So, no Andor episodes to comment on anymore. 😦 But, now that the series is over, I decided to revisit Rogue One again, and yeah, it’s just as good as I remember. And perhaps, if possible, a bit sadder, since I know so much more about Cassian now. And I think it’s official: the Battle of Scarif is my favorite Star Wars battle, hands down. I enjoy the battles in Star Wars for the most part, but almost always my eyes start to glaze over after awhile. Not this one. The battle on the beach, as well as the battle above the planetary shield, is tense and exhilarating. Hmm, maybe I’ll do a list post with favorite Star Wars battles.
I finished Season Three of Poldark a few days ago, and decided to take a break from it for a week or so and watch other things. I love it, but I need a break from the constant drama, lol. There’s a few things on my Amazon Prime watchlist, but I’m not sure what I’ll watch yet. I’ll report back next week.
In books, I got my copy of Convergence and have been reading it. I’m about halfway done and I’m really enjoying it. It mostly concerns the “Forever War” between the two planets Eiram and E’ronoh, and a Jedi delagation trying to help with the peace process. Jedi Knight Gella Nattai is trying to find her place in the Order; Axel Greylark, the troubled son of one of the Chancellors, has been sent there by his mother to watch and report back to her. Both Gella and Axel must protect the princess of E’ronoh and the prince of Eiram, who have vowed to end their planets destructive war through a marriage between them. But there are those who don’t want peace, on both sides, and it doesn’t help that the Path of the Hand has gotten involved as well. I’m eager to see how it turns out, since there’s still trouble between these two planets a hundred years later as evidences in one of the Phase One books, which I believe was Into the Dark.
I’m not much of a comic book reader, but when I saw an omnibus edition of the recent Obi-Wan Kenobi comic, I had to pre-order it. It comes out on December 13th. I don’t think the comic brought anything super important or earth-shattering to the canon, but look, it’s Obi-Wan. So it will be read and take its place on my shelf.
We got a cover reveal for the Cal Kestis novel coming out next March:
I’m eager to get to know these characters, as I’m not a gamer, either. But I’ve always been intrigued by Cal’s story, and had always hoped for a book. Wishes sometimes do come true!
In Marvel, I watched the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 trailer that just dropped, and I’m ready for this. If you haven’t seen it, check it out here:
By the way, I haven’t seen Wakanda Forever yet, but I will watch it when it inevitably drops on Disney Plus soon.
That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Well, the Andor finale aired this past week, and I enjoyed it for the most part. All the principals were gathering on Farrix, all of them to find Cassian and either kill or capture him. No one did. In fact, none of them even saw him, and while I expected at least one of them to have a confrontation with him, that didn’t happen, either. Cassian ended up working behind the scenes to free Bix from the Imperials.
Otherwise, it was all about Maarva’s funeral and its aftermath. I appreciated the denizens of Farrix defying the Empire’s restrictions on the event, showing up in numbers and at the time they wanted. This is an appropriate defiance; but I hesitate to champion Maarva’s hologram speech during it. The speech itself was fantastic. But I feel like Maarva didn’t think this through. Surely she must have known that the funeral would be supervised by the Imperials. To instigate an uprising from the people of Farrix right then and there seems a bit…irresponsible? She must have known people would be killed. And yes, of course, sacrifices must be made for the Rebellion, etc etc, but these things need to be thought out and planned. I don’t know, I just thought her speech could have been better timed.
Anyway, Luthen shows up to…I’m not sure, check up on Vel and Cinta? Help with Cassian’s murder? At any rate, once chaos breaks out in the town square, he distances himself and heads back to his ship. True to form, he sees such uprisings and outrage necessary for the Rebellion, but doesn’t want to risk his own life. As he’s said, he’s a coward. In the meantime, Cinta kills the ISB guy that has been watching her for days, Syril saves Dedra’s life (the shippers will be going nuts, lol) and Cassian gets Bix out of the hotel. He gets her to a ship along with B2, Brasso, and Pak’s son, who brought a homemade bomb to the funeral. But Cassian doesn’t go with them.
He waits for Luthen in his ship and tells him to either kill him or bring him in (into his inner circle of Rebels). Because Cassian, over the course of the show, has gone from someone who doesn’t care and just tries to survive, to a true believer who wants to fight back. Many of the people he’s met during the show has influenced Cassian’s transformation: Nemik (whose manifesto Cassian has read and is voiced over during the episode), Kino, and Maarva (who sends a message to him through Brasso); and all the inequities and punishments he’s suffered under the Empire, including his father’s unjust execution, bring Cassian around to the man we meet in Rogue One.
We don’t see much of Mon Mothma in this episode, except to see her cleverly trying to throw off the Empire from the missing money in her accounts by blaming Perrin for gambling, knowing her driver is listening in on the conversation. Also, her daughter meets the the thug’s son, and perhaps a marriage will occur. Or not. We’ll have to wait until Season Two to find out.
I thought the episode was fine, but something made it a bit anti-climactic for me. I’m not sure what it was; maybe it was Cassian lurking around and not confronting any of these people who were out to get him. I expected some kind of confrontation. Oh well. I did enjoy the entirety of Season One and am looking forward to Season Two.
I haven’t been watching much Marvel lately (I chose to pass on both Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk), but I did watch the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special. When I saw the teaser trailer for it some time ago, I thought, oh yeah, I’m SO there for that! Lol. Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favorite aspects of the Marvel Universe, besides Loki and Dr. Strange, and I knew that I’d enjoy it immensely. It was only about 45 minutes, which was plenty, but it was so fun and amusing and makes me excited for the next Guardians movie (2023?)
The premise of the special is that Mantis and Drax want to do something nice for Peter for Christmas, believing Yondu spoiled it for him some years ago. Since Peter has talked quite a bit about Kevin Bacon to them over the years (mostly about his character from the movie Footloose, which was a favorite of his when he was a kid), they decide to….give Peter Kevin Bacon for Christmas!
Goofy fun ensues as they head to Hollywood in search of Kevin Bacon. If you don’t expect too much from it, it’s really fun. And it’s rather heartwarming in the end, which is what all Christmas specials should be.
Anyway, other than that, I’ve been continuing my fevered watching of Poldark. I’m about halfway through Season Three (out of five seasons) and the drama only gets more complicated and juicy. It’s like Jane Austen’s naughty sister, lol. I’m nervous at the start of every episode, wondering what could go wrong next, who will get hurt, what evil George Warleggon will conjure up next. The setting of the show, by the way, is spectacular, with the dramatic cliffs of Cornwall and the boiling ocean waves of the sea a reflection of the character’s churning emotions. I love it!
In books, I’ve finally finished The Obelisk Gate, by N.K. Jemisin, the second book in a trilogy called The Broken Earth series. I’ll probably do a post on all three books when I’m done.
And I finally received Convergence, by Zoraida Cordova, just today, the latest High Republic book in Phase 2. I would have gotten it sooner but I failed to update my payment method when my bank changed some time ago. Oops! Looking forward to starting that one.
That’s about it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Andor’s tenth episode, “One Way Out” was probably the best of the series so far. This, of course, was the prison escape episode, and it delivered in so many ways. Now that Kino Loy (played by Andy Serkis) is done with the Empire’s games and is on board, they make a plan. Now that the old man Ulaf died, a new prisoner will be coming in to fill his spot. And that’s when the Imperials will be at their most vulnerable. Cassian finishes sabotaging the water pipe from the refresher, and that leaking water will help disable the electrified floor. Once the new guy is brought in, they attack (poor new guy, he has no idea what’s going on…and ends up dying from a blaster bolt). Once they’re all out and kill the guards, they make their way to the command center and take over. They cut off the power to all the floors, and then Kino makes his speech over the intercom, telling the prisoners they had taken control and were escaping. But more than that, his speech is inspiring to the prisoners, as he tells them to help one another. It’s not “every man for himself”, it’s “if we work together we can get out of here.” So it was heartbreaking when they finally get out and have to jump into the ocean to get away and Kino says he can’t swim. He helped everyone else get out while likely knowing he wouldn’t make it out himself, as it’s obvious he knew they were surrounded by water. I really liked Kino’s story arc, going from a man counting down his days until he gets out and everyone better not ruin that for him, to a man leading everyone out while he himself can’t get out. I hope we find out what happens to him–sent to another prison? Killed? Suicide? Maybe I don’t want to know.
Anyway, there was another big speech in the episode, given by Luthen Rael. He meets with one of the ISB agents, Jung, who is actually a mole and working for the Rebellion. He’s meeting with Luthen to warn him about the ISB laying a trap for Kreeger’s rebel cell, but really he wants to tell Luthen he’s done with this double agent thing. He’s got a baby coming and wants a different life. But Luthen won’t let him, telling him that they have to make sacrifices. Jung asks what Luthen’s sacrificed, and what we get is some sorely-needed insight into this man. Basically, he tells Jung that he’s sacrificed his soul. He’s not a kind man, and he uses the Empire’s own tactics against them. In other words, he’s become what he’s sworn to destroy, all for a victory he suspects he’ll never see.
Someone who’s not ready to sacrifice her soul is Mon Mothma. She meets with this Davos, a “thug” in her estimation, only because she’s desperate for money to cover up what her “charity” is actually doing. She’s willing to pay the man off, but he’s already rich and doesn’t want money. He wants his son to meet her daughter–probably in the hopes of a traditional Chandrilan arranged marriage, likely so he can get closer to the influential and more respectable Coruscant society. Mon balks and is curt at dismissing him. But as he points out her, she’s thinking about it. What is she willing to sacrifice? I’m curious to see how this plays out. Only two more episodes of this season!
Now that The Rings of Power is done, I need to make that Amazon Prime subscription worth paying, so I’ve added a few things to my watchlist. One of those things is Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to 1984’s Blade Runner that came out a few years ago. I saw it in the theater at the time, and absolutely adored it. I’m a big fan of the original, and wasn’t sure about a sequel. But my doubts were immediately dispelled as I heard that otherworldly music and watched Ryan Gosling totally nail it as a replicant Blade Runner called “K” whose job it is to “retire” older, less compliant Replicants from the past.
During one of his cases, he comes upon a mystery and a miracle: a Replicant woman who gave birth 30 years ago. Sensing the enormity of the event and what such a child represents, K’s boss, Madame, played wonderfully by Robin Wright, orders him to find and kill the (30 year-old) child. But during his investigation, he comes to believe that he, himself, is the child of that long ago miracle.
In the meantime, the creepy corporate billionaire Wallace (played by Jared Leto), who had taken up the reins left by Tyrell Corporation and created new models of Replicants like K who obeyed, also wants to find the child in order to figure out how to make his Replicants with the power to give birth. So he can have more slaves, you see, to dominate the stars. He sends his pet Replicant, the ironically named Love, to follow K during his investigation, a woman who certainly doesn’t know anything about love.
Director Denis Villeneuve’s Los Angeles of 2049 is a bleak and wondrous place, where illusion is the order of the day. Replicants are implanted with false memories, to make them emotionally stable. They know that they’re implanted, they know exactly what they are (and aren’t), but the memories make them feel more human. K has a relationship with a beautiful hologram named Joi, and though her programming is meant to fill every one of K’s desires (except, of course, physical contact, which is solved in a clever way), it certainly seems like Joi is a real person who loves him. And he does love her. Or maybe he’s in love the idea of her. Can you be in love with someone who’s not “real”? She’s an illusion, but K’s feelings about her are not. Does that make her real?
Are Replicants “real”? They’re alive–they breath and bleed and can die–and they’re sentient beings. They have emotions. They’re supposed to obey and not be able to lie, but K breaks both of those rules. It seems moot to me that if one is “born” instead of “made” they’re more real and therefore have more rights. But apparently this child represents something dangerous–the fact that Replicants can reproduce give them more “self-agency.” To Madame, this would be disastrous, leading to a Replicant rebellion; to Wallace, it is the holy grail that would serve his purpose to simply enslave more Replicants.
Some people thought this movie was too long and convoluted, but not me. I loved every single minute of its almost 3 hour runtime. It’s mesmerizing to behold, and offers a lot to chew on. The performances were amazing, especially Ryan Gosling, who was a revelation to me at the time. I wasn’t really familiar with him except for “The Notebook,” lol. But he perfectly captures the nuances of a person who initially accepts the status quo, and then gradually learns who he is (or could be), and what it means to be “human.” Bravo.
In books, this week I started and finished a rereading of Mission to Disaster, a middle-grade book by Justina Ireland. It’s a Phase 1 High Republic book, and I wanted to revisit it because most of it takes place on Dalna, a planet we see 150 years earlier in Path of Deceit. Basically the Nihil has taken some children prisoner to “recruit’ them, and young Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwho and her Padawan Imri Cantos are on it. Their friend, Avon Starros, a technological genius, has been taken and made to help the Nihil with a weapon that can destroy the planet.
I wanted to see if I could get any insight into Dalna considering the events of Path of Deceit, which also took place on Dalna. What we learn is that something happened on on that planet involving the Jedi, something that went very bad and the Jedi are blamed. Ever since, the Jedi are not trusted, although by the time of Vernestra’s time, there is a Jedi Outpost there. There seems to be some evidence that the Jedi covered up the incident. We don’t get anything like that in Path of Deceit, but I think we will see it later in Phase 2.
That’s about it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
I’m going to admit right off the bat that I didn’t have the energy to do a proper “review” of the first book of The High Republic Phase 2, Path of Deceit, by Justina Ireland and Tessa Gratton. But I did love the book, so instead I’m doing a little tour of the characters through images, which seemed a lot more fun to me.
Kevmo Zink. Kevmo is a Jedi Padawan, a Pantoran who has an exuberant and outgoing personality. He and his master are conducting an investigation on Dalna concerning stolen Force artifacts. He immediately meets Marda Ro, a shy, sweet girl who is a member of the Force cult The Path of the Open Hand, and they are immediately attracted. The problem is, the Path believe that the Force should be “free” and not manipulated in any way, especially the way the Jedi use the Force. It’s a point of contention between them, but they try to understand each other’s differing points of view. Kevmo is a bit flirty for a Jedi, and must be reminded by his master about attachments.
Zallah Macri. Zallah is Kevmo’s Jedi Master. She is Soikan, and therefore very calm and focused, a good counterpoint to Kevmo’s exuberance. She and Kevmo are investigating the theft of a Force artifact from the Queen of Hynestia. When they learn of the Path of the Open Hand, she encourages Kevmo’s friendship with Marda in order to learn more about them and if they are possibly connected to the theft. But they have a difficult time meeting with the Path’s leader, who is called The Mother.
Marda Ro. Marda is a member of the Path of the Open Hand, who watches over and teaches the children of the group. Marda is a true believer, passionate about the Path and their beliefs. They believe that if the Force is manipulated in any way, it has ripple effects and causes damage somewhere else. When she sees Kevmo using the Force simply to float a flower in the air, it greatly upsets her. Marda and her cousin, Yana, are Evereni, a species that is rarely seen in the galaxy and who have a bad reputation. Marda, sheltered on Dalna with the Path since she was a young child, doesn’t understand the prejudice, but does her best to be a good person and member of the group. Marda, unlike her cousin, is quite naive, believing that the Path doesn’t “steal” artifacts, they simply “liberate” them from those who would use them and corrupt the Force. Her cousin is far more cynical, being one of the members who do steal the artifacts, and often kill those who own or guard them. Marda’s beliefs and loyalties will be tested in the book.
The Mother. Her name is Eleni, but everyone calls her The Mother. She didn’t found the Path, and no one really knows where she came from, but she has Force visions that guide her decisions for the Path. When she receives an artifact that looks like a glowing purple egg, she becomes more reclusive, obsessed with the egg and never letting it out of her sight. If she had good intentions previously, she definitely becomes more sinister when the egg comes into her life.
The Herald. The Herald is one of the Elders of the Path and its previous leader. He now defers to the Mother. He is the father of Kor, Yana’s girlfriend, and has a part to play towards the end of the book.
Sunshine Dobbs. A prospector with the unlikely name of Sunshine, Dobbs is the one who brought the purple egg, which he found on a planet beyond the Outer Rim, to the Mother. Immediately upon meeting her, he seemed to fall under her spell, and became willing to do anything for her.
The Nameless. This lovely fellow is the Nameless, also called the Leveler, or Shrii Ka Rai or Eaters of the Force (so not really nameless, right?). He is what eventually came out of the purple egg (clearly a dark side artifact) the Mother tended so lovingly. The Nameless have the power to kill Jedi through utter and extreme fear, turning them to ash. Presumably the Mother will use it against the Jedi and their offensive use of the Force. What other plans she has in mind remains a mystery for now.
This was a great book that hints at the origins of the Nihil and their leader Marchion Ro, who are the main villains in Phase One of The High Republic books. I can’t wait to read the rest of Phase Two to get a clearer picture of what led to the events of Phase One.
Phase 2 of the High Republic will be upon us soon, and as a fan who loves the HR, I thought I’d list the upcoming books. I could only find a description for the adult novel, Convergence.
Phase 2, Wave 1:
Path of Deceit (YA), by Tessa Gratton and Justina Ireland, Oct. 4th, 2022.
Convergence (Adult), by Zoraida Cordova, Nov. 15th, 2022. Here’s the Amazon description:
It is an age of exploration. Jedi travel the galaxy, expanding their understanding of the Force and all the worlds and beings connected by it. Meanwhile, the Republic, led by its two chancellors, works to unite worlds in an ever-growing community among near and distant stars.
On the close orbiting planets of Eiram and E’ronoh, the growing pains of a galaxy with limited resources but unlimited ambition are felt keenly. Their hatred for each other has fueled half a decade of escalating conflict and now threatens to consume surrounding systems. The last hope for peace emerges when heirs from the two planets’ royal families plan to marry.
Before lasting peace can be established, an assassination attempt targeting the couple tilts Eiram and E’ronoh back into all-out war. To save both worlds, Jedi Knight Gella Nattai volunteers to uncover the culprit, while Chancellor Kyong appoints her son, Axel Greylark, to represent the Republic’s interests in the investigation.
But Axel’s deep distrust of the Jedi sparks against Gella’s faith in the Force. She’s never met such a puffed-up, privileged party boy, and he’s never met a more self-serious, relentless do-gooder. The more they work to untangle the shadowy web of the investigation, the more complicated the conspiracy appears to be. With accusations flying and potential enemies in every shadow, the pair will have to work together to have any hope of bringing the truth to light and saving both worlds.
Quest for the Hidden City (Middle Grade), by George Mann, Feb. 14th, 2023
The Battle of Jedha (Audiobook), by George Mann, Feb. 14th, 2023
Phase 2, Wave 2 (No covers available yet):
Cataclysm (Adult), by Lydia Kang, April 4th, 2023
Quest for Planet X (Middle Grade), by Tessa Gratton, April 4th, 2023
Path of Vengeance (YA), by Cavan Scott, May 2nd 2023
I plan to read all of these books, the adult and YA as they come out, and eventually get to the middle-grade books (I usually get these on deal on my Kindle at a later date). I may even read the script of the audiodrama The Battle of Jedha, although I didn’t for the Phase 1 audiodrama, Tempest Runner. Tempest Runner is about the Nihil Lourna Dee, and I wasn’t that invested in her particular story outside the novels. But Jedha? Yes, please! Ever since Rogue One and the YA book Guardians of the Whills (with Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus), I’ve had a fascination for Jedha and the holy city.
I can’t wait for this next Phase of the High Republic!
Have you read the High Republic books? Looking forward to this Phase? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
I thought I’d post my rankings of the Star Wars books that have released this year–so far, since there are some High Republic Phase 2 books coming out this fall. I’ve included mostly adult and YA novels; the only middle grade book I’ve included is the short story collection Stories of Jedi and Sith. Obviously, I’ve only included books that I’ve read, and so the High Republic audio drama Tempest Runner is not included.
So here we go, from least favorite to best:
8. The High Republic: Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (YA). This book occurs concurrently with The Fallen Star, but I consider it the last book of Phase 1 of the High Republic. Older is not one of my favorite Star Wars authors. This story is fine, but it’s one of my least favorite of the High Republic novels (Out of the Shadows takes the least favorite spot), and the least favorite of the books that came out this year. It has Reath Silas in it, though, so that makes up for it, and an awesome cameo by Yoda in the last few pages.
7. Stories of Jedi and Sith, by various authors (Middle-grade). These short stories are fun and showcase some great characters like Asajj Ventress, Maul, Luke, Rey and Poe. They don’t add anything significant to the canon, but they’re fun and interesting. I particularly liked the Asajj story, and the Maul story.
6. Queen’s Hope, by E.K. Johnston (YA). I’ve always been a fan of the Padme books, and this one is no exception. It’s the third in a trilogy, and takes place at the start of the Clone Wars and Padme and Anakin’s marriage. As soon as they’re married, they a get a few blissful days on Naboo, but are soon separated on their own missions. I was kind of hoping it was more of a The Princess and the Scoundrel sort of thing, where they get to go on a mission together. They do at the very beginning, but it’s one little chapter, not a whole book. Of course, their marriage is a secret, and Padme must deal with all that entails. It’s still good, and I especially enjoy the Sabe scenes.
5. Padawan, by Kiersten White (YA). This is a young Obi-Wan adventure, and it was quite fun. It shows a very unsure Obi-Wan Kenobi shortly after he is taken on by Qui Gon Jinn as a Padawan. He’s full of doubt and worries, and trying to figure out his relationship with both his Master and the Force. He ends up going alone to a planet where he finds young people with strange Force-like abilities. As he tries to unravel the mysteries of the planet and help these parent-less teens, he comes to understand himself, and the Force, better.
4. Brotherhood, by Mike Chen. This is an Anakin and Obi-Wan adventure, just as the Clone Wars are beginning, and taking place just after Queen’s Hope. Obi-Wan is sent to Cato Neimoidia after the planet suffers a terrible disaster, to investigate the bombing and figure out who is responsible–the Republic or the Separatists. Anakin has just been made a Jedi Knight, and is sent on his own mission, but the two aren’t used to being without the other, and must come to terms with their new relationship–not master and apprentice, but brothers. Anakin shows up, of course, with a youngling in tow, which presages his taking on an apprentice of his own. This is a great book that explores more of Neimoidian culture, separate from the Trade Federation, and how the Republic–as well as Obi-Wan and Anakin–have to overcome certain prejudices against these people. Asajj Ventress is in the book, too, “investigating” on behalf of the Separatists, and you can bet she causes trouble.
3. Shadow of the Sith, by Adam Christopher. This book takes place about fifteen years after Return of the Jedi. Luke and Lando are on a mission to help a young family–six-year old Rey and her parents, Dathan and Miramir–escape the Sith and Ochi of Bestoon. Lando is involved because he feels it will help him deal with his grief over losing his own daughter when she was two; he asks Luke for help, who is currently running his new Jedi Temple on Ossus. We get to see a young Ben Solo a couple of times, and he’s kind of sweet and eager to please his uncle Luke :(. Anyway, Luke gets drawn into a mystery involving an ancient Sith mask possessed by the spirit of a Sith Lord from long ago. It’s a big book, with a lot going on, and it ties together a lot of loose ends from the sequel trilogy. I was a bit disappointed with the portrayal of Luke, who seemed like a robot through the entire book. Otherwise, it’s a great read.
2. The Princess and the Scoundrel, by Beth Revis. I had doubts about this one, and certainly didn’t think it would be so high on my list. But I loved it! If you live for Han and Leia banter and romance (me, it’s me), this one delivers. We see their lovely wedding on Endor, and then Mon Mothma convinces them to take a honeymoon on the Halcyon, a space cruise ship based on Mothma’s homeworld of Chandrila. It’s somewhat for PR purposes, but she truly wants them to have a nice honeymoon, too. But of course they caught up in some intrigue on a troubled moon, all the while figuring each other out and how this marriage thing works. It’s a very satisfying book, at least to me.
1. The High Republic: The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray. This is the adult finale of the first phase of The High Republic, and it’s fantastic. Claudia Gray is my favorite Star Wars author (Bloodline, Leia: Princess of Alderaan, Into the Dark, and Lost Stars are all exceptional), and she doesn’t disappoint here. Told mostly from the points of view of Stellan Gios, Elzar Mann, and Bell Zettifar (among several others), it takes place mostly on Starlight Beacon, a new space station that is the pride and joy of the Republic. Naturally, Marchion Ro, the main villain of the High Republic novels, has it in his sights. Since it takes place mostly on the station, and there’s a Jedi-killing monster on board, it’s got some Alien-like vibes. But the character work with Stellan and Elzar, especially, is great. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking, and I can’t wait to get back to these (surviving) characters in Phase 3.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you have a favorite? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
I don’t have a ton of stuff to talk about this week, as I’ve just been reading. And reading, and reading, lol.
I had expected to receive The Princess and the Scoundrel about a week after its release date of August 16th, because that’s been the pattern lately, as it was with Padawan and Shadow of the Sith. So I started reading The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin while I waited. But it only took two days to get Princess, and I just couldn’t wait to get into it. And I was far enough into Fifth Season not to want to put it down. Reader problems, eh? 🙂 So I’m reading two books.
The Fifth Season is a big book, and I’m about one quarter to a third of the way through. It’s mesmerizing, and unlike any other fantasy I’ve ever read. It takes place on a large continent called The Stillness, which is an ironic name since the place is constantly erupting with earthquakes and tremors. It’s so bad that their whole society is formed around this geological fact: they have the “Stonelore” which tells you what do when a “Season” (a particularly catastrophic event) comes around. The continent has been shaped and reshaped many times over the course of millenia, and many cultures and empires developed and ruled over that time. But this particular one has learned how to survive. In this world, there are people who are born with the ability to affect the tremors and shakes; they’re called “orogenes.” People fear them, so much so that when a child shows such powers, they are often killed. When they aren’t, they are sent to the Fulcrum, where orogenes train to control their powers and help keep the shakes at bay.
There are several storylines that overlap, although I’m not sure of the actual timeline. The first one introduced is that of a woman named Essun, and she’s just discovered her three-year old child is dead, beaten to death by his father. Essun is an orogene, living in the “comm” of Tirima for the past ten years and hiding what she is; she fears her son had shown signs of being an orogene like her, leading to her husband, Jija, killing the child. He’s fled with their young daughter. Essun makes it her quest to find her daughter, and, well, deal with Jija.
The world-building in this book is incredible and intricate. There are mysterious, floating obelisks in the sky, leftover from some ancient civilization that didn’t survive a Season. No one knows what they are or what they were for, but I have a feeling we’re going to find out later in the book. I’m so intrigued by the whole story, I haven’t been this swallowed up by a book in a long time. Oh, and it won the Hugo Award a few years ago. There are two other books after this one that makes up The Broken Earth series, The Obelisk Gate and The Stone Sky, and you can bet I’ll be reading those, too.
I’m about a third of the way through The Princess and the Scoundrel, and it’s just wonderful. There’s nothing earth-shattering in it, nothing that significantly affects the canon (so far), but it’s just a joy to read. We thought we knew the love story of Han and Leia, but there’s always room for more details, in my opinion. We get to see Han’s proposal and their wedding on Endor, and Mon Mothma has convinced them to take their honeymoon on the Halcyon, a space cruise ship. Where I am in the book, they’re just arriving at the Halcyon, but I know that some adventure and intrigue will follow.
But what I really love is getting into Han and Leia’s heads in alternating chapters, their excitement, their fears and doubts, their hope, their love. What we kind of forget is that Han lost a year of his life while he was in carbonite; it’s disorienting to him to know that others continued on with their lives while he was in that carbonite block in Jabba’s palace, and he has to catch up. So things have progressed really fast for him, to say the least. Leia, after having some conversations with Luke, has to deal with the new knowledge that Darth Vader is her father, and she’s having a hard time of it. Unlike Luke, she can’t forgive him. She hates him. And she’s hesitant to learn about the Force, because she fears she’ll become like him. I’m really enjoying the book so far.
I’m also excited to learn that there will be a Cal Kestis novel next year! I’ve never been a gamer, and let’s face it, I never will be nor do I want to be, but I’ve always felt like I’ve missed out on the story of Cal Kestis from the game Jedi: Fallen Order. He’s kind of a big part of canon now, especially with the Fortress Inquisitorious making an appearance in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. So while gamers wait for the sequel to Fallen Order, Jedi: Survivor, there will be a book called Jedi: Battle Scars, and it will release on March 7th of 2023. I’ve always hoped for a book or series of books with Cal Kestis, and it looks like my wish will come true!
What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about!
I received my copy of Shadow of the Sith by Adam Christopher, and eagerly began reading it. It’s a big book (almost 500 pages!) and I’m about 150 pages in and really enjoying it. Basically, it’s the story of Luke and Lando searching for Ochi of Bestoon, which was mentioned by Lando in The Rise of Skywalker. It takes place about 20 years after Return of the Jedi, and about 13 years before The Force Awakens.
There’s some SPOILERY stuff ahead for Shadows of the Sith, so if you haven’t read it yet and think you might want to, proceed cautiously. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I’d like to mention what I’ve read so far.
So this book brings a lot of threads from various Star Wars periods and media together. Ochi of Bestoon, as mentioned in TROS, was seeking Rey and her parents by order of the Sith and Sidious. We see Rey’s parents–Dathan and Miramir–fleeing with Rey across the galaxy, trying to get away from the Sith, and Ochi pursuing them. I think we’re going to get Dathan and Miramir’s story in flashbacks here, which is something I’ve wanted since seeing the sequel trilogy.
We see Luke on the planet Ossus with his new Jedi Order he’s been training, including Ben Solo. But he’s been having visions of a dark, evil place, which turns out to be Exegol. He’s visited by Lor San Tekka (seen at the beginning of The Force Awakens), who is a member of The Church of the Force. Luke and San Tekka have traveled the galaxy together in search of Jedi artifacts and lore, in Luke’s attempt to rebuild the Order. Luke tells him about his visions, and though San Tekka can’t help him, he brings him to the planet Yortuba, on which an archeological dig is taking place.
The dig is being helmed by Beaumont Kin (Dominic Monahan’s character from TROS), and while there, they discover an old Sith holocron and some shards of red kyber crystal. Luke takes both artifacts to the old Jedi temple on Tython and sits on the seeing stone. While meditating on the crystals, he once again finds himself at Exegol, only this time, he’s really there. He’s attacked by nine strange beings, who seem to be Sith acolytes with lightsabers. He’s saved by the intervention of a force ghost–his father, Anakin Skywalker (awesome!). Anakin warns him that a dark threat is looming, and is rather cryptic about it before disappearing. Luke finds himself back on Tython, and that’s when Lando shows up.
So in the meantime, Lando had been gambling on a space station called Sennifer’s Balance and Beam, and overheard Ochi of Bestoon talking with some cohorts about kidnapping a girl, and being “reactivated” by the Sith (he’d been on Exegol with Vader at one point in the Darth Vader comic series, which I haven’t read–but you don’t have to to understand the story).
What caught Lando’s attention is Ochi’s mention of kidnapping a girl–and here we learn that Lando’s own daughter, Kadara Calrissian, had been kidnapped six years ago when she was two. He’d spent the time since scouring the galaxy looking for her, for any clue that might lead to her, and hadn’t really found anything. He decided to get involved, if only to do some kind of good and take his mind off his own daughter, and had gone to Luke because of the mention of the Sith.
In the meantime, we see a Pantoran woman with an ancient Sith mask, a mask that has mostly taken over her mind and she does its will. This woman is Kiza, a character we see in some of the interludes in the Aftermath books. I’m not sure yet what role she’ll play in the story, except that she’s involved in the dark evil that is looming in Luke’s mind.
So yeah, a lot going on here, with lots of different threads that will ultimately come together. I feel like it’s a pretty important book as far as canon goes. You don’t necessarily have to be familiar with all the source material that it borrows from, but it’s neat to make the connections.
In the meantime, I’ve set Black Spire aside (it’s awfully slow sometimes) until I finish this book, but I’m still reading Bloodline on the Kindle.
That’s really it this week, which is why I decided to get a bit detailed about Shadow of the Sith.
And, oh yeah, Thor: Love and Thunder opened yesterday, and I’m hoping to go see it while I’m on vacation this coming week. It looks super-fun, and I can’t wait to see it!
What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
What’s been on my mind mostly this past week is the Obi-Wan Kenobi finale, but I think I have a to say about that, so I’m going to do a separate post for that. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, I’ve been reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson, and it’s enjoyable. It takes place after the Battle of Crait, but before The Rise of Skywalker. I like this time period because it shows how the Resistance slowly regained allies after their devastating defeat during The Last Jedi. The story takes its time with the world-building of Batuu, which is understandable since it showcases the main venue of Galaxy’s Edge theme park. It’s fun, though.
I also finished Stories of Jedi and Sith, the middle-grade book of short stories that came out a couple of weeks ago. These were some great stories that starred a multitude of familiar characters, including Qui Gon Jinn, Asajj Ventress, Maul, Luke Skywalker and several others. The one I want to talk about is the Luke one, called Luke On the Brightside, by Sam Maggs.
This story takes place on Hoth, when the Rebels are just beginning to set up their base. Luke and another male character, Sergeant Reye Hollis, are about to work on digging some tunnels, when a cave in nearly buries them. Hollis barely tolerates the sunny Skywalker, but now they have to work together to get out of their mess. The interesting part is that the author implies the two, while bickering, are secretly attracted to each other.
The two are always noticing each other’s bright smiles and nice eyes, and the smell of their hair. Not normally something two men would bother to notice about each other unless they’re attracted to each other. It’s subtle but it’s there.
And let me be clear, I have no problem with this at all. I’m just surprised no one else in a particular part of the fan base has noticed and freaked out about it. Or really anyone in the fandom at least raising their eyebrows. Because this is canon, and let’s be honest, this isn’t some new or minor character. This is Luke freaking Skywalker, lol. To suggest that he’s gay or bisexual is a BIG DEAL. It’s huge. I’m waiting for the outrage, but I haven’t seen it. Maybe because it’s a middle grade book and not many “older” fans–the ones who might take offense–have seen it. Maybe it’s going to take a bit of time, but I have no doubt it will make its way into the land of Star Wars controversy. Me? I kind of like the idea. Bravo for the LF Storygroup going there.
Anyway, if you’re a Legends fan, their are some more new editions to some classics:
I actually have an older cover edition of Revan because I thought I might like to read some Old Republic stuff (I couldn’t get into it), and also an older copy of The Bacta War I found in a used bookstore (haven’t read it yet). These covers are beautiful, though. Yes, it’s a new way to get our money, but I don’t think many serious SW book collectors will complain too much.
That’s it, besides the Obi-Wan finale. I did see that Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness is already on Disney+. It just came out a month or so ago, so I’m wondering why I bothered to go to the movie theater, lol. I can’t believe the turnaround time. I may not even bother going to the theater for the next Thor movie. But maybe I will, lol, we’ll see.
What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!
Rey learns much from the sacred Jedi texts that were once housed on Ach-To. What are some books that are important to you, and why?
Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Jane Eyre is the first “classic” book that I fell in love with. I first read it in the ninth grade and loved it. I learned that not all the classics are boring; my love of gothic literature began here, and my interest in women’s writers; I loved Jane, the poor, plain orphan girl who nevertheless charts her own course, stays true to herself, and finds love. (Mr. Rochester is another matter, lol).
The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This book, read when I was in my 20s (geez, 30 years ago now), introduced me to not only Arthurian fantasy (an obsession of mine for awhile) but women’s fiction, specifically stories that were traditionally told through male eyes but were now told by the women in the story. Also, the Goddess (another brief obsession, but necessary for my young womanhood).
The Fionovar Tapestry, by Guy Gavriel Kay. Okay, these are three books, but tell one long story in a trilogy. It’s my favorite fantasy series, ever. I love all of Kay’s books (especially Tigana and A Song for Arbonne), but this trilogy, his first, remains close to my heart. It showed me what fantasy could be, and the characters live forever in my heart. The trilogy consists of The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road.
Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. This is the book that set me upon my writing journey all those years ago. I loved her method, I loved her and her personal stories, and it got me to fill countless notebooks with words. She was my writing guru and still is, even though I haven’t done much writing lately.
You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero. This book kind of changed my life, in that I learned to perceive myself, the world–the Universe–in a different way. Basically, the mind is a very powerful thing and you can use it to manifest whatever you want. Kind of like Jedi powers and the Force! Unfortunately, I haven’t quite reached a state of badassery yet, because it involves taking risks and getting very uncomfy, and all that hard stuff I don’t like to do, lol. But at least I’m aware of what it takes and what limiting beliefs I’m still stuck in! Baby steps.
So that’s my list. There have been many, many other books in my life that I have loved, but these seem to stick out to me. Have you read any of these (admittedly “old” books, except Badass, lol)?
What books are important to you and why? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about them!