book reviews, Uncategorized

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Novelisation

Book Review

52306589._SX318_SY475_Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson

Rating: XXXX

Published March 17th by Century

“Rey,” he said. “That doesn’t sound like you.”
Oh, but it did. Maybe she was revenge made flesh. Maybe she had been all along.”

The Resistance has been reborn. The spark of rebellion is rekindling across the galaxy. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over.

Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced. And this time, they’re facing it together. With the help of old friends, new allies, and the mysterious guidance of the Force, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

Anyone who even remotely knows me knows that like the other two novelisations I’ve been stupidly excited for this book. I was left feeling a little let-down by The Last Jedi novelisation despite loving the film and so I tried to keep my expectations low with this book where possible but there was so much I felt that was left unsaid in the film or that didn’t feel right and I was hoping that, as is often the case with the novelisations, also called expanded editions that we could get more info, more moments and more closure. As you can probably tell from my rating for this instalment I got all of that and more. Although I tend to keep all of my reviews spoiler-free I will say this might touch on a few vague details here and there so to please keep that in mind when proceeding.

I want to say that I did enjoy the film itself, although it wasn’t without problems, these novelisations do not change events that happen in the film hugely but instead expands on them which is the reason I enjoy these so much. I really feel that Rae has done exceptionally well with the additions made to the story. One of the main problems with the film, in my opinion, was that, despite its length, there just wasn’t enough time to cram everything in well and even with this book being a little on the shorter side than I had imagined at 247 pages it does a lot of those lost moments justice and we get some brilliant insights.

For me, this has definitely been my favourite of the novelilastions, especially of the sequel trilogy; I found The Force Awakens a little too dry and clinical, The Last Jedi lacked heart but The Rise of Skywalker hit all of the right marks and then some. The second two novelisastions were classed as ‘expanded editions’ and as such we expect extra content, for TLJ the extra things felt surplus to requirements for the most part (apart from that one scene with Poe giving his jacket back to Finn) but every extra snippet and piece of information felt right and added to the story in every way in this latest, and for the time being, last installment. Without giving much away there is one particular single line of dialogue that made the ending of this film easier to deal with for me personally and I’m extremely grateful for that as it definitely helped me to come to terms with some heavy moments from the film.

All in all I feel like this novelisastion breathed some much needed love and care to what we saw on screen, it added new layers and just gave it that extra bit of heart that I feel the film itself was lacking and I believe Rae Carson could have easily made this a five ‘star’ read had she been given free range. That being said, it was still a very enjoyable read and everything I had hoped it would be.

If you enjoyed the film but wanted more out of it, weren’t sure how you felt about the film or straight up loved it I think you’ll enjoy this novelisastion, if you hated it it, make sure you don’t come into reading this with the expectation that it will change things on a huge scale but maybe give it a try anyway as you never know what a fresh perspective may bring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

April TBR

monthly tbr

After not getting a lot read last month (although what I did read was actually from my TBR for a change) I’m planning to keep it small this month too. I do a lot of my reading when I get quiet moments at home and lately, there haven’t been too many of them at home so I plan to take it a bit more casually this month and see how I get on.

Deck of Omens by Christine Lynn Herman.
This is my current read and I think I’m about halfway through at this point so will definitely be finishing this up within the next few days with any luck.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Heroes by Tom Taylor.
My comic review for the month will be a follow on from last months, this time looking at the trade paperback collection focusing on the heroes from the sequel trilogy. This might change to The Rise Of Kylo Ren comics as I am due the last issue any day now so we’ll see how long I can resist and avoid spoilers.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
As you may have seen previously I was lucky enough to be gifted an arc copy of Bookish and the Beast, part three of the Once Upon a Con series which I plan to start this month. The few conventions I attend a year have been (understandably) postponed and it’s still unknown whether they will happen at all so I’m hoping I can live vicariously through these books. Not to mention I’ve been planning to read them for ages!

The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston.
Being the second book in the Once Upon a Con series this follows the same reasoning as Geekerella. I’m not sure I’ll get to the sequel this month but I’m hopeful!

Have you read any of the books on this months TBR? If so let me know what you thought or if you’re reading any of these this month as well! What book are you hoping to get read this month? Also, are you finding you’re reading more or less during the lockdown?

 

 

book reviews, Comics

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains

comicbookreview

44777456._SY475_Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains by Tom Taylor

Rating (overall):

Published December 3rd 2019 by Marvel Comics

“You are in my command. You are another gun I hold. If your aim isn’t true. If you falter. Then you are no longer a gun. No longer worthy to be in my hand,”

This is the Age of Star Wars – an epic series of adventures that unites your favorite characters from all three trilogies! Now it’s the First Order’s turn to take center stage. As Captain Phasma leads an attack on the iron planet Demir, a young Stormtrooper looks to follow in Phasma’s footsteps. But will she have the heart to follow the merciless ways of the First Order captain? General Hux has always been looked down upon, but when a sabotaged shuttle crash-lands on an unknown planet it will be up to Hux to save Kylo Ren! Plus: Tales of Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke!

COLLECTING: STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – CAPTAIN PHASMA 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – GENERAL HUX 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – KYLO REN 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – SUPREME LEADER SNOKE 1.

In the desperate lead up to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releasing last year I went a bit crazy buying Star Wars books and brought three of the newly released trade paperbacks from the Age of collection. I brought Age of Resistance – Villains and Age of Resistance – Heroes which are both set in the sequel era and Age of Republic – Heroes, set in the prequel era. There are two volumes, each entitled Heroes or Villains, set in each of the three main Star Wars eras and I would definitely like to get around to reading them all at some point but for now, I just picked the ones I found most interesting. I started with Age of Resistance – Villains as I have three issues of The Rise of Kylo Ren to read yet and figured they could be my next read after this. Although I’ve given an overall rating for this collection I will also give an individual mini-review and rating for each story/collected issue, much like I have done in the past for anthology reviews.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Captain Phasma. XXXXX
As someone who read and adored the novel Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson and loved getting to know the woman behind the mask and armour, this was a really fun read. Short, yet perfectly illustrates the core of Phasma’s personality and ultimate ‘flaw’ I loved it.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – General Hux. XXXXX
A brilliant look into the past and mind of General Armitage Hux, I knew a little bit of his background, mainly from Phasma and a few mentions here and there in other media but this laid things out plain and simple, the transition from page 2 to 3 felt almost cinematic and was done extremely well. I think we really see how Armitage works and it’s deliciously villainous. Another great short story. (Minor spoiler, Hux calls Kylo Ren, Ben and I’m honestly here for that).

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke. XXXX 
Another good read but I felt this one was more focused on and told us more about Kylo Ren instead of Snoke which I suppose fits with his whole mysterious persona but I’m still pretty salty about the whole Snoke thing. It does gives us a look into some of the training methods Snoke used when training Ren and a ‘cameo’ of sorts that I hadn’t been suspecting.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren. XXXXX
The essay piece after the Kylo Ren comic sums this up perfectly “Ben Solo – Part Skywalker, Part Vader, All Solo.” There are some brilliant side by side comparison panels between events in the present and in the past like I particularly enjoyed but my favourite moment is the one where I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself “if there was ever any doubt that Ben is Han Solo’s son it’s now been obliterated.”

After the four issues with each of their essay pieces that follow (I loved these and I’m so glad they were included in this bind up) we are treated to the variant cover art for each of the issues which a nice touch but also some WIP pages for a fair bit of the comics, I especially liked any that involved the “scale guy” and a look at the breakdown that goes into planning each panel.

I’m hoping to be able to read Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Heroes before the novelisation comes out in a couple of weeks to set the mood as it where. I also feel a rewatch of the films coming on too! Have you read any of the Star Wars comics or books? I used to read the comics religiously as a child so reading the newer ones now feels a little like coming home. Have a good week and I’ll see you back here Thursday for the first of this months book tags!

spoiler free, tbr thursday

March TBR

monthly tbr

March is upon us and although there are quite a few great books coming out this month I’m keeping my TBR pretty small and I’m under no illusion that I’ll make it through my entire list this month either, to be honest. Animal Crossing New Horizons is out towards the end of this month and I know for a fact that it will almost certainly consume my life. I’m a mood reader as well so I’ve tried to pick books I think will match my mood this month.

Cursed by Various authors
This beautifully creepy anthology is my current read and I’m not quite halfway through it yet. There has already been such a great mix of tales (Henry and the Snakewood box has been my favourite so far) and I’m really enjoying it and trying to make sure I actually make time for reading it at the moment.

Dragon Age Tevinter Nights by Various authors
I’m SO excited about this one. I have played Dragon Age Origins to death but I’ve only managed about half an hour of the sequel and I haven’t touched Inquisition yet so for the next couple of weeks I’m planning to dive into Inquisition alongside reading this anthology themed around the world across the three games.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Novelisation by Rae Carson
I am already losing my mind over finally getting my hands on this book. Even with the problems we had in the film I’m hoping some of it will translate differently. I wasn’t overly keen on the first two BUT with Rae Carson penning this one I have a really good feeling, especially after reading two pages that were leaked after early copies were on sale at C2E2 last week. Probably frantically buddy reading this one with El from Ink and Plasma on the Thursday it comes out before playing Animal Crossing when it’s released the next day.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
I wanted to choose a cutesy read for this month too and after watching TATBILB2 last month I know I want to get this series read. I’ll admit this may end up being one that gets missed out this month due to the amount going on but I have it ready if I manage to get a lot read!

Let’s see how many I actually manage to get through! I’m at least two books behind on my Goodreads challenge at the moment and I feel it will probably only get worse this month! What is your TBR for the month looking like?

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Six Characters I’d name my kids after

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! The weekly challenge where we give six answers to the prompt form the lovely Steph at A Little But A Lot. This week the prompt is six characters I’d name my kids after. This one actually sounds like a really fun prompt. I have one son who is named after a character in Haven after I binge-watched the show while pregnant. I’m also super proud to have been named after Jem from Jem and the Holograms, the main character in a cartoon about a rockstar with bright pink hair.

Katherine Janeway – Not a book I realise (not all of these will be, book blog or now) but I couldn’t not include this one as if our son had been a girl we had agreed on calling them Katherine, middle name Jane in honour of my favourite Star Trek Captain, Captain Katherine Janeway of the Starship voyager. Lame? Yeah, a little but I also really loved the idea of using Kat for short or kitty Kat.

Leia – One of the first fictional characters I ever looked up to I would be proud to name a daughter after Princess Leia/General/Senator Organa.

Kady Grant – Not only is Illuminae one of my very favourite books but Kady is one of my very favourite characters and I love her name. Sadly as with most of the names on this list, it doesn’t fit well with my surname so would sound weird.

River Song – River Song from Doctor Who is another character I absolutely adore. I loved her from the moment we met her in the library and just fell more in love with her as we got to learn more about her.

Iden Versio – So, after going through this list with my husband in conversation he’s pointed out that I’ve picked six (changed it to five to include at least one ‘boys’ name) strong, kick-ass women and so I replied OF COURSE I did because these are the characters I love and that inspire me and Iden Versio is NO exception. Tucked away in the Battlefront II story mode and a tie-in novel (by Christie Golden, it’s brilliant, you can check out my review here)

Jake from Animorphs – I figured I would pick at least one ‘boy’ name for the list. I tend to find a lot of the female-orientated names more interesting but a name I did consider my son was Jake purely because of my love of Animorphs when I was a kid. I read all of the books and watched the show to death. I was half in love with Tobias but I always loved Jake and how good of a leader he was (most of the time).

Are there any funny or meaningful stories behind your children’s names? Or if you plan to have any will you likely be naming them after any fictional characters? If you could choose a fictional character to yourself be named after, who would you pick and why?

 

book reviews, spoiler free

A Finn and Poe Adventure

Book Review

46267271._SX318_

Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Cavan Scott and Elsa Charretier

Published October 4th by Disney Lucasfilm Press.

Rating: XXX

“You make it sound so easy. Remember the last time we stole a ship?”

“We got away didn’t we?” Poe said before bolting across the deck. 

“Got away?…We nearly died!”

Join Finn, Poe, and BB-8 on a special mission for the Resistance, set between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. With over twenty possible outcomes, readers will have to choose to carefully in order to keep Finn, Poe, and BB-8 safe from the evil First Order.

The first in my monthly Star Wars books review is a bit of a different one as this book is not a typical novel. Aimed at younger readers, this brilliantly illustrated title is a “Choose your own Destiny” novel, in that you make choices along the way that then affect what happens next and the overall outcome, some choices will help you to succeed, others will see you fail your mission instead. Although this is classed as a Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and is clearly set between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker it doesn’t have much bearing or the connection to the plot other than to, once again reiterate how desperate the Resistance has become much like all the other books have (although I am yet to find one that explains how they seem much better off by the time the film proper starts but that’s not relevant here). As such this book can be read before or after seeing the film and doesn’t contain any spoilers whatsoever (at least not that I came across in my read).

This book was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely be trying to get hold of the others (Han and Chewie, Luke and Leia) at some point, especially as I think my son might enjoy reading these together. For a children’s book though, I did find the amount of “dead ends” rather frustrating and wonder if (much – in comparison to me) younger readers would get bored with the number of bad endings there are? I also would have appreciated something like a line of text after the “Can you go back and make better decisions?” Maybe indicating which page number you came from that doomed you so you could go make and pick a different choice? It might be my terrible memory but I spent a lot more time then I’d like, flicking through the book trying to find where I was to go back.

The art is simple and delightful, colourful and used well, with illustrations depicting some of the more important scenes throughout. The book is a nice size, clocking in at only 140 pages the adventure is a short one and I read this in around an hour or so with all the going back and forth but I do enjoy short stories and little snippets like this so this wasn’t a big problem for me and I think it may have actually ended up being even more frustrating if it had been a lot longer, not to mention potentially offputting for younger readers who are clearly the main target market for this. On an aesthetic and accessibility note, the page quality is high with nice clear and crisp bright white pages, the text is a good size and while the front is in keeping with a “Star Wars” feel it’s also incredibly easy to read, hopefully making this a book that might interest someone who may not read a lot or has difficulty doing so. It’s interesting and full of action and a brilliant additon to the new Star Wars books.

book reviews, Comics, Uncategorized

Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance

comicbookreview.png
45485630Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance 
by Ethan Sacks (writer), Luke Ross (artist)

Rating: XXX

Published November 19th by Marvel Comics

“I wasn’t going to allow my friends to suffer while I can do something about it either”

BEFORE THE EXCITING EVENTS OF STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER! Hounded by the FIRST ORDER across the galaxy, the RESISTANCE is in dire need of ships, weapons and recruits to make a final stand against KYLO REN’S forces. Desperation drives a delegation led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA and REY to entreat the Rebel veteran’s one-time allies, THE MON CALAMARI, to join the fight – but decades after Imperial occupation enslaved their planet, there are those willing to stop at nothing to prevent another war from bloodying the waters of Mon Cala. A system away, POE DAMERON and FINN have their own mission: to hunt down a weapons cache on the remote moon of Avedot, unaware that they are being hunted by the most notorious criminal gang in the galaxy!

Rey-Star-Wars-Allegiance

So although the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker content is meant to be read before the film is released, I had only read Resistance Reborn before going into the cinema and instead found that I tried to read through some of the Journey content afterwards instead to fill the hole where the film novelisation should be. The Allegiance comics are one such distraction and I haven’t read a Star Wars comic in a good long while with the exception of the first Poe Dameron comic last year (or maybe even the year before…it’s been a while) so I wasn’t sure what to expect, not to mention obviously things will change with different writers and artists. This review covers issues one to four of the Allegiance comic series designed to link the events of The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker.

At the start of the comic, we get one of the iconic Star Wars scrolls and honestly this was a brilliant start and feels better than the one we got at the beginning of TROS (The Rise of Skywalker). Not everyone reads every single bit of content or plays Fortnite (yes I’m still salty we got the emperors “returning speech” in a Fornite event okay…) so I was immediately pretty done with the TROS crawl but this one feels relevant and I feel actually does a good job, off to a very good start!

If you’ve read Resistance Reborn then this whole scenario probably sounds quite familiar, Leia appealing to others for aid, Finn and Poe off an a side quest for the rebellion somewhere and it’s very much the same here which has the unfortunate effect of making Allegiance seem like a heavily watered-down version of the novel with the novel having better emotional stakes and pay off. These comics were released first but I think in the timeline the novel comes first as it’s pretty much directly after the end of The Last Jedi but who knows, as it always is with Star Wars, the timeline is a little hazy.

On its own, however, Allegiance is not a bad read, there are no especially huge moments but I think they’ve done pretty well to get through two stories with some interesting character interactions and such within the space of four issues. Saying that, the story is relatively paper-thin but honestly a little fun and they really reminded me of the old weekly Star Wars comics  I used to read when I was a kid. The characters have missions to complete, they attempt to, trouble happens, they get out of trouble simple and easy, a bit like the equivalent of the “monster of the week” style you find with some TV shows and the first few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Honestly, it works though and it was only really on reflection for this review that I realised how little story there really was. It was by no means mind-blowing but it was enjoyable and as a result, I ended up ordering some more Star Wars comics and I do think I’m ready to see TROS again at some point in the future so I guess it did its job? Not to mention it explains a couple of things like the inclusion on the Mon Calamari forces in TROS and the presence of Admiral Ackbar’s son who has a few lines in the film.

With not a huge amount of story there were a few other things we managed to get out of the Allegiance comics, one of which was more Rose Tico and not only more Rose content in general but alongside Rey! She doesn’t play a massive part but is integral and has some brilliant characterisation that was sorely lacking in the film. Her personality really shines through and it seems like she and Rey have become good friends which was lovely and honestly, I’d read a whole comic about them two hanging out and going on missions etc.

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Essentially being one of the main characters of the sequel franchise Rey obviously gets a lot of page space and we get to see her doing a little force training as well as a fair bit of fighting (again like the older comics, we get a large amount of action), during which we see her beginning to use the force a lot more which I enjoyed. One thing I really noticed about her character was just how angry she was which felt very at odds with how Rey is portrayed in the films, sure she gets angry but she spends so much of these comics making threats and barring her teeth in 80% of her scenes that just seemed a little out of character although it does harken back to a lot of Anakin’s reactions in Revenge of the Sith so maybe this was the idea? To spread a little seed of doubt as to Rey’s “place” in the force in addition to the “Dark Rey” we see in the trailer.

Rey was also one of the only characters I had any problems with art wise too as she just seems like someone decided to see how many action figure poses they could put her in instead of just standing normally like an actual person and not a power ranger (see above image).

rose-rey

I haven’t really mentioned the Finn, Poe and BB8 side of things for which I would be remiss but there’s unfortunately not a lot to say about it. It’s good, it’s fun and we are treated to the usual Finn and Poe b/romance banter but it does sadly feel largely unimportant and unneeded which is a shame as they’re really fun characters.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and it certainly scratched an itch but just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Definitely not required reading for TROS in any capacity other than understanding the presence of the Mon Calamari.