Star Wars: The Weapon Of A Jedi Review

I’ve seen his name around on various guides and such, but this is really my first exposure to the fictional stylings of Jason Fry.
Also, this is the first prose story I’ve read from the Journey To The Force Awakens program from all those years ago.
But the question is, what did I think of both?
I say we figure that out together.

Consider this to be your usual ***SPOILER ALERT***, gang.
React accordingly.

Now, right up front I will tell you all that this is a young adult/kids book, and it’s the second Star Wars YA story I’ve reviewed (read my review of Ahsoka).
And some would adjust or soften their assessment based on that.
But I tend not to adjust, I feel like YA should stand up and face the same scrutiny as full fledged novels.
I say this not as a way to prepare you for some shots that will feel cheap, but to prepare you for the praise that’s about to follow.
No back handed compliments of “well, it’s really good…for a kids book…” here, gang.

The main portion of the story is set just after Episode IV, where we see Luke coming to terms with his new found force abilities and trying to figure out how to better tap into them.
While on a scout mission for the Rebellion, he starts to have force visions of training droids, dark forests, large creatures, and a ruined Jedi temple.
Despite that, he tries to continue with his main mission but after an imperial run in is forced back to Devaron for repairs.
Once there, he feels a stronger pull to search the nearby ruins for guidance on his path to Jedi Knighthood.

Let’s just get this out of the way now, the worst part of this story is that it feels slightly inconsequential.
What I mean by that is though it does show a big leap forward in Luke’s abilities, if you just watch the three Original Trilogy movies you won’t be left wondering what the hell is missing.
There’s enough on screen that this just feels sorta like something you assumed, but didn’t need to see.
Now, having said that, it is one hell of a fun ride!
Even in the slightly darker or mysterious moments, this feels like what it is, a fun story about a young character trying to find out where they go after they save the Galaxy.
R2 & 3P0 are along for the ride to help lighten those more serious moments too.

Fry handles these legacy characters with the respect of a long time fan.
He plays well with the toys, and puts them back in the toy box with no added damage that would upset or hinder future players/writers.
And when I say he’s a fan, it’s clear that he’s a REAL Star Wars fan, not one of these people that says they love Star Wars but shits all over the Prequels or anything post 83.
Because, while this was part of the Journey To The Force Awakens program, the connections to The Clone Wars and the entire Prequel Trilogy are stronger than any ties I could find to the Sequel Trilogy/ Episode VII.
He subtly drops little nuggets along that way that strengthen the ties between the first six movies and makes the entire universe feel more cohesive, which is what I think the real strength of this story is.

To wrap up, this is not a book that you’ll be heartbroken you missed, but you will be damn happy you read it in the end.
There’s enough set up of potential future storylines to get nerdy brains wondering, the writing is so solid that you’ll breeze through it, and it’s nice to see the PT integrated into the OT in a way that George himself wasn’t able to do simply due to the order he made the movies.
If you want a quick and easy Star Wars story, look no further.
I, myself, am left wondering if Fry’s novelization of The Last Jedi has the same level of fun oozing from it as this does.

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Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her editorial assistance.

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Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown Review

This book ended up being the final novel released in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, aka Legends, timeline.
I have no clue if Joe Schreiber knew at the time he was writing it that he was the penning the swan song for an entire line of continuity or not, but none the less he was swinging for the fences.
The question at this point is did he get it over the wall or did he swing wild and fling his bat at the pitcher, slamming him in the face and unleashing a torrent of blood, causing a bench clearing brawl the likes of which have never been seen before or since that will go down in history as…I may have gotten carried away just then, and I don’t even like baseball, but I think you see my point…let’s answer that question in less gory detail.

Consider this your official ***Spoiler Alert***

Sidious sends Maul undercover into a prison to meet with a mysterious weapons dealer to get a device to further one of his many secret plans and bring forth the Sith takeover we all know is coming.
Through algorithmic match making, this prison is a hub of fights and high stakes betting that brings the attention of the galaxy and some of its more seedy underworldy types.

This is the 3rd and final of Joe Schreiber’s Star Wars novels and I’m trying to decide if this is better than the 1st or not.
The race is so damn tight.
Death Troopers brilliantly handled Han & Chewie appearances while mixing in some kickass Zombie attacks.
This has Maul, Sidious, Plagueis, and Jabba in Pre-Phantom Menace action.
He has a way of dealing with these legacy characters that makes them feel less like untouchable art pieces and more like action figures that are going to get beat up and thrown back in the toy box for the next writer to take out and toss around for a bit, and I mean that in the best possible way.

His handling of Maul is great, displaying the pure stoicism of this brutal fighter is spot on.
Sidious takes lightsabers and the Force out of the arsenal of the horn headed apprentice, to keep his dark side allegiance secret, and it gives us a great insight into how his mind works and how he has been trained to adapt.
We see a new detective side to him as well as we follow him chasing down leads and rumors in the prison, hunting the arms dealer and coming to multiple deadends.
He almost comes off like The Punisher in that respect, and I loved it.

There are twists aplenty, and not a one had that all too familiar feeling of “are you seriously gonna try this hokey shit?” that can often be found in books/story that try to be too clever or deep for their own good.
They all have an air of “aw hell, why didn’t I see that coming?” to them.
One unexpected twist I’ll share is when Darth Plagueis shows up and starts undermining the plans of Sidious, confronting him about it to pretty much let him know he’s aware of the ongoing shenanigans, and then he cooly moves past it to discuss the grand plan for the approaching Sith takeover.
It’s tense as hell and almost worth the price of admission alone.

Tip to tail, this is a damn good book.
And while I enjoy the new main continuity, I hope at some point in the future that Disney/Del Rey will open the door and let the EU/Legends continuity thrive again.
Because if this is the level of story they were pumping out at the end, there were plenty more great stories to come.

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Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her editorial assistance.

Star Wars: Kenobi Review

Since it was published, this book was proclaimed to be one of the best books of the EU.
Written by one of my favorite Star Wars authors, focusing on one of my favorite Star Wars characters, can it live up to that hype and my own personal expectations?
Patience, my very young Apprentice.
We’re about to find out.

As per usual, this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

I didn’t know too much about this going in, just that it was set almost immediately after Ep III and showed Obi-Wan settling into his new reality as a guardian of the future, of hope.
And that is definitely here, Obi-Wan has the weight of the entire galaxy on his shoulders, and at times it’s pitiable.
The moments of torment as he laments his former life make him even more sympathetic.
The working in of the alien accountant that was *Jabba* in the 1977 Marvel adaptation of the movie is perfect.
But there are 2 things I didn’t expect.
1. I didn’t expect Obi-Wan to almost be a background character.
2. I didn’t expect the arc of A’Yark (I’ll have more on this in a bit, hang tight).

Concerning the 1st point, I have read John Jackson Miller and others talk about why we really only see Obi-Wan from everybody else’s perspective, and I have to say it really annoyed me at 1st.
But the longer it goes, the better it works.
Seeing everybody else try to crack this nut is far more effective in maintaining mystery and looking at an iconic character than just jumping into his head.
It makes things more challenging for the writer and the audience, which in the end I dug.
I do love the 1 sided meditation conversations with Qui-Gon as an insight into Kenobi’s thought process, but more importantly I just love seeing the training Yoda set out for him in the closing moments of Revenge Of The Sith.

As for the 2nd unexpected point, A’Yark is a Tusken leader that we spend a surprising amount of time with.
Probably like most people, I went into this thinking that Tuskens were animalistic savages driven by rage and some unknown destructive need.
We go into the head of A’Yark and see something far more fascinating, a deep seeded superstition based on Tatooine’s twin suns.
We see some actual critical thinking, instead of base urge.
We learn about the history of the wrappings and look of Tuskens.
It’s great seeing how they’re treated vs how they really are, and learning how them and their attacks have effected and molded this community.

The worst part of this book is that it was a victim of the great EU Purge.
As seen above, JJM was walking between worlds, he was clearly tying all of his Star Wars works together.
But mentions of Duchess Satine and their relationship, which is official Canon, are examples of great moments of connectivity the Canon is currently missing.
Maybe if they do a Obi-Wan movie they’ll retread this territory (why would you do that!?), but stories like this, that could fit so well into the tapestry of the singular cohesive story, are now slightly depressing to read.

Overall, I love this book.
Maybe I’m easy to please, but there is so much to love.
If you want more insight into this legend of Lucas, read this book and hold out hope something like this comes around again and Miller gets to work on it.

TNB Commentaries Episode 005: The Phantom Menace

goods_009892_165122Please turn off your cellphones and join Doom & Fitz as they take a long journey to a galaxy far far away.

For our 5th Commentary we make a jaunt through lightspeed back to 1999’s Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace Starring Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor.

Fitz reminisces about all the times he saw this movie, including the PPV viewing in his bone zone getaway, and they both defend it from the many trolls and accusations it’s battled in the 18 years since its release.

Your focus determines your reality, which is listening to us talk about the rebirth of STAR WARS!!!


URL:
TNB Commentaries 005: The Phantom Menace
Direct Download: tnbc005-tpm.mp3
Youtube: https://youtu.be/eFyfqNt9ytk

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2017