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Star Wars Reviews

Star Wars Reviews

The following are all of the Star Wars-related reviews which have appeared on the Lincoln City Libraries’ BookGuide readers resources pages since 2004.

Phasma
by Delilah Dawson

Phasma is a novel that gives us a glimpse behind the chrome armor of the First Order’s most iconic stormtrooper. Told in the bowels of a First Order Star Destroyer, a dedicated First Order officer interrogates a Resistance spy to learn the secrets necessary to bring down his rival: Captain Phasma. This “friend of a friend” narrative is interesting. But, the novel could have benefited from a third-person narrative that would provide more insight into the characters. The story does bog down a bit in the middle. But, overall the story is well-written and enjoyable. Vi Mondi, the Resistance spy, and Cardinal, the First Order officer, are pretty standard characters, but still fun and interesting. Overall, the presentation may be a bit flawed, but the story of Phasma’s origins are cool to learn about. I consider this a worthwhile read for any Star Wars fan.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Force Awakens, by Alan Dean Foster, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray, Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig, Aftermath: Life Debt, by Chuck Wendig or Aftermath: Empire’s End, also by Chuck Wendig] [ Wikipedia Star Wars Books page ] | [ official Delilah Dawson web site ]

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Reviewed in November 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
by Christie Golden

Novel tie-in’s to video games tend to be a mixed bag. Fortunately Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden is a pleasant exception. “Inferno Squad” centers around Iden Versio, an ace Imperial pilot, a decorated officer and one of the few survivors of the Death Star’s destruction. Iden is recruited into Inferno Squad, a small group of Imperial elite tasked with countering the threat posed by the Empire’s enemies. Inferno Squad is tasked with infiltrating and eliminating the Dreamers, remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans and devoted to destroying the Empire by any and all means. “Inferno Squad” is a well-paced, character-driven story in which no one is completely heroic nor truly villainous. The ending is a bit abrupt and a touch clunky. It is also a touch frustrating that to find out the rest of Inferno Squad’s story will require purchasing and playing the video game (or at least waiting for Wookieepedia to summarize the plot and story). However, knowledge of other Star Wars books or video games is not required to enjoy “Inferno Squad.” Those who have seen “Rogue One” and “A New Hope” will have all the background needed to understand the novel’s context. Fans of the “Clone Wars” cartoon will get a bit more enjoyment from the book as it reference’s events that took place in the series. Overall, I would recommend this book to just about any Star Wars fan.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dark Disciple, by Christie Golden, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Alexander Freed, Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis, or Battlefront: Twilight Company, by Alexander Freed.] [ official Battlefront II: Inferno Squad page on Wookiepedia ] | [ Christie Golden page on Wikipedia — her own website appears to be off-line ]

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Reviewed in October 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


formatdvdStar Wars: Rogue One
[DVD Rogue]

Rogue One felt like a sci-fi war film without all the Star Wars strings attached which can give you the feeling you should watch the original movies and prequels to understand and enjoy the show. The main character is Jyn Erso whose father helped engineer the Death Star. The Empire basically forces him to work on it even after he tried to escape with his family and live a peaceful life. When the Empire arrives at his door he sends Jyn to a secret hiding spot while he gets kidnapped and his wife is killed. Sometime after a family friend comes to collect Jyn and raises her. The movie then moves forward in time to Jyn as an adult and we watch her, with some new friends, go help her dad escape and steal the plans for the Death Star. It doesn’t exactly have a happy ending and I kind of like it that way. Sometimes happy endings seem like they happen all the time and we expect all the main characters to be there at the end, even if it seems unlikely. Personally I liked this one better than The Force Awakens, simply because I think I’d re-watch this and haven’t watched Force Awakens since I saw in the theater. If you are looking for a standalone action sci-fi, this would be a good one, but it does fit into the larger Star Wars Saga so it can be enjoyed as part of a whole too, if you want it to.

[Also available in traditional print format.] [ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official Rogue One web site ]

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Reviewed in September 2017 by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library


Rebel Rising
by Beth Revis [YA Revis]

Rebel Rising is the story of Jyn Erso and what happened to her after her parents were taken from her. The story is told from Jyn’s point of view and details her growth from traumatized child to fanatical teen soldier and finally bitter, disillusioned adult. The story also gives us some more insight into Saw Gerrera and how he becomes the paranoid, ruthless warrior we meet in “Rogue One”. “Rebel Rising” is a good book overall. It does drag in some places and the ending is hindered that Jyn Erso’s character arc is incomplete by the end of the book. I would recommend the book as worthwhile, though not essential, read for older Star Wars fans.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One novel, by James Luceno, Guardians of the Whills, by Greg Rucka or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Alexander Freed.] [ Rebel Rising page on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Beth Revis web site ]

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Reviewed in July 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Guardians of the Whills
by Greg Rucka

Guardians of the Whills is a fun story that gives us a little more insight into Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe before they meet up with Jyn Erso in “Rogue One”. While opposites in just about every way, including their taste in tea, Baze and Chirrut are close friends who value and care about each other. Though the Empire has taken over the Kyber Temple, both are committed to helping the downtrodden citizens of Jedha, especially the orphans created by the Empire’s brutality. As they become unsure of how they can continue to help those in need, they meet up with someone who appears to be the answer to their problems. Saw Gerrera and his partisans have come to Jedha to organize the various resistance groups and strike back against the Empire. Saw promises to share his resources to help the orphans in return for Baze and Chirrut joining his partisans. Though initially a great help, Saw and his partisans soon escalate the battle into an never ending cycle of resistance and reprisal. Baze and Chirrut are left to decide if working with Saw is worth the cost and what they will do if it isn’t. “Guardians of the Whills” is a fun, straightforward story that moves at a brisk pace. It packs lots of action with some basic insights into the characters.

One of the more fun things about the book is including various quotes about the Force at the beginning of each chapter. It’s not an essential read, but most Star Wars fans of all ages will enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno, Rebel Rising, by Beth Revis, or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, by Alexander Freed.] [ Guardians of the Whills (Novel) page on Wookiepedia ] | [ official Greg Rucka web site ]

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Reviewed in July 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Thrawn
by Timothy Zahn [Zahn]

It’s a rare opportunity to get a second chance to make a first impression. Timothy Zahn gets just this chance with the re-introduction of a fan favorite character into the “New Continuity” with “Thrawn”. Already a talented writer, Zahn has really upped his game with his latest novel. A nagging element (to me at least), in his “Old Continuity” novels was his habit of having so many of his characters comment about what an awesome guy Thrawn is and how things would have been better with him in charge. In “Thrawn”, Zahn simply lets his titular character be impressive without feeling the need to have other characters comment about how impressive he is. In fact, this new version of Thrawn is a much more interesting character. While he is as supremely gifted and talented as always, he does have a few flaws (most noticeable is a blind spot when it comes to the nuances of Imperial politics) and is more nuanced in his motivations.

In addition to the titular character “Thrawn” also tells the story of Eli Vanto, an Imperial cadet from a remote world training to be a supply officer. His knowledge of an obscure trade language results in his career becoming linked to Thrawn’s. Another featured character is Arihnda Pryde, whom fans of “Star Wars: Rebels” will know as Governor Pryce of Lothal. The book features her rise to power and provides some insight into how and why she becomes a ruthless Imperial official. “Thrawn” is not quite a must-read novel. However, fans of Star Wars, especially those of “Star Wars: Rebels” will get a lot of enjoyment of this well-paced page turner.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin, by James Luceno, A New Dawn, by John Jackson Miller or Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, by James Luceno] [ Wikipedia page for this novel — with links to Zahn’s previous books about Thrawn ] | [ Wikipedia page for Timothy Zahn ]

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Reviewed in May 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End
by Chuck Wendig [Wendig]

The 3rd part of the “Aftermath” trilogy tells the story of the pivotal Battle of Jakku. There’s a fun mix of political intrigue, space battles, drama, humor and much more. “Empire’s End” lacks the “wow” factor of “Life Debt”. It is still a well-told story that keeps the reader interested. The interludes that Wendig uses are a mixed bag. Some are sort of neat, like an Interlude featuring a rather polarizing character from the Prequel Trilogy. Others are interesting, but don’t seem to really tie in with the story. If they end up being teasers for upcoming books, then this will be pretty cool. Otherwise, it is a bit of distraction from what is otherwise a fun story with lots of well-developed characters that are easy to care about.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Wars: Aftermath, and Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt, both also by Chuck Wendig] [ publisher’s official Empire’s End web site ] | [ official Chuck Wendig web site ]

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Reviewed in April 2017 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Shockaholic
by Carrie Fisher [Compact Disc Biography Fisher]

As with “Wishful Drinking” by Fisher, I opted to listen to the audiobook, since she reads it herself. I think Carrie Fisher was absolutely brilliant, and this book is further proof of that. It’s amazing to me, only two months after her death, that this book was published in 2011…. if only because she mentions her upcoming death at least twice in this book. It was a bit eerie.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed this book. Carrie Fisher was a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is woman who sounds like she took no crap from anyone, except herself, of course. She was a tortured soul, but it seemed like she was really coming to terms with things and getting her life in order. This was, of course, before the 7th episode of the Star Wars saga…

What I appreciated most, perhaps, about this book was the talking she did of other famous people that she knew–specifically, Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, and her father (Eddie Fisher), among others.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Wishful Drinking, by Carrie Fisher, As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes, or But Enough About Me: A Memoir, by Burt Reynolds, all read by their authors as audiobooks.] [ official CarrieFisher.com web site ]

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Reviewed in March 2017 by Tracy T.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Also reviewed by Scott C. in April 2013 — see review chronologically below…


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
by Alexander Freed

Novelizations of movies are often something of a mixed bag. Happily, Rogue One is a well-done novelization. My recommendation would be to read James Luceno’s novel Catalyst to have a good background for watching the movie “Rogue One”. After seeing the movie, read this novel. It does a good job of detailing things that one may have missed when watching the movie. Overall, this is a solid, well-paced book that can stand on its own; but it’s better enjoyed as part of the overall Star Wars story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel and Tarkin, both by James Luceno.)

( publisher’s fficial Rogue One novelization web page ) | ( official Alexander Freed web site )

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Reviewed in February by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


formatCDbook2princessdiaristcdThe Princess Diarist
by Carrie Fisher [Biography Fisher]

Following the unexpected and saddening loss of actress, author and activist Carrie Fisher at the end of 2016, I eagerly sought out her final autobiographical book, The Princess Diarist, which came out just months before her death. I was a huge fan of her two previous autobiographies — Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic — particularly in audiobook form, read by the actress herself. She’s had a wild and crazy life, filled both with international fame and with drug addiction, mental illness and an immense number of personal neuroses. Her previous introspective works covered her entire life, with her work on Star Wars being an important element, but not necessarily the primary focus.

With The Princess Diarist, Fisher tackles her experiences in “A Galaxy Far, Far Away…” more directly. Since repeating her role as Princess (now General) Leia Organa in 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Fisher uncovered a set of personal journals she kept during the 1976 filming of the original 1977 Star Wars (now called Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope). For The Princess Diarist, Fisher spends about 70% of the book reminiscing about the casting and filming of Star Wars: A New Hope, with liberal references to the other Star Wars films in which she has appeared. The other 30% is her sharing the actual content of her original 1976 journals. The biggest revelation in The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s admitting that she (19 at the time) and Harrison Ford (34 at the time) had an ongoing physical relationship during the filming of the first movie. Her journal entries at that time are filled with self-doubt, confusion, free-floating anxiety, and occasionally witty poetry.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with The Princess Diarist. As a long-standing Star Wars fan, I was hoping for insight into her time filming the saga. But a large portion of this book turns into a bogged-down soap opera of relationships that should never have happened. This is an enjoyable book, in the end, but if you find the concept of a sexual relationship between movie co-stars with a 15-year age difference to be a little skeevy, you may want to avoid this one. Having specifically enjoyed Fisher’s own narration of her previous books, I ended up buying this one as a book-on-CD (a format the library does NOT currently only, although The Princess Diarist is available as a downloadable audiobook). Fisher narrates the “contemporary” parts of the book, while her daughter, Billie Lourd narrates the section reproducing Carrie’s 1976 journal. It was an emotional journey to listen to Carrie share her story, in her own voice, less than two weeks after her death.

[If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Wishful Drinking, or Shockaholic, both by Carrie Fisher, preferably in the audiobook format!] [ publisher’s official The Princess Diarist web site ] | [ official Carrie Fisher web site ]

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Reviewed in January 2017 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


catalystCatalyst: A Rogue One Novel
by James Luceno

Catalyst serves as a tie-in to the latest “Star Wars” novel. It also serves as the new “canon” story of how the Death Star was constructed and who was responsible. Catalyst is an engaging character-driven story that is light on action and more focused on drama and intrigue. The plot centers around the efforts of Galen Erso, an apolitical, pacifistic, extraordinary genius intellect who sees the galaxy around him in ways no one else can (which leaves him often unable to connect to or relate with others) to unlock the mystery of kyber crystals, once solely the province of the Jedi Order, as a means to create an inexpensive and inexhaustible source of energy. Galen’s work places him in the center of several political intrigues; many of which are orchestrated by his friend, Orson Krennic, an ambitious, pragmatically ruthless engineer possessed of uncanny insight into other people and a cunning ability to manipulate others,to provide the power source needed to fuel the most devastating superweapon the galaxy has ever seen: the Death Star. Catalyst is not an absolute must-read, though it will give some added insight into the story and characters of “Rogue One”. It’s also a well-crafted engaging read that most fans of Star Wars will enjoy.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Lords of the Sith, by Paul S. Kemp, and Tarkin, by James Luceno)

( Wikipedia chronology of Star Wars books ) | ( Wikipedia article on James Luceno )

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Reviewed in December 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


ahsokajohnstonAhsoka
by E.K. Johnston

Ahsoka takes place shortly after the end of the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire. Ahsoka Tano, former Padawan of Anakin Skywalker, is trying to find her way on the Outer Rim while avoiding the Empire’s interest in surviving Jedi. Despite her efforts, Ahsoka finds herself drawn into standing against the Empire when a small community of farmers on an isolated moon find themselves being brutally exploited by an opportunistic bureaucrat. Her actions have larger ramifications as Ahsoka must find a new path forward if she and those she would protect are to survive. “Ahsoka” is a largely by-the-numbers story of the reluctant hero drawn back into standing against villainy. Still, it is a well-paced enjoyable read for any fan of Star Wars. Fans of the “Clone Wars” and “Rebels” television series will enjoy this book the most.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try A New Dawn, by John Jackson Miller or Lost Stars, by Claudia Gray.)

( Disney Lucasfilm Press’ official Ahsoka web page ) | ( official E.K. Johnston web site )

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Reviewed in November 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


formatdvdtheforceawakensdvdStar Wars – The Force Awakens
[DVD Star]

With how big the franchise is I don’t feel it necessary to introduce this much. Personally I was not too excited to see it when it came out, but I went with family anyway because they wanted to see it. As I watched it I got more into it and ended up really enjoying it. I’d watched the three original movies before, just because I felt like the only person who had not seen them. Despite the fact that they are such classics, I just didn’t get into them or connect with any of the characters. ‘The Force Awakens’ was different for me. Not only was there plenty of action and adventure, but it was a bit mysterious too as it ends with unanswered questions. I really liked BB8 because it’s funny and cute; I also kind of felt sorry for him because he’s being hunted. Rey’s character was interesting because so much of her past is unknown to the viewers and the character, but I also liked how she and Finn worked as a team. As I said I really liked this movie even though I didn’t care much for the previous ones, but I would still recommend you watch them before you see this one (if you haven’t already), so you aren’t as confused as to who is who.

(If you might also like the Witchblade graphic novel series, available on Hoopla. It’s also a sci-fi starring a strong female protagonist with a special power, although it is set on Earth in modern times.)

(Also available in traditional print format.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Star Wars: The Force Awakens web site )

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Reviewed in September 2016 by Kristen A.
Gere Branch Library


aftermathlifedebtAftermath: Life Debt
by Chuck Wendig

Aftermath: Life Debt is the sequel to Aftermath and it fulfills all the promise shown in its predecessor. Wendig’s first Star Wars novel suffered a bit from needing to set up characters and events to come later. His second novel delivers big-time as he builds upon the new characters he introduced. Existing Star Wars characters such as Han Solo, Chewbacca and Leia play prominent roles in the story as well. Wendig does a masterful job in bringing old and new characters together and making them all feel authentic. The plot centers around Han Solo and Chewbacca going missing and Leia recruiting the new characters (who have joined together as unit tasked with capturing Imperial fugitives) to find him. The plot rapidly expands as we see the beginning of events that form the backdrop in “The Force Awakens” as well as leading up to the Battle of Jakku; a pivotal event in the new Star Wars canon. Readers will need to have read “Aftermath” to fully enjoy “Aftermath: Life Debt”. I would rank it just a bit behind Claudia Gray’s “Bloodline” as the best novel of the new Star Wars canon. Star Wars fans looking to find out what happened between “Return of the Jedi” and “The Force Awakens” will get a lot of enjoyment from this novel.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig, Bloodline, by Claudia Gray or Lost Stars, also by Claudia Gray.)

( publisher’s official Aftermath: Life Debt web page ) | ( official Chuck Wendig web site )

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Reviewed in August 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


starwarspaneltotpanelStar Wars: Panel to Panel: From the Pages of Dark Horse Comics to a Galaxy, Far, Far Away
by Randy Standley [YA jPB Standley]

This is a marvelous look at the heroes, villains, alien races, exotic planets, intriguing spaceships and fascinating technology of the Star Wars universe, specifically as seen in the numerous Star Wars comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. Considered to be part of the “Expanded Universe” of Star Wars storytelling, whose continuity was jettisoned when the new Star Wars movies (beginning with The Force Awakens) started being produced by the Disney studio, Dark Horse Comics’ Star Wars entries provided a vibrant and exciting “new” look at both established characters (Han, Luke, Leia, Darth, etc.) and all-new characters in the Star Wars universe. This book’s content features the artistic work of dozens of excellent artists, inkers and letterers. Even if the stories being referenced in this volume are no longer part of an established and approved continuity, if you are a fan of either Star Wars or comic books, this book is still highly recommended!

( publisher’s official Star Wars: Panel to Panel web site )

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Reviewed in July 2016 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


bloodlineBloodline
by Claudia Gray

Leia Organa has been an underdeveloped character in many Star Wars novels. “Bloodlines” remedies this in a big way. The story focuses on Leia, once again a Senator. The New Republic Senate has become ineffectual. Senators are polarized into two hyper-partisan factions that both view any sort of compromise as the worst sort of weakness. The rise of a new crime cartel gives Leia the chance to bridge the gap between the bickering political factions and actually do some good for the galaxy. Along the way she will come face to face with her past. To some new breed of criminals she is revered as “Huttslayer”. To a paramilitary militia hoping to resurrect the Empire, she is a dangerous adversary to be eliminated. And a long lost message from the past forces Leia to confront her legacy as the daughter of Darth Vader. Described as “House of Cards meets Star Wars”, “Bloodlines” deftly mixes political intrigue with action. The book is a very fun read that provides all sorts of wonderful insights into the inner workings of Leia. I hesitate to say that any Star Wars book is a “must read”. However, given the background and insight “Bloodline” provides about Leia and the story that leads to “The Force Awakens”, this is one I would say is a must-read for any Star Wars fan.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Lost Stars, by Claudia Gray, or Aftermath, by Chuck Wendig)

( official Bloodline page on the official Claudia Gray web site )

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Reviewed in June 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


weaponofajediThe Weapon of a Jedi
by Jason Fry [j Fry]

The Weapon of a Jedi takes place between Episodes 4 and 5 of Star Wars. Luke Skywalker, along with C-3P0 and R2-D2, are sent on a scouting mission for the Rebel Alliance. A vision from the Force, along with a run-in with Imperial forces, lead Luke to the planet Devaron. Under the guise of repairing his ship, Luke is drawn to an old ruin declared off-limits by the Empire and avoided by the locals as haunted. Luke is guided to the ruins by a mysterious alien named Sarco Plank, a jaded opportunist with his own agenda. The Force guides Luke past the Imperial sensors to an old Jedi temple where he can learn more about the Force. That is, if Luke can survive Imperial hunters and a merciless foe out for his own gain. Jason Fry has contributed to plenty of Star Wars books before. He is a skilled writer who knows how to write a good story. The Weapon of a Jedi is a worthwhile read for any Star Wars fans. The plot and the villain are underdeveloped. But, it’s still a fun story that most Star Wars fans should enjoy.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci, or Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka)

( official Jason Fry web site )

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Reviewed in April 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


beforetheawakeningStar Wars: Before the Awakening
by Greg Rucka [j Rucka]

Before the Awakening is a trio of short stories about the heroes from “The Force Awakens”. Finn (when he was still FN-2187) is a promising stormtrooper concerned that he doesn’t fit in with his comrades in arms. Rey is a lonely desert scavenger afraid to trust but desperate to belong. Poe Dameron is a hotshot fighter pilot looking for a cause worth fighting for. Before the Awakening is a fun, well-paced book that provides even more depth to some new fan favorites. Any fan of Star Wars, child or adult, will enjoy this book.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci, Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka, or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry)

( Description of Before the Awakening on Wookiepedia ) | ( official Greg Rucka web site )

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Reviewed in April 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


princesssoundrelfarmboyThe Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy: An Original Telling of Star Wars: A New Hope
by Alexandra Bracken [j Bracken]

Alexandra Bracken, of Darkest Minds fame, retells A New Hope in an enjoyable fashion. Though it’s written with younger readers in mind, a good number of older Star Wars fans would enjoy the book as well. Bracken retells A New Hope from the viewpoints of the main characters: the Princess (Leia), the Scoundrel (Han) and the Farm Boy (Luke). Leia is eager, maybe even desperate, to prove that she is more than just a princess. Han is the cynical smuggler who is surprised to find himself motivated by something more than credits. Luke finds himself caught up in something larger than he even could have expected. Along the way, Luke learns that the only one he needs to convince that he is more than just a kid is himself. It’s a nicely paced, well-written fun take on a classic story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try So You Want to Be a Jedi, by Adam Gidwitz or Beware the Power of the Dark Side!, by Tom Angleberger)

( official StarWars.com web site ) | ( official Alexandra Bracken web site )

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Reviewed in March 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


movingtargetMoving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
by Cecil Castelucci and Jason Fry [j Castelucci]

Moving Target is set in the time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The Rebellion has just learned that the Empire is building another Death Star. To give the Rebellion the opportunity to gather their fleet and destroy the Death Star before it becomes operational, Leia suggests a risky diversion using herself as bait. Leia, along with a ragtag band of misfits common to the Rebellion, succeed in getting the Empire’s attention. But, might the harm done to others be too much to bear? Is victory worth any price? “Moving Target” is a good, well-paced short read aimed at younger readers (though more than a few older readers might enjoy it). It’s a Star Wars story that has been told many times before, though it is still a worthwhile read.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Smuggler’s Run, by Greg Rucka or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry)

( official StarWars.com web site ) | ( official Cecil Castelluci and Jason Fry web sites )

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Reviewed in March 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


soyouwanttobeajediSo You Want to Be a Jedi? An Original Telling of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
by Adam Gidwitz [j Gidwitz]

Adam Gidwitz (author of the Grimm series) retells the story of The Empire Strikes Back. Gidwitz likens Star Wars to fairy tales in that it takes old stories and makes them new again. He also believes the hero of a fairy tale is “empty” so that the reader can more readily put themselves in the hero’s place. This is why, according to Gidwitz, Luke Skywalker is perceived as bland when compared to someone like Han Solo. Gidwitz thus places the reader in Luke’s place by referring to Luke as “You” and giving the reader insight into Luke’s thoughts and feelings. The other characters are presented in traditional storytelling manner. Interspersed throughout the story are “Jedi lessons”: basic breathing and meditation exercises along with stories and instruction about viewing the world as a Jedi. It is an interesting and unique way to retell the story. Gidwitz does a pretty god job in carrying it off. However, it does come across as clunky at times and sometimes prevents the story from flowing as well as it could. Overall, it is a good book and worth the time of any Star Wars fans. Younger readers will get the most out of it as will older fans with a sense of humor and willing to read a different style of Star Wars story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken or Beware the Power of the Dark Side!, by Tom Angleberger)

( official StarWars.com web site ) | ( official Adam Gidwitz web site )

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Reviewed in March 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


smugglersrunSmuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
by Greg Rucka [j Rucka]

Smuggler’s Run takes place right after the events of “A New Hope”. Han Solo has his reward for saving Princess Leia and is anxious to get the money to Jabba the Hutt. Unfortunately, things never seem to work out easy for Han Solo. Persuaded/guilted into a mission by Princess Leia and Chewbacca, Han Solo and his faithful Wookiee copilot race against time to rescue a high-level Rebel spy on the run. A relentless and ruthlessly efficient Imperial agent is hot on the Rebel’s tail. If that weren’t bad enough, Han and Chewbacca find themselves dealing with stormtroopers, TIE fighters and a team of bounty hunters looking to collect on the bounty placed by the impatient and vengeful Jabba the Hutt. Along the way, Han starts to believe that maybe there are more important things than just looking out for himself. “Smuggler’s Run” is a short, fast, fun read aimed at younger audiences. Many older Star Wars fans will likely enjoy this book as well. It’s pretty much a by-the-numbers story that’s not terribly inventive. However, it’s true to the characters and a fun story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Moving Target, by Cecil Castelluci or The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry)

( official StarWars.com web site ) | ( official Greg Rucka web site )

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Reviewed in March 2016 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


theforceawakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens (novelization)
by Alan Dean Foster

The novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fun read. There are some slight discrepancies between the book and the movie that are likely the result of Alan Dean Foster writing from a earlier draft of the script than what made it to the big screen. It could also be a preview of some potential deleted scenes that might be on the dvd/blu-ray that comes out later this year. The book moves at a good pace and Foster does a nice job translating the characters from movie to print. We also get a few insights into what is going on in the character’s heads during pivotal moments. The ending is rather rushed and unfortunately clunky. Overall the book is a fun read for any Star Wars fan. I would recommend seeing the movie before reading the book for best enjoyment of both.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Wars Trilogy, by Donald F. Glut, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, by Terry Brooks, Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, by R.A. Salvatore and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover.)

( publisher’s official The Force Awakens book web page] | ( official Alan Dean Foster web site )

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Recommended by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


formatdvdStar Wars IV: A New Hopestarwarsanewhopedvd
[DVD Star]

With Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens opening a brand-new chapter in the history of the Star Wars universe this month, I can’t help but look back at the original film that started it all on May 25, 1977. Simply entitled Star Wars (the subtitle IV: A New Hope didn’t get tacked on until many years later), it was described as the first entry in what was going to be a nine-film saga called The Adventures of Luke Skywalker. By the time the prequel trilogy had completed, the series looked more like the adventures of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, but who’s quibbling? Constructed with many of the same types of elements as the old serialized pulp thrillers, mashed up with the Flash Gordon whiz bang sci-fi elements, this tale of a young farm boy with a special gift, who leads the scrappy underdog rebels in a fight against the monolithic Empire, was groundbreaking movie-making at its best. Star Wars, and Jaws a few years before it, established the benchmark for summer blockbuster films — thrills, adventures, battles between good guys and bad. Little could anyone have guessed how much influence it would ultimately have on the movie-making industry or on pop-culture. But here we are, 38 years later, and several generations of film fans later — the original’s fans are taking their grandkids to the premiere of the 7th film in the franchise, now owned by the Walt Disney Company.

In my opinion, the original has held up very well, even 38 years later. Director George Lucas has tinkered with it — several times — over the years, releasing “Special Editions” with updated or expanded special effects, and/or changed content in scenes — despite what he did, I’ll always hold the opinion that “Han shot first”! But, whether you judge the film on the original theatrically released version or any of the tweaked versions which have followed in the decades since, the story still holds together well. The performances are brash, enthusiastic, or dignified and serious. The special effects were astonishing in their day and still look great, despite the intervening years. All in all, this is STILL the Star Wars movie I would show to anyone if I had to limit them to a single film in the series! May the Force be With You…Always!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try all the other films in the extensive Star Wars series.)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this film ) | ( official Star Wars franchise web site )

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Reviewed in December 2015 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Star Wars – Original Motion Picture SoundtracksformatCDmusic2starwarssoundtracks4to6cd
composed by John Williams [Compact Disc 782.14 Sta]

I grew up on the original trilogy of Star Wars films — they premiered, respectively, when I was 14, 17 and 20 years old. John Williams was one of the first composers whose soundtrack work I fell in love with, and whose soundtracks I would go on to collect in the intervening years. In the days before Compact Discs, I bought all three of the LP albums (each was two discs) for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi, and listened to them over and over and over. In fact, I probably wore out the grooves on my copy of The Empire Strikes Back, I played it so much. One of my favorite elements of my CD collection is my mid-1990s Star Wars: The Original Soundtrack Anthology — a longbox containing four discs and a marvelous book of liner notes for how the music was created for all three of the original films in the trilogy

In the years since those three films originally came out, those soundtracks have been re-released and repackaged several times, including a Sony Music re-release of all the Star Wars film soundtracks in 2004 that added considerable previously-unreleased music. It is these 2004 soundtracks that the library has, for each of the original trilogy of Star Wars films, and also for some of the “prequel trilogy” as well. The sound quality has been sharpened for all of these 2004 releases, and although the liner notes are not as extensive as for some of the other releases, if you simply want to relive the film experience by re-listening to the orchestral scores, you can’t go wrong with these copies. The only thing missing from the 2004 releases are the final two tracks from the original Return of the Jedi soundtrack — those two tracks were replaced with all-new music in “Special Edition” re-edited re-releases of the films, and the 2004 soundtracks opt to only include the newer tracks.

Williams’ music is just as iconic as the films have become. “The Imperial March” (a.k.a. “Darth Vader’s Theme”) is one of the most recognizable musical riffs for dramatic menace that exists — you hear it at sporting events and numerous other social environments, and how many of us use it as a cellphone ringtone for somebody? “Princess Leia’s Theme”, “The Death of Ben Kenobi”, “Yoda’s Theme”, “Cantina Band” and the unforgettable “Star Wars Main Theme” are embedded in the popular consciousness. As Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens opens this month, John Williams returns to provide yet another Star Wars score. Take this opportunity to revisit some of his most iconic music from the past!

( Wikipedia page for The Music of Star Wars ) | ( Wikipedia page for John Williams )

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Reviewed in December 2015 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


Beware the Power of the Dark Side!bewarethepowerofthedarkside
by Tom Angleberger [j Angleberger]

Tom Angleberger, longtime Star Wars fan and creative force behind the “Origami Yoda” series, pens a well-crafted retelling of “Return of the Jedi”. Though it’s primarily written for kids, any adult that is still in touch with the inner child will enjoy the story as well. Even those, like myself, who are very familiar with “Return of the Jedi” will find Angleberger’s take a delight to read. The author uses a whimsical narrative and humorous footnotes to give the reader some entertaining (though potentially non-canon) insights of minor characters in “Return of the Jedi”. Any Star Wars fan with a sense of humor will find “Beware the Power of the Dark Side!” an entertaining and worthwhile read.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, also by Angleberger.)

( official Tom Angleberger web site )

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Reviewed in December 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Lost Starsloststars
by Claudia Gray [YA Gray]

A surprisingly good novel with appeal for a wide range of readers. Anyone from middle school to adult who has seen any Star Wars movie will find something to enjoy about this novel. It’s part romance, part coming-of-age story and part space opera. It features a pair of quintessential star-crossed lovers, a very engaging story and several cameos from some familiar Star Wars characters. Both casual and devoted Star Wars fans will enjoy this one.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.)

( official Claudia Gray web site )

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Reviewed in December 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Aftermathaftermath
by Chuck Wendig

The first Star Wars “new continuity” title set after “Return of the Jedi” is something of a mixed bag. There is a fun story featuring some new characters that gives us a feel for the universe after the Battle of Endor. Fan favorite and classic Star Wars characters only show up as cameos or background characters. The main story is interrupted by a variety of interludes that seem like they are setting up for future stories. If one accepts Aftermath for what it is, a set-up for future Star Wars novels, it is a fun read. Others may likely feel unsatisfied with Aftermath on its own.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp, Tarkin by James Luceno or A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller.)

( Aftermath entry in Wookiepedia ) | ( official Chuck Wendig web site )

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Reviewed in November 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


darkdiscipleDark Disciple
by Christie Golden

Based upon would-be episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Dark Disciple is best described by Katie Lucas in the foreword as “a story of redemption; a story of how people can be unbelievably broken, and yet find a way to rebuild despite the odds.” Fans of the Clone Wars series will get the most of out it. However, any fan of Star Wars will enjoy this book.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, Lords of the Sith by Paul Kemp, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Tarkin by James Luceno.)

( Star Wars Books on Wookiepedia ) | ( official Christie Golden web site )

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Reviewed in August 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


Lords of the Sithlordsofthesith
by Paul Kemp

One of the best of the “new continuity” Star Wars novels finds the Emperor and Darth Vader on their own against a rebel insurgency. Kemp writes a fast-paced novel that borrows from both the Star Wars movies and the Clone Wars TV series. A rather rushed ending is the only major flaw in what is otherwise one of the better Star Wars novels out there.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin by James Luceno, A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, Darth Plagueis by James Luceno, Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno.)

( official Star Wars books on Wookiepedia web site ) | ( official Paul Kemp web site )

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Reviewed in July 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


heirtothejediHeir to the Jedi
by Kevin Hearne

The first Luke Skywalker adventure of the “new continuity” is a fun story of Luke trying to figure out how to be a Jedi with no one to guide him. A clunky first-person narrative and jarring use of modern vernacular make this a good-not-great book. Overall, a fun read for any Star Wars fan.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Tarkin by James Luceno and Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller)

( Books and Comics on the official Star Wars web site ) | ( official Kevin Hearne web site )

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Reviewed in June 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


swnewdawnStar Wars: A New Dawn
by John Jackson Miller

For fans of the Star Wars: Rebels TV series (or any fans of Star Wars), Star Wars: A New Dawn is the story of how two of the series main characters, Hera and Kanan, met and started working together. It’s a fun, well-paced story that serves as a nice introduction into the new Expanded Universe being crafted by Disney.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller, or Kenobi by John Jackson Miller.)

( The Wookiepedia web site ) | ( official John Jackson Miller web site )

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Reviewed in January 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


tarkinTarkin
by James Luceno

This book serves as something of a “reboot” of one of Star Wars’ more iconic characters: Wilhuff Tarkin. It’s an interesting and fun read in that you come to understand why Tarkin is the way he is. Luceno crafts Tarkin as both protagonist and antagonist in this well-paced and fairly compact story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dark Lord: the Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, and Darth Plagueis by James Luceno.)

(Also available in book-on-cd format.)

( The Wookiepedia web site ) | ( James Luceno on Wikipedia )

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Reviewed in January 2015 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


formatCDmusic2

CD cover

EPSON scanner image

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star
by Curt Bright and the String Beans [Compact Disc j782.42 Str]

The cinematic Star Wars universe is enjoying a rebirth, with new films in production right now (the first — The Force Awakens — scheduled for release in December 2015), a new animated series (Star Wars Rebels) on TV, and excitement building over the direction the new films will go. This seems like a perfect time to look back with fondness and a bit of tongue-in-cheek at the original trilogy that started it all. Curt Bright, singer/musician with the popular Lincoln children’s music group The String Beans, has created a musical parody/tribute to Star Wars/The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi. In the fannish tradition of Filking — setting new lyrics to popular existing music — Bright created a staged musical that retells the events of the original trilogy through songs — hilarious, goofy and perfectly rewritten songs. Some of the examples include “Sand People” (to Randy Newman’s “Short People”), “Don’t Stop Rebelling” (to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”), “Leia” (to Eric Clapton’s “Layla”), “Lake of Fire” (to Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”), “Vader Cut Off My Hand” (to the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand”), “Stormtroopers” (to the “Ghostbusters” theme by Ray Parker Jr.), and “Always Look on the Dark Side of Life” (to Eric Idle’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”) – these just scratch the surface! The stage show was performed in various formats at various venues (including area sci-fi conventions), before culminating in a live show produced at YAAL (Youth Actors Academy of Lincoln), twice. Bright and his adult String Beans associates recorded this soundtrack album, which first became available for fans at the YAAL shows. Although it is not the YAAL actors performing on the CD, if you’ve been lucky enough to have seen the staged musical, this soundtrack album will still bring back fond memories. If you never saw A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Death Star live, well then, first, you’ve missed a true treasure of sci-fi pop culture, but second, you’ll still enjoy this album for its hilarious take on Star Wars tropes. And the best news? The show may be coming back to a Lincoln stage again in the near future! (Note: Although this is cataloged in the library collection as a juvenile item, it may actually appeal to adults even more — some of the reworked fannish song lyrics may go over the heads of the youngest listeners.]

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the classic movie/tv musical parodies from Mad Magazine, reprinted in various Mad Magazine archival collections. Mind you, this is a recommendation of the movie musical parodies, not just the straight-forward movie parodies.)

( Extended Review (also by this reviewer) and photos from past local productions of this staged musical ) | ( official The String Beans web site – where you can order this CD )

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Reviewed in December 2014 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


starwarsartconceptStar Wars Art: Concept
by Lucasfilm Ltd. [791.437 StaYl

Though I’d identify myself as more of a Star Trek fan than a Star Wars fan, I still immersed myself in the original trilogy of films by George Lucas, buying magazines, action figures, collectible cards, comic books and soundtracks. One of my prize “fannish” possessions is a rare set of pre-production illustrations by artist Ralph McQuarrie, produced before the very first Star Wars movie was released in 1977, and released as part of the first wave of merchandising in the 1970s. That collection of rare images makes up a big part of this brand new book put out by Lucasfilm Limited. McQuarrie’s illustrations join those of numerous other motion picture production designers and fantasy artists — revealing some of the broad strokes of how the look of the Star Wars universe has been developed in the 35+ years since Luke Skywalker first gazed at the twin suns over Tatooine. The art hear represents all of the 6 Star Wars feature films, and some of the images differ dramatically from what ultimately made it to the screen. But for any true Star Wars fan, or anyone interested in the various stages of motion picture production, these provide valuable insight.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try any of the various “making of” books about the Star Wars films.)

( publisher’s official Star Wars Art: Concept web site )

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Reviewed in May 2014 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


greatteenreadswjediacademyStar Wars: Jedi Academy
by Jeffrey Brown [j Brown]

Jeffrey Brown, the marvelous cartoon artist who previous brought us Darth Vader and Son and Vader’s Little Princess, applies his same artistic style and sense of humor about the Star Wars universe to this short illustrated novel. Unlike the earlier two volumes, which were essentially collections of single-panel stand-alone cartoons, Star Wars: Jedi Academy has a narrative structure. The story follows the adventures of a young Tatooine boy, Roan, whose dream of becoming a starfighter pilot like his older brother is sidetracked when he is selected to attend the Jedi Academy, where he’ll be taught how to become a Jedi Knight by such elders as Yoda. Brown tells Roan’s story through extensive cartoon-style imagery, in addition to humorous text. Roan himself is an artist, and join’s the Jedi Academy’s “newspaper” club, illustrating that publication with his own comic-strips. Though a “fish out of water”, having joined studies at the Academy at an older age than most of the other students, Roan quickly befriends several of his classmates, and his story is filled with lots of silly typical school-related incidents and activities — as long as your school is the one where they teach you how to use the force, building your own lightsabers, and study the cultures of alien worlds. Although I enjoyed many of Brown’s single-panel cartoons in his earlier books, there were also a lot that didn’t really “click” for me. In Star Wars: Jedi Academy, I thought his humor and visual storytelling style really worked much better, and I highly recommend this light little volume for any Star Wars fan!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Darth Vader and Son, and Vader’s Little Princess.)

( official Jeffrey Brown’s Comics web site )

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Reviewed in January 2014 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


wsstarwarsWilliam Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
by Ian Doescher [791.437 Doe]

May the Verse be with you! This book is a re-telling of the Star Wars story (now known as Star Wars IV, A New Hope) in Shakespearian style, or in other words, written in iambic pentameter form. As a fan of both Star Wars and all things Shakespeare, I found this book to be witty, creative and well written. The author’s use of well-known Shakespeare monologues as applied to Star Wars is exceptionally clever. The illustrations are also well done. Quoting the book jacket: “This is the book you’re looking for.” [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Star Wars by George Lucas (both the book and movie); Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown; Hamlet by William Shakespeare (and all other plays by Shakespeare as well).

( Publisher’s official William Shakespeare’s Star Wars web page ) | ( official Ian Doescher web site )

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Reviewed in September 2013 by Kim J.
Bennett Martin Public Library


wishfuldrinkingdvdformatdvdWishful Drinking
[DVD Biography Fisher]

Following publication of her 2008 best-seller, Wishful Drinking, actress/author Carrie Fisher turned her tell-all sharefest of an autobiography into a one-woman stage show, which she performed in L.A., San Francisco, Berkley, Seattle, Washington D.C. and on Broadway. This 76-minute DVD was an edited taping of one of those performances. Fisher shares awkward yet funny memories of growing up in a dysfunctional Hollywood family — her flow chart of family relations based on father Eddie Fisher’s famous womanizing is hilarious. And she is brutally honest about her drug and alcohol abuses, as well as per bi-polar mental issues. Overall, I’d have to say I enjoyed the book a little more than the stage show — the book covers more details than she can fit into her live performance, and at times her stage delivery is a little too “inside joke” and nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Still, Fisher can be quite the raconteur, and her personal background provides the fodder for plenty of entertaining stories. Star Wars fans, in particular, will enjoy her sometimes-loving, sometimes-aggravated relationship with the multimedia juggernaut that brought her her greatest fame. The only “special feature” on the disc is a bizarre, awkward, and yet compelling on-camera interview with Fisher’s mother, the famed Debbie Reynolds. It’s fascinating watching Debbie matter-of-factly discuss Carrie’s mental illness issues!

shockaholiccdShortly after watching this documentary, I also snagged the book-on-cd version of Fisher’s second (2010) autobiography, Shockaholic, in which she discusses the electro-convulsive thearpy treatments that have helped to stabilize her personality in recent years. Shockaholic also gives her a chance to indulge in some more emotional recollections of some of the damaged relationships she’s had over the years, and how she and her father Eddie finally bonded in the the last few years of his life. I’d give both of these items (DVD and audiobook) a “7”.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try both of these titles in traditional print format, not to mention Fisher’s novels, and, of course, the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD!)

( Internet Movie Database entry for this show ) | ( official Carrie Fisher web site )

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Reviewed in April 2013 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


darthvaderandsonDarth Vader and Son
by Jeffrey Brown [741.5 Bro]

A collection of single-panel cartoons of Star Wars’ conflicted villain Darth Vader, presuming he’s aware that he’s the father of Luke Skywalker, and raising 4-year-old Luke as a single father. Brown manages to put a sometimes hilarious, sometimes low-key spin on both established Star Wars iconography and on the perils and pitfalls of life with a small child. Luke in these cartoons is a sweetheart, even if occasionally a pest. The best of the cartoons make use of well-known lines of Star Wars dialog in a new and humorous setting. Lots of fun — especially for fans of the original film trilogy! Although not every example is successful.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try the Star Wars cookbooks and origami books, which also have a lot of fun with established Star Wars mythology.)

( official Comics Weblog for Jeffrey Brown )

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Reviewed in February 2013 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


redharvestswRed Harvest
by Joe Schreiber

Schriber’s prequel to Death Troopers takes place during the days of the Old Republic, thousands of years before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. It is a time when both the Jedi Order and the Sith number in the thousands and wage a seemingly never-ending battle with each other for the fate of the galaxy. One of the Sith Lords, Darth Scabrous, has devoted years of research to unlocking the secrets to immortality. His machinations will draw a young failed Jedi and her ability to communicate with plants into Scabrous’ vile quest. Scabrous’ research unlocks a fatal virus that doesn’t just kill, it transforms and it hungers… Red Harvest is an enjoyable gory and macabre thriller. Readers don’t need to have much understanding of the time of the Old Republic and the Expanded Universe to enjoy the book, but it certainly helps.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Death Troopers (reviewed below).)

( official Joe Schreiber blog )

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Reviewed in October 2011 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


deathtroopersDeath Troopers
by Joe Schreiber

What happens when you take good old zombie horror fiction and combine it a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away? You get Death Troopers, a unique and entertaining foray into the Star Wars expanded universe. Roughly one year before a farm boy from Tatooine encounters a pair of droids that will change his life forever, the Imperial prison barge Purge breaks down in a remote sector of space. They discover a Star Destroyer, seemingly abandoned and adrift in space. A team is deployed to the Star Destroyer to salvage parts to repair the Purge. Only half of the team makes it back as they find themselves infected and dying from an unknown disease. Within hours, roughly a half-dozen survivors are all that are still alive after the contagion kills the others. Unfortunately for the survivors, death is only the beginning… Schrieber’s book is an entertaining gory thriller that requires no knowledge of Star Wars beyond the original trilogy.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Red Harvest (reviewed above).)

( official Joe Schreiber blog )

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Reviewed in October 2011 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


starwarscollectibles3rdedStar Wars Super Collectors Wish Book
by Geoffrey T. Carlton [745.1 qCar]

This massive 440+ page guide to Star Wars collecting is exceeding dense in details. Close to 500 different categories of authorized/licensed products are included, with almost every single page of this guide illustrated with color photos of the collectibles in question, often shown in their original packaging. Much of George Lucas’ financial empire comes from the fact that he retained merchandizing rights on the original 1977 Star Wars (and all subsequent films), and used those rights vigorously. The popular Star Wars saga characters, from young Luke Skywalker and mercenary Han Solo to Qui-Gon Jin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the diminutive Yoda, have appeared on everything from action figures, cookie jars and lunch boxes, to bubble bath, lip balm and wallpaper. Browse this detailed encyclopedia of Star Wars products and reconnect with your childhood — can you find that Admiral Ackbar action figure you grew up with, or were you one of the lucky members of the Star Wars Fan Club who bought a “Revenge of Jedi” one-sheet theatrical poster, before they renamed the film “Return of the Jedi”? This isn’t a book to read cover-to-cover, and it’s now a few years old, but if you’ve got some old Star Wars toys in a closet, this volume may give you a rough idea of their value. And “May the Force (of collecting) Be With You!”

(There have been 4th and 5th editions of this published since this 3rd edition came out. Although the Lincoln City Libraries do not own these, you can get them through InterLibrary Loan. There are also numerous other Star Wars collectible guides, but this is definitely an impressive one!)

( official Publisher’s web site )

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Reviewed in August 2011 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


makingoftesbThe Making of the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: The Definitive Story
by J.W. Rinzler [791.437 qStaYr]

Unquestionably the best of the Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back has always been among my two or three favorite films of all times. I was, therefore, quite pleased to find this massive history of the making of this film on the “new books” display at Bennett Martin Public Library. Rinzler’s book goes into quite a bit of detail about the making of the original first Star Wars film, to set the stage for exhaustive background info about the making of TESB. This book is filled with hundreds of gorgeous photos and production artwork from the Lucasfilm archives. Rinzler interviewed (or had access to interviews with) dozens of behind-the-scenes personel associated with the production, and he peppers their comments throughout his narrative. The level of detail that is included in this book is astounding, and should satisfy the interests of all true Star Wars devotees and/or fans of motion picture production. I loved this book, and will be looking to acquire a copy for my own personal Star Wars collection!

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try The Complete Making of Indiana Jones, also by Rinzler – same level of intense detail!)

( Video Trailer for this book ) | ( official J.W. Rinzler web site )

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Reviewed in June 2011 by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library


formatCDbook2wishfuldrinkingWishful Drinking
by Carrie Fisher [Compact Disc Biography Fisher]

Originally, I picked up this book on CD hoping to hear about Star Wars anecdotes, but was pleasantly surprised to hear about so much more. The book, as read by the author, includes stories about becoming a Hollywood icon at only nineteen, her struggle with drugs and alcohol, her bipolar diagnosis, memories of her mother Debbie Reynolds and growing up in a famous family, and her past marital problems. I listened to this book all the way through because she doesn’t just tell us about her life but she does it in a way that keeps you laughing and intrigued throughout the entire story.

(If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding my True Voice, or any of the fiction novels written by Carrie Fisher.)

( official Carrie Fisher web site )

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Reviewed in May 2011 by Carrie K.
Bennett Martin Public Library

shadowsofmindorLuke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
by Matthew Stover

Matt Stover proves once again why he is not only a great writer, but a great writer of science fiction and one of the best when it comes to writers contributing to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. The book is something of an unofficial sequel to Shatterpoint as it makes use of a few characters from Shatterpoint and continues it’s themes of darkness, morality and heroism. In addition to being an awesome story that remains true to all the characters involved, it moves along at a good pace and it provides one of the best, most succinct explanations for why the old Jedi Order failed. I highly recommend this book for any fan of Star Wars.

( official Star Wars web site ) | ( official Matt Stover blog )

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Reviewed in February 2009 by Corey G.
Gere Branch Library


wishfuldrinkingWishful Drinking
by Carrie Fisher [Biography Fisher]

Daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher, Carrie Fisher had one heck of a Hollywood childhood! She shares the trials and tribulations of growing up in the spotlight in a candid, hysterically funny, and yet touching way.

( official Carrie Fisher web site )

See more books like this on the People Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2008 Readerlist

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Reviewed in February 2009 by Kimberly S.
Anderson and Bethany Branch Libraries


heirtotheempireHeir to the Empire
by Timothy Zahn

Not a cheap knock-off of the “Star Wars” movie series. Well-written, fast-paced, exciting, excellent storylines that could have been written by Lucas himself. Doesn’t branch off on its own, follows the “rules” and storylines as created by the first three movies.

( official Star Wars website ) | ( Wikipedia page for Timothy Zahn ) | ( Wikipedia page for Heir to the Empire ) | ( official Expanded Universe page at the official Star Wars Web site )

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Reviewed in June 2008 by Charlotte K.
Bennett Martin Public Library


darthmaulshadowhunterDarth Maul: Shadow Hunter
by Michael Reaves

This is a great book by another underrated Star Wars author: Micheal Reaves. To date, Reaves has only written a few titles for the Expanded Universe. But, this book stands as one of the best Star Wars books out there. The biggest reason this book is so awesome is that it gives us some insight into the character of Darth Maul. This book provides some insight into what makes Maul tick as well as giving fans lots of cool fight scenes. The plot is dark, the heroes are ultimately doomed,but the story is very compelling. A great read for both fans of the Expanded Universe and those who have read few, if any, Star Wars novels.

( official Star Wars Expanded Universe web site ) | ( official Michael Reaves web site )

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Reviewed in January 2008 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


allegianceAllegiance
by Timothy Zahn

I almost couldn’t believe it. A Timothy Zahn book without Thrawn in any way, shape or form? And a good one too? It’s true. Set during the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Zahn ties together several storylines involving familiar characters (Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia), newcomers such as the Hand of Judgement and his own characters (Mara Jade). As usual, Zahn’s best writing comes with his own characters. He struggles a bit with characters not of his creation in this book, especially Vader. Still, it’s a fun book and a good stand-alone title.

( Echostation.com – unofficial Star Wars novel site ) | ( official Del Rey Star Wars fiction web site )

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Reviewed in May 2007 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


darthbaneDarth Bane: Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic
by Drew Karpyshyn

Good book by one of the creative folks behind the award-winning game “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” This is the first novel format book set in the Star Wars Old Republic era, roughly 1000 years before A New Hope. The story centers around the man who would become Darth Bane. Also explained is how and why Bane decided there should only ever be 2 Sith at any one time. It’s a very fun read and a good stand-alone title for anyone curious about Star Wars, but not having much knowledge of the Star Wars genre. It’s also a great read for folks familiar with the Star Wars Expanded Universe. fans of the Knights of the Old Republic game will especially enjoy this one.

( Echostation.com – unofficial Star Wars novel site ) | ( official Del Rey Star Wars fiction web site )

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Reviewed in May 2007 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


tatooineghostTatooine Ghost
by Troy Denning

Troy Denning is an awesome author. Unfortunately, many of his works go unheralded beacuse so many of his books are contributions to larger series. Such is the case with many of his Star Wars books. But, in Tatooine Ghost, Denning gets to tell a stand-alone story. Denning has a great feel for his characters. His plots draw upon events from other stories and authors, yet only serve to enhance them, not contradict them. In this book, Han Solo and Princess Leia have travelled to Tatooine on a mission. Denning does a great job in portraying their desire to get married, but some of the reservations they have as well. His best work is in having Leia confront the childhood of Anakin Skywalker, the man she only knew as Darth Vader. A nice touch is involving Anakin’s childhood friend, Kittster, as a central point in the plot. This is a great novel for any fan of Star Wars to read.

( official Star Wars website ) | ( Wikipedia page for Tatooine Ghost ) | ( official Expanded Universe page at the official Star Wars Web site )

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Reviewed in September 2006 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


outboundflightOutbound Flight
by Timothy Zahn

Outbound Flight reflects Zahn’s best effort to date in his contributions to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Unfortunately, Zahn remains preoccupied with the whole galaxy “loving” his most famous character, Thrawn. And his characterizations of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker seem a bit off. That being said, I did like how he tied in characters and events from other books (mostly his own), but still made it so the book could be enjoyed as a stand-alone read. His best work is with the ambitious Jedi Master, Jorus C’baoth. All in all, this book is a great read for all Star Wars fans.

( official Star Wars Expanded Universe website )

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Reviewed in July 2006 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


shatterpointShatterpoint
by Matthew Stover

Nobody does dark sci-fi like Matt Stover. That’s what makes Shatterpoint one of the best Star Wars books written. The book features Mace Windu during the Clone Wars. Stover freely admits to using plot elements of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”. However, Shatterpoint is far from a retelling of a classic novel. It poses an interesting question: How can the Jedi, defenders of the peace, effectively fight a war, where victory often goes to the most brutal? Only a somewhat shaky ending keeps this from being the perfect Star Wars novel.

( Matthew Stover discussion thread at theforce.net ) | ( Matthew Stover’s blog )

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Reviewed in May 2006 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


darklordDark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader
by James Luceno

An awesome book by one of the better Star Wars writers around: James Luceno. Set during the end of the Clone Wars, the book details the story of Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader. It also provides some clues about why Vader never ventured back to Tatooine and Naboo. This is a stand-alone title that fans of the Expanded Universe will enjoy as well as those who have seen the movies but haven’t read many, if any, Star Wars novels.

( official Star Wars Expanded Universe website )

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Reviewed in March 2006 by Corey G.
then at the Bennett Martin Public Library


Click on the following links or photos to visit the Reviewer Profile pages for some of the library staff who provided the reviews above…

( Corey G. ) | ( Scott C. ) | ( Charlotte K. )
( Carrie K. ) | (Kristen A.) | ( Tracy T. ) | ( Kim J. (not pictured) )

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RevPro-ckim-large Kristen A. 

Booktalk Booklists with significant Star Wars content:

Podcast entries with significant Star Wars content:

Check out the Star Wars: The Reading List booklist on BookGuide for a mostly-comprehensive list of Star Wars novels

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