Book Review: Moving Target A Princess Leia Adventure

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I received this book in May, sent to me by my amazing OTSP Secret Sister, I had to read it right away. I love Star Wars, have for many years, and Princess/General Leia is definitely my favorite character, so a book that focuses on her is high on my priority list. Plus I was looking forward to seeing more story added to the new canon, which in my opinion is lacking in overall appeal when compared to the old Expanded Universe. However, I was a bit disappointed when the story focuses on something that happens between Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi. For a book labeled as “Journey To The Force Awakens” I was expecting something to fill in that 30 year gap, not go between two of the original movies. That being said, I still enjoyed this book.

It’s an interesting thing to get essentially a reboot of a series. And that is what is happening with the new canon books. Because of this, we get a whole new look at what happens before, during, between and after the movies. So while I was hoping for something between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, it was also nice to see focus on Princess Leia and what she had to do to ensure the success of the Rebel’s plans that would come to fruition in Return of The Jedi.

This story shows off Leia ingenuity, bravery and her willingness to put herself into the line of fire for the greater good of the Rebellion. Now obviously we all know Leia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty, to do what must be done to try to put an end to the Empire, but I feel like this book did a good job of showing just far she was willing to go. Not only that, but it showed how others rally to her in times of need. Of course, not everyone agreed with Leia’s idea initially, but she was able to convince them that not only that it had to be done, but what she was a key component of it all.

Really the only reason why I didn’t give this book a higher rating is because I wanted the story to help fill the huge gap between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens. Sure, this was still a good and very quick read, it just wasn’t what I was expecting. I hope to see more Leia focused stories as the canon books come. For those who enjoy Star Wars, this book is a must read. I’ll be looking to read the rest of the Journey To The Force Awakens books – especially the two that focus on Han and Luke, in the future.

Book Review: Dark Disciple

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This review contains minor spoilers

When I saw a book that was mostly centered around Asajj Ventress, I was super excited. And yet, I couldn’t help but be a little worried as well, since so far, most of the book int he new canon series have disappointed me. I wanted to read it right away, however, at that time, I hadn’t see all of The Clone Wars series, and since this story arc was intended as part of that series, I knew I had to delay reading this book until I had watched the series. So it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I finally got around to reading this one.

It took me a chapter or two to get into this book, but after that, I really started to enjoy it. That being said, there were also some issues I found along the way. But let’s talk about the positives first. Asajj was one of my favorite characters in The Clone Wars, and it was so good to get more of her story. I felt like she was left out a bit too much and thus I was always wanting more episodes with her. This book was a great way to put her into the spotlight, giving us more about her past as well as filling in her story after she left Dooku.

The story had good flow to it. Keeping action coming at regular intervals to keep things hopping but not overwhelming the plot.

The romance aspect of this book was interesting, but I feel like it was added in just because it could be. Sure, Vos is a very atypical Jedi and doesn’t always follow the rules, but falling in love with Ventress didn’t feel necessary to me. Despite this, I did enjoy seeing their relationship develop along the way.

Now, let’s talk about what I didn’t like.

First off, Ventress has hair. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it was to me. As soon as I read that little bit, I was immediately annoyed. In fact, I put the book down and hurried over to Wookieepedia to look up the Rattataki race. Listed right there on the page, it stated that one of the distinguishing features of this species was a bald head. So how and why does Asajj have hair in this book? My guess is that they were trying to give her a more feminine and softer looking character, but I just couldn’t accept that she had hair.

Secondly, the Jedi council would never put forth the idea to assassinate someone, even Dooku, let alone agree to it. Sure, some Jedi aren’t sticklers for the rules, but no way Yoda would agree to such a thing. I don’t care how desperate they were to end the clone wars, it just wouldn’t fly.

Ignoring these issues, I still greatly enjoyed the book. The new canon series has been extremely iffy with me, so it’s nice to find a book in it that I actually liked. I would certainly recommend watching The Clone Wars series before reading this book, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Book Review: Star Wars Catalyst

My rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I really hate giving any Star Wars book a low rating, but it happens sometimes. Sadly it has happened more often than not when it comes to the new canon series. I always go in hoping that it will be just as good, if not better, than the novels I read in the Expanded Universe (Legends) series, but in the end, I’m usually disappointed.

I’m not going to go into much details, mostly because it would probably end up being a long rant, so I will give a quick review on this.

From my perspective, this novel was essential a 300 page guide on how a Tarkin-like man, is busy manipulating a scientist into doing work for him that the scientist is against but tricking him into doing it for the greater good of the Empire just so that he can prove to the Emperor that he is better than Tarkin. There is a whole lot of time spent concentrating on trying to subtly get the scientist on board, but pointing out that he can’t be pushed into doing the work, instead they need to make him want to do it himself. There’s a lot of random research materials floating around, lots of talk of plans, some very small snippets of construction of the Death Star, and a few instances where characters from the films, including the upcoming Rogue One, make a small appearance.

There were two things that really bothered me. First, the smuggler in this book. I don’t necessary mean his character as a whole, I’m talking about his name. His name was Has. That’s right, Has. One frigging letter away from Han! Why couldn’t the smuggler have a different name? Or is there some unwritten rule in the Star Wars universe where all smuggler must have similar names? Next thing you know will we see smugglers named Hat, or Hab, or Hal. Anything to keep the Ha_ name theme going.

Secondly. In all the talk about different parts of the Death Star, the pages on end about design and whatnot, there is not a single mention of the two meter wide exhaust port that will inevitably by the downfall of the space station. Why is that? Honestly, I kept reading just to see if it would be mentioned, but it wasn’t, and that left me utterly disappointed.

And now, I have fallen into a rant. Best to stop there.

In the end, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this book. There were a few interesting parts but overall I didn’t enjoy it, which is odd because James Luceno also wrote the novel Tarkin, which I absolutely loved. I guess I will see if this was a necessary read before watching Rogue One or not, but at this moment, I feel like it might not have been important to read first.

Book Review: Lost Stars

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Originally I hadn’t planned on reading this book at any point. I figured a young adult Star Wars novel just wouldn’t hold up to the adult books in this ever growing series. But I kept seeing it, and it kept luring me in until I finally bought it. But it would be a few months before I got up the courage to actually read this book. And boy was I glad that I did.

Though I wasn’t instantly pulled into the story, it did not take me long to want to keep reading, to find out what would happen next and to not put the book down until I was done. While this book spans quite a number of years, the flow of the story is very good. It doesn’t feel like there are sometimes months or years between events, as there is a smooth transition from one to the other.

The thing that stood out the most to me were the main characters. Ciena and Thane were fantastic characters that showed a lot of growth throughout the whole book. They also had plenty of obstacles to overcome, and some acted more as setbacks that anything else. It was also interesting to watch them progress from friends, to enemies, to friends again and then more. The shift from their old lives on their home world, where they were already so different from each other – one growing up poor, the other rich, and then into the life of an Imperial trainee to officer was fantastic.

Another great addition to this book was the presence of some characters from the Star Wars franchise, like Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and others who are most notably known for their roles in the original movies. This combined with a few key lines said during those movies really helped to solidify this books involvement in those and other events within the Star Wars timeline.

The only thing that I found a bit disappointing was the ending. Sure it gave a good bit of information regarding The Force Awakens, namely in regards to Jaku, but there was something missing. It was like something was unresolved at the end, a small bit of Ciena and Thane‘s story was missing. Because of this, I really hope that another novel comes along soon to pick up were this one left off, or shortly there after, so that I can get some complete closure on the story or at least find out for sure what happened with a few key moments. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to Star Wars fans and non-fans as well.

Book Review: Ahsoka

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When I first heard that an Ahsoka novel was being published, I was so thrilled, Ahsoka was my favorite character from The Clone Wars and I was more than excited when she made her return in Rebels. But there was this gap between the shows and I wanted to know what happened in that time, and that is what this book was about. I pre-ordered it as soon as I could, and then when I found out that Ashley Eckstein was narrating the audio books, well I pre-ordered that as well. Then it arrived, and I was so happy. I (almost) immediately started reading it. My big debate though was whether to read the book or listen to the audio book first, in the end I decided to go with reading it the first time around, saving the audio book for the future.

Now, I dig have to do a small amount of digging, to find out exactly where in the timeline that this book falls. It is mentioned that it’s about one year after the Empire was formed by Palpatine, but doesn’t really break down how long it has been since Ahsoka left the Jedi. With a bit of research, I found out that it’s about two years from her leaving the Jedi that this books events happen.

Things started a bit slow. There wasn’t a lot happening right off the bat and I felt that kind of hurt the book. I want to be pulled in immediately, but that didn’t happen here. In fact, it was a couple of chapters before things started to pick up. Now, some of this slowness is understandable, since Ahsoka is trying her best to keep a low profile. She can’t risk her true identity being revealed, as that would result in her being hunted down, so she had to keep things low key at the start. But once a conflict presents itself, Ahsoka can’t help but get involved, as it is in her nature to help those who cannot fight for themselves.

There were a number of flashbacks scattered throughout the book. These were great as they helped to answer a few more questions regarding Ahsoka’s past, especially in relation to some events that should have been in The Clone Wars, but never happened due to the shows early cancellation. Though there was one flashback that didn’t involve Ahsoka, so that was kind of weird, though I do see why it was added.

Things definitely picked up in the second half of the novel, as more action played a role in things. There were even some connections from the past that popped up, helping to re-establish relationships that Ahsoka had before and forging new alliances that she might not have attained on her own.

The one thing I found a bit disappointing about the book, is that there is an approximately 14 year gap between when she leaves the Jedi and when she reappears in Rebels as Fulcrum, yet this book only covers a small snippet of that time, maybe not even a years worth. I feel like there could have been so much more to this novel, so much more of Ahsoka’s life revealed, but I suppose trying to cram too much in would destroy the book. It’s just that, this was more of a tease than anything else, giving readers a small taste of Ahsoka but not enough to truly satisfy. Hopefully, there will be more books involving her during her journey between Clone Wars and Rebels to help fill in all the gaps.

I would high recommend watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars before reading this book. It really gives a lot of background about Ahsoka, and I feel like the reader will appreciate this book more having watched the series first. Of course you can just dive into this book if you want, but if you want the full Ahsoka experience, then definitely watch the series first.

If you enjoyed The Clone Wars, then this book would be something to pick up. Especially if you are looking for some explanation as to what Ahsoka was doing after Order 66 hit. Overall it’s a good book and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys Star Wars, but it will also appear to general fans of the Science Fiction genre.

Series Review: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Seasons 4-6

Warning: There will be spoilers in this review.

It’s time to talk about the last three season of The Clone Wars. After watching the first three seasons, I was so excited to watch the rest of the series. However, I did not expect for things to get as intense and entertaining as they did.

Season four started off….well it was a little weird. There was an episode near the beginning, it may have even been the first episodes (I honestly can’t remember), that was felt like an odd mash-up between The Wizard of Oz and Gulliver’s Travels. Seriously there was even a scene that was essentially the man behind the curtain, except it was droids behind a wall controlling the holo display. This episode put me a little on edge about what I was to except for the rest fo the season. Luckily, after this weird side step, things went a lot better and the story arcs picked up.

There was some interesting new weaponry added in the fourth season. I won’t go into any details about them, because it’s one of those things that I thin kit better to experience for yourself, but I certainly enjoyed their addition.

Now let’s take a moment to talk about Jedi Master Krell. I’m just gonna come out a say it, I hated him. Right from the moment he arrived, I knew he was bad news. The episode had already started on a rough note, more for the clones than anything else, then Krell arrives and the sense of foreboding came with him. In fact that whole story arc, while very intense, was just a kick in the teeth for anyone who loves the clones. And I for one, really enjoy the clones in this series.

Ahsoka continues to grow a lot as a character and this is especially true during the Onderon story arc. It’s here that she has to push out of her comfort zone in order to help. We also get to see her question the Jedi Order just a little bit more, when some of the decisions they make do not sit well with her.

I was happy to see that Obi-Wan and Satine got several more episodes worth of time together. I had a feeling that they would, given where things had been left on in the previous seasons, and I was not disappointed here. Well, I was in one major regard and that was when they killed off Satine. Her murder, though I saw it coming, was brutal for us viewers but for Obi-Wan as well. Seeing Maul torture them both, showed off the ex-Sith lords brutality in a while new way and proved he would do anything to get revenge on Obi-Wan for cutting off his legs all those years before, was thrilling but sad in the end. I always thought Maul’s character got the short end of the stick in the movie, so having him play a few key roles in this series helped to give him a more solid character.

One thing that kind of bothered me, was that Maul no longer used a double bladed lightsaber. It felt too strange for him to be wielding a regular saber and I was waiting for him to change to a double bladed one, though that never happened. It’s a small detail I know, I just feel like he should have stuck with a weapon that better fit his style of fighting (from what we say in The Phantom Menace at least).

Season five was by far the best. It had me on the edge of me seat the whole way through, in fact I burned through that entire season in one sitting. I just couldn’t imagine taking a break in between episodes, even if it was for a couple of hours. In fact, it was to the point that I think I would have been driven bonkers had I watched the season when it was first released for TV, because I would have had to wait a week between each episode. Things really got intense during the last few episodes when Ahsoka is put into the spotlight, but in a bad way. Who would have thought that the Jedi Order would turn against her like that? That they wouldn’t listen to her when she tried to explain things? No wonder she felt so betrayed. Hell I felt betrayed watching the events unfold. It felt so unfair that she was being persecuted in such a way. It was actually heartbreaking to watch her be removed from the Jedi Order. But even more so, when they finally asked her to come back, once her innocence was proven, and she turned them down. Yet I applauded her for that decision.

Then there was season six, which is an incomplete season due to the series being shut down prematurely (thanks Disney). I have to admit, I felt pretty darn disappointed with these episodes. I understand why they released them since they were completed before the series was ended, so it made sense to give the fans what they had. But it just felt so lacking, so incomplete and left too many things unfinished. Plus that love story arc involving Jar Jar was a little disturbing.

I do feel like it would have been better to have just ended with season five. Sure, there were still a lot of loose ends to tie up. But that final episode of that season was actually a perfect ending point.

Overall, I found this series to be truly enjoyable. Sure, there were a couple of episodes that felt off and didn’t really add much to the overall story, but it was all so well done that I can ignore those few blips. I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. And don’t worry, just because it’s animated doesn’t mean it’s just for kids. People of all ages can enjoy this show. I would definitely recommend watching this series before diving into Rebels (if you haven’t started it yet), because it gives a lot of background on a few characters that will play important roles in that series, especially Ahsoka.

Series Review: Star Wars The Clone Wars – Season 1-3

Warning: There will be spoilers in this review.

Back in 2008, Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released and I instantly fell in love with the show. Unfortunately due to constant changes in the scheduling, I started missing episodes around season three. Recently I decided to watch all of the episodes in chronological order, as found in this list, so that I could finally see the entire series and enjoy it.

The first season, including the movie, introduces viewers to the full scale of the clone wars. At galaxy at war is huge, but seeing it affect so many planets, especially when there is a different planet for each episode really puts things into perspective. In fact, it’s seeing all of those planets, especially ones that didn’t make it into the series films that really makes me appreciate this series. They could have stuck to just a few world, the ones that most people know of, but instead they visited a vast array of planets and systems throughout the clone wars. The season also helps to introduce a lot of new characters who will play major and minor roles throughout the remainder of the series.

I found that the first two seasons went by really quickly, and I believe part of this was because there was a lot of setting up of events, introducing and sometimes reintroducing characters. It was in the third season that things really began to pick up and it’s here that I found myself truly in love with the series. A lot had happened prior to this season, but this is when everything got ramped up just that extra bit.

One story arc I really enjoyed in the third season was the Father, Son & Daughter plot line. This really put a lot of focus on Anakin, especially in relation to his destiny of being the Chosen One. But more so, I felt like the Father, Son and Daughter were interesting characters and their connection to the Force and how their lives and actions could affect the entire galaxy was really what made these episodes so enjoyable.

It is also in this season that there is a lot of growth when it comes to Ahsoka’s character. She is really finding her place among the Jedi and the galaxy, though still has moments of doubts when tough situations comes up. Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padme and many of the other main characters also show a lot fo growth during this season, but it is certain Ahsoka that stands out the most in this respect. Though one thing did bother me, and that was that there was no explanation as to how and why Ahsoka changed from wielding a single lightsaber to now dual-wielding. I know it has to do with her fighting style, as two sabers work better for her, but I feel there should have been at least one episode showing her gaining that second lightsaber.

I absolutely loved the episodes revolving around Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters on Dathomir. I felt in love with Dathomir after reading The Courtship of Princess Leia many years ago, and was so happy that they included the planet and the Nightsisters in this series. Also finding out that Asajj was was Nightsister made me love her character even more. Speaking of Asajj’s character, I just have to say that I have absolutely enjoyed every time she fights with Obi-Wan because the banter between those two is priceless. I was a bit disappointed that they also didn’t include any of the Witches from Dathomir, who are the light side wielders of the planet, while the Nightsisters use the dark side and ancient magic.

Another enjoyable story arc involved Mandalore and the Death Watch. What made this one stand out to me was finding out about Obi-Wan’s love interest, Satine, the Duchess of Mandalore. A bit of their history together is shared over the episodes, but I certainly craved more (perhaps I will find some more answer in the Clone Wars book from the Legends series or in future episodes of this series). Admittedly, I want them to get together, but I can tell that that won’t happen.

Other highlights from the first three seasons are seeing Tarkin, although he is on the Republic side at the time (which I admit was a bit weird even though I knew it made sense, since the Empire was formed from the Republic). Then there was the episodes that reintroduced Chewbacca, and had him working along side Ahsoka as they tried to escape Trandoshan trophy hunters. I also really enjoyed the character Tera Sinube, an ancient Jedi who helps Ahsoka when she loses her lightsaber in season two. This old Jedi taught Ahsoka a lot, and I hope his character makes appearances in future episodes.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first three seasons of this series. They are well put together, pretty face paced and enjoyable for all ages. I look forward to seeing what the next three season have in store.