Book Reviews: Star Wars: Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland

Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland is the second Young Adult novel in The High Republic series. The High republic comes 200 years before Star Wars: A New Hope. This novel is paced so slow with only 3 battles. Reath and Master Cormac are the returning Jedi from the first YA but given background roles in this. The ending of this book saves it from being a 2 star review. There’s is only two things of significance that happen that will effect the adult Star Wars: The High Republic novels. This book was missing humor there’s one recurring event that was funny. What the book is filled with is young adult angst, which reached an annoying level, instead of being poignant. There’s a LGTBQ relationship that was good for inclusion purpose but the relationship wasn’t all that strong. I feel the adult version handled the LGTBQ relationship better. The plot is a huge long con, the pay off is all at the end which saves this novel, but I wanted to see this good writing through out. After reading the 2 adult and 2 YA Star Wars: The High Republic novels Out of the Shadows has been my least favorite.

The Plot: A device that can rip ships from hyperspace is causing havoc. The Jedi are sent to research this. A freight hauler lands in a conspiracy when she finds out her mother she thought dead is rumored to be behind the device. Vern one of the Jedi is called out by a mysterious voice guiding her to something, is the voice friend or foe?

What I Liked: The ending was great, the lead up to it was not. I liked that the character of Nan, who was in Out of the Past and was a frenemy with Reath and part of the Nihil returns to have a bigger role. I did like the running gag of Vern crashing what ever ship she is in, that was the only funny part in the book and it worked. I liked the plot line of Vern and the voice and who it belonged to. I like the attempt at the LGBTQ relationship but it could have been a lot better. I liked the speeder bike fight even if it was super brief.

What I Disliked: The pacing was really bad in this, one of the worst I’ve read in the 20 or so Star Wars novels that I have read. I was not happy about the Jedi plot lines in this story. I needed way more humor in this story. Barely any battles in a 352 page book maybe 30 pages were battles.

Recommendations: If you’re a casual Star Wars reader I would recommend skipping this one there’s two things of significance that involve the Nihil, and I imagine the adult novel catching us up in less than one page of dialogue. If you are a super fan then you are like me and going to read this book anyway. I rated Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland 3 out of 5 stars. This book was almost a 2 star review, but the ending really saved it.

Star Wars: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott is the Second novel in the High Republic (which take place 200 years before Star Wars: A New Hope) books for adults. This novel takes place mere months after after the event in Light of the Jedi. All those character that were given brief intros in Light of the Jedi, are finally able to be fully realized character that you can get behind. We follow Stellan Gios, Bell Zettifar, and Elzar Mann as our main Jedi characters the villain is the same except more brutal and powerful, there’s only one new character of note Ty Yorrick a former Jedi that as avoided the order at all cost is confronted by one of the order. I was bummed that one of my favorite character Avar Kriss from Light of the Jedi was missing in this novel she’s a presence but never in a scene. I was like he High Replublic create this this strong female Jedi in the first book and in the second novel features only male Jedi as leads. Why Star wars why? One thing I liked, I read Star Wars: Into the Dark which is the first Young Adult novel in the High Republic series and was rewarded as I got the origins of the Drengir a species that is recking havoc all over the galaxy. This book has a good flow and was quite a page turner. The book has some moments of epicness, but the main plot takes care place at a fair, and I’m sorry there is nothing too epic about that even if the fair is more like the World’s fair. This book has been my favorite of the Star Wars High Republic books so far.

The Plot of Light of the Jedi: The Legacy Run, a starship, is destroyed in a hyperspace accident sending shards and debris though out the galaxy. The Jedi and the republic work together to stop the debris that heads for stars, moons, and planets. The Jedi search for how this is possible as the responsible party , The Nihil, seek to destroy all evidence. The Nihil are space pirates operating on the outer rim, and see their reign come to an end as the Jedi set up the first of many beacons on the outer rim. The Nihil will do anything to maintain their power.

The Plot of The Rising Storm: Marchion Ro fought tooth and nail to become the leader of the Nihil, now he has to keep it. The Jedi have arrived on the outer rim and are throwing a huge fair to bring alliances together and show strength. The Nihil are determined to destroy the Jedi as they plan to kill the chancellor of the republic. Machion Ro knows he can’t do it alone a gets an ancient weapon that can rival the Jedi. Elzar Mann newly promoted from padawan to jedi has a lot to prove, he has visions of pain and destruction, but doesn’t know if he can stop it. Bell Zettifar must get used to his new master while hoping his old master is still alive somewhere. Stellan Gios is in charge of security protecting the chancellor and her son as he has to protect the Nihil’s main target.

What I Liked: The flow of the book was great it was a good fast paced read. The cliffhanger was great and will lead to cool things this was book was called The Rising Storm and the next is The Gathering Storm. I liked the characters Bell Zettifar and Ty Yorrick were my favorites. I liked that the Nihil have so much inter struggles. Every Nihil pirate is not on the same plan. I loved the search for the artifact that will change everything when it was used at the end of the novel. The action was awesome and easy to follow.

What I Disliked: I already stated I just thought the fair was a kind of lame setting. There’s was a line that took me out of this book when they started talking about the hydra from mythology, are they dating Star Wars, could you not have thought of a creature where we get the same concept.

Recommendation: I thought this book was a lot of fun ad a good sequel to Light of the Jedi. There’s a lot of fun action and some smart plot twists. I rated Star Wars: The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray

Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray is an adventure filled Star Wars novel where the best character is a rock, no I’m not kidding the rock steals so many scenes and keeps the humor up. I liked the mix of humor and adventure. Into the Dark takes place at the same time as the first High Republic novel Light of the Jedi. This book covers 4 new Jedi that were not mentioned in Light of the Jedi, the timeframe is at the same time but these Jedi are dealing wit a different crisis. I liked the main character Reath Silas and enjoyed his adventure best. the other Jedi were hard to connect with for some reason. I enjoyed the story overall but I did feel disconnected to some of the characters. The story does a good overall arc and nails the theme of teamwork. Into the Dark is written for young adult audience of 12 and up, i thought this dealt with more adult themes than Light of the Jedi, it has drug use and a couple times does a character ask about having sex. I have heard good things about Claudia Gray’s writing especially Lost Stars which I have never read but friends and other bloggers are obsessed with, I love the overall arc and theme but was not blown away by it. I felt the ending was satisfactory and well plotted out with a lot of action. The High Republic takes place 200 years before The Phantom Menace.

The Plot Reath Silas is a 17 year old Padawan who loves the research aspect of being a jedi and living at the Jedi Temple, when his master takes a position on the outer rim, the frontier for the Jedi. Reath can think of a million reasons not to go. He reluctantly takes the journey to meet his master when his voyage is cut short by a disaster that blocks all the hyper space lines of travel. They find a space station that is off the map, and assist other stranded ships. But what the Jedi finds is a space station with the dark side of the force lurking in the dark. Can Reath and the other stranded Jedi’s stop this force before it starts effecting others?

What I Liked: I didn’t know where this story was heading, it kind of has two parts, and a twist in the middle. Liked the ending a lot great rising action with some twist thrown in and nailed the climax which got intense. Geode the rock and navigator of the Vessel is awesome the strong and silent type. Geode is the butt of a lot of the jokes and darn it if I didn’t chuckle every time. Reath Silas is almost a Bilbo Baggins type character that is so against adventure until he’s in it and wants to go back in it. I liked the whole Vessel crew they were all fun characters.

What I Disliked: The Obvious jokes about Spice in Star Wars being compared to marijuana, It was too obvious and took me right out. The flashbacks are pointless until the end it could have been summed up in a story instead of breaking it into 5 boring parts (the first part was exciting then they grew boring) I could only connect to one out of 4 Jedi’s.

Recommendations: I will recommend Into the Dark on story alone. The story is really go it does add a whole lot to the Jedi lore but it is just a good unpredictable story. The good out weighed the bad in this story. I rated Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark by Claudia Gray 3 out of 5 stars. I was between 3 and 4 but ultimately thought is was closer to a 3. I will check out more of Claudia Gray’s writing which was good but still felt detached from far too many characters.

Wrap Up: April 2021 Book Reviews

Dear Readers, April was a good month for reading and catching up on my TBR,   I read 7 books this month. I exchanged Instinct for The Brief History of the Dead for Instinct because was released this month and I missed it when making my TBR, The Brief History of the Dead will be read next month as I am half way done with it.   I read no graphic novels this month, 3 books in a series, 2 dark mysteries, 1 classic, 5 advance reader copies (thanks to Netgalley).  I read 6 books published this year. I only started 1 new series Starwars the High Republic and finished all books published in The Murderbot Diaries.

Five Star Reviews:

Network Effect by Martha Wells is Murderbot Diaries number five. This is the only full novel in the series with the rest being novellas. I have read and loved the character of Murderbot for 4 previous novels. The series has had highs and lows, I felt the formula was getting a little predictable, then Network Effect came out and changed the narrative making this book my favorite in the series so far. It took the best parts, intense action, witty dialogue, human interaction, and character growth, and expand them. The pace of this book is pretty fast it slows down a little in the middle but after intense scene after intense scene I welcomed the slow down. Network Effect brought back my favorite character from the series ART (an acronym for “Asshole Research Transport”) from Artificial Condition book 2.

Four Star Reviews:

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten Is a atmospheric horror that is slightly unnerving. The Lost Village is a Swedish book that has been translated to English. The descriptions make it feel like characters are constantly being watched by the village, it makes the reader feel pretty unnerved. The mystery is pretty captivating, and the way the story is told by amateur documentarians, really works since they bring their own problems, to a place that feeds off those problems. The Lost Village reminded me of parts of Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery meets the film The Blair Witch Project. I was slightly underwhelmed my the climax, but the rising action to it was so cool I thought of all these other cool scenarios that would have made it epic, and the climax was just good. Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press through Minotaur books for letting me have early access to this title. The Lost Village by Camilla Sten was published in Sweden in 2019 and translated/published in America on March 23 2021.

Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Charles Soule is a fantastic introduction to a new timeline taking places 200 before the Phantom Menace. This is the first book in the new cannon (that started when The Force Awakens came out) that has told a new story not involving events that film and television have touched on. Yoda is the only character from the Skywalker Saga. The book starts out introducing a dizzying amount of characters all dealing with a crisis, thankfully it slows down and lets you get to know the characters a little. This is an ensemble piece with no main character, which got on my nerves at first, but it worked well at the end. The villain’s plan is pretty genius, the way it unite people through manipulation and lies. The new Jedi I came away having some mixed feelings

Near the Bone by Christina Henry is one part Emma Donoghue’s Room and the other part The Relic by Preston and Child. This off mix of kidnapping slash survival works really well to the theme of one woman beating her demons literally and physically. This is the third Henry that I have read and this one was my favorite so far. I enjoyed it but there is a lot of trigger warnings on domestic abuse, kidnapping, child endangerment, and manipulation/gaslighting. This is a really fast paced novel, that is deeply psychological. Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley books for the advanced reader’s copy, Near the Bone by Christina Henry is published on April 13th 2021.

The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter is a good who done it? mystery. You know right up  front there was a murder, and you know the who said they did it is lying. The narrative moves  really fast supplying the reader with a little bit more information at each turn. This is not a big twist novel but a series of twist that add up to tension and betrayal. The novel does look at the British class system which I found the weakest part of the novel. I haven’t read a mystery in a while and this novel was just what I needed a good quick mystery that kept me guessing. I’m really liking these domestic mysteries that focus on a small knit family that is driven apart by a dark secret. The Dinner Guest is very LGBTQ friendly as the family that is torn apart is a gay couple. Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK , One More Chapter for giving me this ARC. The Dinner Guest was published on April 1st 2021.

Three Star Reviews:

Instinct by Jason M. Hough is small town thriller. Where small town folks start to suddenly lose their survival instinct, like a person that never goes outside will go on a massive hike, and the guy scared of animals will face down a bear. It reminded me of Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter where in the last 25 % of the book goes to a crazy place. The finale is good but it is one slow build up to that point. The character’s are quirky with conspiracy theories running deep until the town is in one. Instinct is a good idea, but the execution is lacking. The end is fun but I don’t know if everyone will get there with every beat of action and odd occurrence nothing happens in between; we don’t spend enough time with these characters to see them acting out of place. Thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books – Skybound Books for the opportunity to read Instinct. Instinct by Jason M. Hough was published on April 6th 2021.

Two Star reviews:

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells is Murderbot Diaries book 6. This time Murderbot plays detective investigating a murder at Preservation Station that only it can solve. After the epic Network Effect that was my favorite in the series comes the sadly lackluster Fugitive Telemetry that is my least favorite so far. The plot is okay, it’s not really a murder that can be solved but the right beats are there, The problem with this one is Murderbot doesn’t have that much interaction with anyone, and the action is really limited. This has been one of my favorite series but this book just didn’t gel with me. I read Fugitive Telemetry through advanced readers copy curtesy of Netgalley and Macmillion-Tor/ Forge books. Fugitive Telemetry is published on 4-27-21.

Book Review: Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: High Republic) by Charles Soule

Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Charles Soule is a fantastic introduction to a new timeline taking places 200 before the Phantom Menace. This is the first book in the new cannon (that started when The Force Awakens came out) that has told a new story not involving events that film and television have touched on. Yoda is the only character from the Skywalker Saga. The book starts out introducing a dizzying amount of characters all dealing with a crisis, thankfully it slows down and lets you get to know the characters a little. This is an ensemble piece with no main character, which got on my nerves at first, but it worked well at the end. The villain’s plan is pretty genius, the way it unite people through manipulation and lies. The new Jedi I came away having some mixed feeling, just because you don’t spend that much time with them, sense it bounces around so much. I came away liking 3 out of the 7 that were introduced.

The Plot: The Legacy Run, a starship, is destroyed in a hyperspace accident sending shards and debris though out the galaxy. The Jedi and the republic work together to stop the debris that heads for stars, moons, and planets. The Jedi search for how this is possible as the responsible party , The Nihil, seek to destroy all evidence. The Nihil are space pirates operating on the outer rim, and see their reign come to an end as the Jedi set up the first of many beacons on the outer rim. The Nihil will do anything to maintain their power.

What I Liked: The intro was really intense and keeps ramping up the action, it felt like it was more of a Justice League crisis than Star Wars but I enjoyed it. The range of Jedi powers, we have seen them communicate through telepathy but not on this scale which was cool, also there is one Jedi who uses the force of nature which I liked seeing. The twist and turns with the Nihil’s master plan was amazing to see it work out for a leader I felt was weak at first to be so good at plotting and seeing the endgame. The character sacrifices are felt through out and did evoke a emotion from me.

What I Disliked: There was one line where forensic science was brought up that took me right out of the book, there could have been some made up word where we would have understood the science being talked about, but forensic science took me right out of the book. We don’t spend enough time with the characters to form a bond.

Recommendation: This book is a good intro to a star wars series with a lot of potential. I have read probably 15 Star Wars novels in my lifetime and this is one of the better ones. This is a Jedi of one mind which we haven’t seen before, and the villains are smart and pose a good future threat. I’m for sure going to check out the next book, I got a good sample the characters but now I want a taste. I rated Light of the Jedi (Star Wars: High Republic) by Charles Soule 4 out of 5 stars.

TBR: April 2021

April 2021 TBR list: last month was I read 6 out of the 8 books on my TBR, I’m going to lower it to 7 to deal with looking for a house and overtime. I have 4 ARCs to read this month. I have my reading goal for the year set at 80 books this year which I’m a head by two for the moment.  I have  read most of my Christmas book haul, but my Birthday is this month so will for sure get more, If I read extra it will be a Amazing Spiderman Marvel Masterworks since  it’s easy to read at my work break.

Network Effect by Martha Wells – I the first full length book in the Murderbot Diaries Series.  Network Effect is book 5 in the series.  I recently got approver for the ARC  for Fugitive Telemetry which is published on April 27th.  I love Murderbot the character, and I love where the series left off.

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells – I have been asking for an ARC of a Martha Wells book for a couple of years now can’t wait to read this one a little early, It is publish right around my birthday and will consider this a present on April 27 thanks to Netgalley and Tor.

Near The Bone by Christina Henry – This is will be my third Henry novel I read Alice and the Ghost Tree, I have liked but not loved her novels.  I hope this one is a love, this is her second novel not about fairy tells being retold. The plot is a woman trapped on a mountain attempt to survive more that one kind of monster.  The synopsis intrigues me so I’m looking forward to this book.  Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley publishing for the ARC that is published on April 13th.

The Dinner Guest by B. P. Walter – It has been a while since I read a mystery; my favorites are the classic Agatha Christie novels, and I get this vibe from the book. The tag line is A stranger at the table; A dinner that ends in death. It seems fun this book changed it’s publishing date up a month or two it was published on April 1. Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for giving me an opportunity to read this novel.

Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule – I jumped at the chance to read the newest Star Wars because it is before all the rest and the first book in the new cannon to do that.  The cover has a Wookie with a lightsaber I have to read this book.

The Lost Village by Camilla Sten  This my hold over last month I’m half way done and it it is very atmospheric and spooky. The Lost Villiageis described as The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar by the publisher.  I don’t know a lot going in to this story but the genre is horror/suspense.     Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for this ARC.The Lost Village is published on March 23 2021

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier my other holdover form last month it reminds me a lot of the plot of Pixar’s Coco. Where there is a whole city of the dead that are still remembered by the living.  But the City has started rapidly shrinking.  It has been on my TBR for a while, and I’m committed to reading it.

Book Review: Star Wars X-Wing Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackpole

The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackplole is a novel that balances three different genres, court room drama, prison escape, and medical stopping viral spread, with X-wing action as well. The Krytos Trap is the third book in the X-wing series that follows the exploits of Rogue Squadron. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 7 years after A New Hope. The novel starts right where the last one ended. This has been my favorite novel so far in the series, it is the book with the least X-wing action, but I was really into the political intrigue. The reviews for this one have been mixed, either people really enjoy it or they complain about lack of action, where I really did enjoy it I feel the flow could have been better, with action sparsed out through it a little better. This book has a really exciting climax that balances a lot of things the book a cleverly set up all coming to a head. This book has cameos from Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Mon Montha, and Admiral Ackbar. I’m excited that Disney has just announced the next movie to be Rogue Squadron directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), reading these novels theres a lot of stories a characters to borrow from.

The Plot: The New Republic has taken Coruscant from the imperials, but not before the imperials released the Krytos virus, a deadly virus, to most nonhumans on the planet. The virus is able to be fought off by using a great deal of Bacta, which the new republic is in short supply. The rebels must take great risk in getting more Bacta. The Rogue Squadron is down two members with Tycho Celchu on trial for treason after the imperials set him up to be a spy, and the reason Corran Horn is dead. Although Corran Horn is not dead the imperials wanted it to look like it to set up Tycho, and give them more time to reprogram Corran through torture and manipulation. While the real spy is leaking information.

What I Liked: The political intrigue was so good, and you really got to see all sides. The trial was really interesting how truly set up Tycho was. The prison escape plot was great, my favorite part of the novel. I like how the character escaped and what he learned about his self along the way. The downfall of one villain was spectacular. I liked the double crosses and the one mistaken identity kill. I think they did a good job of highlighting the species resentment in the humans not getting the virus, and being the face of the New Republic. The dialogue was the best yet, there’s a lot of speeches that deliver.

What I Disliked: The spy with in Rogue Squadron, didn’t really contribute to a lot and was not even in the book very much. Ooryl Qrygg, Corran Horn’s roommate, is my favorite character and he was in only two scenes, really missed him in this. The pacing could have been better filtering action in here and there.

Recommendations: I really enjoyed this one, if you like political intrigue in your Star Wars then this is for you. The book exchanged adventure for action like the escape from prison instead of a X-wing dog fight. This book is not the most action packed, but when there is action it is big action with lots of consequences. I rated The Krytos Trap by Michael A. Stackpole 4 out of 5 stars. I will continue this series with The Bacta War, I might read them a bit faster because of the 2021 Rogue Squadron movie.

Book Review: Star Wars X- Wing Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble by Michael A. Stackpole takes the X-wing pilots out of the X-wing and has them go undercover on Coruscant. Wedge’s Gamble is book two in the X-wing Saga series that is a part of the Star Wars Legends series ( Star Wars Legends is a division that was considered cannon, but with The Force Awakens not following the trajectory of The established novels they were called Star Wars Legends). The last X-wing novel Rogue Squadron review, I used a Tom Cruise movie to describe it as Top Gun, this novel I would describe as Mission Impossible. Wedge’s Gamble refers to two things a plan to bring criminal’s from Black Sun to give the Imperials trouble on Coruscant and the undercover operation to take down the twin shields. This novel did bring up the topic of inter-species sex, which they don’t go to far butI thought for a Star Wars novel they went farther than I would have thought. I thought the war games are the standout in this book, does the potential for harm, outweigh the potential for peace. I have read this novel before and the set up for the next one is one of my favorites, because of what the Imperials set up for the Rebels. The Kyrtos virus is explained more in The Kyrtos Trap, which is book three in the series.

The Plot: Corran Horn the stand out pilot of Rogue Squadron, investigates why one of his pilots never returned from his trip, he ends up having a near miss and learning that Jace’s missing could be due to a spy in Rogue Squadron. Wedge the leader of the Rogue Squadron, proposes taking Coruscant, and is backed but they have a different way than he imagined, freeing prisoners from a moon that the prisoners have taken over. All the prisoners are former and current members of Black Sun and deadly gang that has no stake in the war at hand. The Rebels are banking on the fact that Black Sun will cause such a ruckus on the Imperials that they won’t notice the rebels sneaking in to take down the twin shields. In order for the rebels to take the stronghold. The Imperial’s know that they can’t hold on to Coruscant for too much longer, start developing a virus called the Kyrtos virus that can be healed but use a fare amount of Bacta (a healing medicine) to cure it.

What I Liked: The Imperial museum that rewrites history to make the rebels look like the bad guys and the Imperials as good. The end battle was really fun. I loved the Kyrtos Trap that was set up at the end, and will have lasting repercussions in the series. I liked the little bits with C3P0 not translating the Wookie leader properly, and Leia’s commander role works well. Corran Horn and Mirax’s relationship is fu to watch it grow and have Corran get tempted by the Bacta Queen who he’s undercover as a couple.

What I Disliked: The action is sometimes really hard to follow, in terms of where people are in relation to the bad guys and their own team members. I hated that we don’t see another member of Rogue Squadron other then Wedge and Corran until midway through the book. There’s is barely in X-wing scenes.

Recommendation: I enjoyed this novel more then the first one, Rogue Squadron, the stakes are a lot higher, the battles are more fierce. You will like this if you like star wars mixed with undercover work. I rated Wedge’s Game 4 out of 5 stars, it was a high 3 that I rounded up.

Book Review: Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole is the Top Gun of the Star Wars novels. The novel is about X-Wing missions after the Empire has fallen. The space battles are well crafted and even if this wasn’t Star Wars the war games are strategically sound and well thought out. This is the first of the X-Wing novels that follows Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron who in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi defeated both the Deathstars. This novel is part of the Legends series of Star Wars novel, meaning that it is not in Star Wars Cannon with the time line that Force Awakens has created. In Legend time line this novel takes place 6 years after A New Hope. This novel in its self was a reread for me, it’s rating did improve on this reread, my original rating was two stars, which I raised to 3 stars and it was close to 4. When I did give it the original star rating I was doing it from memory since I did not know about Goodreads and read for fun without giving it a review. I was really in the mod to read a Star Wars story as I have been rewatching the entire series in anticipation for the new movie The Rise of the Skywalkers and new episodes of the Mandalorian on Disney+.

The Plot: Wedge Antilles one of the founding members and final remaining members of Rogue Squadron he is tasked with training a new team of X-Wing pilots to be the new Rogue Squadron. The Emperor and Darth Vader have been defeated but the Empire still exist and it is trying to actively shut down the Rebel Alliance. Corran Horn is one of those new recruits, he was a former member of Corsec a police unit on Corcusant, Corran resisted the Empire as long as he could and fled when they took over taking an X-wing and an R2 droid with him. Defecting was one thing but stealing now empire equipment is a big thing, he is now hunted my his former boss Kirtan Loor was tasked with tracking him and his stolen property down. With Corran joining the Rogue Squadron Loor is promoted and now in charge of destroying Rogue Squadron.

What I Liked: The character’s are great they all have interesting backgrounds that compelled them to rebel. Corran I liked especially at first he’s a hot head pilot that has to learn to work as a unit. Wedge was one of my favorite side characters form the original trilogy, (side note can not wait to see what they do with his character in Rise of the Skywalkers since he is confirmed to be back.) his character does not disappoint he his a calculating and caring team leader, you found out he’s reject promotion after promotion because he just wants to fly. Ooryl is by far my favorite character, he’s the goose to Corran Horn’s Maverick and a great sidekick. What I found fascinating is about the Gand species that is born only being called Gand and you have to earn your first and last name. The X-Wing battles are exciting and really smart military war games, the battle reminded a lot of the Battle School in Enders Game by Orsen Scott Card. The respect it gave to former members of Rogue Squadron, like Dack and Porkins. I really liked the epilogue and what scenario it sets up for the the next book Wedge’s Gamble.

What I Disliked: Te dialogue was sometimes lacking especially the slangs where they tried too hard to make Star Wars references, Son of a Sithspawn was the only good one that I can remember. The finale was really lacking it was one sided battle, I compare it to in Return of the Jedi you have the battle on Endor, The battle in space around the Deathstar, and you have the Luke Darth Vader duel, that all count on each other to succeed. The finally just gives you on scenario not the whole chain of events all you get is a passing acknowledgment that the plan passed or failed.

Recommendations: Iv’e read at least twenty Star Wars books over the years, where this was just good it set’s up leading to one of my favorite Star Wars X-Wing novels the Kyrotos Trap. It has an Empire Strikes back like ending that will really test the Rebellion. This novel if you ever wanted to read a Top Gun like novel full of space battles then this is your book. I rated this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Tv Series Review: The Mandalorian chapter one -Star Wars Disney+

The Mandalorian episode 1 written by Jon Favreau and directed by Dave Filoni is off to a good start in the first live action show in the Star Wars universe it captures the look of Star Wars off the bat. The first episode took a minute to get into, I would have to say mainly to Horatio Sanz acting. I didn’t feel like he was part of the universe and more or less a guy in a costume. I was very satisfied with what happened to his character. The music was kind of odd at times, some times it was nailed, but I swear I heard parts of a Rocky like theme, I honestly don’t think it was implanted in my brain because I saw Carl Weathers, who was good. The cast without Horatio Sanz and other actors in the opening scene are good, really good. You will play where have I heard that voice from with voice talent from Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi. Other actors are Pedro Pascal as the Mandalorian, who does not take his helmet off and sounds more like a young Timothy Olyphant tan Pedro Pascal under the helmet, Werner Hertzog, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi and Brian Posehn. I’m a pretty big Star wars fans I’ve seen every movie watched most of the tv shows I love Rebels, read a decent amount of Star Wars books.

 

The Plot: (loose spoilers – I describe the first five minutes of the show) The world is torn after the defeat of the empire (The Mandalorian takes place after Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Bounty Hunting is in business, the mandalorian enters into a bar after a character was getting shaken down. When he walks in he’s immediately accosted he takes down the thugs and in brutal form (the camera cuts away as some one is sliced in half), The guy getting shakendown offers a reward as thanks, but the mandalorian looks him up and he has a bounty and is removed. That sets up the tone of the show. The mandalorian turns in his bounties then learns of a top secret loose on the details mission that he takes on a remote planet.

 

What I Liked: The visuals are stunning there’s a lot of really cool visuals that could be posters the final shot, and the walking out of the bar shot. The transitions in the show are the exact in a Star War . The acting is good except for Horatio Sanz, sorry. The story moves really well, the episode is only 35 minutes, which felt odd and went very fast. I liked that he doesn’t take the helmet off, we get to see his face as a boy through flashbacks. The special effects were really good for a tv show. There’s a creature that was in Jabba’s palace, that is featured here in a really memorable cameo scene, it is not the same creature but a cousin or brother maybe. Excellent action scenes. There’s good bits of humor throughout, Taika Waititi’s character gave me the biggest laughs. I love the characterization of the bounty hunter, very Clint Eastwood the spaghetti westerns. Theirs is a western no man’s land vibe.

 

What I Disliked: The music was at times weird, and did not fit. There’s only one episode up for now but no timeline listed of when new episodes come out, which I find frustrating. I liked Nick Nolte’s character but did not like the scene he was in, it felt like total filler. I reminded me of a bad episode of the Clone Wars. I took a second to get in to the universe.

 

Recommendations: I will recommend the series, it feels more like Rogue One the film than any other star wars film. The action and atmosphere is great. You doesn’t have to know anything about star wars too watch this show. I rated this episode 4 out of 5 stars. Personal note don’t worry my book review friends this is mainly a book review site, I just got Disney+ the three year deal and wanted to give my insight to the new show, for people that are star wars fans that are maybe on the fence.

The latest trailer