Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson

It’s been a while since I have posted anything but I haven’t been reading much lately so I didn’t have anything to talk about. But recently, that’s changed! I’ve been in the mood to read a lot in the last month or so, so I am going with it! I just updated the Star Wars Canon page with all the books that have come out since I last updated it (it was a lot!) and realized I have read some of them so I am going to post what I remember.

So Black Spire is the town on Batuu that is in the American Disney Parks. I actually read a lot of this book while I was in Batuu for the first time in December 2019. The book incorporates a lot of the stores and restaurants from the parks into the story which is really fun. It definitely enhanced my trip and made me enjoy being in the park a lot!

As for the story, I remember liking it but couldn’t really tell you what it was about now (18ish months later). I do remember liking a lot of the characters, particularly Vi Moradi, who is a face character in the park now.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, Bk 1) by James S.A. Corey

In recent years, I’ve only been writing about Star Wars books, but I decided I need to branch out a little and write about some of the other stuff I read.  I think there are times that I get bored or annoyed with Star Wars books and then my reading stalls out completely.  In the last month or so, I’ve given myself permission to step away from the Star Wars and read other stuff and it has been super great.

I am a fan of The Expanse TV show on Syfy, so I wanted to read the books.  I actually bought the first three books in the series in paperback, about a year ago and started the first one, but the books are too big to carry around, so I ended up putting it down on a side table and not getting back to it for 10 months.  Oops.  But then I recently bought it in Kindle format and suddenly I was sucked in and finished it in a week despite being busy and traveling.

I really like that the series is set in our solar system.  Yes, the colonies on Mars and in the Belt are fictitious, but the planets, moons, and asteroids real.  It definitely made the events seem more realistic and near future.  The world building is really strong and believable.

The authors alternate chapters.  I’m not sure if I liked Franck’s Holden chapters more because I like his writing more or if I just like Holden and the Roci crew more than Miller.  idk.  Miller did grow on me as the book went on.

I’m excited to continue with the series and for Season 3 of the show.

Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein

I really wanted to like this book because I really liked Rose Tico and was traumatized by Paige’s death the first time I saw The Last Jedi, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it.  It was pretty good; I just didn’t love it.  Rose felt so young – like a child instead of a young adult.  I picked up the book, read a few pages, and put it back down so many times.  It just didn’t draw me in the way I hoped it would.

The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton

I read this book about three years ago, but never gave it its own post, so I am doing it now.  This book has a lot of faults, but it is one of the few I have distinct memories of reading as a teenager and I loved it back then, so there’s a lot of nostalgia there for me.  It doesn’t make sense that Leia suddenly is willing to marry for diplomatic reasons and leave Han behind, but I like that they reconcile in the end and get married.  Threepio’s song about Han is the greatest part of Star Wars literature.  Fight me. I also really like the Dathomir storyline and the force witches were awesome.

Rereading it as an adult, I totally see the issues with the book, but at the time I loved it.

Jedi Academy Trilogy: Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson

omg.  Where to even start with this book.  I finished it because I felt like it was important to the continuity of the EU as a whole.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but at least I know who Kyp Durron is now.  Around page 16, I was completely exasperated, but I powered through.  I am not excited about reading the rest of this trilogy.

The characters: Every characterization was off.  Leia didn’t know how to balance being a mother with being a diplomat and when Mon Mothma found out that Leia was struggling, she didn’t care.  (Also wtf was up with the kids living with Winter until they’re two?  This makes no sense.) Also, when Han doesn’t check in, Leia just thinks he’s off gambling instead of maybe in danger and Winter has to bring up that idea?  Ugh.  AND when Leia is dealing with a tough diplomatic situation, she wishes Han or Luke was there.  WHYYYYY?  Ugh.  Luke is an ass to everyone he wants to train, but particularly to Leia.  Han was the closest to what I would expect from him but he was still off.  At least I kind of liked Kyp.

The writing:  Damn this writing is bad.  How do you show strength of character by walking down stairs?  I don’t know, but Luke apparently does it.  The book was very tell, don’t show, which is the worst.  Don’t assume your reader can’t remember a detail that was introduced a page before.  And all the dialogue is so so bad.

This review is making me want to change my goodreads review from 2 stars to 1.  I guess I will go subject myself to the next book in the trilogy now.

Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover

I had a weird reading experience with this book.  I started it before I went to Japan for 3 weeks and took it with me planning to finish it while I was over there, but I didn’t end up reading much.  Then I got back and couldn’t find the book.  I was about to buy a new copy to finish it when I pulled out my suitcase to go to California and the book was in there!  So I was able to finish it.

As for the actually book… it was pretty good.  I enjoyed it, though I wasn’t overwhelmed with love for it.  Overall, I liked the story and the characterization of our intrepid heroes. Shadowspawn and his powers were interesting.  I thought the investigation set up was interesting and I loved that there are dramatizations of Luke and Han being made.  It made the book light and fun even when the stuff going on was potentially dark and deep.

Isard’s Revenge by Michael Stackpole

And we’re back to the Rogues, though a few of our Wraith friends are still around.  I like the Rogues, but I did miss the Wraiths.  I’m pretty sure I said the opposite back in the 4th book when it switched from Rogues to Wraiths initially.  I like them all, I guess, and just want more stories!  I liked that Corran and Mirax are a fun married couple.  I also like that Mirax and Iella are working with the Rogues but are independent women that get themselves in and out of trouble.  The story was fun and I really enjoyed it, though the premise is strange and convoluted.  But at least it was entertaining.

Also, I am going to need to hug Gavin for a really long time now.

Allegiance by Timothy Zahn

I almost didn’t read this book because there are stormtroopers on the cover and generally, I haven’t been a big fan of books focused on stormtroopers.  But it is by Timothy Zahn, also featured our intrepid OT heroes, and promised young Mara Jade, so I went for it.  It was a good book, though probably my least favorite Zahn book to date.

I liked Mara, though I kept remembering that she’s only 18 in this book and some of the stuff seems very mature for her age.  Though she does also make some rash decisions, so I guess that makes sense for an 18 year old.  I was confused by her Force powers.  If I remember correctly, in the Thrawn trilogy, Luke is teaching her to use the Force.  In this book, she’s younger and in complete control – moving things, influencing people, whatever needs to be done.  I think there might have been something in TT about her thinking her powers came from the Emperor and she lost them when he died?  idk.  It just seemed weird to me. I did really like her interactions with Darth Vader and felt he was well written.

I like the Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewy story lines.  Leia’s was especially interesting.  I feel like Zahn did a good job of capturing them in their post A New Hope places, especially Han wavering between staying with the Rebellion and leaving to pay off Jabba and working out his feelings towards Leia.

The stormtroopers weren’t as bad as I expected them to be, but I still wasn’t overly invested in their story.  It was just a little meh for me.  I did like them by the end of the book.

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Huh. Okay, where to start. I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and liked that even though Han was the main character, it was everyone’s story. I am glad I already knew who Kell was from the Wraith books and liked him more here than I did in Wraith Squadron. I really enjoyed the Ocean’s 11 vibe more than I thought I would. It was fun to see everything come together and unfold. There were times when it felt needlessly over complicated, but for the most part, it was enjoyable.

The ending, though. What the actual hell? I was surprised by that and a little annoyed.

A couple notes on my SWEU read through: I did give up on the Jedi Twilight books, including Shadow Games. I just wasn’t interested enough to follow that story line. I do however plan to go back and read the two Han Solo trilogies I skipped over eventually. I’m just trying to move forward at a slightly faster rate so I can catch up to the story around the X-wing books.