Book Review – Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker

star wars aliens

Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens is a collection of short stories by Landry Q. Walker set in the Star Wars universe, targeted at a younger reading audience aged 8 to 12. Contained within are six stories about some of the aliens that make up the background characters of the film The Force Awakens, some more conspicuously than others. The book is labeled “volume one,” but whether or not another book is in the works is unknown to me. I don’t typically read books written more directly for children, but as a fan of the franchise I was drawn to it for the promises of stories more lighthearted as well as outside of the norm by focusing more on aliens than humans.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – January 23, 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

fire & bloodI’m a little over 100 pages into Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin now and it is starting to grow on me a bit. I still would have preferred it be a novel, but a fictional history is not terrible since the world of Westeros is quite compelling even in this context. The only drag I’m having with it is it takes a lot longer to make a dent in reading it. When I would have gotten through a lot more pages with another book I find I get through only a miniscule amount reading this. It is broken up into manageable chaptrs that do make it more digestible though, which I’m hoping will help me make more progress as I dedicate time more closely to it.

I’m still reading the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al as well, but I regrettably haven’t touched it since my post last week. I’ll get back to it soon.


Recently Finished

star wars aliensOver the weekend I finished reading Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker, which I should have a review up for by the end of the week. This was a fun little Star Wars collection that I’m glad I set aside time for. The stories were a lot more straightforward due to the younger target audience, but this didn’t stop Walker from getting a little weird with each story and I enjoyed that. I especially liked the finale story, which was essentially a Mad Max-style race through a sandstorm between a bunch of different pirate factions trying to find the lost treasure of Count Dooku. This tale ended up tying itself more closely with greater franchise lore too, which I really enjoyed.


Reading Next

if on a winter's night a travelerShucks, I don’t now what I’ll be reading next. Fire & Blood is going to consume a lot of my reading time if I’m going to get it done sooner rather than later. With how heavy the snow has been here, however, I have been thinking more and more about finally reading If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I don’t know much about it other than that it plays with framing narrative and story structure in interesting, if disorienting, ways. Apparently it’s actually ten novels in one, though it’s not long in terms of page count, so I’m curious to see how that unfolds.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 16, 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

Age of Reptiles Omnibus 1I’ve taken it upon myself to read more books concurrently than is normal for me at the moment. The first, and lightest, of these is the Age of Reptiles Omnibus Vol. 1 by Ricardo Delgado et al. It is an omnibus collection of stories about dinosaurs told completely visually. No word bubbles, narrative boxes, or even text sound effects grace the pages whatsoever. It is all completely visual storytelling and so far I think it’s done very well. The style is very evocative, perhaps giving these colossal creatures more expression than they were capable of, but it’s artistic license I can more than accept. The only place I’ve stumbled with it so far is that some packs of dinosaurs, with members who are at times distinct, can also be hard to tell apart.

star wars aliensI also started Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens by Landry Q. Walker. It is a collection of short stories written for younger audiences about some of the aliens that appear as background characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I wanted to start this as a supplemental read to my primary book, and so far I am finding it a fair breeze to get through. While the writing definitely reads easier, I’m surprised at some of the content considering the intended audience. The second story involved a sous chef being found butchered and strung up in a meat locker. I enjoyed it fine, but that’s a bit dark for a “kids” book isn’t it?

fire & bloodLastly, I decided to start Fire & Blood by George R. R. Martin, the latest book published related to the Song of Ice and Fire series. I forgot to put this on my scrappy list for the year, but since I’ve made better progress than I thought I would I decided to take the plunge with it now. I knew it was an account of the past in this narrative world, but I did not know that it was written like an in-universe historical text. This had made the prose a lot more dry than I was expecting. Martin’s writing is still strong, but I was hoping for more of a narrative. I really hope another big red book doesn’t slow down my reading progress this year. 2019’s only just started!


Recently Finished

lost at seaOver the weekend I finished two books, the first being Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Despite being a fan of the author/artist’s work for a long time, I’ve never gotten around to this one, his first ever graphic novel. The blurb says the main character Raleigh believes she has no soul—that it was stolen by a cat—it’s a much more grounded story than this suggests, intimately exploring the character’s state of mind as she takes part in a road trip from California to British Columbia. She’s at a turning point in her life, confused and with no sense of direction. I loved the way that O’Malley captured this in his quirky style without diminishing the weight of her emotional situation.

The Saturday Night Ghost ClubI also finished The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson, which I posted a review of yesterday. I enjoyed this novel a lot, though it was much more of a coming-of-age story than I expected going in. The mystery around Uncle Calvin became too predictable for me, but it was still effective in the end. I simply loved the characters in this novel; Davidson crafted them into such living, breathing people that the familiar formulas at play hardly mattered. I especially found that I could relate to the main character, finding a lot in common with myself when I was that age. I think this has become my favourite of his novels that I’ve read.


Reading Next

With as many books as I’ve got on my plate at the moment I really don’t know what’s next, except I definitely want to veer back onto my scrappy list so I can continue getting it done. I started strong getting two books crossed off, but now I’ve picked up two deviations from the plan, so more fool me.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – January 2, 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

I’m taking my end of year/new year break, so I haven’t started anything yet! Just want a brief reprieve before I dive back in.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1953I missed last week’s post because of the holidays—lots of travel and visiting people—so I’ve got a few titles to bring up here. The first is Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al. It continues the adventures of Hellboy early in his career as a paranormal investigator, seeing him travel across England with his surrogate father Bruttenholm as well as with a team of other agents in the suburbs of America. I really liked how this book continued to balance his inexperience with his growing competence, as well as the nods to the fact that his very nature might be the reason significant confrontations are spurred in the first place.

BloodlineThe second I finished was Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which I have spoken highly of numerous times since: it received a 5 out of 5 in my review and was listed among my top five personal favourite reads of the year. I’ve enjoyed many of the new Star Wars books, but this one stands as the perfect example original story and tie-in to the greater franchise converging almost seamlessly. It offered a closer look into one of the franchise’s most iconic characters as well, having her face her demons concerning her parentage in a substantial way previously unseen. It also did a good job of providing some insight into politics and what we know is in store for the galaxy without bogging things down with too many details.

Berserk 17Lastly, I read Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura as I planned to for my final read, though I didn’t actually get to it until I got back home (I wanted all these done before Christmas). I really enjoyed getting back into the series. There were a few things I had to re-familiarize myself with, but I was able to recall most everything quite well. This arc looks like it’s shaping up to be pretty interesting too, tying back into characters and events that took place during the extensive flashback arc that occurred many volumes ago. The only regrettable thing is manga volumes read very quickly and continuously; a volume is never really a complete story, just a big collection of chapters, so I’m going to need to pick up more of these regularly if I want to keep reading.


Reading Next

I, RobotI’ll likely start reading again this weekend, I’m already getting a little antsy to pick up a book again. On Boxing Day I went to a used bookstore in Toronto with my friends and picked up I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. For some reason I was convinced the book was hard to find. Turns out it really isn’t, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Don’t know what I was thinking. At any rate, the spark of my interest in it was started by a documentary series on science fiction and since I’ve got a copy now and I’m to kindle that interest while it’s still fresh.

Until next week, thank you for reading! I hope you all had a happy holidays.

Top 5 Books I Read in 2018

A sentiment at the moment seems to be that 2018 has felt like a very long year, but honestly I feel like I blinked and we’re at the end of the year. Certain moments throughout the year feel like they happened ages ago, yet it also feels to me like Halloween just happened. Maybe my perception of time is a little skewed right now.

At any rate, here we are once again with my end of the year top five list, presenting the five books I enjoyed reading the most in 2018. They are in no particular order, nor do they need to have come out in this year.Read More »

Book Review – Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Bloodline

Bloodline by Claudia Gray is a standalone Star Wars novel following Princess Leia Organa long after the events of the film Return of the Jedi. Set decades after the fall of the Empire and the birth of the New Republic, Leia has served as a Senator in the unofficial Populist party, who believe member planets should retain full sovereignty over themselves. Their counterparts are the Centrists, who believe in a stronger centralized power in the government with significant military prowess. The story begins at a time when the senate has trouble getting anything done, as these opposing sides spend more time bickering than trying to work together. Years of these divisive politics has left Leia tired and jaded, longing for the days of danger and adventure with her friends and loved ones that was her time in the Rebellion. Resolving to retire at the end of her term, Leia decides to spearhead an investigation into criminal activity disrupting certain worlds as a final deed in service to the galaxy, which begins to unearth a greater threat hiding in the shadows.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – December 19, 2018

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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

BloodlineI’m just over 100 pages into Bloodline by Claudia Gray and I can already see why it is highly regarded among the new Star Wars novels. Set decades after the fall of the Empire, the book follows Princess Leia Organa at a time of great divide in the New Republic Senate and burnout with politics for her personally. I love how focused this book is on Leia’s perspective, deviating to other characters sparingly to help establish them in their supporting roles. Many of the other new Star Wars books I’ve read, even those meant to focus on a specific character, would jump between too many different plotlines for my liking. This is just so well-written, evocative of Carrie Fischer’s performance, and streamlined with its perspective that I’m eating it up.


Recently Finished

Reaper ManAt the end of last week I finished reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, the 11th novel in the Discworld series. Please check out my full review here! I really liked this novel, though in the trio of storylines it followed one of them felt a little too tangential and filler-y for me. At any rate, I really enjoyed reading Death’s experiences as Bill Door, the name he takes for himself as a farm hand, and the way that it sort of mirrors Windle Poons’s experiences as a newly undead thanks to Death’s imposed retirement. I especially liked the way Death’s story ended. It was touching and made it clear that his experiences really changed him rather than things ending up back to the way they were before.

TomieI also read Tomie by Junji Ito over the weekend, collecting the serial series of the same name that follows a beautiful young woman named Tomie who is continually murdered by men that become unnaturally obsessed with her, yet she never stays dead. Though this is a little hyperbolic, the experience reading this kind of floored me. I’ve been enjoying Ito’s work a lot over the last year, but this book has reminded me for the first since reading Uzumaki that he really his a brilliant horror writer. I should have a review up by the end of the week.

 


Reading Next

Berserk 17The year is almost wrapped up for me as far as reading is concerned, though I’ve unsurprisingly (to myself) a little behind on what I want to get finished. I intend to read two more comic books before Christmas Eve, as well as finishing Bloodline, to end my yearly reading list at a nice even 60 books. Hopefully I can actually do it within my self-imposed timeline. The two comics I will read are Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953 by Mike Mignola et al and Berserk Vol. 17 by Kentaro Miura. The latter I’m picking up after a hiatus from reading the series that has lasted for something like 6 years. A friend has motivated me to pick it up again.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

WWW Wednesday – December 5, 2018

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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

Reaper ManLast night I started reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett, though I’m only about 25 pages in so far. Auditors of reality have deemed the Death of the Discworld to have developed too much of a personality, which they view as an issue for an anthropomorphic personification meant to perform an important function in the physical world. As such Azrael, a being who seems to oversee Death, has given him his own timer that counts down to his end. Death shall die, and though the prospect is grim, it’s fascinating to see his initial jubilation. He has time now, and he means to spend it like anything else with life. I love how this ties into aspects of his character explored in his first book, Mort, and I’m excited to see where his story goes. Discworld is great all around, but I especially love the Death books.


Recently Finished

aftermathempiresendThe other night I finished reading Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig. Check out my full review here! I liked this book, there were some good twists and turns for the characters and some solid action. I especially liked that while the story does take us to different worlds characters were more cemented in one place. It gave a sense of gravity to their situation. It was the end of the line, for better or worse. Something about this book just left me a little underwhelmed though, despite my enjoyment. I don’t know if it’s the fact that one of the lead characters just never clicked with me or that the book has to reckon with so many different perspectives in one novel to tie events together. I still liked it, I just can’t help feeling ambivalent that it’s all over.

Battle of Jericho HillI also completed the final prequel graphic novel to The Dark Tower, which is Battle of Jericho Hill by Robin Furth et al. The art continued to be wonderful and it was as atmospheric as ever, but now that I’m done I’m not so sure I wanted these prequels, at least in the form they’ve taken. For one, they don’t really coalesce with the books. The way John Farson and Marten Broadclock are so doggedly trying to kill Roland and his companions I wonder why he’s left largely alone in the novels. On reflection I’m not so sure these were a good idea, since what they’ve mostly done by the end is spoil some of the mystique to Roland’s past and how he ended up alone, rather than creating something that flows perfectly into the story I already know.


Reading Next

BloodlineThe final novel I have planned to read for this year is Bloodline by Claudia Gray, which is a standalone Star Wars novel following Leia decades after Return of the Jedi at a time of a lot of political turmoil in the New Republic and a growing threat at the fringes of the galaxy. I’ve also heard that some of it deals with Leia coming to grips with Darth Vader being her father, which I’m excited to see some insight in to. To be honest, part of why I pushed myself to read the Aftermath trilogy was that I wanted to have them done as a primer just for this book. It is especially well-received among new Star Wars books and I’m hopeful my expectations have not set me up for disappointment.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig

aftermathempiresend

Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig is the final novel in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, which take place after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Norra Wexley and her crew of Imperial hunters have been tracking hunting down a lead on Grand Admiral Rae Sloane for months after her flight from the New Republic planet of Chandrila, where a devious attack by the Empire killed many officials and nearly ended the life of the Chancellor Mon Mothma. Their search leads them to Jakku, a world at the edges of known space, where they discover a massive Imperial fleet of Star Destroyers. Determined to track down Sloane, Norra launches herself to the surface in an escape pod, accidentally taking bounty hunter Jas Emari with her. Her son Temmin’s droid Mister Bones is sent in a pod after her to protect her, while Temmin and ex-Imperial Sinjir evade TIE fighters and return to Chandrila to report the Imperial presence to the New Republic.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/26

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by 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

The TroopI’m nearly a hundred pages into reading The Troop by Nick Cutter. I was pleasantly surprised with how it hit the ground running with the setup, having the characters already camped out on the small island near Prince Edward Island. It dawned on me slowly after I started reading that this might not be a zombie story at all, but rather a Wendigo story. The starving man who intrudes on their island is emaciated yet cognizant, desperately hungry and devouring everything he can get his hands on yet never able to satisfy the hunger. The novel has yet to confirm one way or another, but I’m eager to find out. The only hitch in the book for me so far is the idle banter between the boys of the troop hasn’t been well written at all.


Recently Finished

AftermathLifeDebtOver the weekend I finished reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, which you can check out my review for here. This book wound up being a significant improvement upon its predecessor for me. The ensemble cast was really well balanced, iconic characters were given more involved roles, and the plot had a lot more forward momentum. Much more happened in this book without sacrificing character moments. A few of the characters did still leave something to be desired though, with personal plot-lines that I had trouble caring for in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read the third and final installment soon.

The Long Road HomeI also read through The Long Road Home by Robin Furth and Peter David et al, the second book in the prequel graphic novels for The Dark Tower series. The plot of this book follows young Roland and his ka-tet’s return to Gilead after the death of Susan, Roland’s love. He spends much of his time in the thrall of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit while his companions must convey his unconscious body over treacherous terrain and protect him from their pursuers. In the seventh novel Roland mentioned seeing the death of Oy through the grapefruit, which we are treated to as well. I was rather heartbreaking to see visualized, and helped to tie the book to the greater quest that lies in store for Roland.


Reading Next

The Haunting of Hill HouseI still intend to continue reading the prequels to The Dark Tower, and in terms of prose I think I can safely say I intend to read one of the Shirley Jackson ebooks I purchased within the last year. More than likely it will be The Haunting of Hill House, which I’ve heard a lot about as a classic film (1963) and novel, but haven’t spent time with firsthand. I’m excited to read a classic ghost story as well as have my first experience with Jackson’s work, considered a master of horror and mystery.

Until next time, thank you for reading!