I’ve been busy reading the last few Star Wars canon releases, and thought I’d give my thoughts about them here.
Battle Scars, by Sam Maggs. I was really looking forward to this one, as I’ve been wanting a novel about Cal Kestis and the Stinger Mantis crew for a long time. As a non-gamer, I wanted to know more about them in a media that’s familiar to me. This book did a good job with characterization, and I feel like I know these characters so much better now. The story was fine, but nothing galaxy-shattering. The crew pick up a defecting Imperial on one of their missions, and this person–Fret–convinces them to go after some new cloaking technology called The Shroud that could turn the tide of their fight against the Empire. Merrin begins an affair with Fret, but her loyalties are tested when Fret’s information isn’t exactly as they thought. In fact, the entire crew’s resolve is tested as they encounter Imperials, the Haxion Brood, and an Inquisitor–the Fifth Brother. I’m not sure if this book was advertised as Young Adult, but I got a lot of YA vibes from it. Not on the top of my list as favorites as far as Star Wars books go, but these guys are fun to be around.
Quest for Planet X, by Tessa Gratton. This is the middle grade book of Phase 2 Wave 2 of the High Republic. As expected, it focuses on a group of young people, including Jedi Padawan Rooper Nitani, a young prospector named Dass, and a transgender character named Sky Graf. Dass and Sky convince Rooper to accompany them on the Great Hyperspace Race, but what both Dass and Sky want is to find the legendary Planet X. Dass and his father had found it some time ago with the help of a prospector named Sunshine Dobbs, but he betrayed them. Now Dass wants to find his ship, left behind on the planet. Sky wants to find their father, who went missing while looking for planet X. They’re helped out by an ancient hyperspace artifact. But they get mixed up with the Path of the Open Hand, who know that Planet X is where the Nameless come from–the strange, terrifying creatures that reduce Force-users to a husk. Rooper is the moral compass of the group, convincing both of the other kids to do what is right in several different situations. The High Republic middle-grade books have been consistently good and entertaining, and they always tie in with the adult novels it comes out with, so this one coincides with Cataclysm, below.
Cataclysm, by Lydia Kang. This is the second adult novel of Phase 2 of the High Republic, and I have to tell you, it’s fantastic. It builds on the events of the first adult novel, Convergence, and while I enjoyed Convergence, it necessarily had to do some legwork to get us here, so it was a bit slower. Cataclysm also builds off of the events of the audiobook The Battle of Jedha, which I also enjoyed. Cataclysm grabbed me from the very beginning and wouldn’t let go. It’s told from several points of view and several groups of people and Jedi who ultimately converge on the planet of Dalna, where The Path of the Open Hand, the cult that caused so much chaos on Jedha, has retreated to. As more Jedi arrive to investigate their involvement, the Path become aggressive and release their member-soldiers, enforcer droids, and the Leveller, the creature that reduces Jedi to ash, culminating in a relentless battle. I was on the edge of my seat, wondering who was going to live and who was going to die. The characters in this book are compelling, as well, including Axel Greylark, the wayward son of Chancellor Greylark, the Chancellor herself, the many Jedi involved, and Xiri and Phantu-Zenn, of the warring planets of E’ronoh and Eiram. Oh, and Yaddle is in it, which made me happy, as she’s become one of my favorite characters since seeing her in Tales of the Jedi. Eagerly awaiting the last book of Phase 2, Path of Vengeance, which comes out May 2nd.
The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken. I read a sample of this book some time ago, and for some reason thought, nah. I think maybe I thought it was too YA-ish, which at the time, wasn’t something I regularly enjoyed. But something told me to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did; I really enjoyed this book. It’s a retelling of A New Hope, but from the particular perspectives of Leia, Han, and Luke. The first third of the book is from Leia’s point of view. so we get her perspective on the Tantive IV, her time on the Death Star, her torture by Darth Vader (which still isn’t too graphic; it’s middle-grade, after all), and the destruction of Alderaan. The middle third is from Han’s point of view, and we get his perspective on the cantina scene, meeting Luke and Ben Kenobi, his meeting with Greedo and then Jabba the Hutt, their capture on the Death Star, rescuing Princess Leia, the garbage masher, and escaping the Death Star. Finally, we get Luke’s perspective on Yavin, a battle-ready simulator test given by Wedge, his meeting with Biggs, and the trench run on the Death Star and its subsequent destruction. Each point of view was perfect for the events it covered, and we got some nice insight into the characters we can’t really get in the film. It’s a new way of seeing this story that’s been around for some 40-odd years.
Not a bad run of Star Wars books! Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
2 thoughts on “Star Wars Reading Update”
Hi Tina, I haven’t read any of the books you’ve listed here yet (I’m really behind on my reading list) but I have read the Timothy Zhan Thrawn novel seen in your title picture – that was a good read.
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You know, I like Thrawn as a character, but I couldn’t get into the books. At least the first one, lol. I tried, but I got bored. I’ll try again someday. Thanks for reading, FT!
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