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Star Wars - the new canon


Darren
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That's how I was a few months ago, but I've managed to clear almost all the pile of shame, except Ahsoka which I'll get round to eventually.

 

However the pile has now started growing again as the Darth Maul TPB arrived last week and Leia: Princess of Alderaan should be arriving this week. No Phasma for me yet due to my paperback only policy.

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I wasn't expecting much from this, and ended up pleasantly surprised. This is the first time I've encountered Maul outside the Phantom Menace, so with nothing to compare it to, it's possible that this book is a pale imitation of previous EU stories. But I suspect not, as this is an excellent look into the mind and motivations of (to me at least) the most criminally underdeveloped character of all the prequels.

 

It's set an unspecified time before the Phantom Menace, with Maul itching to get started with Jedi-slaying but frustrated by waiting for Sidious to get all his evil ducks in a row. How that plays out provides a fantastic insight into the dynamics of their relationship, utterly absent from the film but very nicely developed here. Plus it features some minor characters from the prequels and/or Clone Wars cartoons, and for extra canon continuity nerd points it includes a very neat blink-and-you'll-miss-it link to the Star Wars comic story Showdown on the Smugglers' Moon (set 30+ years later). As ever, Marvel and the Story Group are doing an excellent job tying all of this together.

 

It's far from essential reading but it's firmly on the "good" pile of Marvel books.

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TLJ trailer excitement means I'm going to read Phasma next, as that's one of 'The Journey to The Last Jedi' titles so might help beef up her character a bit before the film comes out in December.

 

I hope to start it before the end of the week. 

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It’s got rave reviews from what I’ve seen, so it should be decent.

 

I’m about a third through Leia (also one of the journey titles) which is exactly as good as you’d expect a book about 16 year old Leia discovering the Rebellion written by Claudia Gray to be (i.e. absolutely awesome).

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Oh right, in that case this takes place “during” Rebels but before Leia appears (unless she first appears just as a princess and not yet a rebel, which would be before this book). I’m sure it all fits together properly, they seem to have a pretty good handle on the continuity. There must be a massive timeline chart on somebody’s wall in Hollywood with it all on.

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I'm halfway through Leia now and it's just as good. Quite similar in tone to Lost Stars as it's another coming of age story, but obviously this time about someone we already know well.

 

Plus those pictures just make me more convinced they should do a Lost Stars film. They have to!

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On 20/10/2017 at 11:40, Boothjan said:

A Lost Stars film would shut up the nay sayers who seem to be so determined to slag off the franchise!

 

Nah, they'd just say "Star Wars isn't about love stories."

 

Speaking of which...

 

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This is brilliant. Claudia Grey is three for three as far as I'm concerned, and this could be the best yet. It's very similar to Lost Stars, or at least the middle part of Lost Stars where they're all teenagers at the academy, doing teenage stuff while Star Wars happens all around them. But this time the protagonist is someone we already know and love, and this is her coming of age story, which is also the story of how she discovered and gradually got involved in the rebel alliance.

 

I don't want to say too much because everybody reading this thread should read this book. I will just say that it ties in - quite brilliantly, at times - with all three (yes three) trilogies and adds hugely to the overall canon and lore. It even ties in directly with the scene in Lost Stars in which young Leia appears. It really fleshes out the early days of the rebellion, when they were gearing up for war but not yet ready to take the fight to the Empire.

 

One thing I realised while reading this is that Claudia Gray not only nails Leia (as she did in Bloodline) but she writes some fantastic supporting characters (as she did in Lost Stars especially). Of the several in this story, there was one in particular who by the end of the book I'd kind of fallen in love with. So I looked her up on Wookieepedia to see if she appeared in any other stories, only to find she's going to be in this upcoming film about a Jedi or something. Don't click on this spoiler if you don't want to know who she is. But if you do:

 



IT'S ONLY LAURA FLIPPING DERN

 

Amilyn-Holdo-The-Last-Jedi-Featured-1018

 

The book also heavily features Bail and Breha Organa, and teenage Leia's often bumpy relationship with them. Of course we all know what's going to happen to them and everyone else on Alderaan, and the writer knows we know, so there's an unstated but tangible feeling of impending tragedy sharpening the edges of even the softest, warmest moments. And I'm not ashamed to admit that the very last line of the book brought a tear to my eye.

 

Buy it, read it , love it.

 

Hurry up and write another please Claudia!

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  • 2 weeks later...

9781524796310

 

This is very, very good indeed.  Finally, Captain Phasma has a backstory, and actually features in something!  The main thing I took away from this book was 'why the hell didn't they use her character properly in TFA?'

 

Because Phasma is an absolute Badass with a capital 'B'.  She's incredibly tough, determined, cunning and above everything else - ruthless.  Pretty much Brienne of Tarth meets Darth Vader.  We need to see more of her, and I'm going to repeat that throughout this post.  We also learn a very cool fact about the origins of her unique armour (that she made herself - the Badass). 

 

This book takes a similar direction to Tarkin, in that it's told in flashbacks, but I like how this one was done and it's more sucessful than Tarkin as a result.  A Resistance spy called Vi Moradi is captured by The First Order and brutally interrogated by another high ranking Stormtrooper called Cardinal.  Cardinal desperately needs some information on the highly elusive and cunning Captain Phasma, whose rise up the First Order ranks threatens Cardinal's position.  

 

Vi has spent a lot of time with Siv, a girl who is from the same tribe as Phasma on the harsh, unforgiving planet of Parnassos and through Vi's testimony which makes up 75% of the novel, Cardinal begins to piece together the monster behind the mask, and how she came to join the first order.  

 

The terrain of Parnassos and some of the creatures/tribes on the planet are worth a mention - the planet was mined by the Con Star Mining Corporation who arrived on the planet promising jobs, wealth and prosperity, but instead brought destruction and desolation to the planet.  It's a cool idea .  One section of Phasma's adventure drags on a bit, and is more suited to Gladiator than Star Wars, but it's a minor gripe.  

 

But overall, this is really good is so many ways.  Firstly, some actual information on a supposed key character from the new canon, after we were teased so much before TFA came out and were ultimately left none the wiser except a deep voice and shiny armour.  That backstory makes me all the more excited for more Phasma in TLJ, and hopefully showing just how hard she is.  Also, we learn a lot more about the First Order, their dedication to training very young kids, their insistence that their lives belong entirely to the First Order and also a decent little backstory on General Armitage Hux.  In this way, it follows on nicely from the Aftermath series.

 

I quite liked Vi as well - a very cocky Resistance spy who although doesn't feature all that often, is still quite a rounded character, not a 2D dullard like some other characters I've encountered in the new canon (the ones from Tarkin spring to mind - I can't even remember their names!) and her passages with Cardinal are great.  I don't know why, but I imagined she was the actress who played Vod in Fresh Meat.  It'd be good to see her character return one day.

 

This is definitely worth a read - and I really hope Captain Phasma gets a lot more screen time that shows her true character in TLJ because she's a great character that felt so underused onscreen.  And as a bit of background on The First Order and General Hux, this is useful stuff as well as an entertaining read.

 

Recommended.

 

8/10

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Based on the buzz around it that's the one book that's had me tempted to break my paperbacks-only rule, but I'm staying strong. Glad to hear it's as good as it's made out to be anyway.

 

And Delilah S Dawson is great to follow on Twitter - she comes across as feeling immensely privileged to be contributing to this universe, and is also very candid about her personal life experience which hasn't all been a bed of roses.

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I'm not going to write much about this because I've said it all before about previous instalments in the Marvel Star Wars series. It gets a lot right, especially throwing together still-not-sure-where-he's-heading Luke with seen-it-all-before-but-morally-compromised Aphra, but for me it gets a lot wrong too. I think the story would be better if it was just about Luke and Aphra as protagonists, but Han and Leia come chasing after Luke so what could be a neat side-story becomes yet another adventure for the whole gang. And the adventure itself is promisingly different - completely free of any Imperial entanglements - but for me it just doesn't click properly, and ends up being quite a let down, especially after the excellent Doctor Aphra volume 1 which this follows on from. But as ever, Marvel are nothing if not consistently inconsistent when it comes to Star Wars, so I'm still hoping for good things from the next volume of Aphra proper as well as KG's run at the main Star Wars title. And of course even when the story's not great, the visuals are often superb, and as with many Marvel comics I enjoyed looking at it more than reading it.

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Here's another one for the "unexpectedly good" pile. Where it has been moved to after spending ages on my "to read" pile, which I now regret, because now I've finally read it I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's another "young adult" novel, and I'm starting to think that YA is the sweet spot for pitching SW stories. It certainly works perfectly for this one.

 

The story takes place one year after the creation of the Empire, with Ahsoka in hiding having faked her death and gone off grid in an attempt to avoid any Imperial entanglements*. I never got past series 2 of the Clone Wars so I don't know how that ended, but there are a few flashback interludes that allude to her leaving the Jedi and what happened next. But wherever she goes, Ahsoka can't help making friends and looking out for the little guys, and eventually she realises that she has to choose what to prioritise: her own safety, or that of the ordinary people she meets who are already feeling the tightening grip of the Emperor. It all gallops along and leads to a very satisfying conclusion that ties in with later stories that I won't name and spoil (but which you can probably guess).

 

So perhaps surprisingly, this relatively simple tale about a supporting character from the cartoons is up there on the top table with the rest of my recommended Star Wars reads. It's not quite as good as Lost Stars or Leia, but nor is it far off, and that's praise indeed in my book.

 

Only click this spoiler if you've already read both this and Leia: Princess of Alderaan (which you definitely should) or if you don't mind having bits of them spoiled, in which case I'd be curious to know what your take on this is:

 

 

I was a bit surprised that Ahsoka featured the fledgling Rebellion making a military strike against the Empire, given that in L:PoA (set about 15 years later) they are still building up their forces and debating whether or not to actually use them. At this point it seems like a straightforward continuity error but that seems uncharacteristically sloppy for the Story Group, especially given that the two books must have been written and so going through editorial approval at about the same time. I can rationalise it by saying this was a very small scale skirmish (a few A-wings against a two-bit Imperial outpost in the back of beyond) and that maybe the Empire's response to it (which would take place after the end of the book) was very effective, both in terms of wiping out the immediate and direct threat from the rebels and also making them very wary of trying anything similar again, which is why it takes them so long to eventually build up a significant fleet (in L:PoA) and use it (in Rogue One). Someone somewhere must be planning a "Secret Lives of the Organas" book which spans the Ep III-IV gap and fills in all these holes. Claudia, I'm looking at you!

 

*that's twice in two posts I've quoted that. I must expand my "useful Star Wars phrases" list.

Edited by Darren
Repetition
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Pleased this one got a good review from you as I'm looking forward to reading it.  I got Leia: PoA the other day so I'll be starting that once I've finished my current book.

 

I thought Ahsoka grew into a fantastic character in The Clone Wars - I would DEFINITELY check out what happens to her in that (it's the finale to season 5), as I'm assuming it'll make this book even better.  Her story arc is one of the best things about The Clone Wars. 

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I will eventually watch the rest of the Clone Wars but I think I'm coming to the conclusion that the cartoons just don't really do it for me. We've got all CW and the first three series of Rebels on DVD but in both cases we never seem to muster up the enthusiasm to actually watch them! I sometimes wonder whether it's because of how irritating I find some of the animation, in particular the way a lot of the characters wave their arms around when they talk as if they're hammy Elizabethan actors at the Globe delivering a soliloquy to the back of the stalls.

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I'm another that enjoyed Ahsoka, the story ties in really well with what happens with her in Rebels as well

Spoiler

she sees small cells building up on different planets and then gets to work on training them and help bringing them together and that's exactly what she's doing when she walks into rebels.

 

She's the best thing about clone wars, I love how her story really shows how arrogant and self righteous the Jedi really are and that they probably deserved to be taken down. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh fuck yes, I loved Thrawn :omg:, I wonder what this means for Rebels considering the first book ends right before he comes into season 3 of Rebels and season 4 is the end. 

 

Going too be so cool to see how he interacts with Vader given he's so clever yet almost as clueless about the force as he is politics and also because

 

Thrawn book spoilers

 

Spoiler

Anakin is the reason he left Chiss space and joined the Empire, him and Vader have had very little time together apart from him noticing his confidence and swagger. He'll obviously figure out who Vader is so I'd like to see how that'll play out and hopefully discover what's going on out in the unknown regions with Eli Vanto.

 

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Star_Wars_-_Poe_Dameron_v03_-_Legend_Los

 

This continues to be one of the best series in the whole Marvel Star Wars line up. I won't gush too much but everything I've previously said I liked about the earlier Poe volumes applies equally again: great characterisation, beautiful art, good stories and lots of spaceships flying around shooting at each other. What more could you want from a Star Wars comic? There can't be too much of this series left as the next volume is called "Legend Found" and is about Poe closing in on Lor San Tekka, which I guess will lead directly into the opening of The Force Awakens. So let's enjoy it while it lasts...

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Just in time for tonight's viewing, I've finished this.

 

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I agree with everything @Darrenwrote in his review.  This is absolutely brilliant.

 

Exciting story?  Check

Familiar characters? Check

Ties in well with the films? Check

Good new characters? Check

Well paced? Check

Satisfying ending? Check

 

This is right up there with Lost Stars for me.  I'm really pleased I've read this when I have, because as well as the character due to feature in TLJ as Darren mentioned in his review

Spoiler

(a spoilery aside but Amilyn Holdo is awesome.  She's basically the Star Wars version of Luna Lovegood, and I mean that in a good way)  

there are also a lot of very clever nods to other new canon books.  A bit at the end of this ties this in perfectly to a key part of Bloodlines.  

 

Talking of Bloodlines, I think this book is far more successful because not only does Claudia Gray manage to again capture Leia's character so well (she's also very successful with her depiction of Tarkin who features in this), but I'd argue that it's a much harder part of her life to get right.  But she uses a lot of influences from Lost Stars without it ever feeling out of place.

 

Claudia Gray takes Leia on an emotional yet hugely significant and important journey in Princess of Alderaan.  As you might expect from the title, and to mangle a couple of corny lines from the Star Wars films, it's tinged with sadness but also with hope.  

 

It's a superb inclusion to the new canon and is an essential read.

 

9/10

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21 minutes ago, Darren said:

Brilliant, isn't it?

 

I don't think I noticed the Bloodlines link, or I've forgotten it - spoiler me up!

 

Might just be my overactive imagination, but

 

Spoiler

Is the memory box she gives to Bail for safe keeping at the end of PoA not the same box Lady Carise finds and learns the truth about her parentage during Bloodline?

 

I assume Bail recorded the message unveiling the truth and put it inside the box ready for Leia to discover when the time was right?

 

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