Star Wars: Most Wanted Review

If you’ve listened to the five or so most recent episodes of the main show, you have heard Fitz talk about reading this a few times.
You listened as my interest grew while he spoke about his downs and ups with it.
So the question is where do I stand?
Do I agree with ol Fitty or am I my own man?
Gather round and let’s find out, gang.

As always, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***

Just to start, this book is curious.
Obviously, if I’m reviewing it, I liked it well enough (more on this later, trust me!) to tell you about it.
But for the first two sevenths of it, shit was looking really damn gloomy on the “ooo, this is gonna rock!” front.
That first hundred pages or so is just bland and uninteresting, it’s just a hell of a slog that feels completely uninspired.
Right around page 100, that all changes and this quickly becomes one of the most enthralling, engaging, and entertaining Star Wars books I’ve read in my decade of reading them.

Set just before the opening segment of Solo, we meet Han and Qi’ra as two kids with hopes of getting to be the leader of the White Worms pack.
With a near contempt for each other, Lady Proxima sends them, unwittingly to each other, on separate sides of the same mission, a high dollar auction for a new piece of cutting edge tech.
When the deal goes sideways, Han & Qi’ra are forced to work together and trust each other with their deepest secrets to survive.

Coming hot on the heels of possibly the most controversial movie of the franchise (The Last Jedi) and battling against poor promotion and a very public firing and replacement of the original directors, Solo was an unfairly maligned movie that had the true heart and soul of George Lucas’s Original three movies infused in its DNA.
It’s definitely the most fun of the new movies, desperately in need of a sequel or follow up of some kind (#MakeSolo2Happen!).
To say I want more of this era, these characters, and their world is a MASSIVE understatement.

In this book, we get to travel to at least four different distinct areas/districts of Corellia: the sewers, the posh upper crusty area, an industrial nightmare, and a grave yard for star ships.
Once Rae Carson hits her stride, she doesn’t fuckin’ stop, man.
What’s truly astounding is that this novel dropped before the movie, because it feels like Carson studied this movie for months to get that feeling of fun, adventure, and wonder locked down.
She captured it all, particularly in the scene where Han breaks atmo for the first time and gets his very first taste of space and flying.
His sheer glee at finding the thing that he desperately wants most in life is awe inspiring and wonderful.
I’ve never read a damn thing Rae has written before, but I’ll be watching more closely for her name from now on.

One thing I liked and have to mention is an observation Qi’ra makes about Han.
While watching his interactions with other folks of all stripes, different species, robots, filthy rich, or dirt poor, she notices that Han treats them all with the same level of dignity.
While this sounds like it may come off heavy handed, obtrusive, and forced, I can assure you it most definitely is not.
It’s handled incredibly well and doesn’t at all feel like you’re being beaten over the head with “a message”, it’s almost off-handedly mentioned.
It’s a good message to subtly send in this day and age of constant division, especially given the target audience of this novel.

The bottomline is this, gang, it has a more than rocky start, but if you stick with it it is wonderfully satisfying.
Carson has an uncanny grasp on this world, and these characters in particular.
I know she’s gone on to bigger assignments in the Star Wars galaxy, but I’d definitely love to see her return to Han’s roots and show us what she can do with this set of toys now that we’ve all seen the movie.
If you can, hunt this book down and give it a shot.
Like Jason Fry and E.K. Johnston before her, Rae Carson proves that the Young Adult arm of that galaxy far far away is producing some of the best stories it has to offer.
And yes, it’s incredibly eerie how much Fitz and I have ended up agreeing about this one…SEND HELP!!!

Let us what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

Day By Day Armageddon Beyond Exile Review

Ya know, sometimes it’s truly fucked up the way that life can imitate art, and this novel/series is a perfect example of that disturbing little notion, given our current global situation.
But let’s not get into all that, we’ll instead stick to…*swallows hard*…fiction?

As this is a sequel, the near inevitable comparisons to the original (which you can read my Review of right HERE!) book are bound to happen.
So how does it compare?
Let’s find out!

As per the usual round these parts, this is your official ***SPOILER ALERT***

Picking up after the battle that closed out book one, we learn more about the carnage and aftermath.
Things soon ramp up again as a militarized group appears, wanting to take Hotel 23.
This forces our main character to out himself as a Naval officer, and unexpectedly take command of this remnant of the US Military.
After a few missions to fortify the missle silo, and collecting quite a few new survivors, our main character heads out in a helicopter to scope out Shreveport, Louisiana.
The helicopter crashes and sets us up for the body of this journey in to the wastes of the now zombie infested US.

I forgot most of this book in the ten years since I first read it, and I’m really glad I did because it made the suspense of it hit as well as it should all over again.
That wondering if the narrator has the skills and grit to survive through the ever growing onslaught of zombies that have been mutated & irradiated thanks to a drastic attempt to save the world in book one.
And the introduction of a new advanced military-esque group and their tech adds a new player to the universe, bringing with it a strange glimmer of hope in an incredibly dread filled world.

One of my only complaints from the first book does get addressed…sort of…?
After receiving a drop of gear from the new Remote Six group, and in an effort to cut weigh in his trek back to Hotel 23, our main character finds a house and leaves one of his guns in the fridge with a note and the old military graffiti Kilroy Was Here.
Once a man tracking the narrator catches up, our main is known as Kil from that point on.
We even have a higher ranking military leader mention/threaten that he found the narrator’s name on a list of people who didn’t show up on base when the shit hit the fan.
I’d still prefer to have an actual name, but I guess that works well enough.

One of the great things about zombie fiction is knowing what the cause of the infection is.
Sadly, more often than not, we normally don’t really get one, but we do here!
I won’t flat out spoil it here, but I will say that I wonder how much the origins of The Walking Dead played into the reveal.
If you know what that means then, you are pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.

Bottom line: These books are as easy to read as blinking.
The pages fly by quick and before you know it it’s all over, leaving you intensely curious to find out what happens next.
I have the same feeling I did when I first read both of these back to back a decade ago, I’m hungrily on the hunt for the next installment.
My hope is that I can find the next two books soon, because I don’t really want to leave this world hanging for another ten years.

Let us what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

Boosting The Signal: A Look Back At Firefly

They say you never forget your first.
And for me, that first was Firefly.
The first Sci-Fi franchise I found all on my own little onesie, no influence from Family Guy doing a spoof, no slight urging from a friend, no podcast making me warm up to it over time.
Firefly was all me, and all mine.

I grew up watching Buffy, but I missed the show when it first aired because this was the era before the internet and in a time when I would see “From The Creator Of” and not know enough to care what that meant.
So, in more ways then one, I missed the boat.

Now, I distinctly remember the trailers for Serenity when it was still coming soon and thinking it looked so damn weird.
The image of that weird girl, River, with her ballet like twirling and slashing while holding those things that looked like battleaxes always stuck out as something strange and different…and, at the time, not for me in any way, shape, or form at all!

So cut to a few years later and the introduction of Blu-Ray Disc, the cutting edge, the next evolution of home video!
Pre-The Clone Wars, for me at least, walking through the home video section at Walmart and I see this weird lookin’ sci-fi movie cover with its striking looking woman, this intense looking dude, and that beautiful ship.
It only cost $10 or $15, so I took a shot.

Now, for those unfamiliar with Firefly/Serenity, this was a dumbass dipshit move as Serenity is basically the series finale of Firefly.
I don’t want to spoil too much for those of you that don’t know the series and movie, but there are key character deaths, the biggest questions are answered, and I’m pretty damn sure all the mysteries of the series are solved.
So, yes, I watched that first.
But I didn’t give any amount of a shit, I loved it!
The humor, the action, the cast, and most of all the ship itself.
That homey, fully realized, eye-catching, and perfect boat was, and remains to this day, to be one of the biggest selling points for me.

Now, after watching the movie, I definitely felt like I missed something somewhere.
Until I dove into the special features, I never knew Firefly existed beyond the off-handed Family Guy joke about all of the shows that FOX had cancelled.
Those few bonus features opened up a whole new world!
Not long after I found the series on DVD, quickly I watched it and the movie in order.

Recently, I rewatched all fourteen episodes and the movie again and I feel basically the same as I felt over a decade ago, the same as the Browncoats that have been there since the premiere back in 2002.
This was, and continues to be, a wonderfully original series in style, tone, and use of language that was cut down well before it ever got a chance to hit its heights.
But what we were left with still set a damn high bar that most shows still don’t get near.
Pretty much the entire cast has gone on to great success in other shows, some on FOX.

And the quality and cast aren’t the only lasting pieces of this show’s legacy, because this little red headed stepchild of a franchise has rippled through even the heaviest of heavy hitters.
For example, I don’t think a single person can look at Solo and The Mandalorian (both of which I completely and utterly love) and seriously say that Firefly didn’t influence them.
Solo even has the space train robbery for christsake!

Now, in the age of the ever vocal internet, fans have been outspoken enough to warrant multiple comic series and 4 novels, so far.
In Serenity, Mr. Universe said what has become a sort of rallying cry for Browncoats everywhere “You Can’t Stop The Signal”, and that is more than fitting.
But after rewatching the entire show, another quote feels even more appropriate “When ya can’t run no more, ya crawl.
And when ya can’t do that, ya find somebody to carry you.”
We may never get any more filmed content from this franchise, but I’m glad the legacy will be carried on through comics and novels.

Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.

The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week #85

The eighty fifth edition of TNBQotW is upon us, but what could the topic possibly be this week?
Let’s dive in to it and find out together, shall we?

This week, we’re heading again to that most wonderful place known as out side space!
And we want to know: What Is Your Favorite Space/Star Ship In All Of Fiction And Why?

Leave your answer down in the comments below or tweet it to us over on the Twitter time @NerdBlitzPod or by using the hashtag #TNBQotW

A special thank you goes out to the good sir @SteBoost for creating our eye catchingly sexified QotW logo.

The Nerd Blitz Question Of The Week #80

The eightieth week of questioning is upon us, and that continuing conversation of Nerd-Dom rolls ever forward and onward, gang.
So let’s get down to it again!

This week we are beaming down to double ask (without spoilers please): What Did You Think Of The Star Trek: Picard Pilot?
And How Excited Are You For The Rest Of The Season?

Leave your answer down in the comments below or tweet it over to us on the Twitter @NerdBlitzPod or by using the hashtag #TNBQotW

Special thanks goes out to the good sir @SteBoost for creating our eye catchingly sexified QotW logo.