopers hoof it with the missiles to destroy their target. This earns him a chance on the Commandant’s Cadets on Arkanis, but he must prove himself by killing off a weak cadet, Penn. Lt. Chiron, his superior on Lothal was transferred to Arkanis to check on Hux, but Zare still wants to investigate. He goes to Lt. Chiron and confesses. They have a plan to sneak away and replace him with a dead nerf carcass. Zare is given a seat at the Commandant’s table and who explains his vision to fix the errors of the clones by making the perfect soldier from stormtroopers.  Zare is taken into the tower and sees cadets in orange uniforms, prisoners who were drugged or brainwashed, one of them is his childhood friend, Beck Ollet. Beck turned away from the academy on Lothal and was captured by stormtroopers. He identifies Zare and his deception is up.

Merei_Spanjaf Merei Spanjaf from the Imperial Justice novel.

This shifts to Part Two which picks up the story of Merei Spanjaf back on Lothal. It recounts that she was working as a courier for the Gray Syndicate, but her boss, Yahenna Laxo, was killed by stormtroopers. She tries to conclude the business for Laxo and brings the poet, Holshef, to a safehouse. Merei returns to the Vocational School for Institutional Security and has to keep her clandestine life hidden from her parents. She gets the comm from Zare (nice to see two sides to a conversation) and then realizes that she has to get Holshef off-planet. An investigator is looking into her activity and she turns to an Ithorian Old Jho for help. He was introduced in the episode “Empire Day.” Merei realizes that she has to get her parents and herself to escape Lothal and even more danger is ahead. Zare’s sister, Dhara, is Force sensitive. So if the Force runs in the Leonis family, maybe this will lead to Finn Leonis? I would love this, but wouldn’t be surprised if his parents are someone else. This part of the book moves at .5 past lightspeed. Four Lightsabers out of Five. We really get to see the impact of the Empire on the life of average citizens, the growing resistance, and also the other side of cadets training. Plus daring escapes and rescues, Star Wars all the way.