Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno

This was an interesting book. I can’t say I loved it, but it was an easy read and kept me engaged. I wasn’t super involved with the Jedi storyline, though it had an interesting ending. I liked Shryne, but Starstone was annoying. I liked getting to see young Chewbacca. 

The Vader parts were the most interesting parts. It’s nice to know that Anakin did not lose his whinypants attitude when he became Darth Vader. There were times when he was justifying his actions to himself that made me roll my eyes hard. I liked reading about him adjusting to his body and being frustrated by the machines and limitations. I also liked the tension between him and Palps. I liked that they weren’t immediately on the same page and that that relationship took time to grow.

I really liked the section on Alderaan, too. I liked seeing Bail and Breha as new parents protecting their daughter and Bail’s convos with Mon Mothma. I would have liked a lot more of that instead of the Shryne/Starstone story. 

So overall, it was a pretty good read. 

Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

Dang, this book is good! This is my favorite prequel movie and the book makes it even better. I love how Stover really digs into the psyche of the major players – Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Palpatine. It was really enjoyable to read. The final section just about killed me. I had to stop a few times and not be sad for a few minutes. 

I think my favorite part was the very last “This is Anakin Skywalker” section, which I thought were cheesy at the beginning and heart wrenching at the end. Oh my heart. 

I’m really glad I enjoyed this book so much because I am excited to get back to reading and enjoying Star Wars books! I’m really ready to get to the post-ROTJ books, so I will probably be a little more choosy about which OT books I read. And I have to keep working on War and Peace. :)

The Bacta War (X-Wing Bk 4) by Michael Stackpole

Warning: Spoilers below

I got so into The Krytos Trap that I decided not to wait for Rogue Podron to finish this arc of X-wing books.  It only took me a couple days to finish The Bacta War. I don’t usually post a lot of detail here, but I think my thoughts on the final book and the series as a whole warrant it.

Character wise – I still love Corran.  At the beginning of the series, his monologue-ing got old, but I really did like him.  I liked how he grew over the series and I’m really interested in seeing where he goes from here, especially as a Jedi.  I LOVE Mirax too.  I’m glad they got together.  I loved Wedge too.  I like that the books took a tertiary character from the movies and really built a world around him.  I loved whenever he was the focus.  I felt like this book did not have as good of a mix of secondary Rogues as the last one.  I liked what we got of Gavin, but definitely wanted more.  And more Tycho, Winter, Iella, and Ooryl.  Less Vorru and Isard.  I found myself missing Loor.  He was a better nemesis than Vorru.  I was a little meh on Booster and Talon Karrde.  I guess I need to get to know them better to really like them.

Plot wise – I liked the action in this book, though there were times when I just wanted stuff to be done, usually when we were focused on the bad guys.  I liked that there were a lot of surprises and stuff just worked out, but sometimes it was too easy.  Things just worked out perfectly in ways that almost don’t make sense if you think about it too much.  But that’s the joy of sci-fi books sometimes – you can just take them at face value and not worry too much about the actual logistics.  I did feel like this book lacked the high stakes the other books had.  Only 1 Rogue dies (and one is believed dead for a while) and that death doesn’t seem to have a big impact on the team.  No one dies in the final battle.  While I am happy about that, because I always hate when a beloved character is gone, it seemed weird when all the other books had more deaths after battles.

Also, there was a character (a droid) named Poe in one section of the book.  That was so weird to me.

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. :)

X-Wing Series Books 2 and 3 by Michael Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble and The Krytos Trap by Michael Stackpole

Taking the lazy way out to catch up and doing one review for both of these books.  I would probably say the same thing about them anyway! :)

I really like this series.  The characters are fun and interesting.  At first, I thought I was going to be more upset by the deaths of old characters and additions of new characters, but mostly I’ve been okay with them.  I don’t dislike Corran as much as other people.  I get why he can be annoying, but it doesn’t bother me that much.  I only occasionally have to roll my eyes.  I really like the ladies in these books, especially in Krytos Trap.  Iella and Mirax especially.  I liked both storylines a lot and am getting better at keeping up with what is happening in battles instead of just skimming over the action.

I think The Krytos Trap may be one of my favorite Legends books so far.  I really like the story overall and the balance between the various plots going on at a time.  I liked that many of the plot points started in the first and second book were resolved.  I can’t wait to read the 4th book.  I read ahead of Rogue Podron, so now I need to decide if I am going to keep reading ahead or wait for them.  I started War and Peace, so that should keep me busy waiting for them.

I’m reading?

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted because I haven’t finished any Star Wars books lately. I’m been “reading” Labyrinth of Evil since September. I’ve tried to force myself to read it, which never works. I have actually read several non-SW books this year, which is good.

Another thing I’ve started doing is listening to podcasts. I have a few SW ones that I listen to occasionally, but for a while, the only one I listened to consistently was Rogue Podron. In the last few weeks or so, I’ve realized I like listening to podcasts while driving to work and so the number I am listening to has skyrocketed.

  • Presidential – I found this podcast through the Hamilton Twitter. I really like the history and I am learning stuff that was glossed over in APUSH in 11th grade. I am not a huge fan of the host’s voice and sometimes the info is kind of light, but overall I like it and find it interesting.
  • Rogue Podron – As mentioned, this was my first “I can’t wait for the next episode” weekly podcast. I really like the Rogue Squadron X-wing books. I like the hosts of this podcast. The only part that I don’t love is how long it takes to get through a book.
  • Aftersmash – Smash Podcast! I found this podcast through the Broadway World messageboard and decided to watch the show while catching up on the commentary for each episode. I liked the show, but the podcast was even more amazing. I’m sad it is basically over.
  • Gilmore Guys – I discovered this one because the guys were guests on Aftersmash. I am watching the show for the first time along with catching up on episodes. I have a really long way to go, but I am hopeful that I will finish before the Netflix movies start. I struggled with this podcast at first, but am growing to really like it.
  • West Wing Weekly – This one just started and I am going to try to watch West Wing for the first time with them. The first episode starts this week, so hopefully it is good.
  • Avatar State Podcast – I discovered this through Rogue Podron. I liked Avatar and plan to rewatch with them. The first episode just dropped and I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I am optimistic.

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.