My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello friends, and happy weekend!

I’m continuing my slow reading of the original Thrawn trilogy, and am currently about a third of the way through Dark Force Rising. I usually read the Kindle at work, during breaks or slow moments, but it’s been pretty busy lately. Seriously cutting into my reading time! Lol.

At home, I’m reading Queen’s Hope, the third in the Padme series by E.K. Johnston. I really liked its predecessors, and have been enjoying this one. I did think it would cover a larger time period and maybe get into Revenge of the Sith territory, but it only covers a sliver of time just after Attack of the Clones. Oh well, still worth the read.

My Rebels rewatch continues with Season 4, and I just recently watched Episode 12, “Jedi Knight.” If you’re a Rebels fan, you know what I’m talking about. ūüė¶ And even though it’s my third rewatch, tears were still shed. This show is some of the best Star Wars ever.

Recently saw this, a cover reveal for the next Phase of The High Republic, a YA novel called Path of Deceit:

I love this cover! No idea who those people are, but it looks great.

There’s also new concept art for a new character, a relation to the Nihil villain Marchion Ro:

She doesn’t look very villainous.

I’ll be on the lookout for more cover reveals for Phase Two of the High Republic, which begins coming out later this year.

I also heard a rumor that we’ll be getting more Visions sometime this year. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but I wouldn’t be averse to it at all. I liked almost all of the anime shorts, but I had a few favorites (The Elder, The Ninth Jedi, and The Duel being my top three). I’d love to see some sequels to these stories; but if not, new stories will be just as welcome. We’ll see if the rumors are true.

Moon Knight Episode Three (“The Friendly Type”) was a fun ride on Wednesday. I just love how weird this show is, lol. And I love the Egyptian mythology it’s taking inspiration from. I’m definitely getting “Layla is going to fall for Steven” vibes, and I’m on board for that, lol.

Marc’s got everything under control.

That’s it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday: My Ranking of the HR Books

It’s no secret that I LOVE the High Republic era of Star Wars. My favorite aspect of Star Wars has always been the Jedi, and the High Republic focuses on the Jedi of this time period–who they are and what makes them tick. It’s awesome.

Having said that, I do have favorites out of all the adult and young adult novels of Phase One that have come out this past year, and in this post I’m going to rank them and give my reasons for their position on the list.

I thought it would be fun to show the alternate covers of each book (if there are any), instead of the usual, often dorky, covers of Jedi holding lightsabers. Let’s get started!

  1. The Fallen Star, by Claudia Gray (Third adult novel)
The Fallen Star alternate cover. This is such a powerful image.

The Fallen Star is the third and final adult novel of Phase One, and it’s my favorite because 1. Claudia Gray is a fantastic storyteller, and 2. it’s a nail-biting, heartbreaking finale where the Jedi obviously lose in a big way, leaving you wondering where they’ll go from here. There are some painful deaths, a terrifying threat (to the Jedi themselves), some very sticky situations to get out of, and some really wonderful relationships that are explored. It’s truly a satisfying culmination to Phase One, while still leaving you breathless for more.

2. Into the Dark, by Claudia Gray (First YA novel)

I haven’t seen any alternate covers for Into the Dark.

Again, Claudia Gray is at the top of my list, because she just handles the characters and the story so well. It’s hard to impress me with a YA book, but she does so here. Maybe it’s because Reath Silas is my favorite Padawan, and he is heavily involved in the storyline in this book. It’s also the only book that deals directly with the Drengir (a threat that is mostly dealt with in the comics). The Drengir are carnivorous, evil tree-beings, and have the potential to be very silly (and hence work best in the comics), but she handles them well here, at least as well as they can be handled. She also introduces the Vessel crew in this book, and Leox and Geode are some of my favorite minor characters in the whole era.

3. Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soule (First adult novel)

Light of the Jedi alternate cover. I love how Ember is front and center.

The very first adult novel, and first High Republic book to come out, is a great read and does a fantastic job at introducing this new era and its Jedi. It’s clear we’re in a very different time period here, and have Jedi who are very different from the prequel Jedi; Soule does a wonderful job bringing them to life in this story. The book begins with the Great Disaster and the fallout from that event, as well as introduces the new villains, the Nihil.

4. The Rising Storm, by Cavan Scott (Second adult novel)

The Rising Storm alternate cover. Striking, but busy.

For some reason, it was hard for me to get into this book on my first read; but on my second read, I loved it. This book deals with the Nihil attack on the Republic Fair on the planet Valo. It’s executed quite well, and I love Elzar Mann’s story arc. There’s a lot going on here, with multiple points of view, but it all comes together wonderfully.

5. Midnight Horizon, by Daniel Jose Older (Third YA novel)

Midnight Horizon alternate cover. Not bad, but I think the original is way cooler.

I was excited for this book, as it starred Reath Silas again (among others), but I found it to be a slow start. It was well into the third act before it suddenly got very, very good. I suppose you could call it a slow burn leading up to the explosion, lol. It concerns Reath and his master, Cohmac Vitus, along with Jedi Master Kantam Sy and Padawan Ram Jomoram going to Corellia to investigate a possible Nihil threat there. One thing Older did very well is characterization, and the relationships between the characters. As throughout all of the High Republic stories, this one’s central theme is how the Jedi should deal with attachment and love, and their struggle with their emotions. Oh yeah, and the Nihil threat, lol. (Check out my review of the book here).

6. Out of the Shadows, by Justina Ireland (Second YA novel)

Out of the Shadows alternate cover, which shows some Nihil, in particular Lourna Dee, instead of the usual Jedi.

I had a hard time with this one. I’m guessing it’s because it didn’t mainly concern the Jedi; rather, it was about a young woman named Sylvestri Yarrow, a cargo pilot who lost her ship to the Nihil and who goes to Coruscant, first to tell the Republic about the Nihil activity, and second, to try to get her ship back. She gets pulled into a scheme involving a wealthy young man from the Graf family, a Nihil plot to create some kind of gravity weapon, and how her missing and presumed dead mother is involved in it all. The only interesting part was when she and Vernestra Rwoh run into Mari San Tekka, and the old woman gives Vernestra some coordinates that are still a mystery.

I’ve read the middle-grade books of Phase One–A Test of Courage, Race to Crashpoint Tower, and Mission to Disaster. They’re all quite good, but I don’t really have a favorite out of them. I’d rank them equally.

By the way, here’s a few more alternate covers I found:

The Rising Storm additional alternate cover. Again, I love Ember up on the rock! (But it’s still kind of dorky, lol).
Out of the Shadows additional alternate cover. More Nihil.

I can’t wait for Phase Two, which reportedly takes place 150 years before the events of this phase. It kind of threw me at first, but I’m confident the creators know what they’re doing and there’s a very good reason for this. I believe Phase Two starts in October of this year.

Thanks for reading. For light and life!

High Republic Wednesday: Jake Bartok’s HR Art

I love Star Wars fan art, I love the High Republic, and I love the artist Jake Bartok. This post combines all three, showcasing some pieces I haven’t shared on this blog, or haven’t even seen myself until recently.

This one shows the characters of the YA novel Out of the Shadows: Vernestra Rwoh, Reath Silas, Sylvestri Yarrow, Lourna Dee. I’m not sure who the hooded figure on the left is. Maybe Cohmac Vitus?

Every Star Wars storytelling era must have a trio of one woman, and two men who share friendship and/or relationships. For the High Republic, it’s Avar Kriss, Elzar Mann, and Stellan Gios.

Elzar and Avar in the front, and Stellan watching over them, as he does.

This is a nice cast photo: in the front is Bell Zettifar, Vernestra Rwoh, and either Reath Silas or Imri Cantaros, I’m not sure. In the middle is Burryaga. And lining the back is Indeera Stokes, Loden Greatstorm, Nib Assek, and Porter Engle.

Sabers out!

This is a great one of Padawan Bell Zettifar and his master, Loden Greatstorm. And Ember, of course!

This is a fun one showing various characters, including Vernestra with her purple lightwhip, and Zeen Mrala in the back (the pink one), a Force-sensitive friend of the Jedi. Marchion Ro, the Eye of the Nihil, is at the top center. Oh, and the Jedi vectors are shown in the corners. They’re Jedi ships that are piloted by the Force, which is pretty cool in my opinion.

This is Bartok’s medieval version, which he likes to do sometimes. I like the shield with the Jedi symbol on it, and the swords inscribed with Aurabesh. Vernestra’s whip at her belt is a nice touch. And does Marchion Ro have horns??

This is a nice tryptic showcasing various characters. On the right in the far right corner is Lilly, a Jedi from the manga Edge of Balance, which I’d like read soon. My daughter’s name is Lilly, so I automatically love her, lol.

These are absolutely gorgeous images, and I’m always interested in what he’ll do next. Check out his work on Twitter@JakeBartok.

What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday: Yoda Art

The High Republic is an exciting new era in Star Wars, taking place two hundred years prior to The Phantom Menace. That means lots of new, interesting characters to get to know. However, since Yoda is so long-lived, he is quite alive during the High Republic, at a mere 700 or so years. I thought I’d take a look at some Yoda representations during the High Republic era.

This one seems to be an earlier concept piece prior to the release of Project Luminous (the name the creators gave to the High Republic publishing initiative):

This is an amazing image of Yoda with Jedi Knight Keeve Trennis; I believe it is a comic variant cover:

Gabriel Dell’Otto

This is a more detailed and stylized concept piece of Yoda in his “Temple” garb (a fancier, more formal version of Jedi robes):

This gorgeous image is of Yoda with Jedi Master Avar Kriss, and is another comic cover variant:

Stephanie Hans

Here’s Yoda in his “Mission” garb, a plainer and more utilitarian version of Jedi robes:

Yoda is definitely a well-respected part of the High Republic Jedi Council, but is not the Grand Master yet.* His appearances are few and far between in the novels, but has a slightly larger role to play in the comics, especially the High Republic Adventures, in which he leads a group of younglings and Padawans. It’s always great to see this iconic, wisdom-dispensing character in any era.

What do you think of these images? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it.

For light and life!

*Edited–He actually is a Grandmaster, but he shares the post with two other Jedi: Lahru and Pra-tre Veter.

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello my friends, and happy weekend!

I don’t have a lot to report this week. I’ve been reading Mission to Disaster, by Justina Ireland, the middle-grade High Republic book recently out, and I’m almost done with it. I don’t usually do reviews for the middle grade books, but I might do so this time. It’s quite good.

Other than that, March is looking wide open as far as books and shows go. Moon Knight premieres on the 31st, but other than that, there’s no Star Wars or Marvel show that I can think of that will fill up the month. There’s also no big book releases. The months of April through August (at least) will keep me busy with a new book release per month, but March? Zip. What’s a Star Wars fan to do?

Well, catch up on other things, for one. I remembered I’d ordered Before the Awakening, by Greg Rucka, on my Kindle a while ago but never read for one reason or another. It’s a YA book (I think) that has some stories about Rey, Finn and Poe before the events of The Force Awakens. I’ll probably dig into that.

I’ve also ordered the combined comics of the Marvel High Republic series, as well as the High Republic Adventures. I’m pretty excited about this, as I’ve long wanted to read these comics. I’m not a huge comic fan, but I know that the story being told in the High Republic era encompasses both books and comics. There are characters that feature mainly in the comics (like Avar Kriss, Keeve Trennis, Skeer, and many others), as well as storylines that I feel are important to understand the totality of the High Republic era.

I also think that, with a storyline that has no live-action medium (or even an animation), the comics really fill in the look of the High Republic. What do these characters look like? What about the ships, and the droids, and other aspects of the High Republic that we’ve never seen before? The comics answer those questions and gives us a visual to latch onto. So yeah, I can’t wait to read these!

Oh, and by the way, we’ve got a cover for the YA book by Kiersten White about a young Obi-Wan Kenobi coming out on July 26th:

Obi-Wan looks pretty intense here, lol. Definitely on my pre-order list.

That’s really about it right now. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday: Midnight Horizon Review

Daniel Jose Older’s YA novel Midnight Horizon is the third, and last YA offering in the first phase of the High Republic books, and it was an enjoyable read. It takes place just before and during the events of The Fallen Star, the adult novel by Claudia Gray that tells of the Nihil attack and destruction of Starlight Beacon.

The Nihil are also causing problems on Corellia (Han Solo’s home planet); while the marauders have long plagued the Outer Rim, most of the Inner Rim is complacent that they wouldn’t dare attack a Core world. They also believe that the Jedi and Republic forces have hunted down and destroyed most of the Nihil and that they’re not that big a problem anymore. Oh, how wrong they are.

Padawan Reath Silas

Corellia is famous for its shipyards, and it makes sense that the Nihil would want to attempt to steal some ships for their own nefarious purposes. Their plan is surprisingly sophisticated, but it’s interrupted by a group of young people that include Jedi Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jamoram (and their masters, Cohmac Vitus and Kantam Sy), and a young native with pink hair named Crash who runs a protection agency.

Most of the book is a slow burn of character development and setting up of events that lead to a huge, rather exciting climax in the last part of the book. I will admit that I wasn’t particularly wowed by the first part of the book, and Crash was not a character I found interesting in any way. I’m a little tired of brilliant adolescents who vacillate between teen angst and impossible feats of valor and wisdom. But that’s YA for you–I’m not the ideal reader.

Master Cohmac Vitus

The Jedi, of course, are exceptions to this very biased opinion of mine, lol. Reath Silas is my favorite High Republic Padawan, precisely because he originally was the bookish, studious type who, while quite skilled with the lightsaber, hoped that he never had to use it. He didn’t want adventures. He wanted to live in the Jedi Archives. And I could totally relate. But, over the course of several YA novels, he’s been forced into living a life of war with the Nihil, and it’s rather poignant to see him struggling with that transition. And I love seeing him mentor the younger Padawan Ram, who is also struggling with the transition. He just wants to tinker with machines.

Mostly I preferred the scenes with the older Jedi, Cohmac and Kantam. Until the very end of the book, they took a backseat to the younger characters, but they, too, had their own emotional struggles to deal with. Since Into the Dark, Cohmac has struggled with his emotions and the Jedi Order’s stance on how to deal with them (though the High Republic Jedi are still much more open with attachment and emotions than the prequel Jedi). Kantam Sy (a non-binary character) had even left the Order for a time when they were young, to explore their burgeoning need to explore life outside of the Jedi. They tell this story to Cohmac during some of their down times.

Padawan Ram Jamoram

All the Jedi, Masters and Padawans alike, struggle with their emotions and their attachments to each other and others, as the story unfolds. Especially as they find out what’s happening to Starlight Beacon; they worry for their friends and struggle with rage against the Nihil.

Even Crash, who lost a good friend at the beginning of the book, struggles with attachment–she decides to distance herself from her other friends in order to prevent being hurt again in that way.

Padawan Lula Talisola

The end of the book was inarguably the best part, as it climaxes into a battle between the Jedi and their allies and the Nihil in the shipyards. And we get a surprise appearance from a familiar green friend, who has also figured into some of Kantam’s memories in the book.

In the end, this was a pretty good book, but I do prefer Claudia Gray’s Into the Dark, as far as YA High Republic novels go. I do like how we get to know Corellia a bit more during the High Republic, its politics and inner workings (and we get to see the Grindalids, the White Worm gangs that rule the sewers and underground passageways that we see in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the book Most Wanted). And I finally got to see some of the characters from the comics, like Lula Talisola, Zeen Mrala, Krix, and others that Older created for his High Republic Adventures comics.

I would give Midnight Horizon 3.5 out of 5 lightsabers.

Have you read Midnight Horizon? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Hello my friends, and happy weekend!

I’ve finished Midnight Horizon, the latest High Republic YA novel by Daniel Jose Older, and although it didn’t wow me at first, it did get better and ended up being quite good. I’ll probably do a review of the book for next week’s High Republic Wednesday’s post, so stay tuned.

I’m now reading Mission to Disaster, the middle-grade novel by Justina Ireland in this third High Republic wave, and the end of Phase One. I’ve generally liked the middle-grade novels, and Ireland is particularly good at them; it also centers around Vernestra Rwoh, one of my favorite High Republic Padawans. I literally just started it, but I’m looking forward to getting into it.

Vernestra and Imri battling some gnarly looking space crocs.

In other Star Wars book news, it seems I have another to add to my pre-order list, lol. On August 16th of this year a book called The Princess and the Scoundrel will be released. It’s a book about Han and Leia’s wedding, if you can believe it. It’s by Beth Revis, who wrote the excellent YA novel Rebel Rising, about Jyn Erso, so I’m hoping good things come of it. At first, I thought, Um, really? but it actually sounds like it could be kind of neat. It will tell of their wedding on Endor, and then of their honeymoon on the Halcyon cruise ship. But while on board, they get involved in some kind of adventure, as it’s clear the Imperials are still around. Could be fun.

In other extremely exciting Star Wars news, there are reports that Jimmy Smits will be making an appearance in the Obi-Wan Kenobi show. This comes with other rumored plot leaks that I won’t mention (so be careful online if you want to go into the show without spoilers), but I will say I’m so happy to know that my original favorite space dad, Bail Organa, will be showing up!

In Marvel, I watched Assembled: Eternals. I really like these Assembled episodes, which show the making of these wonderful shows and movies. And since I absolutely loved Eternals, this one was pretty special. I don’t think Eternals went over well with a lot of long-time Marvel fans, and I think it’s because it’s so different than what they’re used to seeing. But as a new Marvel fan (just in the past year), I’m not so entrenched in “what Marvel should look like.” So I think I’m more open to new things. That’s my theory anyway, lol.

In more Marvel news, the Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer dropped recently, and it was insane. I have no idea what the hell is going on here, lol, but it looks awesome! I can’t wait!

Speaking of trailers, there’s more: Moon Knight had a teaser trailer during the Super Bowl, and it looks just as crazy and incomprehensible. But cool, too.

This has been a week for trailers, as there was also one for The Rings of Power series that will premiere on Amazon Prime in September. I don’t know much about this series, but it’s something I’d love to watch. I probably won’t get Amazon Prime, though, so I’ll have to wait until it’s available in some other form.

That’s about it–mostly upcoming shows and books that I can’t wait for!

What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday: Phase Two Book Titles Revealed

Now that Phase One of the High Republic has concluded (for the most part), it’s time to look forward to Phase Two (called Quest of the Jedi), which I believe will start releasing this fall. Starwars.com just released the titles of the first wave of books in Phase Two along with the authors:

Star Wars: The High Republic: Convergence temporary cover
Adult Novel
Star Wars: The High Republic: Path of Deceit temporary cover
Young Adult Novel
Star Wars: The High Republic:  Quest for the Hidden City temporary cover
Middle Grade Novel
Star Wars: The High Republic: Quest of the Jedi temporary cover
Comic

Unfortunately, there are no covers yet available, but as soon as they are final I’ll post them here. Justina Ireland and Claudia Gray are the only two original authors writing for this first wave, but I imagine we’ll see more of Cavan Scott, Charles Soule, and Daniel Jose Older. I’m looking forward to reading these new authors and what they can bring to Star Wars!

For light and life!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend my friends!

Padawan Reath Silas and Master Cohmac Vitus.

I’m about halfway done with Midnight Horizon, the High Republic YA novel by Daniel Jose Older. It’s fine so far. I’m hoping it gets a bit more interesting. Older is not my favorite Star Wars writer–I couldn’t even get through Last Shot, a Han and Lando novel that I had been looking forward to. Race to Crashpoint Tower was fine, and this one is just fine, too. The YA novels can be tricky for me–I know they’re about young people, but young people can be, well, annoying, lol. If it’s done well, I really do enjoy them. This one takes place mostly on Corellia, and features Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jamoram (and their Masters). The young Jedi are usually fine, but it’s the other young people that are thrown in that get on my nerves, lol. Anyway, I’ll probably do a review post when I finish it.

The Book of Boba Fett finished its first (and maybe only?) season this past week with Episode 7: In the Name of Honor. I enjoyed it, and posted my thoughts about it here, if you’re curious.

We finally got a premiere date for Obi-Wan Kenobi (May 25th) and a poster:

May be an image of 1 person, outdoors and text that says 'STAR. WARS OBI-WAN WAN √ź KENOBI Originalseries series DisnEy+ May 25 only on'
I’m soooooo excited for this!

May is going to be a huge Obi-Wan Kenobi month with the new show, a novel called Brotherhood (about Obi-Wan and Anakin), and a new Obi-Wan comic. My Obi-Wan dreams have come true! Can’t wait.

In Marvel, I watched Assembled: Hawkeye. I liked the show, but felt it was a little uneven. But watching the making-of documentary makes me want to watch it again, and I probably will. As with most things, I think I’ll enjoy it more the second time around.

Clint Barton, Kate Bishop and Pizza Dog.

With BoBF done, I’m show-less for a while. Moon Knight premieres on March 30, but until then I don’t think there’s anything new in Star Wars or Marvel. It might be time to catch up on some Marvel movies that have been waiting in the wings: the Andrew Garfield Spiderman films, a couple of Wolverine movies, Deadpool, that sort of thing.

That’s about it this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

High Republic Wednesday–Comic and Fan Art

I didn’t have a full post to publish today, so I thought I’d showcase some High Republic comic and fan art that I like. Enjoy!

Here’s a great one of Bell Zettifar with his master, Loden Greatstorm. And of course, Ember. This is a variant cover for High Republic Adventures Annual 2021.

Bell and Loden by Ben Harvey.

I think I’ve shared this one of Avar Kriss before somewhere, lol, but it’s so great I had to share it again.

Avar Kriss by Jake Bartok.

Jake Bartok is one of my favorite Star Wars artists, so I included another one by him. Here’s Ty Yorrick, a Force-sensitive monster hunter, who has ties to the Jedi Order.

Ty Yorrick by Jake Bartok.

Here’s another Jedi of the time period who has a purple lightsaber, Vernestra Rwoh. It can also transform into a light-whip. This was an illustration in the middle-grade book A Test of Courage.

Vernestra Rwoh in A Test of Courage, illustrated by Petur Antonsson

Hope you enjoyed these pieces!

For light and life.