Book Review | Tarkin

Tarkin (not actual cover)
Tarkin (not actual cover)

I never need an excuse to read a Star Wars novel! Reading Tarkin by James Luceno was interesting because I learned more about the Star Wars universe as Disney sees it. I always enjoy learning more about the characters that we have all learned to love and grown close too since the first movies came out when I was a child. It was a good enough story, but it centered wholly on a character that I never really cared for. Not that they sold it as anything else since I mean the title is pretty explicit, it’s just that I don’t think anyone really cared too much about this character but here is a whole novel about him. I’m a little lost on what within this novel helped tell the story of the Star Wars universe. It is not a poorly written book, just a book that was written without anyone asking for it. I can’t recommend it but judged solely on it writing it is a good story if you care to read it. I gave this book three out of five stars, but I’m not sure it deserved it.

Shadows and Secrets (Star Wars: Darth Vader #2)

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets
Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets

As I catch up on my reviews, I find myself struggling to remember some books. There is one, however, stands out for the secondary character. I liked this new Aphra character. The storyline in Shadows and Secrets was really good, it wasn’t just great art, it had a very interesting storyline that kept me engaged the whole time. This Star Wars series is definitely worth your time. I believe this new character is even getting her own comic books now. I can’t wait to read more of these.

Writing this post now reminds me of how much I misreading these Star Wars comics.  I wish there was one site that had all these in an order that was easy to understand and read.  If anyone knows of any please let me know in the comments.

Star Wars: Chewbacca

Star Wars Chewbacca
Star Wars Chewbacca by Gerry Duggan

Star Wars: Chewbacca is one of the most recent comic book complications in the new Star Wars Cannon.  I had to wait a long time for this one to come in from our library.

The story starts with Chewbacca stranded on a strange planet after crash landing.  Soon trouble finds him in the form of a tween girl.  She needs his help and lovable caring Chewbacca is there for her after his usual complaints that no one can understand.

The story follows the battle against the bad local bad guys and eventually Chewbacca and his new little pal have to part ways.  Chewbacca proceeds to his original destination Kashyyyk, his home planet, where he is able to finally deliver a box.  We are never told what is the box, but I got the feeling it was the remains of a fallen comrade.

Star Wars: Chewbacca Book Cover Star Wars: Chewbacca
Star Wars
Gerry Duggan
Science Fiction
Marvel
2/16/16
Paperback
112
Library

Review: Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi

Star Wars- The Weapon of a Jedi
Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi is placed between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back.  Jason Fry is a new author to me at least with this new Journey to the Force Awakens series.  He is actually best known for the The Jupiter Pirates series.

When comparing this to the other books in the series like Greg Rucka’s Before the Awakening.  It doesn’t do to well.  The story was extremely slow to start.  Don’t get me wrong the book reads very fast.  It took me two days and I had a ton of interruptions in reading.  I’m glad I read this only because I know its not integral to the story of the Force Awakens.

The story follows Luke on a mission he is doing for the Rebel Alliance.  Although, he never gets to the mission in the book (too bad, might have been a better story).  He feels himself attracted (via the Force) to a planet he has never been to before.  He visits the planet and figures out why the Force was calling him, unfortunately his presence has not gone unnoticed.  A new bad guy finds him.  The story is little ruined by the fact that we all know Luke makes it.

No surprises and a slow story earns this book 3 stars.  One star for being about Star Wars included.  If you are following along in the series you can skip this one, but its under 200 pages and written for a much younger audience so the book goes very fast.  Just don’t expect it to be your favorite Star Wars novel.

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure Book Cover Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure
Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series
Jason Fry
Young Adult, Science Fiction
Disney Lucasfilm Press
September, 4, 2015
Hardcover
192
Library

Luke Skywalker returns for an all-new adventure in this thrilling upper middle grade novel. Set betweenStar Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the story finds Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2 stranded on a mysterious planet, and explores a dangerous duel between Luke and a strange new villain.

Review: Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure

Smuggler's Run
Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka

I just realized that I have read three of Greg Rucka’s books this year.  I just finished Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure and I he also wrote Shattered Empire and Before the Awakening.  I gave both those books 4 out of 5 stars and I still remember really liking both a lot.  But this book fell short of both of those. Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo Adventure was okay, but not as engrossing as either of the other two I read this year.

It is a very quick story. Han meets some bounty hunters in a bar and tells them a story of a time he escaped from the Imperials. It was a quick story. It lacked excitement and needed more suspense and thrill. But it is Star Wars so it still gets 3 stars. Not sure how this helped lead to the Force Awakens storyline though.

Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure Book Cover Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: the Force Awakens
Greg Rucka
Science Fiction
Disney Lucasfilm Press
9/4/2015
Hardcover
192
Library

Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee team-up for an all-new adventure in this thrilling upper middle grade novel. Set between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the story follows everyone's favorite pair of smugglers as they fly the Millennium Falcon on a top-secret mission for the Rebellion. Hidden in the story are also hints and clues about the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-read for fans old and new!

Review: Star Wars: Princess Leia

Star Wars Princess Leia
Star Wars Princess Leia by Mark Waid

When I first heard that new Star Wars comics were going to come out I was very excited and I told myself I will buy all of these and I can’t wait to read them all.  Thing is I didn’t realize all of them were coming out at the same time and that comic books now cost $3.99 each!  With them all coming out at the same time it is hard to keep up with all of them.  Plus 5 of these things would be $20!  It is also hard to keep up with all the different ones that are coming out.  I think there are a dozen different comics series right now for Star Wars.  There is Shattered Empire, Princess Leia, Star Wars, Lando, Chewbacca, etc.

Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid, contains the first 5 comics from the Princess Leia series. The story was okay, it did give up some details about what happened before the Force Awakens, but really it wasn’t enough.  The story was not as well written as Shattered Empire.  The art was nowhere near as good as Shattered Empire either.  This graphic novel was a fun distraction, but I don’t think it’s going to get non-graphic novel readers to read comic and it’s not going to draw in people who are not already fans of Star Wars.  I would say if you are trying to keep up with everything in the Star Wars universe that this is one that you can safely skip.  Maybe the next collection of Princess Leia comics will be better.

Star Wars Book Cover Star Wars
Comics & Graphic Novels
Marvel
September 15, 2015
Paperback
112
Library

When Princess Leia Organa was captured by the Empire, she never betrayed her convictions - even after the complete destruction of her home world, Alderaan. When her rescue came, Leia grabbed a blaster and joined the fight, escaping back to the Rebel Alliance and helping strike the biggest blow against the Empire - the destruction of the Death Star! But in the aftermath of that victory, the question remains...what is a princess without a world? As Leia comes to grips with her loss, a new mission leads her to the underground world of Sullust. The Empire is rounding up fugitive Alderaanians, and that doesn't sit well with their Princess! But what can one woman do against the Galactic Empire? They're about to find out! Join the galaxy's toughest Princess on a quest to save her people and rebuild her life! COLLECTING: Princess Leia 1-5

Review: Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

This picture book or coffee table book if you like has a very long title.  The full title: Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  And as you would assume a book with a title this long requires more than one author, four actually:  Adam Bray, Cole Horton, Michael Kogge, and Kerrie Dougherty.

Star Was Everything Inside
Star Was Everything Inside

If you get the feeling that this books title and abundance of authors is trying to compensate for something, you would be right.  First and foremost, this is a book written for juniors, DK says 8-12.  It would probably be perfect for a 8 year-old boy.  But I wanted more.  I wanted the mysteries that the movie brought to use at least hinted at.  Seeing as the target demographic is 8-12 year-old boys it makes sense that the bulk of the book deals with descriptions of characters, buildings, and droids/robots.

I did learn things I didn’t know before leafing through the pages, so it is a worth while checkout from your library, but unless you have some Star Wars fans that fall in the target age group I wouldn’t purchase this one.  Keep to the books for the most part.  If you have watched the Clone Wars and are watching Rebels you will already know more that what is in this book.  There are only four pages or so in the back of the book that pertain to The Force Awakens, so don’t get this if you think it will reveal more about the movie.

Having said that the pictures are great quality like every DK book and there is a lot of information there.

Star Wars Book Cover Star Wars
Dk Publishing, Adam Bray, Kerrie Dougherty,
Juvenile Nonfiction
DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
September 4, 2015
Hardcover
200
Library

Star Wars®: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know explores the world of Star Wars through lively lists, interesting facts, and questions and answers via a highly engaging infographic design. Whether it's a chart of who is the oldest Jedi, a list of all the owners of the Millennium Falcon, or a diagram showing all the Jedi Yoda has trained, this guide will excite readers of all ages and provide facts they never knew about the Star Wars Galaxy. © & TM 2015 LUCASFILM LTD.

Review: Star Wars: Before the Awakening

Star Wars- Before the Awakening
Star Wars- Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

Star Wars: Before the Awakening is really three stories one for each of the characters on its cover: Finn, Rey and Poe.  This is a junior novel.  Really written for 12 year-old crowd, but it is a Star Wars book the tells the story of these characters before the movie and my local library had a copy, so my decision was made for me.  I grabbed this as soon as it came in.  And it already has another person waiting for it.  They will get their chance now as I have finished it.  I loved this book and gave it four stars.  It loses one star for being a little easy, written for children as it is.  Maybe I shouldn’t mark it off for that since it is a junior novel, but thats just the way I am.  5 stars is perfection after all.

In this novel we find go along with Finn through some of this training and on his first real mission.  I had thought the one we saw in the movie was his first, but not so.  Rey’s story I don’t want to tell you about.  It concerns her scavenger life before the movie.  Her story is so excellent, its actually the reason I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5.  I loved her story so much, I thought there was more the author could have done with it.  Poe’s story is also good.  The second best story in the book after Rey’s of course.  In it Poe meets general Leia Organa Solo for the first time and goes on a very thrilling mission.  If you are a Star Wars fan, young or old, you will enjoy this book!

Star Wars: Before the Awakening Book Cover Star Wars: Before the Awakening
Greg Rucka
Juvenile Fiction
Disney Lucasfilm Press
December 18, 2015
Hardcover
224
Library

A companion piece to the "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens" character novels, Star Wars: Before the Awakening is an anthology book that focuses on the lives of Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections

Star Wars The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections
Star Wars The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections by Jason Fry

Incredible cross-sections is a beautiful book!  Not only are all the images “incredible”, but there are short articles on every page.  The articles tell you a little about each vehicle.  For example, did you know that Rey built that speeder herself?  Even Han’s new freighter is in this book and so are the Rathtars.

Millennium Falcon Cross Section
Millennium Falcon Cross Section

I am very glad that my library had this book.  But honestly, if my kids were a little more into Star Wars I would not hesitate to buy this for $20.  As it is, I don’t have the room for this and I’d be the only one looking at it.  Click on the image above to see a larger version.  Can you find Finn?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections Book Cover Star Wars: The Force Awakens Incredible Cross Sections
Jason Fry
Juvenile Nonfiction
DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley)
December 18, 2015
Hardcover
48
Library

See the vehicles of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in unparalleled detail with this newest addition to the Star Wars Incredible Cross Sections series. Twelve breathtaking artworks bring the new craft to life, showing all of the weapons, engines, and technology, while engaging text explains each vehicle's backstory and key features.

Review: Lords of the Sith

Lords of the Sith
Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp

Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp is a great book for anyone wanted to read an action packed Star Wars novel, but for those who loved the 6th movie in the Star Wars films, this is even better.  It gives the blow-by-blow of an adventure that involves Darth Vader and the Emperor and there may be even a few references to the animated series Rebels in there for you fans.

Before we get to deep it is important to mention a few things.  First when Disney bought the Star Wars film franchise they said all the books that had been written before their purchase don’t count.  Now, these were wonderful books and I loved many of them.  So they DO COUNT, but the story line will not be followed by Disney in the new movies.  So, now that that has been said there is a huge vacuum that needs to be filled with new books and stories.  Some of these stories will be in Rebels, some will be in other movies that are off shoots from the movie that came out in December 2015.  Some of the stories will be told in books and graphic novels/comic books.

To learn what books are part of the “new cannon” the post-Disney story, the best place to look is Wookieepedia…get it?  Yeah.  Anyway, check the link to see what books to read if you want to fill in the gaps that the new movie left.  I read Dark Disciple in 2015.  This year I want to continue reading the story of Star Wars and the next book up was Lords of the Sith.

I enjoyed this book very much.  There is an action scene a little more than half-way through the book that was just amazing!  The foreshadowing to what fans already know lies a head is great.  I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it.  If you are a Star Wars fan and you read, the decision should already be made for you.  While there are no huge revelations made in the book the story is solid and if your a Vader fan you will not be disappointed!

By the way.  Paul S. Kemp, the author, is on twitter.  He was nice enough to retweet some of my comments as I read the book and I recommend following him to see what he is up to.

SPOILERS BELOW:

This is a good video review that IGN did, but it does have some slight spoilers in it.  If you like to go into a book without knowing anything about the story, don’t watch this.  Otherwise, enjoy.