Star Wars: Lost Stars – Book Review

Despite being aimed at the YA audience, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray tells one of the most eye-opening stories from the Star Wars universe, shedding a light on past events whilst also revealing new ones with a focus on two new characters, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree.

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Star Wars: Black Spire – Book Review

After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower—and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.

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Star Wars : Before the Awakening – Book Review

Before the Awakening is one of the many books released in preparation for the release of The Force Awakens back in 2015; It provides a glimpse in to where Rey, Finn and Poe are building up to the events of the film whilst also providing information about the state of the galaxy as a whole.

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Star Wars The Force Awakens: Finn’s Story – Book Review

Jesse Holland re-tells the narrative of The Force Awakens through Finn’s eyes. The book, surprisingly, opens at the ending of Finn’s story in Before the Awakening rather than starting at the beginning of the film. This was really well done as it adds a bit more depth to certain elements of the story.

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Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run – Book Review

Smuggler’s Run sees an older Han Solo recounting a story from his past. Han’s story is about a mission he and Chewbacca were sent on by Leia and the Rebellion in order to find Rebel spy Ematt who has been stranded on the planet Cyrkon.

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Star Wars: Thrawn Treason – Book Review

Star Wars: Thrawn – Treason, the third book in this series, is an ideal way to wrap up this current-canon story of Grand Admiral Thrawn. After Thrawn: Alliances connected the prequel and Original trilogies together, Treason delves in to the early days of the Galactic Civil War where the Rebellion is barely present and Orson Krennic’s Death Star project is well underway.

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Who is the Black Panther? – Book Review

Following the plot of Hudlin’s 2005-2008 run on Marvel’s Black Panther, Jesse J Holland’s adventure shines the spotlight on the technologically superior kingdom of Wakanda and its king T’Challa as he fends off invasion led by M’Butu, Ulysses Klaw, The Rhino, and the Black Knight.

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Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances – Book Review

Author Timothy Zahn returns once again for a follow up to Thrawn. In Star Wars: Thrawn Alliances, the Grand Admiral has been assigned a mission to work alongside the dark lord himself, Darth Vader.

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Star Wars: Thrawn – Book Review.

Timothy Zahn’s newest Star Wars trilogy promises to fill in some of the backstory for the version of Grand Admiral Thrawn seen in the animated series Star Wars Rebels, a character introduced to Star Wars fans by Zahn many years ago.

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Captain Marvel: StarForce On The Rise – Book Review

The Centum books that tie into the new Marvel Studios film releases have allowed fans to get more information on the build-up to these big events. Captain Marvel: Starforce On The Rise focuses on some of Vers adventures during her time with StarForce, acting as a prequel to the Captain Marvel movie released earlier this year.

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Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron – Book Review

Set after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron is the story of a group of Rebel pilots tasked sent on a mission against the remains of the Empire.  Alphabet Squadron follows Yrica Quell, a defector from the Empire’s TIE Fighter group Shadow Wing as she enlists in the New Republic. As a member of the intelligence department she is tasked with hunting down her former squadron.

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Star Wars: Master & Apprentice – Book Review

Set several years before The Phantom Menace, taking place on the planet Pijal, Master & Apprentice sees Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan travel to Pijal to oversee the coronation of princess Fanry. The pair must navigate a complicated struggle between ancient monarchies, the slave-owning Czerka Corporation, all while dealing with personal conflict.

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Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills – Book Review

Set on Jedha, a world full of myth and legend, two friends Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe, former Guardians of the Whills and protectors of the Kyber Temple find themselves at odds when the Empire arrive and place the planet under Imperial rule.

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Star Wars: A New Dawn – Book Review

John Jackson Miller has provided the first official book from the new canon material. A New Dawn  gives Star Wars fans an insight into the Life of Kanan Jarrus after the events of Order 66, highlighting how he began fighting the Empire, his love for women and how he met a very special woman who would have a huge impact on his life moving forward; that of course being Hera Syndulla.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Book Review

When I read a film novelisation, I look for things that may not have featured in the film, or scenes that have been expanded on to further enhance the story; Alan Dean Fosters provides readers with some extra scenes, more character insight as well as answers several questions asked after watching the The Force Awakens.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Book Review

When writing a review for a film novelisation, I look for things that may not have featured in the film, or scenes that have been expanded on to further enhance the story; Alexander Freed’s second book in Star Wars Canon “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was full of extra moments that have complemented my views on the film.

Readers will find out the motivations behind some of the characters actions, connective scenes that are useful with regards to continuity, as well as interactions from the movie that are expanded upon. Freed emotionally dives into the minds of some of the key characters throughout, and provides further insight into some of their actions and the resonance behind them. Jyn’s internal struggle about feeling abandoned by both her father Galen Erso and Saw Gerrera, Cassian’s conflict as he contemplates his orders from General Draven to kill Galen Erso, and also Mon Mothma’s feelings about the path the Rebellion is currently on.

The book allows readers to spend more time with some of the characters that only featured briefly in the film, take Lyra Erso for example. During the first few scenes in Rogue One we see Lyra stand up to a group of Death Troopers whilst aiming her gun at Orson Krennic, despite knowing she could have run away with her daughter Jyn. It turns out that she had misjudged Krennic, expecting him to surrender in fear. With regards to the Empire, readers get more of an insight into how Tarkin took over the Death Star and Krennic’s thoughts as he discovers how easily he was played by Tarkin.

As mentioned above, readers get to delve deeper inside the head of Jyn Erso, understanding her coping mechanisms with feeling rejected from Galen and Saw, and also how she came to trust and love the Rebel Alliance despite her rough introduction to the cause. There are also more conversations between Jyn and Mon Mothma that would have been great additions to the film.

A lot of the new canon book feature several interludes and Rogue One is no different. One of the interludes reveals how Galen’s revenge on Krennic and the Empire is nearly discovered. Supplementary information like this is always good for a story and it adds another layer to everything viewers see when they sit down and watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Movie novelisation’s are usually good for looking at scenes that weren’t featured in the movie, Freed provides and intimate look at Jedha as a whole, moments before the Death Star Strikes as well as an up close view of Pendra Siliu’s death when Jedha is destroyed (Pendra was the little girl Jyn saves when Saw’s Partisans attack an Imperial fleet).

To conclude, Rogue One is a book that enhances the story rather than just giving readers a like for like printed account of the film. I would consider this book required reading as it provides a clearer and more insightful look into the events of the film, as well as showing the moments that weren’t actually captured on screen. For an even better experience with the book, read “Tarkin” and “Catalyst” both written by James Luceno that give background to Tarkin’s rise in the Empire ,as well as the beginning of Galen Erso and Orson Krennic’s relationship and how that lead to Galen joining Krennic on his project.

Star Wars: Aftermath Life Debt – Book Review

Aftermath saw Temmin “Snap” Wexley, his droid companion Bones, and his pilot mother Norra Wexley make their names in what was the first story in the Aftermath Trilogy. Life Debt sees Norra and her group of rebels set on a mission to locate rebel hero Han Solo, who is on his way to Kashyyyk to help liberate the planet from under the ruling of the Empire.

Han’s first attempt didn’t go as planned, resulting with Chewbacca being captured and the Imperial council finding itself under the leadership of Gallius Rax, a mastermind with links to the planet of Jakku. One of Rax’s first actions is to appoint Grand Admiral Rae Sloane as the face of the Empire.

There is a deep underlying theme within the Imperial side of the story surrounding Rax and Sloane. Sloane finds herself feeling like an errand girl delivering Rax’s orders to the Empire, even when she doesn’t agree with them. What Rae Sloane wants for the Empire and what Rax wants are two completely different things which lead to Sloane taking matters into her own hands.

The book is essentially broken down into three main stories, the search for Han Solo, the liberation of Kashyyyk, and the birth of the First Order courtesy of Gallius Rax. Despite being a great start to the trilogy, the plot for Life Debt is leaps and bounds above Aftermath’s packed full with humour, heartbreak, violence, romance and mystery; things that readers expect from a Star Wars story.

With regards to the original characters from Aftermath, Chuck Wendig doesn’t waste any time giving readers a clear picture of where Norra Wexley and her group of ragtag Rebels are after the conclusion of Aftermath. The group find themselves on a crusade hunting down Imperial war criminals and bringing them to justice for their crimes before being tasked with the search of Han Solo.

The introduction of characters from the Original Trilogy added another robust layer to the story with Han and Leia anchoring the story for the heroes whilst Rax and Sloane do the same for the Empire. In parts Leia seems vulnerable; her husband is missing, the New Republic is immovable and she is connecting to her unborn child with the force. She also sees her personality clashing with Mon Mothma because of her idealist approach to the world and believes in doing good for every inhabitant of the galaxy, whereas Mothma has a realist approach to her methods.

We argue, about whether it is the time to build up military or to dampen its effect. And all the while we forget that we have the privilege of arguing from comfortable chairs many parsecs away. We argue about what’s prudent or what’s practical while people suffer. Do you know what people want to see from the New Republic? Do you, truly? They want us to be heroes. – Princess Leia’s argument against Mon Mothma.

Han solo’s relationship with Chewbacca is captured beautifully in Life Debt. In one of the interludes from Aftermath, the pair is preparing to travel to Kashyyyk with intentions of liberating Chewie’s home planet from under the clasp of the Empire, leading to the Wookiee being captured. Han’s loyalty to Chewbacca is evident as he decides to leave his wife and unborn child as well as resigning his commission with the New Republic in order to locate his friend.

Similarly to Aftermath, Life Debt features interludes that give a wider perception of the galaxy. It seems as if the Empire has been dragged down immensely after its defeat during the Battle of Endor, offshoots of the empire are resorting to suicidal tactics against the New Republic, an Imperial Super Star Destroyer finds itself being hijacked by pirates and the entire fleet abandons its post on Ryloth. Maz Kanata features in an interlude where she is enforcing laws in her Takodano castle, and law and order has returned to Tatooine after the demise of crime lord Jabba the Hutt and his criminal organisation.

Wendig’s second entry to the Aftermath Trilogy promised higher intensity leading up to the events of The Force Awakens and it certainly delivered with an engaging plot, a strong, developing chemistry between Aftermath’s original characters as well as the additions from the original trilogy. There are also a lot of details provided to help fill the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.