book reviews, spoiler free

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Novelisation

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The Last Jedi By Jason Fry

Rating: XXX/X

Published: March 8th 2018 by Century

“Yes I am,” Kylo said, and there was no menace in his voice – only misery.”


Rey continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in this thrilling novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi written by New York Times bestselling author Jason Fry.

The moment I walked out of the cinema after seeing The Last Jedi I knew I wanted to buy this book. No, I take that back I was angry at the choices one of the characters made and proceeded to rant about it for the next hour me and my husband spent at Nando’s. BUT, the next morning when I was over it I headed to my local bookstore to grab the novelisation, just like I did when The Force Awakens came out. To my dismay I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. I decided to do a quick check online and found it out it wouldn’t be out for another THREE MONTHS. I was suddenly not sure how I would read anything else until then and fell into a large Tumblr shaped hole. The 8th March came (also my three year olds birthday!) and when I came home it was there waiting for me. I excitedly devoured the first ten pages then fell asleep.

I can’t go too much into detail about the events of this book while keeping this spoiler free but I do intend to do a book talk video where I’ll go into MUCH more detail. I can tell you however that you don’t necessarily need to have seen the film to read this book,  I imagine most people wanting to read this, like myself have seen the film though and want to know more. Also called “The Last Jedi: The expanded edition” this book contains the story we already see in the film but including some deleted scenes that didn’t make it in and some unique points of view and extra information unable to be addressed on screen.

The plot is not perfect by any means as it’s tied down by the plot of the film, which although I enjoyed does not have the best plot. The good news is that for the most part the extra things we get in the novelisation do help somewhat. Some of the extra scenes help to build characters more and see into their motivations for their actions a little better. We get a little insight into Snoke’s background with The First Order for example and I really enjoyed Finn’s character arc much more on the page were his change didn’t seem quite so sudden. There is a prequel scene featuring Luke (which I’m sure everyone has heard about but I’ll keep quiet about the specifics just in case) which a lot of fans have loved and I agree that it was a good addition, both the actual scene itself and the implications. I felt I just understood more from reading the novel but on the flip side I felt that a good few important moments, including a few of my favourites were completely downplayed and left me feeling quite dissatisfied towards the end and I’ve had a hard time trying to balance out the great new information we’ve received with the disappointment at the parts I felt should have had more to them.

Author, Jason Fry writes for Wizards of the Coast and Star Wars insider and is primarily known for writing reference books and articles but has written a couple of stories in the Star Wars universe already including The Clone Wars: Darth Maul: Shadow Conspiracy that although enjoyable I do feel are written for a target audience much younger than myself which could possibly be why this book didn’t quite hit the mark I thought it would for me. Fry is a fun writer and an avid fan but there were chunks of the writing that to me just felt dry and at times I considered not finishing it. I know not everything can be new in film novelisation and as the middle part of a trilogy with an unknown or plotted end your material is kind of limited but sometimes scenes felt a little like an audio description of the film and that kind of made them just seem boring.

I feel that the extra material and insight this book offers does mostly outweigh the boring parts and I really wish I could have given this a higher rating because when it was good it was pretty good and certainly worth the XXXX rating I would have given it. The problem wasn’t that it was necessarily bad and I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy it (as I’ve said I did at times) but the boring parts just felt too prevalent. Other than a few lines and one or two reveals that I loved I don’t feel this book had any lasting impact although in retrospect this may simply be due to the fact that I’ve seen the film, I know what happens and Fry can only embellish and add so much. I would be super interested to see what someone who hasn’t seen the film would think of it, I feel like maybe that would be the real test. In the end I’ve given it a split rating of XXX/X because a full out XXX or XXXX just doesn’t feel right either way. If you enjoyed the film it might be worth a read or I wonder if the audio book version read by Marc Thompson might just give it that extra bit of something which I found the case for The Force Awakening noverlisastion. Either way I feel like opinions on this book will easily be as divided as the thoughts on the film itself.

spoiler free, Uncategorized

Mini Star Wars Book Haul

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If you’ve been following my Twitter you’ll know I’ve been a bit over excited about the release of the Expanded Edition of The Last Jedi novelisation by Jason Fry pretty much since I first saw the film. I’ve been reading through a lot of the Star Wars novels and audio books lately and getting my Star Wars fix where I can. As a result when it came to preordering my copy of The Last Jedi I ordered a couple of other books as well, thus I have a nice mini haul to talk you through today.

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These beautiful copies of the Star Wars: A new hope, a Junior Novel and the proceeding other two original trilogy junior novels and the one for The Force Awakens came out last year to celebrate 40 years of Star Wars and although I just brought the first one for now I’m certain I’ll need to get them all. They all feature a similar beautiful but simple cover with a corresponding lightsaber and it was this cover design that caught my eye. I also thought that perhaps my three year old may one day long to know about a galaxy far far away and Mum would 28907250_10155087827466581_1200349095_n pull these beautiful things off the shelf and we could read them together. The book book itself is a normal paper back size and as is the norm for a junior novel it’s quite thin so I’m looking forward to a nice easy read some time in the future. The font as well is comfortable but also has an appropriate kind of Sci-Fi feel to it that I think young and old Star Wars fans will appreciate.

 

28829616_10155087827481581_492495180_nNext up is probably one of my favourite books I now own and am really pleased I brought. While scrolling through my Instagram feed I came across a Star Wars post featuring a few different books including a black and gold leather bound book saying simply “The Star Wars trilogy” on it’s spine. After having a look around online I found out it was a collection of three original novelisations and knew I probably needed to have it. I had a look on Amazon seeing as I’d preordered TLJ from there and found this blue, white and silver copy
with R2-D2 on the front instead of the black 28832952_10155087827666581_486337353_nand gold one and for under a tenner I was definitely willing to check it out. When it arrived it was wrapped in cellophane with a gold sticker on the wrapping telling me this was in fact a “Collectors edition”  which is always a nice surprise. I assumed it was just the different colour but it has loads of nice little extra features. The pages for a start are sprayed a shiny chrome silver, it comes with a little built in blue bookmark ribbon (one of my favourite things in books) as well as two illustrations on the back and front  inside covers and a sizable poster of the original film you can
28829634_10155087827591581_2094030229_ntake out separately. Each of the three novelisations have letters before them from the authors (The letter before A New Hope is by George Lucas even though it was ghost written by Alan Dean Foster) and is a really nice touch. In addition the pages themselves also feel of a superior quality and are supremely smooth and just help make this book feel like a premium product. None of this was mentioned in the description of the product when I brought it, just that that the cover was leather so I feel really lucky to have received this beautiful copy.

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Last but by no means list was the long awaited book itself. The novelisation of The Last Jedi. I feel we in the UK were robbed of the gorgeous cover I’ve seen some in the US have gotten but I read jacketed books without their jackets on anyway so I’m sure I can forget about it. This book seems very similar to it’s predecessor, the novelisation of The Force Awakens and I like the contrast with the first books jacket being full black and this one’s being full white. I’m not keen on the glossy jacket either.
28908228_10155087828366581_247707467_ntake book pictures for my instagram account and to help promote them and it’s awkward to photograph in certain light. It’s laid out very nicely inside though and what I’ve read of it so far alone has totally been worth it, there’s so much extra content and I’m hoping it really helps improve on the film. Speaking of the film, in the middle of the book are eight colour pages of stills from the film. This doesn’t really bother me and I’ve seen it book/film adaptions for as long as I can remember, I don’t feel they add anything though.

I will do seperate reviews for these or similar once I’ve managed to read them all. I complained about the size of my TBR are the beginning of the year and am totally doing myself absolutely no favours by buying more and more books but I’m glad to have brought these and look forward to reading all of them. Today marks the day five out of seven days of Star Wars here on my blog, tomorrow’s post will be in the form of a YouTube video and if you happen to be reading this before 8pm GMT on Friday 9th March I will be live streaming tonight as a guest on Radlt Gaming’s Twitch channel playing (badly) some Battlefront 2 so feel free to come say hello! If all goes well I’ll be uploading a highlight trailer with tomorrows video. Wish me luck and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for a video before we conclude our week long Star Wars celebration on Sunday. Until then, may the force be with you.

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

Star Wars: Phasma – Review

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Star Wars: Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson
Narrated by: January LaVoy

Rating: XXXX

Published: September 1st 2017 by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group. (Also available in hardback and paperback, this review however is for the audio book but most points will also apply to the written text as well.)

“That’s the problem with following all the rules—somebody else is eventually going to get ahead by breaking them, and then where will you be?”

One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.

Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armoured stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.

What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.

I wish I had found this book sooner. This was my first real foray into the world of Star Wars books and I wasn’t sure what to expect. For years and years I’d seen all the different books and comics mounting up about one of my favourite film franchises and I did read a good few of the comics when I was much younger but there seemed to be so many books I had no idea where to start. In April 2014 the expanded universe became non cannon and gave way to a new set of novels and comics which I kept meaning to get back to and last year while waiting impatiently for “The Last Jedi” to release I had a spare audible credit and after seeing it crop up on social media and in my local bookstore I decided to spend it on Phasma. I was not disappointed.

If you’ve ever heard a Star Wars Audio Book before you’ll know how immersive they can be, they feature sound affects and music along with the narration and I was shocked at how much difference those details really make. As soon as I listened to a sample of this and heard ships firing, doors opening and closing, droids beeping and the background noise aboard “The Absolution” I knew this Audio book experience would be a completely new one for me and I couldn’t get enough. I’ve since brought other Star Wars audio books, much preferring to listen to them because of these extra details, each month I get a new audible credit means I get a new Star Wars books at the moment.

The plot in Phasma is two fold, we have the present plot of Vi Mordai, the captured rebellion spy being interrogated and the story she tells of Phasma’s past. I was worried switching between these two plots would be annoying but somehow it works and the interrogation frames Phasma’s story well as they weave together quite organically,  although I’m not sure either story could completely hold it’s own (Phasma’s story comes fairly close) they support each other and makes the plot feel whole as the plots merge together in a way that is only partially satisfying. I wasn’t sure how I wanted this to end but it was only partially the way it did, something felt missing but as it was a precursor novel to “The Last Jedi” I feel I should have expected that. (Don’t get me started on Phasma’s story in TLJ though…) On the whole though I enjoyed both plot lines and the separate feels each had to them.

Before this book was released the way the story would be told was a cause for debate, would this just be a current story about Phasma or would we really get inside that Chrome helmet at last and see her inner workings. What we ended up with was a mixed result but that kind of works. I was expecting to get a back story from her point of view and we’d find out that she was misunderstood or there was a part of her to feel for but neither parts of this book are told from Phasma’s point of view and that just makes her feel more formidable and somehow even more of a mystery despite learning how she got to be where she is today. I’m surprisingly okay with this as it is kind of refreshing to find a villainous character today who is pretty much completely villainous. We do however find some possible redemption of a First Order character here with Cardinal, the high ranking storm trooper interrogating Vi and the trainer and mentor of the young children set to become storm troopers themselves.

The setting of Phasma’s story is her planet of origin, Parnassos and I feel like the planet was almost a character all of it’s own with a threatening presence to match Phasma herself and so many stories to tell about it’s past shown to us by the different trials our characters go through along the way giving the whole planet a very dangerous feel. As for our more humanoid characters I enjoyed meeting our current General (Armitage) Hux’s father Brendol and I’m honestly not sure if he’s better or worse than his son because they’re both such weasels. Other’s from Phasma’s clan join her journey across this deadly planet and a few of them are slightly memorable, Siv being the most developed as the story is from her point of view. Siv is a very likeable character, she does what she needs to do for her people and is brave and compassionate if not the most original character.

I think if I had just read this book I might have only given it XXX as it is an enjoyable book but nothing completely blew me away and I have a hard time imagining liking it as much without the added atmospheric sound effects etc. Nether the less I’m glad I read it and it’s certainly opened me up to reading (and listening to) more of the Star Wars books which can only be a good thing.

You can buy Star Wars: Phasma in print here with free shipping, or here on audible.co.uk, (you can listen to a sample too!) If you’ve never signed up before your first audio book is free! You can also add it to your goodreads here. 

Don’t forget I’ll be posting Star Wars content all week! Tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Bloodline by Claudia Gray.