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Star Wars - the new canon


Darren
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Lost Stars spans a long time, starting about 7 or 8 years after Revenge of the Sith/the creation of the Empire, and ending a year or so after Return of the Jedi. It doesn't do anything at all to lead up to The Force Awakens, whereas Bloodlines definitely does, mainly on the Republic/Resistance side but also with some hints about what the other lot are up to. Bloodlines is about 20 years after Jedi, 10 before TFA.

 

But definitely read both, they're both great.

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Gotcha - Empire's End finishes with (not much of a spoiler for you as you've read Life Debt)

 

Spoiler

the birth of Ben Solo

 

so that'll give you a fair indication of timescales compared to Bloodlines.  That'll be next then!

 

Aside from that, I saw they're releasing Captain Phasma's backstory in September.  That should be interesting.

 

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Almost done with Thrawn and I'm really enjoying it, the only thing that grates is why didn't they just name Eli Gilad instead, would have made sense, maybe it'll make sense towards the end. 

 

Edit: Just finished Thrawn and I really enjoyed it, nice to be reading about him again. The only problems I had with it really were, Thrawn is very much a good guy and not a baddie in anyway but I suppose it's his sense of duty and honour that keep him on the side of the empire, no Gilad Pellaeon and it ends very suddenly. I wonder if Zhan will do a follow up book because besides Thrawn, his aide Eli really stands out and i want to see were his story goes.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

9781405277877-us.jpg

 

I've just read this and I continue to be impressed by the quality of the "young adult" novels in the new canon. This is aimed at a slightly younger target age than something like Lost Stars, but that's simply down to the relatively simple vocabulary used and lack of any overtly "adult scenes" (although there is an inter-species cuddle). As a story it's a great, short, action-packed romp which along the way asks some pretty deep questions.

 

It's set just before Return of the Jedi, so while Luke is planning how to rescue Han, Leia and the rest of the rebel leaders receive the infamous message from the Bothans and draw up their plans to destroy the new Death Star before it becomes operational. Leia is sent on a decoy mission to draw the Empire's attention to the opposite end of the galaxy while the rebel armada assembles for the assault. So Leia wrestles with the morality of deceiving her own crew about the true nature of the mission, and putting innocent lives at risk in the systems she drags her Imperial pursuers to. It's all very well done, unexpectedly so for what is ultimately a kids' book.

 

I've got the other two books in the "set" on my pile of shame (Smuggler's Run and Weapon of a Jedi) but they'll have to wait, because up next I've got three - yes three! - Rogue One prequel novels to plough through: Catalyst (Galen & Krennic), Rebel Rising (Jyn & Saw), and Guardians of the Whills (Chirrut & Baze). Oh and there's a one-off Cassian & K-2SO comic coming out too...

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On 5/28/2017 at 08:00, Matt Defis said:

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/X-Wing_(novels)

 

They're pretty good from what I remember. 

 

They are. The first 4 are about Rogue Squadron, the next 3 about Wraith Squadron. 

 

(8 is a few years later follow up to Rogue stuff, and 9 is even later an a "round off" to Wedge's story...avoid 10 it's too ingrained in ongoing narrative 20 years later)

 

The first 7 are strongest IMO. Just be prepared in book 5 that pretty much all the characters you've come to know will bugger off and you get (mostly) new people to play with. I wasn't prepared when I first read it and was quite irked :)

 

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7 hours ago, Darren said:

9781405277877-us.jpg

 

I've just read this and I continue to be impressed by the quality of the "young adult" novels in the new canon. This is aimed at a slightly younger target age than something like Lost Stars, but that's simply down to the relatively simple vocabulary used and lack of any overtly "adult scenes" (although there is an inter-species cuddle). As a story it's a great, short, action-packed romp which along the way asks some pretty deep questions.

 

It's set just before Return of the Jedi, so while Luke is planning how to rescue Han, Leia and the rest of the rebel leaders receive the infamous message from the Bothans and draw up their plans to destroy the new Death Star before it becomes operational. Leia is sent on a decoy mission to draw the Empire's attention to the opposite end of the galaxy while the rebel armada assembles for the assault. So Leia wrestles with the morality of deceiving her own crew about the true nature of the mission, and putting innocent lives at risk in the systems she drags her Imperial pursuers to. It's all very well done, unexpectedly so for what is ultimately a kids' book.

 

I've got the other two books in the "set" on my pile of shame (Smuggler's Run and Weapon of a Jedi) but they'll have to wait, because up next I've got three - yes three! - Rogue One prequel novels to plough through: Catalyst (Galen & Krennic), Rebel Rising (Jyn & Saw), and Guardians of the Whills (Chirrut & Baze). Oh and there's a one-off Cassian & K-2SO comic coming out too...

The Rogue One prequal about Galen and Krennic could be interesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Tarkin:

 

I found this a bit odd TBH.  I have always loved the character which is why I wanted to read this, and the best aspect of this book is why and how he's such a tough bastard.  His upbringing is interesting, his ruthlessness and determination have been developed in a really satisfying way.  I have always wondered why he seemed to be on a level pegging with Vader so I was more than happy to see the relationship between Tarkin and Vader grow throughout this book.  Vader grows to respect Tarkin, the Emperor trusts him implicitly and I don't think that's far fetched when you understand a bit more about where Tarkin came from and what he's had to do to reach the status of Moff.  There's an excellent contrast between Vader and Tarkin - the latter is a very complicated individual, a world away from the robotic no nonsense character of Vader.  But the scenes between them work well.

 

However - the backstory is done in flashbacks.  The current situation that involves Tarkin, Vader and the Emperor is silly and uninteresting.  The supporting characters who they're trying to pursue are pretty forgettable and I spent most of the time wanting more flashback sections, or some more dialogue between the three Imperial badasses.  

 

As a result, I didn't find it particularly well paced and it's nowhere near as good as the last James Luceno book I read - Darth Plagueis.  

 

It's an interesting backstory set around a dull current event that doesn't really add much to the character.  Worth a read if you find Tarkin as interesting as I do because it's always good to have an idea of where these people come from - but too much of this plods along at a frustrating pace.

 

6/10

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I agree with all of that - the "current" storyline is nowhere near as interesting as the flashbacks.

 

What did you think of the bit at the end that I thought was out of character?

 

Showing mercy to his defeated enemy

 

On 05/05/2016 at 12:52, Darren said:

The only thing I didn't like about this story is that Tarkin makes a choice at the end of the book that seems out of character, particularly when that character has been so meticulously developed. But perhaps I just missed something - someone else read it and let me know!

 

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Spoiler

TBH I just thought that was to form a parallel between modern day Tarkin and the Tarkin who experienced the trial on The Spike.  He had to learn to adapt to being 'hunted' and having someone/something after him made him all the more determined and strong to overcome it.  Being hunted is what made Tarkin the man he is - with the prospect of Teller escaping and exacting revenge, it keeps him on his toes.

 

That's my take on it anyway - I would agree that it might seem out of character if interpreted differently.  I quite liked that bit though.

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  • 4 weeks later...

51MC3VIGAnL.jpg

 

The fact that it's taken me about six weeks to read a 400 page novel probably gives the game away before I tell you what I think of it. But I should point out that I read the last 100 pages since yesterday. Catalyst is mostly very slow, very dry, and after a promising start, for most of its length fairly dull. But it all clicks about two-thirds of the way in and then it's an enjoyable read right through to its moving conclusion, which of course sets up the events of Rogue One.

 

The story revolves around Galen Erso and Orson Krennic and gives context to their, shall we say, difficult relationship as shown in the film. Galen is a brilliant scientist, idealistic and principled, and as such also potentially naive and open to exploitation by more unscrupulous people, for example the ambitious and devious Krennic. The main thread of the book is about Krennic manoeuvring himself into position as head of the Emperor's secret project Celestial Power - no prizes for guessing what that is - and than manipulating the pacifist Galen into developing the technology for its super-weapon without his knowledge. Meanwhile Galen's wife Lyra, equally principled but a little more worldly-wise, is suspicious about the Empire in general and Krennic in particular. Some of the best chapters focus on Lyra, and flesh out a character who we barely glimpse in Rogue One into a believable and sympathetic character. And of course there's Jyn, but she's born during the course of this story and still small enough to be carried at the end, so she doesn't have a lot to do other than provide an emotional anchor for her parents and one or two other people who help them along the way.

 

If you're interested in the intricacies of how the Death Star, which started as a Separatist project under Count Dooku (yes, the prequels exist in the new canon!), came under the Empire's control after the Clone Wars, then this is the book for you, but I suspect you're in a very small minority. And if you're looking for a Star Wars book which is mainly about deception, double- and triple-crossing and backstabbing among the Empire's officers, look no further. The back-cover blurb describes it as "a Star Wars version of House of Cards," which is probably over-egging it a bit but you get the idea. But if you like your Star Wars stories to be about the actual wars rather than the development of the weapons, this might not be for you.

 

So this is just OK, certainly nowhere near the worst of the new canon but nor is it in any way a must-read. On the other hand I am looking forward to my next read (after I catch up with the last few Marvel collections which have just been published): Rebel Rising, which is about Jyn's time with Saw Gerrera, and so kind of the next story after this one. I just hope it's a bit more of a page turner.

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It's not a bad book and it's a decent story but it just didn't grab me until more than half way through. It's a bit similar to the first Aftermath in that respect, although much better written! But I'd struggle to recommend it.

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Ah, I'm glad you're enjoying Lost Stars - it really is very good indeed.

 

And speaking of things which are very good...

 

503734._SX360_QL80_TTD_.jpg

 

I think I raved on before about how much I enjoyed the first volume of the Poe Dameron comic. Well the second keeps up the high standard to cement its position as my favourite of Marvel's Star Wars titles. This story follows on directly from the first volume so it's probably not the best place to start but really, this series is so good it's worth reading from the beginning. It has everything you (or at least I) want from a Star Wars story - plenty of adventure and intrigue, lots of spaceships firing lasers at each other, C-3PO back in properly funny rather than annoyingly whiny mode, and several nice nods to the continuity between the original and new films, and the rest of the new canon. After reading this book, for example, I realised something that perhaps I should have known sooner but the penny never dropped until now. Did you know that Aftermath's Temmin Wexley, the adolescent creator of Mister Bones, appears as an adult in The Force Awakens and even has a speaking part? I didn't until this book hit me over the head with the revelation that Temmin grows up to be this guy:

 

pilots1.jpg

 

I know right! Who knew? ("Everyone else...") I've even got the book that picture's from, but I read it before Aftermath so I never made the connection until now.

 

But that's just a minor detail in this story. You don't need to have read Aftermath to enjoy it. It's fantastic purely in its own terms. Great script, beautiful art, oh and a guy who used to be a stormtrooper who's customised his armour and stomps around like a kind of space shogun. What more could you possibly want?

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It's great isn't it? I love little connections like that. And unlike the prequel "small universe" syndrome it works really well, because obviously his family was in the Rebellion, he gets dragged into it himself in Aftermath and so it's totally feasible that he's still part of the team 30 years later.

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Yeah - it's a nice touch.  

Spoiler

I KNEW that guy's name was Wexley but I never put two and two together even though it was staring me in the face.  I was too busy trying to work out who Gallius Rax is!

 

I'd love there to be some reference to other members of the Aftermath team in future films.  Preferably Jas as she's great.

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