Taking place a few days before meeting the Ghost crew, fourteen year-old Ezra Bridger is selling tickets for Arena Day — an underground tournament where mighty beasts battle to the finish and all the swindlers, gamblers and no-gooders come from all corners of the planet to make a profit. However, Ezra is whisked into an unlikely partnership with the fearsome bounty hunter Bossk and enmeshed in a high-stakes chase against an endless fleet of Stormtroopers. Ezra isn't willing to trust anyone, but he soon learns that surviving doesn't always mean just fending for himself.
It was released on August 5, 2014, about a month before Rebels began airing on television.
Tropes in this book include:
- Anti-Hero: Ezra and Bossk. This isn't the Ezra we see for the entirety of Rebels, no, this is the Ezra we saw at the beginning of "Spark of Rebellion" before he met the Ghost crew, the one that minded his own business and could careless about what the Empire does. For both he and Bossk, it's less about exposing the Gladiator conspiracy because it's the right thing to do and more about doing their jobs so that they can get credits out of it.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kind of. Bossk and Ezra turn in Herdringer/Jenkes, but Bossk refuses to share the amount of the award he promised to Ezra, leaving the two on a sour note with each other (well, Ezra anyway; Bossk doesn't really care). But the final chapter reveals that the events of the book took place days before Ezra joins the Ghost crew, so his loner attitude adjusts quickly.
- Fantastic Racism: The Chagrian tourist in the first chapter sneers at the sight of local Rodians.
- The presence of local Imperial Security Bureau officers on Lothal seem to be a nod to how Agent Kallus gets temporarily based on Lothal to deal with the threat of the Ghost crew.
- Canon Immigrant:
- This book is the first work to bring back the Bounty Hunters' Guild. The Bounty Hunter Code is also brought back.
- Cradossk was recanonized by the game, Galactic Defense, and Bossk is mentioned to have Daddy Issues with him, just like in Legends.
- The Imperial Enforcement DataCore is a means of accessing information regarding the law enforcement activities of Galactic Empire and its officers, but can only be used by Imperial personnel and licensed bounty hunters that have an Imperial Peace-Keeping Certificate (also originally from Legends). In Legends, it used to just be a wanted list, but presumably, it still has that feature in this canon.
- Posting agencies are offices where bounties are posted, basically being post boards. Here, they also contain the DataCore as aforementioned above.
- Shifty is mentioned to have managed a casino on Ahakista, but fell into debt, causing him to flee to and hide on Lothal to avoid the bounty put on his head. In Legends, Ahakista is a vacation planet from the Rebellion comics. The casino that Shifty worked at, Daystar Casino, is also originally from Legends.
- Jenkes had a gladiatorial arena on Nyriaan. Not only is Nyriaan originally from Legends, but a roleplay said that there was a gladiator arena there, called Temperance Arena, where anyone could fight for free to settle personal grievances without getting into trouble if they dealt with it in public.
- Houks and Feeorins are mentioned, the latter first appearing in Starfighter and the former in The Han Solo Adventures.
- One of the species present during Luke and Ben's fateful encounter with Han and Chewbacca in A New Hope is given its Legends name of Ranat.
- Shifty smuggled himself to Lothal by stowing away on a droid barge, first introduced in The Han Solo Adventures. Droid barges are automated ships piloted by a droid brain or an installed command module.
- Credit chips (AKA, space-credit cards) make their debut in this canon through this book.
- Doomed by Canon: As a result of losing their farm, Moreena and her family move to Alderaan to live with her grandmother, so unless the Krai family gets out of there before the Death Star crisis...
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the first chapter, a high-class tourist is accompanied by four airheaded Twi'leks
- Prequel: The final chapter is a novelization of "Property of Ezra Bridger", indicating that the events of the book take place some days before Ezra meets the Ghost crew in "Spark of Rebellion".