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Star Wars - the new canon


Darren
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My mate has lent me Darth Plagueis and Tarkin.

 

Just seen this thread so thought I'd ask - any good?  Not sure what others he's got but which would you recommend?  Not fussed about graphic novels, just the books.  Never read any Star Wars novels before.

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Don't know about Darth Plagueis, but Tarkin's pretty good.

 

My top recommendations are Lost Stars and Battlefield: Twilight Company. I'm about a quarter of the way through Bloodline which is by the author of Lost Stars and so far is of the same high standard.

 

Under no circumstances read Heir to the Jedi!

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Yes that's right, it's no longer canon, but what seems to be happening with those "legends" as they're now called is that they're using them as source material for the new canon, a bit like the Marvel films draw on the comics but deviate from them. So it's probably still worth reading as it might still end up being relevant.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 19/02/2017 at 18:10, Cutter said:

Does anyone have a list of the new canon trade paperbacks of the collected comic series?

I think these are all the ones published so far:

 

Obi-Wan & Anakin

Kanan Vol 1

Kanan Vol 2

Princess Leia

Chewbacca

Star Wars Vol 1

Darth Vader Vol 1

Star Wars Vol 2

Darth Vader Vol 2

Vader Down

Star Wars Vol 3

Darth Vader Vol 3

Darth Vader Vol 4

Star Wars Vol 4

Lando

Han Solo

Shattered Empire

Poe Dameron Vol 1

 

That list is in "story" order rather than publication order. If you haven't read any yet, start with Star Wars vol 1 and Darth Vader vol 1.

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765286b43c7635d00e57b42c3b7d8eae.jpg

 

You know how I'm always going on in this thread about Lost Stars, and how brilliant it is and how everyone should read it? Well, guess what! Now there's another brilliant Star Wars book to add to the must-read list, and how about that, it's by the Lost Stars author.

 

Whereas Lost Stars told the decades-spanning story of a pair of ordinary people caught up in the rise and fall of the Empire, in Bloodline Claudia Gray focuses on one specific, well-loved main character at a specific, and it turns out, pivotal point in time. Apart from anything else, this book captures Leia perfectly - everything she does fits the character we know, and everything she says fits Carrie Fisher's delivery. And as the story takes place several years before The Force Awakens, this Leia is partway between the young princess of the Rebellion and the older, wiser general of the Resistance. One or two other big Star Wars names pop up here and there, but this is Leia's story, and it tells us a lot about her journey from freedom fighter to senator and back again. Of course there's a great cast of new supporting characters, and again Claudia Gray makes them all interesting and unique, and just like with Lost Stars I find myself hoping for more stories telling us more about them.

 

All of that would be enough to recommend this book, but for me as a lover of Star Wars lore this might be the best new canon novel yet. The story takes place at a previously unexplored period in "history", long after the fall of the Empire and in a time of peace before the rise of the First Order. Leia and Han are still together, Ben is still training with Luke and the New Republic is still maintaining galactic peace and stability. It all seems perfect, but as ever there are those who would tip the balance in their favour, by fair means or foul. And in those tensions, and the events that proceed from them, are the foundations of the galaxy we see in The Force Awakens. It's all masterfully done.

 

If I were Disney I'd be putting Claudia Gray on a very generous retainer at this point. She totally gets Star Wars, and she writes a cracking Star Wars story. She's two for two now, and I can't wait to read her next one. There has got to be a next one, right?

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star_wars_vol_4-427x600.jpg

 

This is all over the place! It can't decide whether to be moody and menacing, or just plain silly, so it veers between the two. And it spends ages setting up a dangerous mercy mission which is then over almost as soon as it's begun. But still I enjoyed it. The new elite stormtrooper squad are excellent, and for all the silliness the developing relationship between Han and Leia is handled very well. And I like the slightly stylised, more cartoony look of the characters, which suits the more light-hearted tone of this volume very well. I said before Marvel have become consistently inconsistent, and here they manage that within a single book, but overall it's more hit than miss. I mean, how can you not love these guys:

 

star-wars-21-1-395x600.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Firstly, apologies - I know this thread is for new canon and this isn't new canon, but I didn't know where else to put this, but I've finished Darth Plagueis so thought I'd share my thoughts on it.

 

Overall - a cracking read, mainly to see Palpatine's character fleshed out a bit, but it's the first time I've read a Star Wars novel, so seeing a storyline that isn't just "Jedi = good, Sith = bad" was really refreshing.  I thought Plagueis was a fascinating character - I enjoyed the political intrigue and corruption and it was nice to read about midi chlorians and not think "FFS - jog on - this isn't the bloody bible."  Turns out you just need a decent writer with some decent ideas.

 

It's not perfect though.  My main issue with the book was

 

Spoiler

I felt that by the end, he was trying to shoehorn in too many references from The Phantom Menace when fewer subtle hints would have sufficed.  There are some points which needed more explanation which worked well, but I found some of the later chapters were a bit overloaded with TPM references which spoiled the rhythm somewhat.

 

The scale of deceit that Plagueis and Sidious unleash was really well done, and I loved the way it build up over several decades alongside the relationship between master and apprentice.

 

I'd give it 8 out of 10 overall - I think that I picked a good choice for my first Star Wars book!  I've got some new canon ones to get stuck into now which will be more on topic for this thread.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finished Aftermath (Part 1).

 

I thought @Darren's review was pretty much spot on.  It's a very odd book - I really didn't like the writing style, the constant 'Star Wars Galaxy Similies' or the 21st century slang thrown in on pretty much every page.  And if I'm honest, most of the main characters are really not particularly likeable (Norra, Temmin being the two worst culprits).  Jas is pretty cool though.  Who doesnt love a Zabrak?  The Imperials are all very, very two dimensional characters and even by the end I wasn't sure who was who during passages of conversation.  

 

I'd also agree that it starts off waaaaay too slowly.  But even after it gets going, I wasn't that enthralled with what was happening.

 

I've got Part 2 which I've just started because I want to carry on and finish the series, but this is a sluggish start and I can understand why the reviews weren't exactly sparkling.  It's not a patch on the excellent Darth Plagueis.  Who I would have quite liked to see make an appearance and butcher the vast majority of the present cast.

 

TL;DR: meh.  It's alright, but ultimately a bit of a slog to get through.  

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Can OP update list of canon-books maybe?

 

I haven't read any canon books, hell I've just started reading "Heir to the Empire" - now that EU is getting binned ive started paying interest in it.

 

However, I would like to read some canon books - so far Lost Stars is first on the list? What's the best ones out there? I actually prefer the prequel-characters so if theres anything about Anakin/Obi-Wan or whatever I'd like to read it. Is Ahsoka any good? I shipped her and Anakin in TCW, don't like her now cause she left lil Annie.

 

Aftermath interests me, but I hear its poorly written?

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57 minutes ago, buizel said:

Can OP update list of canon-books maybe?

 

I haven't read any canon books, hell I've just started reading "Heir to the Empire" - now that EU is getting binned ive started paying interest in it.

 

However, I would like to read some canon books - so far Lost Stars is first on the list? What's the best ones out there? I actually prefer the prequel-characters so if theres anything about Anakin/Obi-Wan or whatever I'd like to read it. Is Ahsoka any good? I shipped her and Anakin in TCW, don't like her now cause she left lil Annie.

 

Aftermath interests me, but I hear its poorly written?

 

Good idea! I've just added the paperback novels and TPB comics published so far. Remind me again this time next year :)

 

My recommendations from all the ones I've read so far are Lost Stars, Bloodline and Battlefront: Twilight Company. Worst by far, and one you should not read under any circumstances, unless you want to punish yourself for some unspeakable crime, is Heir to the Jedi.

 

I've been building up a bit of a pile of shame lately, but I'll hopefully get through one or two when I go on holiday soon.

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45 minutes ago, Darren said:

 

Good idea! I've just added the paperback novels and TPB comics published so far. Remind me again this time next year :)

 

My recommendations from all the ones I've read so far are Lost Stars, Bloodline and Battlefront: Twilight Company. Worst by far, and one you should not read under any circumstances, unless you want to punish yourself for some unspeakable crime, is Heir to the Jedi.

 

I've been building up a bit of a pile of shame lately, but I'll hopefully get through one or two when I go on holiday soon.

 

Battlefront doesnt interest me, the less 'Wars' part I enjoy more, that book looks too much like a war-book that might not interest me. Bloodline might since everyone loves the author of Lost Stars. Plageius isn't canon anymore is it? Is it good tho?

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54 minutes ago, buizel said:

 

Battlefront doesnt interest me, the less 'Wars' part I enjoy more, that book looks too much like a war-book that might not interest me. Bloodline might since everyone loves the author of Lost Stars. Plageius isn't canon anymore is it? Is it good tho?

 

Plagueis isn't canon, no - but it's a really good book.  Definitely recommend it.  I reviewed it a few posts back.

 

Really want to read Lost Stars - I've just started the 2nd part of Aftermath and I already have Tarkin waiting on my Kindle but I'll definitely find Lost Stars when I go on holiday in June.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

So - Aftermath: Life Debt.

More of the same or a vast improvement?

Easy - a vast improvement over the lacklustre Aftermath. This is SO much better and rights many wrongs from the original.

Moans out of the way first - it's still written in the present tense and those forced Star Wars similies - whilst not as frequent - still make too many appearances. And I thought there were too many romances, or hints of them, shoe horned in.

But it's a much better story. Very well paced, full of action and gets going pretty much immediately. It feels more like Star Wars.

The characters whom I lambasted for being boring and two dimensional are filled out and all the newly introduced crew from the original book appear to have a better direction, more of a purpose and I found them all much more likeable. Maybe it helps that Life Debt features some well known characters in prominent roles who mix with the 'newbies', but they work well after a disappointing introduction.

Plenty of intrigue on the side of the Empire too - there's still a lot of story to be told but we know the First Order is going to rise from the ashes of the Empire, and I've already made some guesses to the connections to characters from The Force Awakens. Time will tell if I'm right in my predictions, and I'm sure I'll have a better idea once I've completed Empire's End, the final instalment of this trilogy.

And whereas I wasn't really looking forward to reading Life Debt as I wasn't bowled over by the original Aftermath novel, I'll be starting part 3 immediately as I really want to see what happens next with Norra, Jas, Sinjir and Co.

8/10

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Ha - thank you!! I hope you find the last 100 pages as exciting as I did.

So many questions going through my mind at the moment, forming various theories in my mind. Which I just bet aren't resolved by the end of Empire's End!!

I found it hard to review that without spoilers.

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book-aftermath-2.jpg?mode=fit&width=396

 

What @Boothjan said ;)

 

The only thing I'd add is a pair of comments on the interconnectedness and coherence of the new canon.

 

The good: it was nice to see a couple of minor characters from other books/comics appear as minor characters in this, and both in ways that made perfect sense rather than falling into the "small universe" trap of the Films We No Longer Talk About. When Leia needed a trustworthy pilot, for example, it was natural for her to seek out one who'd already won her trust, as Evaan did in the Princess Leia comic mini-series. There was no overt reference to that story, but for those of us who have read it, it was a nice touch.

 

The not so good: this seems to be laying the foundations for Leia to split from the New Republic and create the Resistance in the next book, but unfortunately that's already been covered in Bloodline, set 23 years later! Leia still has a couple of decades of juggling being a senator and a mother before going back to fighting baddies full time. I'm sure the story group have it all under control but at the end of book two it feels like that's where this trilogy is heading. I'll wait until part three before passing judgement though! (And I can wait for the paperback, as I've still got the rest of my pile of shame to get through before then.)

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Thrawn-2-BN.jpg

 

The long awaited canonisation of everyone's favourite Legends baddie is finally here & with the character's creator at the helm too. Can it possibly live up to the hype? Well, no, in short but it's still a decent read.

 

Expanding on the backstory first detailed in The Heir to the Empire trilogy - a exiled Chiss military commander is discovered by the Empire and rises through the ranks against impossible odds - Thrawn reads like Sherlock Holmes in the Star Wars universe, the book even giving him a Watson to bounce off.

 

What's good: the relationship between Thrawn and his aide, Eli Vanto is very well done. Reluctant at first to be saddled with an Alien officer in the notoriously xenophobic Imperial Academy, Vanto eventually comes to be a loyal partner to Thrawn and under his guidance, a gifted tactician in his own right. Also, to say this is Thrawn's book alone is false; it's as much the story of Governor Amanda Pryce as it is him - a character which I understand comes from Rebels. (I haven't seen it so that was all lost on me until I read some reviews afterward.)
 

 

What's not so good: the books sets up an adversary, an enigmatic character who may or may not be connected to the fledgling Rebel Alliance that Thrawn  - and seemingly only Thrawn - spots as the guiding hand behind a number of encounters. That's fine in theory but it ends up that Thrawn's rise through the ranks is almost solely down to his actions against this mysterious individual. Don't get me wrong, Zahn does plenty to show that Thrawn is more than capable and is almost always several steps ahead of his opponents but to have his entire career - including his dealing with The Emperor - boil down to a fued with this unknown character felt off to me.

 

What didn't ring true was the way Zahn has Thrawn incapable of dealing with Imperial politics. I know this is basically done as in the Legends novels the reason given for Thrawn's banishment to the Unknown Regions - and therefore missing the Battle of Endor - was supposedly down to some sort of political battle that he lost at the Palace (later revealed to be ruse, of course.) but it's REALLY clumsy here. Thrawn comes across as almost dense in some ways when asking why the Empire is promoting one guy over another etc. It really doesn't fit with the character from the Legends books.


Also, while the Thrawn from Legends did try and minimise casualties and win battles with the least amount of destruction, there was no doubt that he was a Bad Guy; having crew members executed on the bridge, keeping the Noghri in servitude, destroying a species because he couldn't understand their art. This Thrawn is a much more noble figure and I had trouble believing he would do any of the above.

 

Having said all that, I did enjoy the book, very much so. How it stacks up against the others you have all been reading I don't know but I was pleased to spend a few hrs in it's company. 

 

EDIT: Forgot to mention the bit that did my head in most! He has pupils! WAT.
In all my reads of the HttE trilogy his eyes were always described as "glowing"; I'd always imagined solid, red, glowing eyes; no pupils. Seeing that cover just makes me raging.

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Today's Kindle Daily Deal has the Force Awakens, Rogue One and original Star Wars novelisations for 99p. Thought this was probably the best thread to mention it (although probably also the one where everybody is most likely to already have then all!).

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empiresendcover.jpg

 

So - I've finished the trilogy.  A series that started slower than a scene featuring Shmi Skywalker but quickly gained pace and ended up being a decent, entertaining story that wasn't difficult to get through.

 

I don't think Empire's End reaches the heights of Life Debt, but it's still decent enough and far better than the first installment.  It's hard to write too much without spoilers but character arcs are on the whole nicely rounded off.  It's well paced, action packed and dramatic at times.

 

But I think where I'm a bit disappointed is that I was expecting this trilogy to bridge the gap between episodes VI and VII.  It only does half the job here.  Whereas it tells us how the Empire was finally defeated (hence the title), it doesn't really set up too much about the First Order.  There are a few hints, but Wendig is a bit of a shit by teasing certain aspects, then removing those hints rather abruptly.  As a result, I have to merely speculate about certain characters in TFA whereas by the end of Life Debt, I felt all big and clever as I thought I had it worked out!  Damn you, Chuck.  Damn you!  I guess I'll have to wait for The Last Jedi and Episode 9 for the REAL answers.

 

But maybe I'm being unfair and expecting too much - as a story about the end of the Empire, this ticks most of the boxes.  It's epic in scale, we have original characters and returning characters integrated well into the plot, although Life Debt had more familiar, original trilogy characters; this one is primarily about the characters introduced in this trilogy.  Not a criticism because after the slow start, I've really grown to like this group and really hope to hear more of them in future novels.

 

The Aftermath Trilogy is - overall - a pretty good addition to the Star Wars canon.  My advice to anyone thinking of giving it a go is to stick with it.  Part 1 is very slow and tough to get through but if you do, parts 2 and 3 reward your perseverance.  

 

I'm taking a break from Star Wars books for a few weeks whilst I get through some books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months (including Peter Davison's autobiography - I do love a bit of geekery) but I have Tarkin, Bloodlines and Lost Stars waiting for me when I return to that galaxy far, far away.  The Aftermath Trilogy has more than whetted my appetite for it!

 

7/10

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