Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · Star Wars Visions

Ronin: A Star Wars Visions – Review

star-wars-visions-novel-cover-39862In celebration of Star Wars: Visions, which was released on Disney Plus in September, Del Rey Publishing has released a novel based on the first episode, The Duel. The beginning of the book is the episode retold, then continuing the story where the episode left off.  This allows author Emma Mieko Candon to expound on the world presented in The Duel. The closest Star Wars has come to this type of story before were the Infinities comics from the early 2000s. Ronin feels like the elseworlds stories one finds in comics, exploring Star Wars from a completely different point of view.

Since Disney bought Lucasfilm, all books and comics have been considered canon, so the publishing of this book is puzzling. Each of the previous books has worked to add something to canon, giving fans a greater understanding of characters motivations, events in the timeline or whole new eras not seen on screen. Since Ronin is based on Visions, it doesn’t add any of these things. Some fans are going to love this. The book is well written and does a good job of immersing the reader into the elseworld created in The Duel, fleshing out the ways it differs from the main Star Wars universe.

Sadly, the book doesn’t work. Star Wars is a universe with a specific set of rules which set it apart from other works, giving it,  its Star War-ness. The episodes of Visions worked because they were bite-sized entries, a creator’s love letter to the Star Wars universe with a twist. Here, presented as a novel, the story overstays its welcome. It feels overly long at 331 pages which would have been fantastic if it had not been in the Star Wars universe at all, but its own universe. Adding the language of Star Wars to something, doesn’t make something Star Wars. As such, the book just doesn’t work. Ronin is rated 2.5 out of 5 stars.

This review was completed using a copy of Ronin provided by Del Rey Press.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · The High Republic

Star Wars: Out of the Shadows – Review

81lx6QOO88LIt has been a year since the devastating Emergence hyperspace incident, but the Nihil continue to battle the forces of the Republic and the Jedi at every turn. In the aftermath of the attack on the Republic Fair on Valo, a new threat arises that could disrupt hyperspace travel in ways that make the Emergence disaster look like child’s play.

Out of the Shadows is Justina Ireland’s second book in The High Republic series. Her first book, A Test of Courage was a stand out for me with it’s focus on characters, more than big plot points. Her second effort continues her fantastic character work while at the same time actually using plot points from the series to bring an end to some mysteries, while also opening up doors for the forthcoming books. I cannot overstate how much I appreciated her focus on characters. Yes, there is a new protagonist introduced in the story, but she uses this book to focus on some characters that readers have previously been introduced in previous books.

The focus on Vernestra, Imri, Cormac and Reath as the main Jedi was exactly what this story needed. By not creating new Jedi, she added some much needed depth to these characters while expertly weaving the plot around the character development. This depth was not only given to the Jedi, but to character like Senator Starros, the San Tekkas, the politics of the Republic and the connections between the Nihil and high-ranking members of Republic society. Ireland has finally made things feel like things are coming together in this series.

Much has been made about this being the golden age of the Jedi, but in reality, this feels more like the silver age (especially if the Prequels are the bronze age). The Jedi are already struggling with their relationship with the Republic and to whom their allegiance should lie with. Should it be to the Republic or should their only focus be on the will of the Force? As we know from Qui-Got Qinn, “Your focus determines your reality”. With the Jedi Council not in complete agreement on the issue, it is no wonder that the rest of the Jedi are finding themselves divided on what is the best course to be taken with the Nihil and Drengir threats. Ireland does a wonderful job of portraying the political and moral quagmire that is forming on Coruscant with the Jedi stuck in the middle.

Out of the Shadows is my favorite book in The High Republic series so far. I hope that this focus on characters continues in future books, because when you care about the characters it makes the rest of the plot much more meaningful and engaging. The book is rated 4 out of five stars.

This review was completed using a copy of Out of the Shadows provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press.

This review first appeared on The Star Wars Report

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars

Star Wars: The Rising Storm – Review

iu-3Your overconfidence is your weakness.” – Luke Skywalker

The Republic has launched Chancellor Soh’s first great work in the Starlight Beacon station. The Jedi have helped the Republic navigate “The Great Disaster” as well as worked to contain the Drengir threat. In light of these things, it’s time for Chancellor Soh’s next great work,  the Republic Fair which is to be held on the planet of Valo.

The Rising Storm picks up from the first phase of The High Republic. Chancellor Soh is keen to see the Republic Fair go forward, even with warnings that the Nihil could see this as a prime opportunity for attack. The theme of arrogance overshadows everything in this story. The Chancellor is a prime example, in not taking the threat of the Nihil seriously and thinking that the Jedi can handle them alone, even if they were to attack. The Jedi come face to face with their own arrogance. It’s been some time since anyone has challenged their power in the galaxy and they find themselves learning the foolishness of disregarding threats or thinking themselves powerful enough to handle anything.

The Jedi are also find themselves having their role in the Republic questioned. As the threats increase, are they enough to hold back the tide? The Jedi are peacekeepers, not soldiers. Therefore shouldn’t there be a defense force to help guard against threats to the Republic so that it is not solely relying on the them for everything in that regard? Plus, with the Jedi finding themselves in the role of soldier more and more, they are also finding the temptation of the Dark Side easier to give into, which will create a whole new set of problems.

The Rising Storm is one of the better books in The High Republic series. Cavan Scott’s writing is crisp and his character work, especially between the Jedi is great. The book does still suffer under the weight of having too much going on. The first half of the book is full of movement between characters and places that can leave the reader feeling a bit lost. The High Republic series has thrown so much at readers in the first phase plot wise, that it’s been hard to actually get invested in many of the character since there are just too many to keep track of. And in all honesty, splitting the series between adult, young adult, middle grade and comics has made it difficult to keep up with the story as a whole. Star Wars has done massive series before in literature and so far, The New Jedi Order was much more successful. One, because it was only in the adult novels and two, because the story was able to take its time building, using series within the series to focus on different characters or situations individually while still building the whole.

Ultimately, The High Republic has so much going on with the Nihil, the Drengir, the Jedi and the Republic that it just feels too scattered. Hopefully, as this second phase kicks off, the series will find more focus in the plot and invest in the characters, by spending time with fewer of them, allowing readers to connect more deeply. The Rising Storm is rated 3 out of 5 stars.

This review was completed using a copy of The Rising Storm provided by Del Rey Press.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars

Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good – Review

Don’t miss The 602 Club review!

Thrawn has defeated Yiv the Benevolent and in the aftermath, the Chiss Expansionary Fleet roots out the leftover Nikardun nests. Unbeknownst to the Chiss, the phantom menace of Jixtus is secretly working to insight a civil war in the Ascendancy. Will Thrawn and his allies be able to decipher his plot and stop him in time?

Timothy Zahn is at the top of his game with the Thrawn Ascendancy series as the second book, Greater Good does not disappoint. He continues to flesh out the Chiss as a people, giving readers even more background and greater understanding of their civilization. Zahn has created one of the most fascinating Star Wars races with the complexity and nuance readers have come to expect from his writing.

Greater Good‘s theme is brilliantly topical. The villain Jixtus is working to destabilize the  Ascendancy by fueling a civil war. To do so, he is using the Chiss nature against itself by sowing seeds of emotionally-driven selfishness in a few of the members of the Forty Great Houses. The Forty Great Houses are the next level of Chiss society, right beneath the Nine Ruling Families. Individuals in a few of these houses are being manipulated emotionally to act in their own “interests” and the betterment of their house, blinded to the dangerous path they’ve set the Ascendancy on. Zahn shows how easy it is to emotionally manipulate people to segregate people along partisan lines, creating chaos for the whole of a society and destroying the greater good in the process.

Greater Good is the best of Star Wars literature, it is telling a story that feels familiar and new all as the same time. If you like the political intrigue of The Prequels or Game of Thrones, this series is perfect. Greater Good continues the story from Chaos Rising and sets up the final book in the trilogy brilliantly, leaving readers longing for the finale; it is rated 5 out of 5 stars!

This review was completed with a review copy of Greater Good from Del Rey Publishing.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars

Victory’s Price – Review

91JsOLv+dNLThe events of Shadow Fall have left Alphabet Squadron shattered and picking up the pieces in light of Yrica Quell’s betrayal. They have a chance to take down Shadow Wing for good as Operation Cinder rears it’s ugly head again, forcing Alphabet Squadron to defend Imperial worlds from destruction as the Empire eats its own. The end of the war feels near yet our heroes are left with the scars from years of fighting that may never heal.

The crawl for Revenge of the Sith said, “There are heroes on both sides” and Alexander Freed brings this statement to life in his third book of the Alphabet Squadron series, Victory’s Price. The Imperial remnant can no long afford to be at war with the New Republic, yet they continue their terror campaign, Operation Cinder. Freed gets into the head of Colonel Keize to to help us understand the reason why a person like him is more nuanced that might first appear. He’s not fighting for the cause, he’s fighting for the people next to him. It’s better for him to die defending his comrades than land in the arms of New Republic justice. He has no faith that the New Republic will handle trials fairly. Plus it comes to light in the novel that the Emperor made sure everyone in his service had their hands dirty, no matter their job in the Empire, there is no innocence.

On the other side, Freed uses every opportunity to dig deep into the impact years of war has had on the Rebels. In many ways the scars of war are proving Thomas Wolfe’s contention that you can’t go home again, at least not the same as when you left. Few Star Wars books dive into the psychological impact of war the way Victory’s Price does. Fans have become use to characters being able to easily overcome anything thrown at them, Freed doesn’t give us that luxury and the book is the better for it.

The best theme of the book is the way in which one see’s the “other side”. Quell says,

“Keize was just trying to keep his troops alive. Give them a future. And I -” She paused again for a long time. “I started to think maybe they didn’t deserve dying. Even as I watched them murder planets, I started to think of them as -not good people, not decent people, but people. My friends.”

This may be one of the best things to come out of a Star Wars book thematically in years. In a society that has lost the ability to see the “other side” as people, it speaks volumes. If one cannot see the humanity in someone across the aisle, it will enable “othering” and once you start down that dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

Another huge plus for the novel is that Hera is given much more page time finally! It’s disappointing that it took two books before that happened. Hera should have been the feature character throughout the entire series.

The last theme that really stood out was the importance of remembering our mistakes and past. Quell says,

”But I haven’t forgotten Nacronis or anything else. I live with the memory of what I’m capable of every day. I need the memory to do better. And wiping out the records of what we’ve done seem an awful lot like helping everyone else forget.”

History, personal and societal must be remembered. It is only through knowing, recognizing and coming to terms with the truth of our mistakes that we can avoid making them again.

Victory’s Price is a rare type of Star Wars book. There is a depth to it that will surprise you. Personally I was not expecting to like this book after the second entry in the series but I was wrong. This might be one of the best Star Wars books in a long while. Victory’s Price is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This review was completed with a review copy of Victory’s Price from Del Rey Publishing.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · The High Republic

Star Wars: Into the Dark – Review

star-wars-the-high-republic-into-the-dark-by-claudia-gray-1There have been two books in The High Republic time period so far, both were released on the same day to kick off the series. Light of the Jedi was an adult novel and A Test of Courage was a middle-grade novel. Into the Dark is the first young-adult novel in the series from best-selling author Claudia Gray. The story follows a group of Jedi who have hired a ship to take them to Starlight Beacon for it’s opening. On the journey they are waylaid by the Emergences, causing them to fall out of hyperspace at an ancient space station that holds mysteries who’s uncovering might signal doom for more than just our intrepid crew.

Gray’s novel is character driven first and foremost. We are introduced to Padawan Reath Silas who is traveling to join his master Jora Malli, the recently named Jedi leader of Starlight Beacon. He’s joined by Jora’s former Padawan Dez Rydan, as well as Jedi Knight Orla Jareni and Jedi Master Cohmac Vitus. Jareni and Vitus have a history with the area of space around Starlight Beacon which Gray expounds upon through interludes that take place twenty-five years before the current story.

The absolute best thing about Gray’s book is how the story feels completely driven by the characters. This is a story about these Jedi in The High Republic, their insecurities, failings, fears, arrogance, compassion, love and struggles with what it means to be a Jedi. Gray really gives readers a taste of what it is like to be a Jedi in this era, how they are different that those we’ve seen before, yet she plants seeds that connect with what they will become.

One of the themes from the previous books was the idea, “We are all the Republic”. In, Into the Dark, Gray takes this theme and instead of just having the phrase said by a character, she shows readers what that looks like through the actions taken by the characters throughout the story. It’s an incredible example of thematic writing and one of the most important keys to writing which is, “show don’t tell”.

Into the Dark, chronologically takes place in the same time frame as Light of the Jedi. This allows the book to give us more detail on the Nihil while also introduce readers to a new villain, the Drengir. Coming into this book, I was not sure how they would make the Drengir work. From the information we’d been given before the book’s release, it just felt like a bridge too far for even Star Wars. Yet in Gray’s deft hands, it works! In fact, it fits perfectly with what we’ve already seen in a previous book, The Mighty Chewbacca and the Forest of Fear!

Into the Dark is the best book in The High Republic series so far. Claudia Gray will have you falling in love with the characters, which in turn helps root you in this era in a way that I personally hadn’t been able to do so far. I couldn’t put this book down. I hope that moving forward, The High Republic will take this story as touchstone and continue to craft stories from character arcs first. Regardless whether you have read the other two book, I highly recommend Into the Dark and it is rate 4 out of 5  stars.

This review was completed using a copy of Into the Dark provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · Uncategorized

Star Wars: A Test of Courage – Review

star-wars-the-high-republic-a-test-of-courage-by-justina-ireland

The High Republic series continues in A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland. The book is not a direct sequel to Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi, but more of a companion piece that chronologically takes place in the middle of that book. Venestra Rwoh is one of the youngest Jedi Knights at the age of sixteen. Her first assignment is to escort Avon, the twelve-year old daughter of Senator Ghirra Starros, to the dedication of the new deep space station, Starlight Beacon. They are joined by Avon’s opinionated droid J-6, a Jedi Master, his Padawan and an ambassadorial  delegation from the planet of Dalnan, who is contemplating Republic membership. Their journey is interrupted when bombs incapacitate and destroy their cruiser, allowing only enough time for Venestra, Avon, J-6, Jedi Padawan Imri and Honesty, son of the Dalnan ambassador to escape in a broken down shuttle. They are forced to land on a planet and try to survive till they can find a way to call for help.

A Test of Courage is a middle grade book, but that does not mean the story is watered down in any way. Ireland has done a marvelous job crafting a story that is in line with Lucas’ ideas of what Star Wars is meant to be, a way of helping teach young children about the morals of life. Venestra snuggles with the responsibility knighthood has brought, Honesty learns the foolishness of living life comparing oneself to others and Imri must learn to deal with loss and the anger that results. It is a strong collection of themes about the trials of growing up from multiple points of view.

Ireland is able to continue the work Soule did in building out The High Republic time period. Readers are given a further understanding of the Jedi, as well as the Republic, two hundred years before The Phantom Menace. She is also able to give more on the Nihil and their plans to disrupt the Republic’s expansion into the Outer Rim. Ireland also explores droid personalities in a way that’s only recently been seen in Solo with L3, to humorous effect.

 A Test of Courage is a fun, quick read that will leave you wanting more books in this time period. It fits nicely with Light of the Jedi in opening the series of The High Republic and is rated 3.5 out of 5 stars.

This review was completed using a copy of A Test of Courage provided by Disney Lucasfilm Press.

This review originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Movies · Television · Uncategorized

The Best of 2020 in Entertainment

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Normally my lists for the year are about the movies that I was able to see in the theater, well we all know how that went in 2020, so this year, I am listing out the best things I saw that were released in 2020. 

Best Movies 

Tenet

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So thankful this was one of the few movies I was able to see on the big screen during the COVID season. It truly was meant to be experienced in the theater. In my opinion there is no greater filmmaker of our time than Christopher Nolan. This film is, in many ways. the culmination of all that he has been building on since Memento. The imagination at work in this movie is astounding. Some may have had trouble keeping up with the story but thankfully a lifetime of Star Trek and sci-fi allowed me to get what Nolan was doing. This is a movie I cannot wait to watch over and over, allowing me to pick up all the little connections placed throughout the film. Don’t miss The 602 Club episode on this one! 

Soul

soul_ver3Pixar has brought our inner world to life with Inside Out and now they tackle the great beyond. What a perfect gift at the end of 2020, to be reminded of the beauty of life, even with all the bumps and bruises we acquire along the way. The movie smartly stays away from answering what lies beyond and its message about the souls we all have is one of the most pro-life messages I’ve seen. Don’t miss Soul on Disney+ and look for The 602 Club episode next week!

Fatman

fatman_ver3This was the perfect Christmas movie for 2020. So sad I was not able to see it on the big screen but it was something I’ll be returning to as a new Christmas classic every year. Mel Gibson is perfect as a Santa that has almost run out of holiday cheer and who’s being hunted by a hitman payed but the indefatigable Walter Goggins. Do yourself a favor and rent this! 

The Gentlemen

gentlemen_ver8This is a fantastic ride from start to finish. Every single actor is on top of their game. Hugh Grant is the standout and almost unrecognizable from his usual fair. Don’t sleep on this one if you missed it at the beginning of the year.

 

Hillbilly Elegy

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This might be a controversial pick but I found this movie to be a powerful depiction of a side of life many of us don’t even know exists. The performances are brilliant and Glenn Close is perfection as Mamaw. I’m honestly not sure why people have not responded better to this movie but it’s worth your time, as is the book it’s based off of. 

 

The Way Back

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In many ways this movie feels semi-autobiographical for its star Ben Affleck. He is so good as a man struggling to overcome is addiction to alcohol and find a way to rebuild his life. It feels like the kind of intimate storytelling that gets lost in the blockbuster shuffle but that 2020 has made more relevant since studios will be looking for ways to get people back into the theaters with films that don’t cost $300 million to make.  

Love and Monsters

LoveAndMonstersPoster

This movie was a complete surprise and one of the few I was able to see on the big screen during the COVID season. It has such heart and it’s message about not staying locked away because life can be dangerous was one of the most timely in 2020. My favorite quote from the movie, “There is a great big beautiful inspiring world out there. Crank open that hatch, breathe some fresh air, go live your life. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it.” Worth checking out and enjoying with friends!

Greyhound

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I am so thankful that Apple+ picked this one up. The movie knew exactly what it was, an intense war thriller about the trials of a Captain trying to get as many ships safely to England in the middle of “Battle of the Atlantic”. It’s a story from WWII that is often overlooked and yet was one of the most pivotal. You really feel apart of the stress and worry these men went through as they knew that any minute could be their last. Don’t miss The 602 Club episode! 

Onward

onwardSuch a fun idea, a world where magic use to be a way of life and has now become mundane. It is a beautiful story about brotherhood, as well as the importance of good male role models in the life of a young boy. Pixar was on fire this year. Don’t miss The 602 Club and Cinema Stories episodes! 

 

Wonder Woman 1984

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I’m positive this will be the most controversial pick of the list. I cannot get over how important the themes are in this movie, what it has to say about Truth is astounding. It was not as good as Wonder Woman, but it was a lot of fun and the chemistry between Gal Gadot and Chris Pine is electric. Please don’t miss The 602 Club episode about this film, I’m so proud of the conversation we had about the movie. 

Best Shows

The Queen’s Gambit

iu-7Engrossing and utterly fascinating character study of a chess prodigy in the 1960s. Anya Taylor Joy is beyond brilliant as Beth Harmon, as is Isla Johnston who plays her as a young girl. This is a series you just have to watch. 

 

The Mandalorian: Season 2

EoVumzTVoAESrJcSeason one blew everyone away, season two left everyone speechless. Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau continue their resume for why they should be running creative for Star Wars at this point. The way they have been able to connect with the larger universe is excellent, while at the same time never losing sight of the story of The Mandalorian himself. Don’t miss The 602 Club conversation about the season!

Documentaries

The Social Dilemma

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We tweet, we like, and we share— but what are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? This documentary-drama hybrid reveals how social media is reprogramming civilization with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own creations.

This is what The Social Dilemma looks to answer. This documentary from Netflix explores, in depth, how social media, technology and smart devices are reshaping the human race. To do this Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and the co-founder of The Center for Humane Technology has gathered experts from all over social media and technology to talk about the dangers they see in their own creations. 

This panel of experts breaks down the ways in which technology is dangerous. They help explain the ways in which social media is addictive by describing the algorithms behind these platforms and the ways they are meant to keep people engaged, even tempt people to become engaged when they are not actively using them. 

They also dive into the ways in which fake news has rapidly spread on these networks and the way in which people can fall down the “rabbit hole” very quickly. These “rabbit holes” are the ways people can become radicalized because they only see one side of an issue because algorithms suggest new content based on what you’ve previously watched.

Each of these experts also confesses that this is all driven by profit, the more you scroll, watch, like, stream, the more they make on advertising. For them it’s about keeping you engaged. They never had any thought as to how this would impact the lives of kids. Therefore entire generations are the test subjects for the impact of these devices and platforms. We’re only now realizing what these things are doing to our children and to ourselves. It is interesting to note that none of these experts allow their children time on social media or much time with the technology they helped create, says a lot. 

With all this said, I would recommend spending the hour and a half to watch this, watch it with your teens and talk about the impact these things are having on their lives and your family.  This may just be the most important thing to come out of 2020, don’t miss it.

The Last Dance

iu-8There are very few teams as storied as the Chicago Bulls from the 90s and this documentary shows why. A look inside the dynasty that defined a generation as well as reminder of who the true GOAT of basketball is. The series will have you binging for sure. 

 

The Worst

There are a few movies this year that belong on this list. Ava and The New Mutants were absolutely dreadful, avoid them. 

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · Uncategorized

Star Wars: Light of the Jedi – Review

This is a spoiler free review. Star Wars: Light of the Jedi will be released on January 5th, 2021. Don’t miss The 602 Club episode review!

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire. – Obi-Wan Kenobi

In 2012 the Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm and one of their first acts was to mothball the Expanded Universe that had begun with Heir to the Empire in 1991. Since that time, the literature has been made canon but have stayed in the time periods of the Star Wars galaxy that have been seen onscreen. That has all changed now, with this quote from Obi-Wan as inspiration, the publishing arm of Star Wars is venturing into the unknown with The High Republic era. It is set two hundred years before the events of The Phantom Menace and is going to be seen in all print forms; adult novels, young adult, middle grade, young readers, picture books and comics.

For the first book in the series, Light of the JediDel Rey has turned to author Charle Soule for his first Star Wars book. Soule has written some of the best comics since Disney took over, with his Darth Vader run in contention for the best. His writing is crisp as one who has read his comic work would expect and his dialogue is snappy. Soule does an excellent job for setting the stage of what is to come in this era.

The Republic is at its height, as the title for the era would suggest. For those that know history, it feels akin to the golden age of Elizabethan England. Things are bright for the Republic as they look to open their first deep space station in the Outer Rim, the Starlight Beacon. Soule differentiates this version of the Republic from others we have seen through a motto of this iteration, “We are all the Republic”. The Jedi are at their height as well, serving the Republic, yet not officially as part of the government. This is a time period unencumbered by war. Everything seems to be perfect when a hyperspace incident causes a chain reaction that could threaten the very existence of the Republic.

The “villains” of the story, the Nihil also feel historically based. Anyone familiar with the vikings of the eighth to eleventh centuries will feel right at home with this group. These raiders are the antithesis to the Republic and only have their own interests in mind. Their goal is nothing more than plunder and pleasure.

The most exciting aspect of this series is the ability for it to do something new. Since it is two hundred years before The Phantom Menace there is not much the authors will be bound by, giving them freedom to create something all their own. There are a few characters that fans will know from the Prequel era but the majority of them are new. Soule’s also given readers some interesting relationships to follow in the stories to come. The book’s storyline feels timely and timeless, creating a sure foundation for the High Republic era. Light of the Jedi is rated 3.75 out of 5 stars.

This review was completed with a review copy of Star Wars: Light of the Jedi from Del Rey Publishing.

This post originally appeared on The Star Wars Report.

Book Reviews · Books · Star Wars · The Mandalorian

The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian – Review

In the Disney era of Star Wars, the “making of” book has gone out of fashion, with the “art of” book become the all-in-one for those looking for a behind the scenes information on the creation of new Star Wars material.  There have been “art of” books for the new Episodes as well as the Story films and now fans are being treated to The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian covering the inaugural season of Star Wars’ first live action television show on Disney+. Like the previous “art of” books for the Disney era, this one is also written by Phil Szostak who is the senior content and asset specialist at Lucasfilm Ltd..

One of the stand out things in the book is the behind the scenes look Szostak is able to give readers. Star Wars has always been about letting no designs or ideas go to waste. The genesis for The Mandalorian goes back as far as 2005 when Lucas announced that there would be a cartoon series call The Clone Warsas well as a live action show dealing with the Underworld on Coruscant. Many of the elements that would play into the live action show were seeded in The Clone Wars, yet would never be brought to fruition as the live action series was shelved for budgetary reasons. Yet many ideas from The Clone Wars and the live action series would find there way into other Star Wars projects. And the idea of a live action Star Wars show was the first thing Disney+ would use to launch it’s new service. Szostak is able to weave the story of The Mandalorian, it’s creators Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni collaboration as well as the art for the series perfectly.

It is also fascinating to see just how important the art of Dave Filoni is in this process of creating the look and feel of the show. His visual acumen helps bring things to life so that Jon Favreau and the other artists have a good frame of reference for where they want to go with the designs as well as shot compositions. This brings to mind a great “art of” book idea, The Art of Dave Filoni!

There are plenty of juicy details in the book about the series, but they are best left to the reader to be discover themselves. The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian is a wonderful companion to the series and a fantastic addition to any fan’s library. Here’s to hoping that they continue to do these books for each season! The book is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.

This review first appeared on The Star Wars Report

This review was completed with a review copy of The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian from Abrams Books.