Upcoming Star Wars Content I’m Looking Forward To

It’s been a pretty busy first half of 2023 for Star Wars fans, what with The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch episodes, the Jedi: Survivor game, and the High Republic book releases, all the way up through May. June is a quiet month (unless you’re a comics reader), but starting in July, we’ll have at least one Star Wars project I’m looking forward to each month to the end of the year.

July: Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade, by Delilah S. Dawson. July 18. Inquisitors are compelling characters–fallen Jedi, often younglings or Padawans who were captured and turned to the dark side rather than killed during Order 66. The young ones are easier to influence, obviously. Iskat Akaris is one such Jedi, and this is her story. There’s something both fascinating and horrifying about watching a formerly innocent young Jedi turn from a good-hearted soul to an evil one. For Reva, from the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, her motivation was revenge. I’m interested to see how Iskat’s story unfolds. I’ve really enjoyed Dawson’s Star Wars books, like Phasma and Black Spire, so I’m guessing this is going to be a great read. Here’s an excerpt:


August: Ahsoka series. Woo-hoo! This is the series we’re all looking forward to right now, and I can’t wait to see it. Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano is pretty awesome, and based on the teaser trailer we got from Celebration this year, I have so many questions! Are Ahsoka and Sabine already looking for Ezra, or will that come to be in the show? Will we see Ezra this season (apart from a hologram)? Who are the dark Force-users with the orange lightsabers (and I’m so sad to hear of Ray Stevenson’s death; watching his performance will be bittersweet)? And will Thrawn be a big part of it? There’s no specific release date, only that it will premier in August. Here’s a link to the teaser trailer:

September: Tales of Light and Life, by various authors. I’ve seen release dates of July 25th and Sept. 5th, and I’m not sure which one is right, so I’ll just put it in September for now. Four High Republic authors–Zoraida Cordova, Justina Ireland, Lydia Kang and Tessa Gratton–offer some High Republic short fiction that adds to the already ambitious storyline. I’ve been loving the High Republic books and I can’t wait to see what this collection brings to the table.

October: Crimson Climb, by E.K. Johnston. Oct. 10. This is the story of Qi’ra that we don’t get to see in Solo: A Star Wars Story: when Han escapes Corellia and she doesn’t. Dragged back to the White Worm Gang, she is eventually bought by Dryden Vos of the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn. This book will go into detail of what she had to do to earn Vos’ trust and rise in the ranks to become who we see in the movie. Johnston wrote the Padme trilogy of books, as well as the Ahsoka book, all of which I enjoyed, so I’m guessing I’ll like this one, too.

November: High Republic Phase 3 The Eye of Darkness. Nov. 14. There’s not much information on Phase 3 of the High Republic yet, or even a cover for its first book, but we do know that it will be returning to the era and characters of Phase 1. Phase 2 was great, but I’m eager to get back to Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, Bell Zettifar, and the many others that I came to know and love. I don’t know if this will be the adult or YA novel of Wave 1, but no matter. They’re all good! George Mann wrote a middle grade book in Phase 2, so this could be either/or. Excited for this!

December: Skeleton Crew series? This is a guesser for me, because we still don’t have a release date for Skeleton Crew besides “sometime in 2023,” and late 2023 seems logical. And it could perhaps be pushed back further due to the writer’s strike still going on (which I very much support, btw). But this story of a group of kids who rattle around the galaxy with a Force-sensitive pilot played by Jude Law sounds like it could be fun. I really don’t know much else about it, but I do hope we see it sooner rather than later.

So mostly books, and a couple of shows, and that makes me really happy. What are you looking forward to in Star Wars for the rest of the year? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Star Wars Book Update

Path of Vengeance, by Cavan Scott (Canon). This YA novel is the final book in Phase 2 of the High Republic, and at 500 pages, it was a whopper of a good book. It continues the story of Marda and Yana Ro, of the Wave 1 YA book Path of Deceit. It spans the events of the Battle of Jedha (as told in the Battle of Jedha audiobook) and the Battle of Dalna (as told in Cataclysm), and follows the doings of the two Evereni cousins, Marda and Yana, from the Path of the Open Hand. We hadn’t seen them since the Wave 1 YA novel, Path of Deceit. Marda is still naively following the Mother, the self-proclaimed prophet of the group, and Yana, disillusioned with the Mother after the death of her girlfriend on a mission from the Mother, is trying to distance herself; she keeps getting pulled back in with concern for her younger cousin. She also forms an uneasy alliance with her deceased girlfriend’s father, the Herald, who the Mother threw under the bus during the Battle of Jedha. They return to Dalna together, he to wrest power from the Mother, and Yana to try to convince her cousin to leave the Path. But Marda is already gone when she arrives: she’s on another mission from the Mother, this time to Planet X to retrieve more eggs of the Nameless, the Force-feeding monsters that kill Jedi. I find it interesting that both the Ro’s talk to and have visions of their dead loved ones: Marda sees Kevmo, a Jedi Padawan she loved and who was killed in Path of Deceit; and Yana sees her dead girfriend, Kor. They’re not really actual ghosts, but extensions of their conscience and their own inner dialogue. It’s also the story of Matty Cathely, a Jedi Padawan who is sent to Jedha, and Jedi Master Olivia Zeveron, who has a surprising connection to the Mother. This book is a very satisfying end to Phase 2, even though I still have some questions–I’m hoping Phase 3 will somehow answer them, perhaps through flashbacks.

Star Wars: Rebel Force Book 3–Renegade, by Alex Wheeler. (Legends).

Book three in the Rebel Force series, this one focuses on Han Solo (the first focused on Luke, the second on Leia). The Imperial assassin X-7 attempts to kill Luke (and fails) and frames Han for the crime. Leia, investigating the crime and trying to be objective, comes off as doubting Han’s innocence. This angers Han, naturally, so Chewie busts him out of jail and they flee Yavin 4. While Han tries to get back into his old life of smuggling, Leia and Luke go to Tatooine to hide Luke from any other attempts on his life, reuniting with his old friends, though they end up arguing. It’s clear Luke still has a lot to learn about being a Jedi, as he’s quick to anger, eager to impress his old friends, and acts reckless, to Leia’s disappointment. Jabba gets wind of Luke’s presence on the planet, and because Luke is Han’s friend (and Han owes him money), sends the bounty hunter Bossk after him to lure Han to him. Meanwhile, Han ends up on an Imperial station on a job to steal various supplies, gets betrayed by his partner, and while trying to escape the Imperials, finds out that Tobin Elad, the man who became a friend and part of their group, is actually X-7 and is the one trying to kill Luke. This whole scheme of Han going to the Imperial base is apparently orchestrated by the ghost of Ben Kenobi, which is a tad weird, to say the least. Anyway, Han and Chewie end up on Tatooine to save Luke just before X-7 attempts to kill Luke again. X-7 gets away, but you know he’ll be back at some point to finish the job. I do feel bad for X-7; he’s been tortured into who he is, forgetting his former life and living only to please the Commander. We get flashbacks of his “training,” and for a junior novel, it’s difficult to read. No gory details, but it’s clear what the guy went through. Sometimes it’s obvious these books are junior novels, taking us back to familiar faces and places, and elicits the occasional eye roll, but they’ve grown on me, and I’ll keep going on the series.

The next Star Wars book in my queue is Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover. It’s a Legends book that focuses on Mace Windu. I’ve never really liked Mace (I thought he was mean, lol) but I’ve been softening my stance a little bit lately, mostly because of his character in the Clone Wars animated series. I thought I’d give him another chance in this book; I’m curious to see how I feel about him, and this book written by Stover, who wrote the brilliant novelization of Revenge of the Sith. Eager to dive in.

Have you read these books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

SW Reading Update: Young Readers Edition

As ever, the Star Wars reading continues. These are the books that have been entertaining me lately:

So You Want To Be A Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz. On the heels of my last Kindle read, The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy, I continued with the next in the series, which retells The Empire Strikes Back. As with the first book, it’s told in a rather unorthodox way. This one has the author writing in second person point of view (which usually annoys me–You walk into the room, you smell the food, you sit down at the table, etc. Ugh, lol). But in this way, the author addresses the young reader, who fancies him or herself wanting to be a Jedi, and so he tells the story of Luke Skywalker, the most famous Jedi, and how he became one, inserting the reader into Luke’s shoes. In the author’s note at the beginning, he makes a point that I never thought about before: that Luke, as a character, is rather bland. Compared to the characters around him, he doesn’t have much of a personality, at least in ANH, and I realized it’s kind of true, lol. But he’s supposed to be that way, the author insists, so that the viewer (or reader) can insert him or herself into his shoes easily, as the protagonist of the story. It makes a lot of sense (He makes the point that Harry Potter is another such bland character, but I can’t really speak to that). Each chapter also alternates with a short lesson on how to train to be a Jedi: how to meditate, focus, concentrate, be compassionate, doing the right thing, etc. It was fairly entertaining, mostly because it was so different. I could have done without the pee jokes, lol, but the target audience is NOT me.

Beware the Power of the Dark Side, by Tom Angleberger. The last in the series, this one retells the story of Return of the Jedi. This one tells the story in a rather straightforward manner, but it’s told in a very casual, conversational way. I did like getting into Vader’s head during the last third of the book, how he slams his mind shut whenever he’s reminded of Anakin (and Luke, of course, constantly reminds of him of Padme, and that other life he lived). The author makes references to characters that none of us knew back in 1983, like Ahsoka. It’s great reading this story with a perspective of having all the content from the intervening years, like the prequels and the Clone Wars.

Rebel Force: Hostage, by Alex Wheeler. Casting around for an e-book to read, I went with the second installment in this junior novel series that takes place between ANH and ESB. The first book, Target, was fairly entertaining, so I thought I’d continue with the story. In this installment, the group (Han, Leia, Luke, Chewie and the droids) continue to travel with the treacherous X-7, who’s masquerading as ally Tobin Elad. X-7 is tasked by his Imperial commander to find out who is responsible for blowing up the first Death Star and to eliminate him (for some reason, it’s a big secret here, but wasn’t Luke and Han celebrated as heroes for the act? Doesn’t everybody know? Idk.) He continues to earn their trust while trying to ferret out the culprit. Meanwhile, they head to the planet Delaya, a planet that has taken in Alderaanian refugees. Leia wants to help the refugees there, and enlist whoever she can for the Rebellion’s cause. But not all the Alderaanian refugees see her as a hero–some blame her for the destruction of their planet. One particular refugee, Halle, is insufferable in her blaming and hatred of Leia. God, I hated her, lol. But Leia herself, both in flashbacks to when she was a girl, and in the present, is presented as, respectively, a brat, and a b**tch. Ugh, I couldn’t stand her in this book. I understand that when it comes to Alderaan, it’s a painful subject, but come on. Particularly in her treatment of Ferus Olin, a friend of her father’s, a secret former Jedi who has made it his mission to protect Leia. Yet she views him with nothing but contempt. I have no idea why he’s so devoted to her. There’s a lot going on in this small book, and it wasn’t bad, but I did not enjoy Leia’s portrayal at all. Yes, she is headstrong and stubborn, but never cruel.

And browsing the Barnes and Noble store one day, I left with this gem:

Because you could do worse than be more Obi-Wan.
In the middle of this awesome High Republic novel. I’ll do a review once I’m done.

Star Wars Books: Youtini Academy

If you love Star Wars books like I do, you may have heard of Youtini, a website that makes it a little easier to understand the world of Star Wars books, both Legends and Canon. It has timelines for both, descriptions of books, articles, podcasts–everything you might need if you want to explore the world of Star Wars books, which can be, let’s face it, a little confusing sometimes. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Recently, I learned that Youtini was going to start an online course about the books, both Legends and Canon, starting on May the 4th (for a fee of $57, which I eagerly forked over, lol). This course would talk about Star Wars publishing, the difference between Legends and Canon and the best books of each to start with, best stand-alones and series, and a special unit on The High Republic. Excuse me, what kind of bliss is this???

While I feel fairly confident in the world of Canon (and prefer it, for the most part), I don’t want to exclude Legends and would like to learn more about it. Legends seems like this huge beast that I can’t quite wrap my mind around, lol. That doesn’t mean I haven’t read some Legends books: Kenobi, in particular, is a favorite; Razor’s Edge, Rogue Planet, and some Clone Wars-era books. Everything up to Return of the Jedi seems “safe” to me; but it’s after ROTJ that the two timelines diverge greatly, and I’m afraid of getting the two timelines tangled in my mind, lol.

I’ve read the quintessential book Heir to the Empire, which is a classic and kicked off the golden age of Legends; it introduces Thrawn as the new villain after the defeat of the Empire. I read it way back when it first came out in 1991, and probably its two sequels, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. There was no other Star Wars out there, and I was thirsty! And the books were fine, but they didn’t really snare me like they did a lot of people, I don’t know why. Dozens of other Star Wars books came out after that over the years, and maybe I read a few, I really can’t remember, but I lost interest. Maybe I had other things going on in my life, maybe I was obsessed with other things at the time, who knows.

Thrawn is a common thread between Legends and Canon.

Anyway, I recently re-read Heir to the Empire, and it was rather fun, but found it difficult to get into the second book. Or maybe I was just distracted by Canon books coming out at the time. But I do want to re-read them all, and possibly more Legends books that take place after ROTJ. With Thrawn making his live-action debut in Ahsoka, I’d like to get to know “Book Thrawn” a bit better. That includes the Legends books and the new Canon Thrawn books. I tried to get through the first Canon book, titled simply “Thrawn,” but couldn’t finish it. It’s weird, because I love the character in Rebels!

But I want to give all these books another chance. As we’ve seen with Thrawn, and plenty of other examples, characters and ideas in Legends haven’t simply been thrown away–they’ve been making their way into Canon in many ways. The Legends books are important. For me, I tend to view the Legends books as an alternate universe of Star Wars–kind of like the Marvel alternate universes in “What If…” It’s not that it didn’t happen that way, it just happened on a different timeline, a different parallel universe. That’s how it makes sense to me. Han and Leia had three kids named Jacen, Jaina and Anakin; Luke married Mara Jade and had a son named Ben. Just in an alternate universe.

Anyway, that’s my Legends story, and I’m very excited to learn more about it in this course. I’m about halfway done with the lessons (little 5-10 minute videos) and am enjoying it immensely. You can also chat with other members about the course or the books or just all things Star Wars. If you’re a big Star Wars book fan, you may not want to miss it! Click the link at the beginning of this post and you’ll see it at the top of their website.

Are you a Star Wars reader? Are you a Legends fan or a Canon fan? Or love both? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Why I Love the High Republic

Light of the Jedi kicks of the High Republic.

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that I love the High Republic, the publishing initiative about the Jedi and the Republic at their height that’s been going on for the past couple of years. Besides the fact that there are many talented writers telling this massive story, there are many reasons why I love it, and I thought I’d talk about them here.

  • It’s Jedi-centered. I love pretty much everything about Star Wars, but my favorite thing about it is the Jedi. The Jedi and the Force are what define Star Wars for me. And the High Republic books are very Jedi-centric, telling the story of them at their very best, at a time when the Republic, too, is at its height. The Jedi in the prequels, while still very cool, had fallen down a slippery slope away from their ideals, and allowed themselves to be deceived by Darth Sidious. But what were they like when the Sith were still in hiding, when the Republic was expanding its reach, when they were sure of their place in the galaxy? When they stood for defending the innocent, serving the citizens of the galaxy, and helping those in need? How did they get from these ideal Jedi to the flawed ones we see in the prequels? This is that story.
  • The Jedi aren’t so rigid with their beliefs and are more forgiving. The prequel Jedi are presented as celibate monks that forbid attachments. And while this true in a sense for the High Republic Jedi as well, they aren’t so rigid about such things. Or rather, they’re more forgiving in these areas. For example, it’s a known and accepted thing for Padawans to often experiment with sex and relationships before they take the Jedi vow. Avar Kriss and Elzar Mann from Phase 1 had done this as Padawans. The reasoning for this, I believe, is for the Padawans to truly understand what they would be giving up once they take the vow–and decide if that’s what they want to do. Once they are Jedi Knights, they are expected to choose the Force over relationships, to commit to the Jedi Path. (And Elzar, even years later, is still having trouble with his feelings for Avar). If they cannot truly commit, however, they are free to leave the Order for a time to figure it all out. And then come back when they’re ready. Master Kantam Sy did this, leaving for a year, taking on a lover, and travelling with a circus (!). He came back when he decided to choose the Force over anything else. Attachments aren’t forbidden–it’s only natural, as a living being, to form attachments; but as a Jedi, you can’t let such attachments take hold over you. It’s a form of not letting your emotions control you, obviously. When someone–your Master or Padawan, or another Jedi, or anyone you care for–dies, you’re expected to grieve, but you can’t live there. You have to let them go, as they are now a part of the Force. Wayseekers are another interesting aspect of this time. If you feel you need to leave the Order and study the Force on your own, you are allowed to do that, with the Order’s approval. Other things, like fancier robes (and more sober mission robes), more personalized lightsabers (Vernestra Rwoh even has a light-whip, and Master Silandra Sho has a lightsaber and a shield) are characteristics of this time. Flexibility and understanding are hallmarks of the Jedi in the High Republic.
Silandra Sho with her shield on her back.
  • It’s a different time-frame. The first Phase of the High Republic takes place 150 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. Phase 2 takes place another 100 or so years before that. So we see a galaxy that’s a bit different from what we’re familiar with. The Republic is still trying to expand its reach to the Outer Rim, to bring in new worlds and create more hyperspace lanes. We see more of the San Tekkas and Grafs, rival families who are hyperspace prospectors paving new routes throughout the galaxy. Communication lines aren’t perfect; it’s often difficult to contact those in the Outer Rim, due to lack of or malfunctioning communication buoys. Republic Pathfinder teams, made up of a Jedi and their Padawan, a pilot, a medic, and a communications droid, explore the Outer Rim to set up communications with new worlds or help those in need. It feels more Wild West, lol.
  • New and interesting villains. With the Sith still in hiding, the creators had to come up with a new and interesting villain. In Phase 1, it is the Nihil, a sort of space-Viking group that is violent and who take what they want without regard to anyone else. Most of the group are uninteresting thugs, but it is headed by a character named Marchion Ro, who is much more complex. He is very mysterious and raises a lot of questions in Phase 1, especially as to his past and his family’s history with the Jedi. It becomes more clear in Phase 2, with The Path of the Open Hand, a Force-cult (who believe the Force should not be manipulated by the Jedi or anyone else) that is the precursor to the Nihil. The Path is led by the Mother, another mysterious figure who discovers the Leveller, a creature that can strike incredible fear into the Jedi and turn them into husks. The Path, I think, will eventually come under the control of Marda Ro, an ancestor of Marchion. I’m curious to see how things will turn out in Phase 3 and how the Jedi will overcome this formidable foe. Oh, also in Phase 1, the Jedi encounter the Drengir, a meat-eating plant monster, lol.
  • Some familiar characters. The High Republic has some familiar characters who are long-lived, like Yoda and Yaddle. Yoda, especially, plays a small role in the books, although he is there at some key moments and is a rather comforting presence. He is much more present in the High Republic comics, only a few of which I have read (I can’t keep up with it all, lol). Yaddle plays a larger role in Cataclysm, and I really enjoyed getting to know her better, especially after her appearance in Tales of the Jedi. It’s nice to have familiar characters show up, to anchor you in the world, which states, “Yes, you are in the world of Star Wars.”
Yaddle in Tales of the Jedi.

These are some of the main reasons I love The High Republic and why it’s been such a satisfying journey so far. There have been books I loved and some I didn’t like as much, but the overall story arc is something I’m totally invested in. Path of Vengeance, the last book of Phase 2 is out now, and then Phase 3 will begin in the fall. I can’t wait!

“We are all the Republic.”

“For Light and Life!”

Have you enjoyed The High Republic? What’s your favorite aspect of it? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Star Wars Reading Update

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!

What I’ve Been Reading

Hello friends! It’s been awhile, as I’ve been busy with a move to a new apartment, but I always make time for reading. Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

Station Eleven, by Hilary St. John Mandel. This is a re-read; I read it originally when it first came out, before the TV series based on it came out. I love a good dystopian novel, but this is one of my favorites. End-of-the-world stories are usually full of tropes, but this one is refreshingly original (besides the virus-kills-most of humanity-trope to begin with). It consists of alternating timelines before and after the Georgia Flu kills 99% of humanity, and begins with the death of an actor onstage: Arthur Leander, playing King Lear. Arthur dies that night, the night before the virus sweeps through the nation, and the world, but a lot of the flashbacks have to do with Arthur and his life, the people around him, and how they intersect and connect in the aftermath. Twenty years after the end, The Travelling Symphony travels through sporadic towns and communities, putting on plays, mostly Shakespeare, and playing classical music (“Because survival is insufficient”). Part of this group is Kirsten Raymonde, who had played one of Lear’s daughters as a child in Arthur’s last performance that fateful night. Kirsten is obsessed with a rare comic book that was written and drawn by Arthur’s first wife, Miranda (though Kirsten doesn’t know this). The comic, called Station Eleven, is itself symbolic of the survivors in the aftermath of the flu: like the people of the Undersea, they miss their old home and only wish to return to it. The book is what I consider a literary dystopian novel; if you’re looking for lots of action and explosions and such, you won’t find it here (though there is a sinister Prophet, who is also connected to Arthur). What you will find is a story about art and memory and home and regret and just a really great book that I can’t recommend enough. I haven’t seen the series–has anyone seen it, and would you recommend it?

Recursion, by Blake Couch. Blake Couch is one of those authors who writes crazy stories about mind-bending subjects, like alternate universes and parallel timelines (such as his book Dark Matter, which I read a few years ago). This one is about memory, and how our sensory perceptions of memory are so vital; the characters in this book can actually travel into a vivid memory (with the help of a super-tech “memory chair”) and relive the moment physically, change it so the outcome is different, and continue living along that new timeline. The way the event originally happened becomes a “dead memory.” Yeah, mind-bending. I’m not finished with it yet, I’m about three quarters done with it, but it’s enjoyable, even if I’m totally confused sometimes, lol. It’s fun, but what I call a “junk read.” I won’t remember a darn thing about it a few years from now, whereas I remember so many moments from the book above, scenes that will stay with me forever.

Jedi: Battle Scars, by Sam Maggs. My latest Star Wars read, and the latest published, just last week. I just started it, so I don’t have much to say on it right now, except that it’s based on the video game characters of Jedi: Fallen Order. I’m not a gamer, but I’ve always wanted to know more about the story of Cal Kestis and the Stinger Mantis crew. I’m such a ding-dong about video games that I didn’t realize there was a whole story involved, a story that’s a part of the canon lore, and not just characters slashing things with lightsabers, lol. This story takes place between the events of Fallen Order and the upcoming sequel to the game, Jedi: Survivor. All I know is that in this book the group encounters a defecting stormtrooper, and the Inquisitor the Fifth Brother. That’s all I need to know and I’m in. 🙂 I still won’t be playing the video games, but I’m glad I at least have the opportunity to get to know these characters in a book.

What have you been reading? Have you read any of these books, and what did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Star Wars Book Update

Hello friends!

While I was waiting for The Battle of Jedha to be released on February 14th (it’s the hard copy script of the audiobook that was released in January), I thought I’d jot down an update on a few other Star Wars books I’ve been reading lately.

Quest for the Hidden City, by George Mann. This is the middle-grade book in the first wave of High Republic Phase 2 books. It follows Jedi Knight Silandra Sho and her Padawan Rooper Nitani, part of a Pathfinder team, as they investigate another missing Pathfinder team on the planet Gloam. Pathfinder teams explore the Outer Rim and invite frontier worlds to join the Republic. They’re made up of a Jedi Knight and their Padawan, a pilot, an engineer, a medic, and a droid or two. As Silandra and Rooper investigate, a mysterious and terrifying creature threatens the team. A fun book for High Republic fans.

The Life and Legend of Obi-Wan Kenobi, by Ryder Windham. Released back in 2008, this one is a Legends book about Obi-Wan Kenobi and his exploits through the Prequels and Original trilogy. As a big Obi-Wan fan, I thought I might like this one, and I did. Even though much of it concerns scenes from the movies that we’re already familiar with, it also adds some insight and context from Obi-Wan’s point of view, as well as events from some comics and other sources. It’s framed by scenes of Luke Skywalker visiting Ben’s Hut on Tatooine just before he and the others rescue Han from Jabba the Hut. He finds Ben’s journal there, and instructions on how to build a lightsaber, and that’s the Legends story of how Luke got his green lightsaber. A fun, easy read about Obi-Wan–what’s not to love?

Star Wars Rebel Force: Target (Book One), by Alex Wheeler. This is a (Legends) junior novel series that takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back (at least this first one does). I just started reading it, and am enjoying it so far. This one is about an Imperial assassin that is after the pilot who is responsible for the shot that destroyed the first Death Star. Luke, Han and Leia are on a mission for the Alliance, involving getting some funds for the Rebellion on the planet Muunilinst, and the assassin–known as X-7–deceives them into trusting him. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I’ve been loving these quick, easy reads, and haven’t been able to get into anything more challenging. Which is why I couldn’t read…

Alphabet Squadron, by Alexander Freed. I’ve been avoiding this series about Rebellion pilots since I’ve started reading Star Wars books, mostly because I don’t care for pilot stories. But I was running low on major publications to read while I wait for the next High Republic books. It was either this series or the Thrawn series (another one I haven’t been too interested in, although I love his character in Rebels). So I thought I’d give it a go. But a few chapters in, I gave up. Either I’m really not interested in this aspect of Star Wars (which is my suspicion) or I’m just too muddled and busy right now to get into any challenging read. Probably both.

So the junior reads have been ideal for me lately. And The Battle for Jedha is a script, not a big novel, so I suspect it will be easier for me to go through as well. I’m not an audiobook fan, but I didn’t want to miss this crucial High Republic story, and I’m looking forward to it.

So that’s what I’ve been reading in Star Wars. I also threw in Stephen King’s The Shining and Doctor Sleep for a little horror fest to start the year, lol.

What have you been reading lately? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

All the Star Wars books I read in 2022

Hello my friends, and happy New Year!

For a 2022 inventory, I thought I’d list all the Star Wars books I read last year. For the most part, I enjoyed every single one of them.

The books:

A re-read of the second adult book in Phase One of THR. The Nihil attack the Republic Fair at Valo.
Third adult book in Phase 1 of THR. The Nihil attack Starlight Beacon.
Companion middle-grade book to The Rising Storm. Two Padawans have their own battle on Valo.
Companion YA book to The Fallen Star. Padawans investigate the Nihil on Corellia.
Companion middle-grade to The Fallen Star. Padawans investigate the Nihil on Dalna.
Three short stories about Rey, Poe and Finn before they met in TFA.
The very first SW book after ROTJ, introducing Thrawn. The only Legends book I read this year.
The third book in the Padme trilogy, a YA novel taking place between AOTC and ROTS.
An Anakin and Obi-Wan novel, at the start of the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan investigates a terrorist attack (“that business”) on Cato Neimoidia.
A straight retelling of the Skywalker saga, focusing on the stories of Anakin, Luke, Leia, and Rey.
A middle grade collection of short stories about familiar Jedi and Sith, including Asajj Ventress, Luke, and Maul.
Post-ROTJ canon novel, with Luke and Lando trying to help Rey’s parents on the run, and battling a mysterious Sith Acolyte.
Sequel-era novel about Resistance spy Vi Moradi on Batuu.
Middle grade book about Rey, Poe and Rose answering a distress call on the planet Minfar.
YA novel about Obi-Wan as Qui Gon Jinn’s Padawan, pre-Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan investigates a mysterious planet with a group of young people displaying Force-like abilities.
Han and Leia’s wedding and honeymoon post ROTJ. Along the way, they investigate an ice planet threatened by the remnants of the Empire.
A re-read of the original Star Wars novel, ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster.
A re-read of the Ahsoka YA novel, detailing what she did after Order 66, and how she got back into the fight.
A re-read of the Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization.
Going back to Batuu, this is a YA story about two young people who grew up together on Batuu, were separated, and reunited there. Complications ensue.
First book of Phase 2 of THR, taking place 150 years before Phase 1. A YA novel about two Jedi investigating a Force cult on Dalna.
First adult novel of Phase 2 of THR. Jedi mediate a war between E’ronoh and Eiram.
A YA book about Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus on Jeda, before the events of Rogue One.


Total books: 23

High Republic books: 7

OT Era books: 6

PT Era books: 4

ST Era books: 4

Other: 2

YA books: 7

Middle grade books: 5

Adult books: 11

Legends books: 1

Canon books: 22

E-books: 10

Hard copy books: 13

Not bad. 🙂 Looking forward to all the 2023 releases, including more from the High Republic, a Jedi: Survivor novel with Cal Kestis, and Rise of the Red Blade, about an Inquisitor. I love Star Wars books!

Have you read any of these books? Any favorites? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello friends, and happy weekend!

(Some spoilery things ahead!)

Jedi Knight Gella Nattai.

I finished The High Republic novel Convergence, by Zoraida Cordova. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to its counterpart and sequel, Cataclysm, coming out in April of next year. It concerns the two planets Eiram and E’ronoh, which have been at war with each other for years. Jedi Knight Gella Natai is part of a Jedi delegation to help broker a peace treaty between the two worlds. She is helped in this mission by the two heirs, Xiri A’lbaran of E’ronoh and Phantu-Zenn of Eiram. Added to the mix is Axel Greylark, son of one of the Chancellors of the Republic, who has a troubled past and is sent there by his mother to report back to her. These four young people form a friendship as they embark on a mission to spread word of the treaty and the marriage that will take place between Xiri and Phantu-Zenn; they hope their union will bring peace to their war-weary worlds. However, not everyone wants peace and the mission is threatened from without as well as within.

Xiri and Phantu-Zenn are pretty straight-forward: they are both determined to forge peace between their worlds, and are willing to work together to do it. Gella, for her part, was assigned to this mission on the heels of a failed Pathfinder mission, where members of her team were killed or injured. She is unsure of her place in the Order, has doubts about herself as a team player, but is dedicated to the Force and the success of this mission.

Axel Greylark is the most interesting character in the book, and also the most inscrutable. He comes off as a scoundrel: an insouciant, selfish, jaded charmer, with gambling debts and a price on his head. But we also know there’s a wounded little boy inside, hiding his pain from his father’s death years ago, an accident which involved some Jedi. Ever since, he’s been hostile and mistrusting of Jedi. Of course, over the course of the book, he falls for Gella, but he’s far too complicated to change for the better because of this. He wants to; but feels it’s far too late for him, as he’s involved in some fairly murderous doings, among other things.

The saga of Eiram and E’ronoh continue in the audiobook releasing soon called The Battle of Jedha. I don’t care for audiobooks, but I have pre-ordered the print format of the book that will release in February, as I feel fairly invested in this story. And it’s Jedha, which, ever since Rogue One, has intrigued me immensely. I want to know more about it, and about the various Force religions. It’s why I’ve picked up Guardians of the Whills again, a short novel about Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus on Jedha. I’ll write more about that one next week.

I’m not sure why Vader is on the cover, since he doesn’t make an appearance in the comic.

Anyway, I also received and read the Obi-Wan Kenobi comic the other night. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m not much into comics, but every once in a while one comes out that I feel moved to read. This is one of them, as Obi-Wan is probably my favorite character in Star Wars right now. The comic concerns Obi-Wan in exile on Tatooine in his later years, probably quite close to the time of A New Hope. A sandstorm is coming, and he writes a few stories about his past in his journal to pass the time. The five stories span his lifetime, from a youngling, to Padawan to Qui-Gon Jinn, to Clone Wars General, to his mentoring of Anakin, and finally as Old Ben on Tatooine. The subtitle of the comic is “The Purpose of a Jedi”, and these stories examine that very question, as well as prepare him for his lonely exile on Tatooine. As a youngling, he must learn to rely on himself; as a Padawan, he learns to find the light in the darkness; in the Clone Wars, he truly ponders the purpose of a Jedi in war-time, which is always to help others and to choose life, even among death; in a mission with Anakin, he learns to hold on to that purpose even when it’s clear that constant war can consume others; and in the last story, he shows the incredible compassion he’s attained over the years, helping a Stormtrooper attacked by Tuskens.

The comic doesn’t add anything of great import to the canon; it’s more of a character-driven story, exploring Obi-Wan’s state of mind and what he’s learned over the years of being a Jedi. As an Obi-Wan fan, I found it very satisfying.

Also in books, I’ve been continuing my reading of Fairy Tale, by Stephen King. It’s a fun and entertaining book, about a teenage boy and his dog visiting a parallel world that is overcome by evil. I’ll probably finish it this week and write more about it next week.


Reading Stephen King got me in the mood to watch a King movie, and so I watched Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. I read The Shining years ago, and of course watched the Stanley Kubrick film with Jack Nicholson. This story concerns the adult Dan Torrance, and his life after the horrific events at the Overlook Hotel (and stars our very own Ewan McGregor as the adult Dan). So as a kid, little Danny swore he’d never touch alcohol, after seeing it destroy his father. Well, that didn’t go as planned, and he spends most of his young adult life as an alcoholic. He hits rock bottom, and ends up in a New Hampshire town where he finds help from a man named Billy, who leads him to Alcoholics Anonymous. He gets clean and spends eight years working as an orderly in a nursing home. Through his special abilities (the shining), he helps people pass on to the other side. Because of this, the residents call him “Doctor Sleep.” He turns his life around and has found a rewarding way to use his “shine.”


Of course, there’s trouble. A group called the True Knot is stalking people, children in particular, who have the shining, even if they don’t know it. They kidnap and slowly kill these people, in order to “eat” their “steam”–fear and pain causes them to emit a sort of mist that is a manifestation of their power, and when the group inhales it, it “feeds” them. It causes them to live long lives.

Dan comes to know a 12-year-old girl named Abra who is very powerful in the shining. The group finds out about her existence and wants her. Dan becomes involved in helping her, but in doing so, he needs to confront his past and the (literal) ghosts that haunt him.

I don’t think this movie did very well at the box office, but I was certainly entertained for 2+ hours. I may read the book, once I finish Fairy Tale.

Lastly, I came across a trailer for a movie coming out next March:

I never knew I needed an Adam Driver time-travel sci-fi Jurassic Park kind of movie, but here we are. I’ll definitely be watching 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!

P.S.–I saw that the Phase One High Republic YA novels will be coming out in a boxed set soon with new covers:

Padawan Reath Silas
Jedi Knight Vernestra Rwoh
Force-sensitive Zeen

If I had a bottomless budget, I’d get this, because I love the new covers. I’ll wishlist it, lol.