Review: Star Wars #26

This is, obviously, the much talked about Yoda arc with just a dash of the fall out from the Rebels’ theft of a Star Destroyer thrown in. I’m rather torn, by the way, about how I feel about the use of Obi-Wan’s journal as an excuse to do stories like this. On the one hand, it feels unnecessary and Marvel could very easily get away with just going for it with these stories when they want to. On the other hand, Threepio’s inability to shut up at the start is downright hilarious and Artoo’s devotion to his friend is so sweet. You win some, you lose some?

We haven’t really touched on the Yoda aspect though. His introduction here is neat but I’m still hesitant to see how the meat of the story arc goes. The concept of a planet full of children is uhhhh strange to say the least. However, et me emphasize how glad I am that Marvel found a way to keep Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado in the Star Wars family for a little while longer because daaaaaaaang do they draw a good Yoda! This is such a good artist/colorist team up that I’ve loved for years and I’d honestly love to see them just art their way through the galaxy far, far away.

Also, if Jason Aaron ever wants to write a Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan series, please let him. His Qui-Gon was so perfect that I could actually hear Liam Neeson’s voice in my head while reading some of his lines.

In short, there’s nothing to necessarily dislike here. It’s just a matter of seeing how the rest of the arc goes.

Star Wars #26: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Wayfarer

After reading Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger/Wayfarer series, I do believe that duologies may be my favorite.  The first book draws you in and leaves you wanting more of the world and the story and then the second book delivers without making things feel too drawn out.  Wayfarer is a highly enjoyable sequel that not only delivers on the promise of this family conflict across thousands of years and every continent but also takes the story in an unexpected direction and adds in new elements to keep the world feeling fresh.

At the heart of the story are Etta and Nicholas.  When last we left our heroes, they were separated thanks to a massive shift in the timeline.  Etta’s a very likable heroine who has been thrust into a fairly awful situation by a mother who’s not exactly in the running for Parent of the Year while Nicholas is such a solidly good person despite life having dealt him a fairly crappy hand of cards.  Bracken both fleshes out her existing cast and expands it in delightfully diverse ways.  The two standouts in this book include new character Li Min and previous antagonist Sophia who not only looks pretty badass now but gets a rather excellent character arc.  (Who isn’t a sucker for a well-executed ‘bad guy turned reluctant good guy ally’ plot line?)  The more I think about Sophia, the more I like her which is impressive given how much I disliked her at the start of Passenger.  That’s another great thing about Bracken’s writing: all of her female characters are distinct and don’t fill any sort of stereotypical role that feels obligatory or like they’re there just to check a box.  (Of course, one would expect nothing less from an author who wrote such a great Princess Leia.)

The entire conceit of Wayfarer allows Bracken to dive into a plethora of locations, time periods, and alternate timelines that keep everything exciting and new especially since I suspect that the vast majority of the readers aren’t familiar with all of the times/locations.  I usually try to avoid spoilers but early 20th century Russian history fans are in for a treat.  It would be wonderful to see more authors take a note from this duology and branch a little further away from the Western norm.  It’s also worth noting that the rules for time travel are kept consistent and logical; something not always easily done.

Most importantly though, Wayfarer’s ending is satisfying and poignant and not depressing; something that I suspect a lot of people in this world could use right now.  That’s not to say that the series hasn’t had its share of sad and tragic moments but the books left me feeling happy and content.  These are books that I would happily recommend to my younger cousins in middle and high school and also to my like-aged friends in their 20s and 30s.  There’s a little something for everyone here in these books and I could happily read more stories about the warring families if Alex Bracken ever chooses to write them.

Like Passenger before it, Wayfarer gets a strong recommendation.  If you’d like to immerse yourself in a fun fantastical world that’s rich in history and filled with excellent characters, both books are well-worth your time.

Thank you to Hyperion for providing an advanced copy of this book for review purposes.

Ace Space Episode 2: ACEttack of the Pokés

ace-space-v2

Play
 Download

Welcome to Ace Space, a podcast about being ace and loving space! For our Episode 2 we talk about some experiences relayed to us by ANONYMOUS LISTENER X and discuss alienation, validity, and changing identities. We also chat about Pokemon (because we want to be the very best, like no one ever was) and read your listener responses to last time’s question about your ace and/or aro headcanons. Also: another drink recommendation from a listener, because you folks are the best.
 
Do you have any thoughts on the Ramona Blue controversy and/or of portraying changing identities in fiction? Do you have a favorite Pokemon region or type or character or whatever? Do you know a delicious drink that we simply must taste? Let us know in the comments below or on our twitter, @AceSpacePod!
 
Links:
 
Mentioned book: Ramona Blue
 
The intro music is ‘Goodbye Moon’ by the esteemed Marian Call and the outro music is ‘Stars’ by the excellent Seth Boyer.

You can find Sho on Twitter with the handle @ryorin and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes/Google Play! You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio master podcast feed  (iTunes/Google Play) for even more great Star Wars  and geek culture content. 

Western Reaches #20

western reaches header

Play
 Download

This episode we talk Star Wars novels, robots, Titanfall 2 and mobile games, with our main topic discussing Rogue One and whether or not it’s the Halo: Reach of Star Wars.
 
Games: 
  • Titanfall 2
  • Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise
  • Indefinite
  • Mini Metro
Books: 
  • Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places – Colin Dickey
  • The Three-Body Problem – Liu Cixin
  • Singer from the Sea – Sheri S. Tepper
  • Rogue One – Alex Freed
  • Catalyst – James Luceno
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep – Philip K. Dick
  • Barren Cove – Ariel Winter
You can find Megan on Twitter with the handle @blogfullofwords and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin. Be sure to subscribe to Western Reaches on iTunes/Google Play and subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed for more great shows, discussion, and commentary. This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (audiobook novelization)

Film novelizations are, in their own way, just as tricky a needle to thread as film adaptations of novels. You’re taking someone else’s words and ideas, meant for one medium, and transposing them to another, hopefully doing them justice while at the same time adjusting and adapting them to fit the new medium. At their best, film novelizations can open up the world of the movie considerably, adding more scenes and characters and background information which couldn’t possibly be crammed into a two or even three-hour movie. At their worst, they’re a limp, lifeless transposition of the screenplay, lacking any of the energy or vitality which made the film entertaining. The Vonda N. McIntyre novelizations of Star Trek 2 – 4, or Peter David’s adaptation of The Rocketeer, are examples of the former; the Alan Dean Foster adaptation of The Force Awakens, the latter.

So where does Rogue One’s novelization fall? Somewhere in between. It doesn’t wildly expand the scope of the film, but it fills in just enough gaps in characterization and plot to make it, I’m shocked to report, the first novelization I’ve ever read that I enjoyed more than the film it was based on. Continue reading

Review: Rogue One (Novelization)

There’s no way anyone can prove that I sat on my couch, clutching my ‘This is Fine’ Dog to me as I read the last few chapters of Rogue One. That would be ridiculous if I’d done that. Absolutely… okay, fine. I did.

Novelizations can be so hit or miss that it’s often tempting to skip them all together. After all, you saw the movie, right? For the most part, they tend to be fine but nothing to write home about. Star Wars, however, has already been blessed with the absolute gem that is Matthew Stover’s Revenge of the Sith. It’s a very high bar to meet and while Rogue One doesn’t quite meet it, it comes pretty damn close.

Alexander Freed’s novelization works so harmoniously with Garth Edward’s film that they feel like two halves of a whole. Where as the movie can revel in the action and magnificent space battles, the book allows readers into the characters’ heads and to get to know them far more intimately than before. I have no doubt that the film will have even more of an emotional impact the next time I see it. Continue reading

Review: Doctor Aphra #2

You just knew when Aphra’s dad showed up that it wasn’t going to be for fun and games.  They hardly seem to be a warm and fuzzy family, Boop or no Boop.  It turns out that questionable ethics run in the family as Aphra’s Dad has decided to leak to the archaeology board that she cheated on her doctorate entirely because he wants her to help him find the Ordu Aspectu.  What happened to them?  Well… let’s just say that everyone has their own theory and it’s going to take them to a very unexpected moon.

Doctor Aphra #2 follows up on the fun and adventure of the first issue but this time with more family problems!  (Honestly, who doesn’t have family drama in the galaxy far, far away?)  This book is definitely a tonal shift from Darth Vader which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s just taking a little getting used to especially since we’re finally seeing Aphra deal with her own problems as opposed to Vader’s.  Seeing a female character be the star of her own story entirely on her own merits (and not because of who she’s related to) is incredibly refreshing as is seeing a smaller scale story that doesn’t have galactic ramifications.

This is hardly news but Kieron Gillen definitely knows how to end a comic on a cliffhanger that’s going to leave you incredibly anxious for the next issue.  Can we have Issue #3 yet?  No?  On the art front, I’m getting more and more used to seeing our cast drawn by Kev Walker instead of Salvador Larroca.  His style is incredibly expressive which works quite well for the arguments between father and daughter.

So how is Doctor Aphra holding up?  Pretty darn good so far.  You should definitely be reading it!

Doctor Aphra #2: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Knights of the Old Replay: Demon and War

How to make yourself finally commit to going through all the omnibuses of a comic you’ve really wanted to read: do a project! I’m glad that I finally went through these because it was definitely a treat! But hey… there are two more story arcs to talk about!

Demon
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

A lot happens in this arc. Like… A LOT. Or rather… maybe it would be more appropriate to say that we learn about a hell of a lot in this arc. Demon, despite not being the actual last arc in these omnibuses, was the last arc in the original KOTOR comic run which lasted 50 issues. If you know comics, you know that’s a solidly respectable run especially for something that’s not creator owned.

All of this, however, is beside the point. It turns out that Rohlan has actually been Demagol since Flashpoint and Demagol is actually Antos Wyrick (aka one of the teachers at the school Jarael attended before she was captured) and the REAL Rohlan has been in a coma in the custody of the Republic who believe that he’s Demagol. Everyone still with me? Good because there were a few minutes while reading where even I got lost. I knew there wasn’t something quite right about Rohlan though! I just knew it. He was too creepy even amongst the other creepy men in Jarael’s life. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, DARTH SQUIGGLYPANTS.) Continue reading