Book Review: Smuggler’s Run

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I’ve been trying to make an effort to catch up on reading the new cannon Star Wars books lately. The series is still small, but I have yet to fall in love with the books, though perhaps in time and with the right authors and stories I will.

I figured that I can’t go wrong with a Han Solo story. Who doesn’t love that scruffy looking nerf herder? This story focuses on an event that occurs between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back.

I thought that the story was pretty good. It had a decent flow to it and the portrayal of Han was pretty spot on. One aspect I liked was how it explained just how difficult it is to pilot the Millennium Falcon, and how it really relies on having a pilot and a co-pilot in order to properly get the ship to respond. I never really gave any thought before as to why Chewbacca was the co-pilot, I just figured he was there because he was Han’s friend.

The story had a decent amount of action scattered throughout, which I feel really helped me enjoy the book more. Without that, the book would have been a bit bland. Plus how can you have a mission to rescue people important to the Rebellion if there aren’t a few blaster fights and ship battles along the way.

One thing I find strange about this book, and all of the other “Journey to” books that I have read so far, is that the 99% of the events within the book happen sometime during the orignal trilogy, yet they are labeled as a Journey To: The Force Awakens. Okay, yes there tend to be small things that will be referenced in The Force Awakens that you will read about in the book, but I just feel like it’s sort of faulty advertising. If it was truly a Journey To The Force Awakens story, then it should help to fill in the thirty year gap between the original trilogy and the new movies, not focus on something that happened during the original trilogy.

Though this book is labeled as Young Adult, I really don’t feel like it falls into the category. I guess it was the easy way the story unfolded that puts it in that genre.

Overall, this book was okay. It wasn’t great but it held it’s own in a fledgling series that is trying to build itself up to what the Expanded Universe what was – though I feel like it will take quite some time to reach that caliber of books. It is a worthwhile read for Star Wars fans that want to absorb every bit of the new cannon, but honestly for the average person it can probably be skipped.


Movie Review: Rogue One

This review contains spoilers!

Okay, let’s get this over with.

I didn’t like Rogue One.

Yeah, that’s right, a person who loves Star Wars didn’t like Rogue One.

I’m sure you are wondering why. Well, let me tell you.

I was excited about Rogue One. I love that Star Wars will continue on, even if the gaps before, between and after the two trilogies will no longer follow the Expanded Universe stories that are found in the books. But I digress.

When all the hype over Rogue One coming out was happening, I was trying my hardest to avoid all of it. In fact, I only watched the first trailer that was released, ignoring all other teasers and trailers. I wanted to go into this movie knowing nothing – well as nothing as you can get when it fills in part of the gap between the third and fourth episodes. I didn’t want to know who these new characters were, nor did I want to know about he recurring characters – and there were quite a few of them, from the trilogies and The Clone Wars series.

Can we talk about the lack of crawl? Because honestly, I thought that was Disney’s first mistake. We all knew ahead of time there wasn’t going to be a crawl, since apparently only Episodes get those and not in between movies,because the details aren’t important or some shit like that, but I felt like without the crawl I was watching just another SciFi movie.

Can we talk (complain) about the characters for a moment. I had such a hard time liking any of the characters in this movie, except Tarkin, because I love Tarkin and was so glad they included him. I felt like so many of the characters lacked any real dimension to them. They were simply just there to fill in space in the scenes. The one that stood out the most to me in this way was Bodhi, the pilot. He seemed to be disjointed from the story too much, he was there but, I don’t know, I wasn’t convinced they really needed him. Yeah, yeah, they did, because he knew shit about something or whatever, but yeah he felt useless to me. By far Jyn was my least favorite character. She was so unconvincing the whole time. She fought so hard against doing what everyone wanted her to do and then suddenly she was all “Oh yeah, I’ll totally help cause that’s what I want to do!” and it felt so wrong. The only reason she wanted to do anything because daddy was there and involved in it.

I thought Saw looked way too old. Yes, yes, Obi-Wan aged a crap ton between episode III and VI, and they all went through a lot with the war, but come on, Saw shouldn’t be that old considering the length of time line passed.

Then there is Krennic. Oh my goodness, did I hate this character. I think that’s the point of him, people are supposed to hate him, but my hatred was so much more than that. It’s like they wanted to make another Tarkin, but couldn’t make him too Tarkin-like, so they just made him an annoying whiny crybaby who wanted to be Tarkin but never could reach that Tarkin level of awesomeness.

Let’s not forget K-2S0, who annoyed the shit out of me for the entire movie. It’s like they were trying too hard to make his character comic relief but that he could only be funny in an overly insulting way.

So was there anything I liked about the movie?

Yes, I really enjoyed when the credits started rolling!

Okay, that’s not the only thing I liked. You know that scene where the rebel soldiers are trapped in the corridor and they are trying to get the plans through to the ship and Vader kills them all? Best 30 seconds of that movie, hands down. Although, I will admit it does bother me just a bit that Vader force gripped the gun out of one of the guys hands but doesn’t bother to even try to do the same to the plans. Yes, I get it, they had to get the plans through or else the entire original trilogy would be different. But come on, it doesn’t make sense to disarm guys when you can easy reflect blaster bolts away with your lightsaber and not try to get that critical bit of information back using that same Force technique.

Also, when everyone dies at the end, that was great. All those characters that I disliked are now erased from future movies. It put a smile on my face.

Alright, I’m done complaining. It’s sad that I didn’t love it, let alone like it, but I guess even fans of a series won’t love everything. I mean come on, lots of people hated Episode VII after all.

Side Note: I will admit that I feel like some of my dislike of this movie stems from reading Catalyst before seeing Rogue One. That book introduces several of the characters seen in the movie and sets up the whole building of the Death Star and what will eventually happen with Jyn’s family. This book pissed me off and it left a bit of a bad taste, which I tried really hard to ignore going into the movie but seeing those characters on screen brought all that hatred right to the surface.

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.