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Star Wars - the new canon


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Watched TLJ the other night and loved it. Definitely checking out the novelisation then as the film really got me interested in the franchise again - TFA was a bit of a let down imho.


I read the Thrawn trilogy a long time ago and enjoyed them, so it's great to see that character surviving the canon reboot.


Anyway, cheers for the reviews Darren.

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  • 2 weeks later...



I was really looking forward to this and I... was a bit disappointed. It's forty stories set during A New Hope, each from the point of view of a different character, usually one of the background characters (stormtroopers, aliens, jawas etc.) but occasionally from well known Star Wars characters who don't actually appear in the film at all. As such I thought this would be the worthy successor to my old favourite Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, and it kind of is, but it's quite a mixed bag quality wise. And ironically, it's the stories set in and around the cantina (of which there are several) that are among the poorest entries.


So I won't dwell on the bad, but I will say that the whole thing is saved by a few absolutely excellent tales. One of these is by Wil Wheaton of all people who has written a genuinely moving piece from a rebel's POV. There are several others that are just as good, and then there's the icing on the cake. I don't want to give anything away but it's a story about what happens off-screen while Luke rushes home and finds his aunt and uncle murdered. And it's yet more proof, if proof were needed, that Claudia Gray is the absolute master of Star Wars fiction.


Some of these stories directly contradict one another, which is kind of the point I think given the title, but it also puts this collection in a bit of a grey area when it comes to the new canon - is it in or not? It sort of is, from a certain point of view, but overall it's far from an essential read. Which is a shame, because if you don't read it you are missing out on some truly great stuff in amongst quite a lot of not so great stuff. So it's a cautious recommendation from me, I suppose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good spot, there are some corkers in that offer. I've just snapped up the Rogue One novel which I've heard good things about.


If you have a Kindle and a fiver spare I'd recommend The Last Jedi, Phasma, Lords of the Sith and Battlefront: Twilight Company, and say From a Certain Point of View isn't perfect but it's worth 99p for Claudia Gray's story alone.

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  • 3 weeks later...


Finally finished this!


I've had it ages but I've put off reading it as other titles appealed more.  And that's because I have absolutely no knowledge of Thrawn aside from his appearance in Rebels.  I never read any of the old canon books, comics, nothing whatsoever.  So whereas Thrawn will no doubt be a familiar character to many of you on here, he's very new for me.  But going by Rebels, I like him - hence why I bought this book.


And it's a good book!  I really enjoyed it, the protagonist is fascinating, so much so that I was a bit non-plussed about the other side plot with Governor Pryce.  Not that those sections are badly written, they just suffer from being Thrawn-less.  I loved how often he got the better of his supposed superiors.  It's abundantly clear very early on that he's no ordinary Imperial, but his continuous wave of promotions never seem far fetched.  


I just re-read @Darren's review of this, and I agree with pretty much all of it.  Thrawn is a superb character and it must have been great fun to write a novel about him.  I also liked the role Eli Vanto plays in this - I've often criticised new canon novels for the secondary characters, but there are several exceptions to the rule here.  Pryce is also decent, but as I mentioned earlier, she suffers from being in Thrawn-less environments for the majority of her story.


Plenty of Imperial backstabbing and intrigue, some clever twists, a fantastic main character and an ending that means I'll be picking up and reading Thrawn Alliances far quicker as the first installment of Grand Admiral Thrawn's adventures is a really decent read that is one of the more successful new canon efforts.



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7 minutes ago, sandman said:

I've just notice that the trilogy of tie in novels to the OT is £1.99 on Kindle for the weekend.


Anyone read them?


I read them at the time but I can't remember whether they're any good or not, and I wouldn't trust 8-13 year old me's judgement even if I could. But you can't go wrong for a couple of quid - I think I'll buy it myself.


Glad you enjoyed Thrawn @Boothjan, it's good to have another positive review especially as I'm about to write a much more negative one.

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You might recall how I said I've been rattling through novels, both Star Wars and (whisper it) non-SW, since getting a Kindle a few months ago. Well, here's the book that broke that habit. This was an absolute slog which took weeks rather than days to polish off, and my overwhelming emotion at the end was simply relief that it's all over. The irony is, it's not even terrible. It's miles better than (the new canon's reigning stinker) Heir to the Jedi. It's just, surprisingly for a book about interstellar cool dudes Han and Lando, very very unengaging.


Perhaps that's not fair so I should probably elaborate on why this book doesn't work, which boils down to two main reasons. The first and most glaring is structural. In this story there are no less than four separate timelines: Han and Lando "now" (a few years after ROTJ), Han "ten years ago" (between Solo and ANH), Lando "fifteen years ago" (before Solo) and the baddie's origin story "about twenty years ago" (after ROTS). Most chapters jump to a different timeline to the last one, so just as you start to get a handle on who's doing what, where and why, it all goes out the window and you have to try and remember how the chapter before the chapter before last ended. Adding to the confusion is the fact that the same main characters and macguffins appear in most if not all of the intertwined storylines so you're constantly on the back foot trying to remember who knows what or has done what at each point in each story. I'm sure it was all very meticulously worked out and I'm sure it all fits together like a beautiful jigsaw, but the experience of reading it is less the satisfaction of solving an ingenious puzzle and more the bafflement of being overwhelmed by too many similar pieces.


So it's difficult for any part of the story to get any kind of traction, because as soon as it does it disappears for two or three chapters while the same people fight over the same stuff in different circumstances and a different decade. But even then, it would be worth sticking with if the stuff they were fighting over was interesting, but unfortunately, and here's the second reason the book doesn't work, it's just silly. As I don't recommend you bother reading it, here's the baddie's master plan in which our heroes repeatedly find themselves enmeshed:


He's a brilliant surgeon who goes off the rails and decides that droids are a more evolved form of life than organic beings, and as such rather than giving people robot hands etc. as per SW tradition, decides it's only right to lop off people's limbs and attach them to broken droids instead. So he gradually builds up an army of loyal droids with random rotting human/wookiee/misc. arms and legs to carry out the next part of his plan. Which is to transmit a signal through the entire galaxy which will cause droids to rise up against their former masters. Fortunately you can tell when a droid's gone bad because its eyes glow red and it starts saying KILLLLLLL in a stereotypical "evil robot" voice. Oh and in order to transmit the signal he creates an AI which travels through space over twenty-odd years gathering random space junk to make a transmitter powerful enough to do the trick, which it keeps secret by hiding inside an ice asteroid belt which it also manages to fly through space as a mobile hiding place using magnetism or something. To be honest I'd stopped paying too much attention to the details by the end.


See? Silly. And there's absolutely no peril, because the new films exist and in TFA the galaxy isn't overrun by

evil killer robots with red eyes and organic limbs

. Having said all that, it is much better than (still bottom of the league) Heir to the Jedi if only because Han and Lando speak and act in character rather than being totally different from how they appear on screen. Lando even gets a bit of character development. It's just a pity it happens in such a poor book.


Ah, I'm even bored writing about it. Just don't bother with this one.

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What I've read - from best to worst:


Lost Stars

Leia: Princess of Alderaan

Rebel Rising




Aftermath II - Life Debt


Aftermath III - Empire's End


Aftermath I



The only ones I really wouldn't recommend are the last 2.

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Here's my list:


(no ranking within tiers)



Leia: Princess of Alderaan

Lost Stars

The Last Jedi

From a Certain Point of View (for Claudia Gray's Kenobi story)



Dark Disciple

Lords of the Sith


Rebel Rising



Battlefront: Twilight Company




Rise of the Empire
Guardians of the Whills

Smuggler's Run

The Weapon of a Jedi

Moving Target

Aftermath: Life Debt

Aftermath: Empire's End

Before the Awakening

Cobalt Squadron



From a Certain Point of View (for the rest of it)

Battlefront 2: Inferno Squad


The Perfect Weapon




Last Shot

Canto Bight

Heir to the Jedi

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  • 1 month later...

The Last Jedi 


Back from holiday where I got through this fairly quickly and..... It's good. But I can't praise it quite as much as Darren. 


Personally, I was a bit disappointed in the lack of 'new scenes' for wont of a better term. It was interesting to hear certain scenes from a specific character's point of view which does add that bit extra, but I didn't find anything particularly jaw dropping.


It's still very good - I'm a fan of the film and have never really agrees with the criticism of it. Canto Bight works better on paper than it does on screen, and Rose has a bit more of a back story.


It's definitely the best novelisation I've read but in Star Wars terms, that's not particularly high praise.


But I've watched the film 6 times now yet I was still entertained by this. I really liked the occasional nods to other new canon novels for instance.


Judging it as a Star Wars novel for story, pacing, characters etc, it's a good read and I'd recommend it. But I can't place it in the higher echelons of new canon books which include Lost Stars, Leia: PoA and Phasma. 


But it's good. I enjoyed it.




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I knew you were going to ask that :lol:



I didn't get the huge significance of it TBH. It wasn't real as it was a dream - and as I don't know anything about the previous 'canon' can I assume her name is somewhat important? 


I haven't read any of your spoilers on this so am I just being really thick?


I'll be honest here - I felt I let you down a bit! 


One thing I forgot to add was I agree with you with regards to giving more explanations into characters' actions which sort of proves wrong some of the film's detractors.


I'm now a couple of chapters into Lords of the Sith which seems VERY promising. "I shall read the rest of this with great interest." 

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First sentence spoilers.


I thought it was a brilliant start because, with no other context, you immediately believe this is Luke between ROTJ and TFA, and so you think - WTF, his wife?! Then it becomes apparent that it's a dream, or maybe a vision, of an alternative life as it might have been if he'd refused to go with Obi-Wan. It adds even more resonance to his later refusal to go with Rey - he's scared of making things worse all over again.


His wife's name is interesting rather than important, but not based on the old canon, rather it brings a deleted scene from the original Star Wars into the new canon. Camie is one of his friends (along with Fixer and Biggs) that he used to hang out with in Tosche Station. In the original cut Luke sees the Star Destroyer shooting Leia's ship through his binoculars and rushes in to tell them there's a space battle happening overhead, but they're too cool to rush out for a look. The studio insisted on the scene being written in and shot because they didn't want to wait 20 minutes or so for the hero to appear in the film. But Lucas took it out in the edit anyway, as it doesn't add much and breaks up the flow of the story being told from the droids' point of view (at least until they finally reach Luke who then takes the narrative focus). But now we can say that scene definitely "happened" off screen.


You have let the side down very badly and I expect you to pull your Lucasfilm licensed socks up! :P 


Lords of the Sith is another good one, fantastic take on the Vader/Sidious relationship.

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  • 4 weeks later...



Now we're talking.  This is right up there with the very best New Canon novels I've read - superb from start to finish.


It ticks pretty much every single box I look for with a Star Wars novel.

  • Plenty of action - it's called 'Star Wars' for a reason - take note, Catalyst...
  • Exploring well known characters and flushing out extra details on them
  • Strong supporting characters
  • Fits in well with the stories seen on screen
  • Makes you think "bloody hell, I wish they'd make this into a film"

There's an insurgency on the planet Ryloth, and the Emperor and Vader travel there personally to oversee it.  The chaos that follows is glorious as the rebels - led by Cham Syndulla, the father of Hera from SW: Rebels - strike some hammer blows into the Empire.  Whilst this is going on, the Emperor toys with the mind of Vader, testing him constantly as his thoughts linger on his previous life.


Plenty of examples of Vader going batshit mental too - he's as badass as ever in this.  It's never over done, yet you absolutely understand why he's the most feared individual in the galaxy, and why he's so hated.  Palpatine is perfectly depicted too.


I can only really think of one drawback - one character seems to have been forgotten at the very end.  She's one of the protagonists throughout the book, so it's a bit odd that we don't know exactly what happens to her.  And as far as I know she's never featured in any other novels.  A bit odd, but it certainly doesn't detract from the story - the ending of which is far from unsatisfactory.


When reading Lords of the Sith, time flew by.  I'd have happily read another 10 chapters as it's just awesome.  Mega exciting, very interesting and above all, it's just a cracking Star Wars novel. 


Up there with Lost Stars and Leia: PoA at the very highest level of Star Wars literature.



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Yep, it's one of the best. And you're right, something like that would be an amazing spin off film (and one I can imagine them doing given the reactions to the films so far - Vader at the end of R1 seems to be the only bit of any of them that everyone apparently likes).


If they do it I hope they use a better prosthetics/make-up artist on Ian McDiarmid than whoever did the terrible ROTS face job. I would love another film's worth of him psychologically toying with Vader - the opera scene was the only genuinely good bit in the whole of that film IMHO.

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The Vader/Emperor passages were by far the best.  Palpatine is just a git, isn't he?


And as for Vader - EVERYONE wants to see him going on a hate-fuelled killing spree.



I absolutely LOVED the bit when he force chokes a rebel pilot as they're flying close to one another - such a cool image.


It does has pretty much every aspect needed for a good Star Wars film though and the secondary characters are amongst the best I've read.  Mors, Cham, Isval, Belkor are all really strong characters.

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Good news everyone! There have been a couple of interesting new books announced. First up:




Queen's Shadow by E.K. Johnston. 



When Padmé Naberrie, "Queen Amidala" of Naboo, steps down from her position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo's representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but cannot turn down the request to serve her people. Together with her most loyal handmaidens, Padmé must figure out how to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen's shadow.


E.K. Johnston wrote the rather good Ahsoka novel, so this could be promising.


But that's just the appetiser - here's the main course:




Master and Apprentice by Claudia "best Star Wars writer ever" Gray.



A new Star Wars novel, taking place before the events of The Phantom Menace, featuring legacy characters Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi.


We don't even get a story precis for this one, but that doesn't matter because it will automatically be brilliant. In my mind I assume Claudia was asked to write this on the strength of her (brilliant) Obi-Wan short story in From A Certain Point Of View. Did I mention that Claudia "best Star Wars writer ever" Gray is brilliant?


It's also interesting that between these and the recently announced new Clone Wars series, Disney seem to be moving focus away from the OT and towards the prequels...

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