book reviews, spoiler free

Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse

Book Review

45452530._SY475_Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: XXXX

Published November 27th 2019 by Century

“Not a lot with which to fight your enemy but more than they’d had yesterday. And so it would go. Every day more than yesterday until they had a fighting force. Or at least that was the idea. She tried not to think about the losses along the way.”

The heroes of the Resistance must fight back fro the edge of the oblivion in this pivotal prequel to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Resistance is in ruins. In the wake of their harrowing escape from Crait, what was once an army has been reduced to a handful of wounded heroes. Finn, Poe, Rey, Rose, Chewbacca, Leia Organa — their names are famous among the oppressed worlds they fight to liberate. But names can only get you so far, and Leia’s last desperate call for aid has gone unanswered.

From jungles of Ryloth to the shipyards of Corellia, the shadow of the First Order looms large, and those with the bravery to face the darkness are scattered and isolated. If hope is to survive, the Resistance must journey throughout the galaxy, seeking out more leaders – including those who, in days gone by, helped a nascent rebellion tripple an empire. Battles will be fought, alliances will be forged, and the Resistance will be reborn.

After reading some of the previous “journey to” books for The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, I was suitably amped up and excited for this first book in the Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker! I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan, from watching the original trilogy at home on VHS with my parents, delighting in the shiny remastered video boxset my mum got me for Christmas one year and then seeing the prequel films coming out in the cinema, to going to the cinema on my own the day The Force Awakens came out because I had managed to find a baby sitter for a few hours and I was determined not to let the film get spoilt for me and going to see The Last Jedi countless times (my poor husband saw it with me first and got the brunt of all my confused emotions – Sorry Chris!). So suffice to say, I’m incredibly excited about the last film in this newest trilogy. I have begun my yearly hype fest of rewatching the other films (including Solo, at last, this year) and am LOVING watching The Mandolorian (Baby Yoda Show) each week which in turn meant that I ended up pouring a lot of that hype into my reading of Resistance Reborn which is by no means a bad book, it’s a great book but I don’t think it was physically capable of filling the void that can only be filled by the upcoming film itself.

This is very much a Poe Dameron book which the cover suggests judging by his face being the largest present and I’m glad for it. In the Force Awakens, Poe is cocky and charming, in The Last Jedi we see the more negative side of that confidence and in this book that helps to bridge the gap between TLJ and The Rise of Skywalker we really see how that confidence has been shaken to its very core and the emotional aftermath of the loss of a huge proportion of lives and ships from the already too small amount that the resistance had remaining after their forced speedy evacuation from their previous base of operations. We really get a good look inside Poe’s head and see how this has all affected him as well as the repercussions of his actions on those around him.

Although the story is intriguing and compelling for me the characters and their interactions really made this book for me. We get to see the resistance “family” rally together for the first time before they all jet off to where they have to be etc but it was nice for example seeing Poe and Rey interact as well as being introduced to new characters and some old faces!! I won’t give any spoilers away but if you’re a fan of the older films (and especially the X-Wing novels) you’ll be very pleased as well as one of my personal favourite appearances, a couple of characters that will mean a lot if you’ve played the single-player campaign in Battlefront 2 (if you haven’t, do this at your earliest convenience) as well as a surprise addition that made me actually gasp which will only make sense if you’ve read the particular book they’re previously mentioned in and was my favourite character inclusion. In addition to these characters, we get Finn, Rose and Rey too although I think one of my biggest gripes is that I would like to have seen more of both Rose and Rey.

One character I did find particularly interesting was a member of the First Order we get a point of view from. I loved the insight we got into members of the First Order and earlier on, Empire in some previous books but this really has a Catalyst feel to it which really helped as that’s one of my top three Star Wars books.

Story-wise we get a one of my favourite things, HEISTS. I won’t go into too much detail but the Resistance is trying to get back on its feet and is in desperate need of a few things if it is to continue to exist, let alone pose any kind of threat to the First Order. Thus the whole is split into different teams for different missions which from a written perspective are all woven together exceedingly well and kept everything interesting and linked together and remaining well-paced.

I definitely enjoyed this book but I think there was just something lacking to give it that extra push to a XXXXX rating for me. I would still definitely recommend reading it though if you’re a Star Wars fan especially and you’re running out of time to do so before The Rise of Skywalker comes out on December 19th so get to it!

 

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The Women of Star Wars

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Scrolling through Twitter aimlessly when I was meant to be writing a blog last night I came across a tweet from someone who’s daughter had been crying because she wanted to wear her Star Wars top to school the next day but was worried she would laughed at  for liking “boy stuff” so her mother asked people retweet and comment to show her how awesome girl Star Wars fans are. At the time of writing that tweet has been retweeted 2,711 times, received 4,472 likes and 946 comments from people all over the world including other parents, cosplayers, astronauts, voice actors from the Star Wars TV shows and authors including Christie Golden who has written for Star Wars among many other fandoms and so many more all backing this seven year old fan. It is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on Twitter and I welled up reading through all the amazing responses. It got me thinking about how much the women in Star Wars mean to me and how many amazing women there actually are in Star Wars and although today was meant to be another review I thought I’d take the opportunity to list some of the best ladies that the Star Wars universe has to offer.

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Princess/Senator/General Leia.
This one is probably an obvious one but Leia Organa is in my opinion one of, if not the best female character in Star Wars. She was involved in Politics from a young age like her biological mother and went on to become instrumental to the Rebel Alliance, she watched her home planet as it was destroyed but still remained fiesty and witty as ever even as she was being “rescued” after having been tortured. She learns the man who destroyed her planet and her adoptive family was her biological father but still offered comfort to her brother. The Princess becomes a Senator as well as a wife and a mother and then goes on to become the General of the Resistance, all the while remaining firm in her beliefs and loyal to her allies. Leia is smart, brave, a warrior and a diplomat.

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Rey.
Rey has a strong moral core, helping those she finds in need without question. Growing up alone on Jakku she learned how to survive and make the best of her situation. She is fierce, loyal and a fast learner, picking up fighting with a lightsaber and using the force relatively quickly. Rey is a fighter and fights for what she believes in and those she cares for. On top of all that she’s a pretty awesome pilot too!

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Sabine Wren.
A madalorian warrior who forged her own armor and became a bounty hunter when she decided the Imperial academy wasn’t for her. An expert with weapons of all kinds (but a certain knack for explosives!) Sabine is also one of the first known members of the Rebel Alliance.

 

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Mon Mothma.
As a loyalist leader Mon Mothma was one of the first people to openly oppose Palpatine and helped to forge the Rebel Alliance itself. When she becomes ill about six years before the events of “The Force awakens” and is unable to lead the Republic the Senate is thrown into disarray and unable to agree on anything.

 

il_570xn-1179493427_26uy.jpgJyn Erso.
After her mother was killed and her father kidnapped, Jyn was raised by a Resistance fighter, the leader of the Partisan’s, Saw Gerrera. Jyn became a child soldier for the Partisan’s but after she was abandoned she made her own way and eventually joined the Rebel Alliance to track down Saw who held vital information concerning the battlestation known as “The Death Star”. After retrieving the information Jyn and others formed the team “Rouge one” who sacrificed themselves to retrieve the Death Star plans revealing it’s weakness and leading to it’s ultimate destruction, thus making Jyn an especially important character in the the Star Wars universe.

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Hera Syndulla.
The heart and Leader of the “Star Wars: Rebels” as well as the pilot of The Ghost, Hera is an Optimistic and fair leader. Trusting in her team and guiding them when they need it Hera fights along side Leia and Lando for the republic.

 

 

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Rose Tico. 

The Star Wars universe tells us that no one in unimportant and that is certainly the case with Rose Tico who gets an unfair amount of negativity. Rose is a true believer in the cause and even after losing her sister she still willingly gives up her only reminder of her to help accomplish her mission for the Resistance. She is smart and stronger than people give her credit for, she may not have a mask, a lightsaber or amazing fighting moves, she’s a ship maintenance worker and she has so much heart. Her line “That’s how we win. Not by fighting what we hate. Saving what we love” is one of my absolute favourites. Not to mention my hair totally sticks out just like hers!

padme-amidala_05d50c8a.jpegPadmé Amidala
Elected as the Queen of Naboo at just fourteen Padme served two terms as Queen and went on to hold a position as Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. She was a leading member of the Loyalist committee whose goal was peace between the warring Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems. Her views were often controversial among the senate but she stood by them through everything. She married a Jedi Knight in secret and when he turned to the dark side while she was carrying their children she travelled to a volatile volcanic planet to try and convince him to come back to the light. She may not be a big fighter in the traditional sense but she is determined and not afraid to do the hard thing.

captain-phasma1-625x350.jpg Captain Phasma.
Not all the amazing women of the Star Wars universe fight for the Rebels, the Resistance, the Republic or the Jedi order. Captain Phasma worked her way up from the sister of a primitive clan leader on a forgotten planet filled with dangers to the most recognisable and highly ranked stormtrooper in history. In charge of training the older recruits Phasma is completely merciless and will let absolutely nothing stand in her way, weather that be her brother or her superior. She is beyond strong and adept with many weapons with which she continuously trains. Her special armor was created especially by her from the wreckage of a Naboo yacht that had once belonged to Sheev Palpatine (more commonly known as Darth Sidious, the Emperor) she pried the chromium off the ship herself.

Iden3Iden Versio.
Iden served the military of the Galactic Empire, was a TIE pilot in the Starfighter Corps, was one of the only survivors of the destruction of the first Death Star (among those, Vader himself) and was named Commander of an elite task force called “Inferno Squad.” She is immensely well trained and disciplined, although she can appear quite intense Iden can also be compassionate towards civilians and friendly, yet professional with members of her team.

I know there are still many more I haven’t mentioned here and Ashoka Tano, Amilyn Holdo, Aurra Sing, Kor Sella and Aayla Secura all get honorable mentions but this post needs to have an end point somewhere even though it’s been so much fun to write. I’ve loved remembering all these great characters and why I love the Star Wars universe so very much. I hope anyone out there who still thinks Star Wars is only for boys will take a look at all of these awesome ladies on this list and think again.

 

Edit: I also realise there are a ton of awesome ladies in the now non canon legends universe too but it was hard enough to narrow down the cannon candidates, let alone if I included the ladies from Legends as well. Plus Mara Jade would probably kick their butts anyway.

book reviews, spoiler free

Star Wars: Bloodline Review

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Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Rating: XXXXX

Published: December 1st 2016 by Arrow

“There was a limit to the amount of stupidity Leia could tolerate in one day, and she’d just hit it.”

Witness the birth of the Resistance

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy. 

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing…

Bloodline is the first full length new cannon novel that is set closer to The Force Awakens than it is The Return of the Jedi and is penned by Claudia Gray who brought us the Star Wars YA novel, Lost Stars and went on to write another YA Star Wars novel about Princess Leia in her younger days (both of which I need to read as soon as possible) and is considered by some to be the best modern Star Wars writer.

This was the second Star Wars book I’ve read (that wasn’t a novelisation) and my favourite so far even after having read others. Unlike Phasma, I read this book rather than listened to it (as it was a Christmas eve Jólabókaflóð gift) and I’m glad I did as I don’t think the sound effects would have added much more than an annoyance in this book as it’s not as action based.  I wasn’t sure what I’d think of this book, I love Princess Leia but I was having prequel film flash backs about trade negotiations. That being said I managed to read half of the book in one sitting through Christmas eve on into Christmas morning so this book clearly did more than something right.

Set six years before The Force Awakens, Bloodline is an excellent mix of political thriller and intrigue with a healthy sprinkling of action throughout once the story gets going. The beginning of the book is a little slow but I appreciate that although we don’t necessarily need world building in the usual sense we do need to know about the political state of things, in this case that’s the goals and ideals of the populists and the separatists. Gray’s clever writing style here (and throughout) allows us to see that neither side is perfect (as is often the case with politics) and more importantly that due to their unwillingness to work together nothing important is getting done and change is needed, prompting the entire senate to want to elect a first senator, which Senator Leia feels comes a bit too close to repeating their mistakes that led to the creation of the Empire. I think the mix of politics and action felt right, especially for a story mostly centered around Princess/Senator Leia and I enjoyed it.

My favourite thing about Bloodline was how well Senator Leia was written and portrayed. It honestly felt like Carrie Fisher could just jump right off the page it felt so genuine. Gray has captured that complex mix of being still feisty but wise and yet sometimes tired of it all and unsure perfectly. I enjoyed the insight into Leia’s family life here, we get to see her interact with her husband Han Solo which is pretty much how I always imagined it as well as seeing her she feels about her son and the situation he’s currently in and how the events of this book will affect them as well.

The relationships in this book were done exceptionally well. Not just between Han and Leia but the way the characters reacted with each other was the heart warming side of semi realistic, one of those stories when there are two people who believe in different ideals but put their differing views aside for a common goal, I really enjoyed seeing that and it made it more difficult to ascertain who exactly was the “bad guy” in this book.

I can’t say too much more without heading into spoiler territory but I will say that I loved this book and it had the right balance to keep me intrigued. The only thing I do regret is the order in which I’ve read these books, I probably should have at least started with this one, if not Catalyst but that’s another story and discussion for another time.

If you want to buy this book with free shipping you can do so here and if you’d like to add this book to your good reads you can do that here.

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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.

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A long time ago in a blog far far away – Star Wars Week announcement!

28536196_10155068996071581_111309964_nIf there’s one thing I love, it’s books. If there are two things I love, it’s books and Star Wars. The only thing better is a combination of the two! The novelisation of The Last Jedi is released here in the UK on March 8th and I’ve been excited to read this book since I left the cinema after seeing the film the first time, having to wait this long when the novelisation usually comes out the same day has been almost painful but I’ve found more Star Wars books and comics to fill the void and get me through and now the release day is almost here!

So, all going to plan starting March 5th, I’m going to spend an entire week posting about Star Wars. I have spoiler free reviews of Bloodline, Phasma, Inferno Squad, The Poe Dameron comics and hopefully an extra two reviews AND MORE if time (and my todder) are kind! I’m super excited about this week and if YOU have reviewed any of the Star Wars books I want to read them and I want to help you promote them! Link me in the comments or on Twitter and I’ll make sure to retweet and will promote those reviews in my posts throughout the week. Are you excited about the release as well? If so let me know too or tell what your favourite Star Wars book or film is! I can’t wait to share my excitement with you and I hope you guys will share yours with me too!

 

book talk, booktube

Star Wars : Bloodline – Book Talk

It’s Saturday so that must mean it’s time for a new video! Just gone live on my booktube channel is my book talk for Star Wars: Bloodline By Claudia Gray. My book talks are NOT spoiler free so please beware there are big spoilers in this video. If you haven’t read this book and are more interested in a spoiler free however there will be one coming up in the next couple of weeks as I’m planning to host an entire week of Star Wars related posts and reviews including a spoiler free review of this book. Until then enjoy the video and I’ll post more about the upcoming Star Wars week very soon!

SPOILER WARNING – VIDEO DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS – CLICK AT YOUR PERIL