Star Wars

Leia: The Princess of Alderaan


Leia: The Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY….THERE WAS A PRINCESS WHO BECAME A LEGEND.

Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia Organa faces the most challenging task of her life so far: proving herself in the areas of body, mind, and heart to be formally named heir to the thrown of Alderaan. She’s taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control. But Leia has worries beyond her claim to the crown. Her parents, Breha and Bail, aren’t acting like themselves lately; they are distant and preoccupied, seemingly more concerned with throwing dinner parties for their allies in the Senate than they are with their own daughter. Determined to uncover her parents’ secrets, Leia starts down an increasingly dangerous path that puts her right under the watchful eye of the Empire. And when Leia discovers what her parents and their allies are planning behind closed doors, she finds herself facing what seems like an impossible choice; dedicate herself to the people of Alderaan–including the make she loves–or the galaxy at large, which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.

Review:

Leia is a tragic character. Her entire world and family are destroyed by the Empire. She’s also an amazing character because despite all that she keeps fighting. Her son turns evil, she keeps fighting. Her husband is murdered by her son, she keeps fighting. One of her oldest and best friends sacrifices herself so that the resistance can live on, and I’m going to assume she keeps fighting. At this point it’s like Leia is the favorite whipping boy of every Star Wars writer. It’s depressing.

So let’s dive back into the backstory of this tragic character. Surely, we’ll find something happy and not horrible. Right?

Well, the book starts with Leia depressed because her parents have started blocking her out of things. They are no longer the tight family unit she’s grown up as. Being part Lois Lane she discovers through snooping that her parents are part of a rebellion that is just starting out. They resist letting her join, even though they all know it’s actually worse for her if she doesn’t. The Empire will still kill her if they find out.

While trying to convince them she can help she takes part in the Junior Legislature and comes to the realization that the Senate has even less power than she thought. That the Emperor and his lackeys have set up pretty much everything to go the way they want and even when she thinks she’s succeeding, she isn’t.

During this time she meets her fellow Alderannean (?) Kier who she ends up falling in love with. She thinks she can trust him and that they are on the same page. Kier is good, but he values Alderaan’s safety over the safety of the rest of the universe. I imagine his ghost was screaming ‘Fuck You Leia’ when Alderaan blew up. Because that’s right, Leia’s first love, the boy she gave her virginity to, was freaking killed.

I am not a fan of prequels, knowing what’s ultimately going to happen takes all the joy out of it for me, but I read this because one of the hosts of the Strong Female Characters Podcast repeatably mentioned that it was an amazing book and that it was revealed that Holdo was poly. I was excited about that, so I persevered. I kept waiting for Holdo to be in a relationship or something to clue us in, until finally I came to one little line. Leia says she’s going to stick to humanoid males and Holdo says how limiting. That was it. Seriously. I was disappointed and had hoped for so much more.

I didn’t need a sex scene, I just wanted a relationship or something more than a throwaway line that could have been easily missed. Sure we learned more about Holdo, and that was nice, but she came off as a Sci-Fi Luna Lovegood. There wasn’t much there. Occasionally, we got some insights into her character, but Leia for the most part thought she was flighty and weird. By the end of the book she was a bit more fleshed out, but I would have liked more. Like maybe a book about her life instead of a princess we already know a lot about.

The last line basically took a baseball bat and beat you upside the head with dramatic irony. Leia thinks, she’s got her family, friends, and planet. At least the Empire can’t take that away from her. It was massively eye roll inducing.

Claudia Gray is a great author, and this was very well written, but much like Solo I don’t think this book needed to be made. It took a character with a tragic story and doubled down hard. We got some glimpses into what it was like to live on Alderaan, which made the loss even worse, but honestly that was about it for me.

3/5

Advertisements

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017)

Director:

Rian Johnson

Starring:

Daisy Ridley

John Boyega

Mark Hamill

Adam Driver

Oscar Isaac

Carrie Fisher

Domhnall Gleeson

Gwendoline Christie

Kelly Marie Tran

Laura Dern

Benicio Del Toro

Plot:

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares for battle with the First Order.

Review:

First off ***SPOILERS*** I could try and write the review without them, but I don’t feel like being vague and want to explain why I liked and didn’t like some parts of The Last Jedi.

I’ve had the opportunity to see the film once as well as read most of the visual dictionary. Something that’s become increasingly more necessary with each Star Wars movie is reading those dictionaries. There is a lot glossed over in the films or not even addressed period. Like the New Republic, how did they go from being in control of the galaxy and then destroyed so easily? Well it’s briefly explained in the dictionary, it’s not a very satisfying explanation and really points out how deficient they were as a government, but at least there’s something there unlike in the movie where nothing is mentioned.

I was not a fan of The Last Jedi. I liked Rey’s story, I loved her fight with Kylo and the Praetorian Guards, her interactions with Luke were fine, but he was very much angry man shouts at cloud. I think I’m actually fine with Luke in this film and I certainly don’t mind the way he went out. It was actually pretty cool and it was at least foreshadowed at the beginning of the movie. I’m curious to see if he’ll return as a force ghost and I assume we’ll find out if force ghosts can bug non-lightside users of the force.

Poe was a massive disappointment. He started off kicking butt and then went too far. He was stupid, he deserved his demotion, and then he didn’t learn. He had to be taught the same damn lesson all over again. It was frustrating. Leia trusted Vice Admiral Holdo, he trusted Leia, he should have trusted her. He’s a nobody, demoted for being an idiot, why should she tell him what her plan was?

Then we’ve got Finn who’s story was a complete waste. Sure we got to see a new side of the galaxy which was nice, but it didn’t matter story wise. They went there, got caught, got sold out by Benicio Del Toro who’s character seemed like a throw away, and just ended up getting more people killed because the entire fucking plan was stupid. This is the future of the Rebellion. If they were up against Darth Vader and the Emperor they’d be screwed, thank goodness it’s Kylo Ren the dumbest dark side villain.

Kylo is again not fear inducing in the slightest. I was a bit surprised that he killed Snoke, but when I thought more about it, it made sense. Kylo is like a teenage boy, he thinks he knows everything, hates that people don’t respect him, and decides to prove that he can do better. He also just happens to be super powerful with the force which means he’s worse than your normal teenage boy.

My least favorite scene might have been the beginning where Poe is stringing Hux along to buy more time. It made Hux out to be so freaking stupid, made it so that I will never fear him ever, and was just too silly. There were so many silly elements in this movie, too many little one liners.

Favorite scene was easily when Rey and Kylo were working together to kill the Praetorian Guards. So awesome, loved their weapons, especially the whip. It was so cool to watch, it actually had me kind of hoping that they’d surprise me further and make Rey turn bad, but she didn’t, so oh well.

I wasn’t a fan of the Carrie Fisher superman scene, however, because of the actress and her death I’ve decided to give it a pass. We got to see her use the force, even though it kind of looked silly.

There were no more Finn and Poe love connection scenes which was a bummer and I really hated that Rose kissed Finn. Why couldn’t they have a friendship going? Why did she have to try and make it romantic? Doesn’t she realize Finn is already conflicted with Rey and Poe? I mean, clearly Poe is the superior match even with how stupid he acted in the movie.

My hope is that there is a significant time jump between Episode Eight and Nine. It will give this C tier Rebellion time to become A tier, though, there’s nothing that will make me fear Kylo so that’s just a lost cause. At least there’s no way Captain Phasma is dead, I refuse to believe she went out like that, she will be back.

3/5

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars- The Force Awakens) By: Claudia Gray

lost-stars

Lost Stars (Journey to Star Wars- The Force Awakens) By: Claudia Gray

Plot:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Eight years after the fall of the Old Republic, the Galactic Empire now reigns over the known galaxy. Resistance to the Empire has been all but silenced. Only a few courageous leaders such as Bail Organa of Alderaan still dare to openly oppose Emperor Palpatine.

After years of defiance, the many worlds at the edge of the Outer Rim have surrendered. With each planet’s conquest, the Empire’s might grows stronger.

The latest to fall under the Emperor’s control is the isolated mountain planet Jelucan, whose citizens hope for a more prosperous future even as the Imperial Starfleet gathers overhead…

Review:

Wow was not expecting this when I picked up a young adult Star Wars novel. I’d heard good things, but I still didn’t expect to have a book that so capably portrayed both sides of a conflict. Gray showed how two people raised on the same planet with different ideals could look at the same things and come to different conclusions. It didn’t make one better than the other either. Yes one ended up on the “right” side, but you could see clearly why the other was still on the “wrong” it was very well written.

From the start I suspected that the ending would be sad and when I got to the halfway point I thought it was pretty much guaranteed but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I wish there’d been a bit more, but the ending was touching.

Very happy with this book and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s a Star Wars fan, no matter what the age.

5/5

The Force Awakens (Star Wars Novelizations #7) By: Alan Dean Foster

the-force-awakens-star-wars

The Force Awakens (Star Wars Novelizations #7) By: Alan Dean Foster

Plot:

Set years after Return of the Jedi, this stunning action-packed adventure rockets us back into the world of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2,and Luke Skywalker, while introducing a host of exciting new characters, including Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Kylo Ren.
Darth Vader may have been redeemed and the Emperor vanquished, but peace can be fleeting, and evil does not easily relent. Yet the simple belief in good can still empower ordinary individuals to rise and meet the greatest challenges.
So return to that galaxy far, far away, and prepare yourself for what happens when the Force awakens…

Review:

I’ve had this for a while but for whatever reason never got around to reading it. After watching Rogue One I’ve been filled with an extreme desire for anything Star Wars so I finally picked this up.

First off it was a lot easier to read than Life Debt, it did jump around from character point of views a few times without a clear indicator, but it wasn’t in first person so I fell into it a lot faster. There were several scenes that I thought were better than the movie, though a few the movie did better as well.

I really enjoyed seeing inside the characters heads and I got a better sense of their character and motivations than just from watching the movie. I really like Rey better than before after reading this. Some of the info about Finn contradicted what was already told in Before the Awakening. He wasn’t as adept at weapons as he came off in that book. I got to see more about Ren as well, though I still don’t think he’s a very scary villain, especially after that scene with Vader in Rogue One.

I thought the novelization was a good read, definitely if you liked the movie, but I’m concerned if what I learned will transfer forward. That doesn’t appear to always be the case, but Disney could want things to be more cohesive so we’ll see.

4/5

2016 Favorites

Movies

Wow, so I did not see many new movies this year. I re-watched a lot of old stuff and caught up on some 2015 stuff. Overall, though, apart from the re-watches of favorites, I didn’t like many movies this year.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens– I liked the new characters a lot, but was disappointed by the story so I’m not sure if I would call it a favorite. It was nice to see a new Star Wars, though.

Deadpool– I didn’t write a blog for this movie, at least I don’t think I did. I went through a period there where sitting in front of a computer screen made me physically ill so there were a few movies and books I missed. Joys of pregnancy. Anyway, I really liked Deadpool and was lucky enough to pick it up Black Friday and re-watch. So I guess that’s a favorite for this year.

The Big Short– Really liked this movie, even though it made me mad. Enough that I read the book, then read more by the author, and then purchased the movie even though it was on Netflix at the time.

Star Wars: Rogue OneThis might be my favorite movie of the year, I need to watch it a few more times to decide exactly how much I loved it though.

Books

Book wise I also did a lot of re-reading but I was lucky enough to read several books I loved that were new to me.

Lois Lane: Double Down– This series has become such a surprise favorite of mine. Once again I gave this book as a Christmas present and I’m excited for the next to come out. I rarely find a YA book that isn’t filled with whinny emotional stupid teens and this really fills that void for me.

Carry On– Rainbow Rowell is now a must buy author for me. I’ve loved every book she’s written even though none of them are in a series or like the books I normally read. Her characters are awesome and this book was just perfect.

Stars of Fortune– I was really surprised by this Nora Roberts book. It was like reading an old favorite of hers but for the first time with no knowledge of what was going to happen.

Fire Touched Magic Binds & One Fell Sweep– It wouldn’t be a list of mine without Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews on it. I’m so happy with the speed that Ilona Andrews is able to write at and wish that Patricia Briggs would pick up the pace. I read One Fell Sweep as it was posted on their blog and don’t have a review written, however I did buy the book and plan on re-reading it so I’ll post a review then.

The Last Dragonslayer– Loved finding this Jasper Ffrode series, wish it didn’t seem to end with a cliffhanger, but the first book is awesome.

TV

I didn’t have much patience with TV the second half of the year. These things happen when your hormones are in overdrive though. There were still a few shows that I really enjoyed.

Agent Carter– It still makes me sad that this was canceled. Peggy Carter is such an awesome character and a wonderful role model for women/girls everywhere.

Fuller House– Sometimes you need a junk food show. Something that is fun and doesn’t make you think at all. First episode of the first season was bad, but they eventually found their feet and the second season was really good.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones– Jessica Jones is not a character to look up to, but I thought the show was great. She’d been through a lot and still kept fighting. Hope things get better for her, but if Daredevil is any indication of what happens with a second Marvel season on Netflix probably not.

Marvel’s Luke Cage– This is my favorite Marvel show on Netflix. It was so good. Loved pretty much everything about it.

The Librarians– I wish there were more shows like this out there. It’s like Eureka and Warehouse 13, it’s fun and light and I know that things are going to work out. I really just love it and I’m so glad that it keeps getting renewed, I dread the day it doesn’t.

Dark Matter– This was such an awesome find for me. I miss SciFi that isn’t about the world ending or after the world has basically ended or just a constant sink hole of depression. Dark Matter isn’t light by any means, but it doesn’t fill me with a sense of dread.

Video Games

Stardew Valley– I spent so many hours playing this it’s kind of crazy. I love Harvest Moon and Rune Factory games and this was a perfect version of both with a little bit of Animal Crossing thrown in. It’s like this game was made for me and I loved it. It just came out on PS4 and XB1 in case anyone doesn’t want to purchase it on Steam. There’s also a freakin adorable guide available.