Book Review – Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray

Master & Apprentice

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice is a standalone novel by Claudia Gray, set in the new canon of Star Wars. Set several years before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the story follows Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his 17-year-old Padawan apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi at a crossroads in their relationship. Though they’ve been partnered for some time, they are at odds with one another, Qui-Gon a maverick who often disregards the inflexibility of the Jedi Council and Obi-Wan more rigid and committed to following the Jedi Code to the letter.

Their partnership is put at risk of ending altogether, however, after the Council extends an unexpected invitation for Qui-Gon to join them, meaning he can no longer keep an apprentice. He takes some time to think it over, fearing he will fail Obi-Wan as a teacher if he leaves him, yet wondering if another master may be better suited to teaching him. Despite so much uncertainty between the two, they embark upon what may be their final mission together, after an old friend reaches out to Qui-Gon for help.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 17, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Oddest JobsI’m only sitting about 48% of the way through Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, which isn’t much progress since last week. My attention got a little divided over the weekend and I haven’t done any reading over the last couple of days. The two stories that I did read were pretty good though, the first dealing with the devotees of an old god in Scotland defending their deity’s shrine from undead U-boat sailors. The second offers an explanation for the long lost colony of Roanoke after a race of salamander people attack a small coastal town in North Carolina. I enjoyed the latter most because Hellboy needed to embark on a search for something throughout the deserted town in order to resolve the conflict peacefully, rather than just punching his way through the problem.


Recently Finished

Master & ApprenticeI got a surprise delivery last week, with my new copy of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray arriving in the mail. I’d been told to expect it, but hadn’t received a shipping notice or anything, so it’s sudden arrival was quite a pleasant surprise. I devoted time over the weekend to finishing it up, though I was regretfully unable to have a review done by now as well. It should be posted in the next couple of days. I got cut off just as things were getting really good, as it turns out, the climax having more surprises in store for me than I was expecting. The only drawback was that it felt like everything wrapped up and resolved too quickly. The way the events unfolded was fine, but I feel like there was leftover baggage between characters that I would have liked explored more. Some of the tension was only deflated by the end, rather than resolved.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesI pretty certain The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller will be next on the docket for me, though there is still an ARC I want to check out first. If it strikes a chord with me I’ll be reading that next. I am getting pretty excited to finally read Song of Achilles, though, as it’s weirdly a book I’ve often recommended to people but haven’t actually gotten to myself. I enjoyed Circe so much that I have high hopes for it. I also purchased two more volumes of Berserk by Kentaro Miura, which I’ll likely make short work of in the next week or two.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 27, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray is officially on hold for the time being. It couldn’t have come at a worse time, as things are ramping up to the climax, but I will have to wait for my new copy. I will refrain from mentioning it in future posts until I can continue.

Me Talk Pretty One DayIn the meantime, I started reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, the author’s 2000 collection of personal essays. I have sorely missed reading Sedaris’s writing, which manages to strike funny and poignant chords quite well. I’ve read through part one of the book so far, which is a collection of anecdotes that covers a range to times throughout his life as well as members of his family. What’s been most amusing is how familiar I am with these people and phases of his life. I suspect that having read his book Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002, is the most responsible for this. I think it covered a lot of what he developed into anecdotes here, particularly his stints as an artist, creative writing teacher, and mover.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Rebellion - VillainsKeeping the Star Wars train going, last night I finished Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Villains by Greg Pak et al. As with the other books in this “Age of” series, the issues within were one-shots about specific characters: Grand Moff Tarkin, Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader, and IG-88. As with the others, each story was enjoyable fluff of varying quality. None of them were bad or boring, but as something celebratory and short they can’t do much with the characters. The story about Jabba the Hutt stood out, however, as tales centered around him are a lot less common. I’ve read so many Vader stories, however, that this was an inconsequential drop in the bucket. Worth checking out if you’re not looking to invest a lot in reading Star Wars comics, though.


Reading Next

Hellboy Oddest JobsOn the comic books front I know I’m going to move on to the Star Wars: Age of Resistance books. I’m excited to get to those, as we haven’t had as many tie-in stories to that era, I assume because the movies were still coming out. In terms of books, nothing from my yearly list is really speaking to me at the moment. I’m not sure why. I am however interested in starting the one unread Hellboy anthology I’ve got left: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden. With that book out of the way I’ll only have the novels left to get through.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 20, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Master & ApprenticeI’m still in the midst of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray. It’s grown on me more since last week, which I’m happy about, the more it has delved into the challenges faced by Jedi Masters and their apprentices as they try to forge a meaningful partnership. Additionally, I’m really appreciating the closer look at what Jedi attitudes toward the end of the Republic era were regarding prophecy and how the visions of the future recorded by ancient mystics should be considered. I wanted to have the book done by now, but funnily enough, I literally couldn’t have. As it turns out, about 47 pages of First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher are bound within my copy, and 49 pages of Master & Apprentice are just missing, so I can only get so far before I need a new copy. A bewildering predicament, to say the least.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of Rebellion - HeroesKeeping up the Star Wars trend, last night I finished reading Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Heroes by Greg Pak et al. Just as with Age of Republic, it’s a selection of single issues about a different hero from the era of the Original Trilogy. This is not a larger collected volume, however, so it only covered hero characters. I enjoyed it well enough, though I’ve read enough comics about these characters at this point that a small collection of one-shots isn’t going to be anything special. The stand-out issue for me was about Leia, where she had to put her skills of deception to the test and play the role of a bounty hunter against the likes of Bossk, in order to prepare for Han’s rescue.


Reading Next

Me Talk Pretty One DayI still have every intention of starting Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris next—I’m probably going to have to start it before I even finish Master & Apprentice, what with my copy being wrong. My nonsensical faith in the infallibility of printed books has been compromised significantly. I shall continue to love and enjoy them, but something in my heart has been permanently dulled forever more. Future instances where I’ll just hold a book and consider it shall never be the same. Then again, maybe I’m being too dramatic.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 13, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Master & ApprenticeI’m just over a third of the way through Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, and I’m enjoying it well enough, though it’s a little slow so far. I haven’t been as swept away with Gray’s writing in this book as I have her other Star Wars titles, but I’ll reserve judgment for when it’s all done. She has done an admirable job with Qui-Gon and young Kenobi, though, as The Phantom Menace really doesn’t give a lot for anyone to gone on as far as their characterization. The book has appreciably gotten into the finer details of the dynamics between a master and their Padawan, as well as the myriad of ways Jedi are trained at their temple on the planet Coruscant. As the story gets into the meat of the conflict the Jedi pair have become embroiled in I’m hoping I will start to feel more engaged with it.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Age of RepublicIt has been a rather Star Wars focused week, as I finished reading through the comic book volume Star Wars: Age of Republic by Jody Houser et al, which collects all of the Age of Republic one-shot issues. Focusing on both heroes and villains, each issues focuses on a specific character from that era of the saga. They weren’t especially deep stories, as you can only do so much in a one-shot issue, but there was something to enjoy in each of them. I was especially fond of the Anakin issue, which gave us a story where he acts more considered and compassionate as a Jedi than his usual brash, combative nature. It’s a side of him we can always stand to see more of. The first issue was about Qui-Gon Jinn as well, which was a nice supplement to Master & Apprentice, though it had nothing to do with the events of that novel.


Reading Next

Me Talk Pretty One DayTo take a little detour from all the fantasy I’ve been reading lately, I think I’ll get back to an author I’ve neglected for a while now. I’m sure there’s a few that qualify, but I’m specifically going to start reading Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, which is a collection of humorous, autobiographical essays. I haven’t read one of his books for three and a half years, which is an absolute crying shame. I’ve certainly acquired a few more of them, at least, so I’ll have another at the ready the next time I want to start one.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – January 6, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Nothing this week. Been taking a little breather from reading since my blitz last week, but I’ll start reading my next book before the week is out.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1956The night of last Wednesday I read through Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al. It had been a little while since I continued this series, and it was strange coming back because of how much the whole volume felt like filler. I liked how it tied itself in with Hellboy in Mexico, which took place in the same year, having Hellboy largely absent from the events concerning the BPRD. The death of his childhood dog being part of his motivation for going AWOL/on a bender in Mexico for six months was a nice addition too, though I wish it had had some sort of emotional payoff, since the people around him were oblivious to what he was going through. The rest of the book kind of spun its wheels, though, and connected with other books I’ve yet to read.

SpiderlightI also finished Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky last Thursday, which I largely loved. It was a strong contender for one of my Top 5 Books Read in 2020, but I ended up having really mixed feelings about the ending that I’m still trying to come to terms with. When considering the novel’s tongue-in-cheek attitude toward fantasy tropes, I kind of love what the ending does to the characters and the world itself. As something emotionally cohesive with the themes of the story, however, it felt like a bit of a cop out. I’m firmly of two minds about this, which has made tackling the review in a more timely way a little difficult. I should have it up before next Wednesday, at any rate. Still, it was a great fantasy novel with an excellent inhuman character and a highly nuanced look at the dynamics of good vs evil.

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryLastly, I read through The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo as my 11th hour read for 2020, allowing me to complete my Goodreads challenge on time. Though a lot of the lore within I’d learned from secondary sources that used this very book for the information, it was a lot of fun to read through the primary source itself. I really enjoyed running into some snippets of information that I first ran into in novels that came out after this one, showing how long these ideas had been in place in canon. It provides some great, close-up images of props from the film too.


Reading Next

Master & ApprenticeSomething I’ve mentally committed to doing this year, as I did last year, is reading through the leftovers from my scrappy to-read list, which I put together every January. With that being the case, the next book I’m going to start will be Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, which I’m still really looking forward to thanks to Gray being the author. Her Star Wars stuff has been so good so far. The other two leftovers are Moby Dick by Herman Melville and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I don’t know when I’ll get to them, as I expect the first will be a particular undertaking, but I am resolved to read them this year nonetheless.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below. Happy New Year, everyone 😀

WWW Wednesday – December 16, 2020

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog!

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

SpiderlightLast night I started reading Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, though I’ve only read up until the end of the first chapter, which is just over 30 pages. I’ve had a vague notion of what the book has in store for me for a while now, but this first chapter alone has given me a much clearer picture and I’ve got a feeling I’m in for a treat. A ragtag band of heroes is on a quest to defeat a Dark Lord, armed with the Light on their side, as foretold by prophecy. Wouldn’t it surprise you to hear, then, that the book opens from the perspective of a giant spider? His home in “Mirkwood”, along with countless others like him and their Mother, is beset upon by these heroes as they seek an item crucial to their quest. Right from the get-go the dynamics of Light and Dark are turned on their head, at least figuratively so far, and I love it.


Recently Finished

MaskeradeOver the weekend I finished reading Maskerade by Terry Pratchett and you can read my full review for it here. I ended up liking this book a lot more than I even realized when I finished it. While reviewing it I had a little trouble settling on my rating, because I was surprised to realize that I couldn’t think of anything I had a problem with. In my estimation, nearly everything fit together so neatly that I could appreciate it even more in retrospect. I especially loved how much a of smaller scale problem Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg were up against. It wasn’t about the fate of the world or that of kingdoms and kingship, just a murder mystery in an opera house. It felt like the characters had more room to breathe, and allowed for some hilarious sequences along the way too.

The Rise of Kylo RenI also read Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren by Charles Soule et al. I haven’t read many of the comic books related to the sequel trilogy yet, but this one was very good. It gives a closer look at the criminally underused Knights of Ren, what they were about, who their former leader was, and encounters they had with the likes of Luke Skywalker. The book also shed some appreciable light on some of Ben’s relationships at Luke’s Jedi Temple and clarified some of the events on that fateful night when everything changed for the worse. My only real problem with it was it was too short. I’d love an entire series about Ben’s turn towards the dark side and becoming Kylo Ren, expounding on his activities with the Knights and when he eventually joined up with the First Order.


Reading Next

ReminaWith only a little over two weeks left in December, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’ll be reading next. I’m not sure I’ll meet my revised goal, but I do know I’ll be reading Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray next, which is about Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before the events of The Phantom Menace. Gray’s Star Wars books have been excellent so far, so I’m especially looking forward to this one. Before then, though, I am going to read Remina by Junji Ito. I picked up my copy last week, it just came out, and I’m eager to check it out. It’s a longer, single story that looks like it will be dealing with cosmic horror. What more could I possibly want?

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Top 5 Books I Read in 2019

The final year of the decade has come and gone. It’s strange how one of the most ordinary things in the world can feel so uncanny sometimes. The last five years were long, there is no doubt, but I can’t escape the sense that they were the fastest five years of my life. 2019 itself was weird for feeling both long and short, in its own right.

With the year over and done, that is also another load of books that I’ve finished reading. Every year I pick my top five favourites among them, in no particular order, and this year is no different. They needn’t have come out this year, I just need to have read them this year. Without further ado…Read More »

Book Review – Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

Lost Stars

Released as part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series of media, Lost Stars by Claudia Gray is a standalone Young Adult Star Wars novel with a largely original cast of characters. It follows the lives of two childhood friends, Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree, starting when they are only children on the day their home planet of Jelucan is annexed by the Galactic Empire. Growing up with aspirations of joining the Imperial Academy and one day becoming pilots, the pair are inseparable as they work to achieve their dreams. But war looms on the horizon as rebel forces become more and more prominent, thrusting them into a conflict that forces them down opposing paths and challenges whether bonds of loyalty and love for each other can survive the ravages of war.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – March 27, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Fragile ThingsI’ve admittedly not made a whole lot of progress on Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, though I have read a few stories since last week. I’m starting to notice an intriguing trend in the last few stories I’ve read in this book, which revolve around a young person having a haunting experience with abandoned property/houses. Each story was effective in their own way, while also having a number of elements in common. I wonder if this is happenstance, or will continue in some way throughout this book. I know most of these stories were published before being collected here, but I think it’ll be interesting to keep an eye out nonetheless.


Recently Finished

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1The first book I finished over the weekend was volume one of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, which I posted a review for yesterday. This is my second time reading the book after many years, and while a lot of the story was familiar I didn’t realize just how deep some of the literary cuts were in this book. There were some obvious ones I was ignorant to the first time around—I had no knowledge of the plot of Dracula so had no idea who Mina Murray was—but this book is positively packed with references. By all accounts nearly every named character is somebody from literature.

Lost StarsI also finished Lost Stars by Claudia Gray, which I should have a review up for soon. This book was intensely sentimental and melodramatic in certain ways and I am not ashamed to say I ate it right up. Romance isn’t typically a particular draw for me, but set in the galaxy far, far away against the backdrop of the Galactic Civil War I enjoyed it immensely. It helps that Gray did an excellent job of crafting both characters, with opposing viewpoints, who are both sympathetic and likable in their own right. I hope we get a follow-up story for these characters some day.


Reading Next

The WonderPart of me wants to focus my energy on reading Fragile Things now, but I always meant it to be a supplementary read. That being the case, I think I will start The Wonder by Emma Donahue soon, another book from my scrappy little list. It’s a book I remember little about, but I think that’ll be a nice change of pace to what I’ve been reading recently, with events of Star Wars so well known to me and League volume one being a re-read.

Until next week, thank you for reading!