Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig

I generally try to write about a book just after I finish it, but I needed to run some errands after I finished this book and so I had some time to think about it before I had a chance to sit and write.  And the verdict is… I don’t know.  I liked it.  It was a pretty easy read and I found that when I sat down to read, I effortlessly finished big chunks.  But I didn’t love it.  I loved parts of it, but the ending was a little rushed in my opinion.

In the end, I think I liked where most everyone ended up, but I wanted MORE.  I wanted to know what happens next.  I am hopeful that there will be a book series about the Corellian Academy and Phantom Squadron.  I want more Sinjir and Conder.  I want more Jas.  Hopefully we get them.  Soon.

Catalyst by James Luceno

This book was a bit of a struggle for me. I really liked getting more background on Krennic, Galen and Lyra Erso, and Tarkin, but the overall book was really slow. It made it easy to put down. 

I do wish I had read this before Rogue One came out. I guess I’ll have to see the movie again to see how it affects my opinion of Krennic. 

I liked getting to know Lyra and was secretly hoping she was a secret Jedi. I liked her environmentalist-ness. It was interesting to see the Empire’s destruction through her eyes. 

Overall, I am glad I read this, but I did kind of have to make myself do it. 

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

This book was so fun!  It stays true to the movie action and you can see the dialogue in the iambic pentameter, but the language makes it so much better.  I loved the soliloquies that were added.  They add foreshadowing, background information, and a cool look into the character’s head.  I loved that the book gave R2-D2 asides that show what he is thinking instead of just leaving Threepio to translate for him.  He was probably my favorite part.  At times, I saw the action as the movie with the character’s just saying different dialogue, but other times, I saw the staging as a darkened stage with spotlights on the characters.  The stage in my head was definitely community center production, not Broadway too.  I have no idea why that’s what was in my head, but it enhanced the humor for me.  I have the other two books in the original trilogy and look forward to reading them.

Life Debt (Aftermath #2) by Chuck Wendig

I read the first Aftermath book in less than a day during DragonCon in 2015.  Needless to say, I don’t remember that much about it.  I was going to reread it at some point, but never did.  I did give it a 4 but my blurb here was a bit less enthusiastic.  So idk.

Overall, I liked Life Debt.  I think I liked it more than Aftermath.  I still really like the main characters – Norra, Temmin, Jas, and Sinjir.  I don’t remember Jom from Aftermath, but I guess he joined them at some point because he wasn’t really introduced in Life Debt.  He was pretty cool, though.  I liked him and Jas together.  Temmin was weird – sometimes he seems like an older teen and every intelligent and responsible, but then other times he seems like a 9 year old.  It’s hard to pin an age on him.

I LOVED spending time with original trilogy characters.  I really liked all the Leia parts of the book and enjoyed spending time with Han and Chewie.  I definitely yelled “HAAAAN SOOOOLOOO” in my best Maz Kanata voice the first time he showed up.  And Wedge.  Dear sweet Wedge.  I just want that man to be happy.  Is that too much to ask?

I liked all the politics, but at time found the Imperial side of it trying.  I didn’t really like Rax and didn’t feel like he was a great mastermind or whatever that warranted Sloane’s fear.

So yeah, I liked it and look forward to the third book in the trilogy.

Bloodline by Claudia Gray

I really should write my thoughts down right after I finish a book.  It’s been a few weeks and now I am struggling to remember details.  But overall, I liked this book a lot.  I really like Claudia Gray’s writing style in this book and in Lost Stars.  It’s just easy to get lost in the world around her characters.  And those characters are always awesome.  I have always loved Princess Leia, so I loved that this book focused on her.  My feelings on Casterfo were up and down throughout the book, but I did end up really liking him.  And the rest of the characters were great.  I especially liked Greer and Joph.

So um, yeah, this is a really good book.  My brain just isn’t recalling all the details at the moment. :)

The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster

Considering how much I liked this movie, I thought it would be a given that I would love this book. To be honest, I didn’t. I gave it a 3 on GoodReads, but probably would have gone for a 2.5 if that had been an option. 

The story is still there, but it seemed to lose some of its charm on the page. The prose was super annoying at first. I did eventually get into the flow and was only caught off guard a few times, but it took me about 20% of the book to really get into it. 

I did like that there were some new/cut scenes and some of the scenes from the movie were longer. There was background explanation for some things that are glossed over in the movie and more insight into character motivations… Sometimes. The emotional impact of some important scenes just seemed missing. 

I think I’ll go watch the movie again tomorrow. 

Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

After seeing The Force Awakens, I want to know everything I possibly can about the new “Big Three” because I love them all so much.  So of course I drove straight into Before the Awakening and loved it.  The book is in three sections, one for each character, and each section shows something about the character before where we meet them in the movie.

Finn’s section really helped to explain his mindset about training and battle.  Rey’s story broke my heart.  I really enjoyed it, though.  It definitely showed the struggle she endured on Jakku trying to get food and protect her finds.  Finally, Poe’s story was just really interesting and fun.  I liked how it was all about him and his X-wing friends.  It reminded me of the Rogue Squadron book I read recently.  I liked that it also touched on the current politics and how the Resistance fits into the Republic.

Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book.  At the beginning, I really liked it.  I liked most of the characters, especially Namir and Roach.  I didn’t like Chalis at first, but she became an interesting character as the book went on.  I liked the grittiness of the battles and was really engaged with each one.

But overall, my reaction was a little meh when I finished.  Just like “Oh, that’s it?  Okay.”  The book felt like a series of events more than a cohesive story.  A lot of characters died, which I expected, but the deaths didn’t seem to have much impact on the survivors.  I wanted the main set of characters to be more of a family with more camaraderie.  Instead, it just felt like they were a group of people that didn’t really care about each other.  They were just there.  I kept expecting things mentioned early on to become important later, but they didn’t.  I was especially disappointed by all the build up around Thara/SP-475 with very little pay off around her.

So in the end, I really wanted to like it more than I did.  I really like war stories, but I like that you generally see the impact of the war on people.  I didn’t feel like this book really showed that.  That could have been because the book was almost solely from Namir’s point of view.  The book might have been stronger if it had POV from other characters to show what the battles were doing to them.

Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka

And just like that, all the Force Friday books are done. I’m a little sad to be honest. I’ve had fun reading these books and am super excited for the new movie. 

Of the books about the original 3, this was probably my favorite. I liked the comradarie between Han and Chewy, especially from Chewy’s perspective.  I liked that this book was fast paced and engaging. I thought Han was well written and believable for where he was after A New Hope. 

The prologue/epilogue on this one made me a bit sad. Must we refer to Han as an old man? I realize it has been 30 years, but I am going to be a little sad about losing the young Han of my childhood. I love me some young Harrison Ford. I don’t really want crotchety old man Han. Oh well. I remain hopeful!

Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

Hrm. I liked this, but definitely not as much as I liked the Leia book. I felt like the beginning dragged and I was super confused about why Luke accepted Farnay’s offer to be his guide and then accepted Sarco’s too. Maybe I missed something. Like the Leia book, this didn’t draw me in the way Aftermath and Lost Stars did. 

But I did like it. I’ve always loved Luke, so I liked seeing more of this story, especially his training. I wish the book had had less set up (visiting the city and finding a guide) and more training/exploring in the temple. I liked that part best. 

I did think the prologue and epilogue were really interesting and I am curious which of these characters we’ll see in The Force Awakens. 

On to my last Force Friday book – Smuggler’s Run, the story of my favorite scoundrel and his Wookiee BFF. Can’t wait!