On the Origins of Rey

Perhaps I wasn’t in tune with the other releases, but it seems clear to me that the novelization of Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker was a more significant expanded edition than those that came before. I love reading the new Star Wars books, but I don’t normally go for novelizations of the films. I made an exception in this case.

Though very flawed, I rather like The Rise of Skywalker for what it is, but what stuck out very sorely was just how often new ideas introduced in the film were not fully explained or clarified for the viewer. I needed to know the fine details and the novelization held the answers. Now that I’ve actually read through this expanded novelization, there is something it revealed that has grown in my estimation the more I’ve thought about it, and I want to share.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – June 24, 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

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I started reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, though I only got about 50 pages in. I’m enjoying how much it just dives right into its premise, that around the world different mythological creatures are appearing and wreaking havoc: a dragon perching on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a werewolf stalking the streets of Baltimore, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and more. Each is being tackled by a different Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) agent, giving us a number of perspective characters so far. These stories are intercut with with two magicians traveling the world in the 1970s, uncovering the remains of old creatures and sending them to their father, who seems to be behind the attacks in the present. I’m curious to see where the story goes and how this all ties together, especially with the monster-fighting kicking off the novel.


Recently Finished

The Rise of SkywalkerLast week I pushed myself to finally finish off reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. While I prefer how this book fleshes out the details and gives greater context for the ideas introduced in this story, there is something to be said for the visual spectacle being lost when translated to the page. My ideal version of all this would definitely be an extended cut of the film, but having been fairly satisfied with what the film was on its own, though disappointed in spots, I feel even better having read this now. Given the more unique reasons for picking up this novelization, which I don’t normally do, I don’t especially feel like reviewing this book, so I likely won’t be putting one up. I’m planning to write up a little analysis of some of the more fleshed out lore and character details, though, for the contingent of my readers who are interested in such things about Star Wars.


Reading Next

I’m at the point again where I really don’t know what I want to read next, though I’ll have to make up my mind soon, as ideally I want to be finished with Unnatural Selection by next week. I think I might take a break from reading Star Wars comics, though, to get caught up on The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing at el. I just purchased volume six on sale, which means I’ve got three of those books to read now.

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

 

 

WWW Wednesday – June 17, 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

The Rise of SkywalkerI’ve made considerable headway in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. When I started it I intended to set aside time I’d normally use for other hobbies to read this, but my efforts on this front have been mediocre. So, with the other books I was in the middle of finished up, I decided to give this book more direct attention and now I’m over 75% of the way through. For all the film’s flaws, I still quite like it, so I’m happy to see this novel present a better version of that story. I’ve reached many of the bigger moments from the film now, and the benefit of prose and some expansions have appreciably given the story more depth. Some of my inferences prior to reading have been vindicated as well, which is always a plus.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsOver the weekend I finished up Marvel’s mainline Star Wars series that started in 2015, set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The 13th and final volume was Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels by Greg Pak et al, which nicely tied up the story lines of the previous volume. The stuff with the rock people got really weird (in the best of ways), and I particularly liked that the book didn’t try to stitch itself seamlessly into the beginning of the film that follows it. I guess I just like that it gave things a little room to breathe. The only thing that bristled me a little was one of the epilogue chapters, which tied into the end of the Doctor Aphra series, which I’ve yet to finish. I wish I’d known that was in there before I started, but oh well. It didn’t spoil too much.

White TearsI also finished reading White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which became quite intense as it got further into the back half of the novel. It made for a superbly unique ghost story, the main character Seth being pushed to the brink by the mashup of real-world and otherworldly forces that assail him. His search to uncover the origins of the anomalous “Graveyard Blues” he recorded, and in turn make-good with the ethereal musician Charlie Shaw, takes a decidedly dark turn as he gets closer and closer to the heart of the matter. It made for some effectively harrowing reading, and I especially liked the how disorienting the narrative became as his placement in reality became more distorted and unreliable. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionComing away from White Tears, which uses horror to cover rather heavy, real-world subject matter, I’ve decided I want the next book I start to weigh easier on the mind. To avoid starting another Star Wars or Discworld novel so soon, I’ve decided I’ll start Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, which is the next standalone Hellboy novel that I need to read. It should make for some good, pulpy fun as he faces off against mythical creatures turning up in major cities around the world. This will be the second multi-media tie-in novel of Lebbon’s I will have read too, after reading Alien: Out of the Shadows back in 2018. It wasn’t badly written, but I had mixed feelings, so I’m intrigued to see what he does with a less restrictive property.

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

WWW Wednesday – June 10, 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

Still just chipping away at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. Only read a chapter or so, but I’m continuing to get the finer details that I’ve been wanting, which continues to be nice.

White TearsI haven’t made the progress in White Tears by Hari Kunzru that I wanted to, but I’m still enjoying the book; quite a lot, in fact, as the seemingly otherworldly elements have become more apparent in the lives of the main characters. Music isn’t something I especially connect with myself, but I am loving the ghost story elements manifesting through the music and music collecting, though it seems there is still much to be revealed. There’s still room for it to be in characters’ heads, but I hope that isn’t the case. My father is a huge blues fan and he often emphasizes the otherworldly elements at the periphery of the genre, so I’m appreciating how these elements go together.


Recently Finished

Nothing this week, I’m afraid. I’m hoping I’ll occupy this space with a couple by next week, though.


Reading Next

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsI’m still not sure what book I’m going to start reading next, but I do know for sure what graphic novel I want to start. I enjoyed Star Wars: Rebels and Rogues by Greg Pak et al so much that I decided to pick up the continuation, Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels (a little confusing, I know), which is also the 13th and final volume in that series. If you don’t know, this series is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, so recently they’ve brought it around to a conclusion, leading in to that next film. With the opportunity to finish the series one volume away I feel a personal obligation to do so as soon as I can. After that, I’ll continue reading the deluge of other Star Wars comics I bought last month.

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

WWW Wednesday – June 3, 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

I’m only a chapter or two further along with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. I’ve definitely got to pick up the pace. Story is getting moving a bit, but still in its early phase. Also, a small detail spoken by Lando has expanded on something I had assumed from the film, which is nice.

White TearsI’m only about 60 pages into White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which is a little disappointing. It’s been a scatter-brained few days, so I didn’t get as much reading done as I wanted to. I am enjoying the book so far, though. The writing style is fairly unique, using dialogue sparsely and presenting the story in a more detached way, thanks to the perspective character. Anomalous media is a really fun concept to me, so I love the ghostly recordings that Seth, the main character, doesn’t remember recording while walking through New York City with his hidden mic. It feels as if the story is only just building itself up, though, so I don’t have a clear sense of where this is going or what it’s more specifically about yet.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rebels and RoguesDespite my lack of progress with my other books on the go, I did manage push myself to read through a comic book volume; last night I read through Star Wars: Rebels and Rogues by Greg Pak et al. This is Pak’s first volume with this series, but it was easily one of the best. The core cast is split up three ways to do their own mission for the Rebellion, yet I was invested in each of them pretty equally. The only standout was Chewbacca and C-3PO getting to do their own mission together, wherein they have to place explosives on an unstable planetoid, lure in some Star Destroyers, then blow the planet and take out the ships. Problem is, the seemingly uninhabited planet is actually populated by rock people, adding a perfect moral quandary to their mission.


Reading Next

This is still anybody’s guess, except for the fact that I’ll likely read more Star Wars comics. Don’t know if I’ll continue reading Doctor Aphra volumes, or if I’ll start the Age of Republic book, though. Either way, I’m too early on in White Tears to have another novel lined up in my mind.

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

WWW Wednesday – May 27, 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

I have read another chapter of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson since last week, though this is less than I was hoping I’d get to. Nevertheless, I am appreciating the slower pace compared to the film, giving a more thoughtful look at how characters are processing what’s going on.


Recently Finished

OtherMindsIn an uncommon move on my part, I actually managed to finish reading Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith in about a week. I’m happy I was able to push myself to read it so fast, as I’m still nervous about finishing my to-read list for the year. I enjoyed this book quite a lot, though the science was a lot to take in sometimes. An appreciable amount of time is spent explaining aspects of the mind and how we currently understand its emergence in an evolutionary context, which I genuinely feel I learned from, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take some more mental legwork to understand. There are plenty of charming anecdotes and details of experiments about octopus behaviour that were a lot of fun and helped to balance the denser science.


Reading Next

White TearsSince I was being choosy between Other Minds and White Tears by Hari Kunzru about a month ago, I will be reading the latter next. Other than that, I don’t know why I’ve been so neglectful of my graphic novels as of late. I’ve always got a number of them left unread, and I just bought a lot of digital Star Wars comics since they were on sale. It’d be the easiest way in the world to get caught back up with my Goodreads challenge, but something is holding me back. Dunno what’s up with that.

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

 

WWW Wednesday – May 20, 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

OtherMindsLast night I started reading Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith, a science and philosophy book about the emergence of consciousness, with a specific focus on the minds of octopuses. I only got a couple of chapters in, but I’m rather enjoying it so far. There was a fear that it would make for a dry nonfiction read, but fortunately that hasn’t been the case so far. I do noticeably have to work harder while reading it, though. So far it has been exploring the origins of the mind itself in life on Earth, considering the earliest animals and when they started sensing the world and other creatures around them, and how complex this sense was. It has made for a lot of new terms to learn, since I’m not exactly familiar with life that existed before the Cambrian era.

I’m still technically reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, but I haven’t made any progress in the last week.


Recently Finished

Soul MusicOver the weekend I finished reading Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th novel in the Discworld series. I may be disappointed Death didn’t have a more active role in this story, but darn it this book was just so just solidly enjoyable that it didn’t matter too much. What was most surprising was how much I warmed to the story of “The Band With Rocks In” and their explosion onto the music scene of Ankh-Morpork. While the music itself was a more typical invasive force affecting the Discworld in a way that mirrors something about our own modern world, I appreciated how it was used more as a vehicle to explore the effects and costs of sudden fame. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Shucks, I haven’t made up my mind about this just yet. I’ve only just started Other Minds after finishing Soul Music. I did just buy a bunch of Star Wars graphic novels a couple of weeks ago, though, I’ll probably be checking out some more of those.

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

WWW Wednesday – May 13, 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

Soul MusicI’m close to half way through Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, the 16th Discworld novel, and I’m continuing to enjoy it a lot. I do wish  we’d get more time reading about Death himself, as he’s clearly going through some stuff, but Susan and Buddy are making for more than worthy perspective characters in their respective story lines too. I’ve especially warmed to the latter, which is where the musical focus of the story comes from. Pratchett is clearly using this plot line as a vehicle to tell as many Rock industry jokes and references that he can, and I can sense the glee coming from it in a way that makes me smile. It’s yet another story about a force invading the Discworld too, but I’m finding it better told than the previous ones I’ve read.

The Rise of SkywalkerI also started reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson, the novelization of Episode IX. I’m only about 40 pages in, but already I’m appreciating the better insight into the story that it’s providing. Especially missed from the film, which couldn’t be helped, was a deeper look at the relationship between Leia and Rey as master and apprentice. Carson does a really good job of faithfully capturing the voices of the characters as well, which markedly contrasts with something else I finished this past week. More on that later. I’d prefer the film were more fleshed out, to be sure, but as a lover of the universe and characters I’m feeling rather satisfied with what this book is providing so far.


Recently Finished

Star Wars AllegianceOver the weekend I read through a single graphic novel, Star Wars: Allegiance by Ethan Sacks et al, and it was an unfortunately rough read. It’s a four issue miniseries collected into one volume and it tries to to somehow tell two separate story lines under such limitations. One was about Finn and Poe trying to secure weapons for the Resistance, with bounty hunters in pursuit, and the other was Leia, Rey, and the rest traveling to Mon Cala to try and get the king there to pledge ships to their cause. They weren’t the worst ideas, but they were thin and played out like filler. It would have benefited much more from focus on a single story. Much of the dialogue felt forced and awkward too. I was a little interested in what he was trying to go for with Rey, but for the most part came off as a little out of character.


Reading Next

OtherMindsSince it’s likely I’ll be finished with Soul Music by next week, I suppose I ought to finally choose what book I’m going to read next from my to-read list. As I write this, I really haven’t made up my mind yet. I guess I will go with…Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Things are a little fantasy-heavy at the moment, I really ought to vary things a bit by reading some science nonfiction. I do hope that the writing style doesn’t slow my reading progress to a crawl; that’s always a slight concern with nonfiction. We shall see.

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

WWW Wednesday – March 11, 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

MaddAddamSince last I started reading MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, the final novel in her MaddAddam trilogy. I’m only 60 pages in so far, but I’m enjoying a how much more concerned with the present setting this book is compared to the previous two. The “Crakers,” engineered semi-humans made to inhabit the world after the pandemic has run its course, play a bigger role here that I’m enjoying. Their role in The Year of the Flood was so small, and getting exposed to them so much again has me firmly in the camp that they must be protected at all costs. Something horrible is going to happen to at least one or some of them, though, I just know it. Also, only recently realized the title is an anagram. How about that.


Recently Finished

Star Wars The Scourging of Shu-TorunOver the weekend I read a couple of comic books, the first being Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun by Kieron Gillen, which wraps up an arc involving the titular planet and their betrayal of the Rebellion. This scourging was spear-headed by Leia, and I liked how it was an act of vengeance on her part that did not betray her character at all. A rather flamboyant changeling named Tunga is plays another role in this mission, adding an appreciable variety to their ensemble. The alien Benthic of the Partisans from Rogue One plays a role as well and I enjoyed the discord him and his men brought to the mission, as well as how it is resolved. I really am enjoying how much these comics tie some things together without detracting from the original films.

Bloodborne The Veil, Torn AsunderI also read Bloodborne: The Veil, Torn Asunder by Aleš Kot et al, which you can read my full review of here. Though I mostly felt positively about this book, I am starting to waver a little bit on how committed these books have been to preserving the vaguery of the game’s world. I’m not saying they should do away with it entirely, but this was the most obtuse story yet. I can’t help but wish for the same story explored a little more conventionally. I still quite like what I got, all the same. It is fun to puzzle out the meaning, as I did with the game’s lore, and I did not come up empty-handed. Also, I forgot to mention in my review, but the cover is absolutely misleading. That is not the main character and that sort of action is not what the story is about.


Reading Next

I once again have no idea what I want to read next, on neither the novel nor the comic book front. I’ve been a bit impeded from reading, so I’m more intent on digging into MaddAddam more, but I’m scoping out some prospects on my list too.

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

WWW Wednesday – March 4, 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

Nothing at this moment. I’ve slacked a little bit on starting anything. I’ve got a fair amount on the docket, though, so this will be changing soon.


Recently Finished

Men at ArmsOver the weekend I finished reading Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett, my first reread in a long time. It’s actually been so long since I read this book that I forgot a lot of key plot points, which was great. In many ways it felt like reading it for the first time all over again. I may be a little biased, since this is the book that introduced me to the Discworld, but even after reading 14 other books in the series this is definitely one of the best. It does such a great job of encapsulating Ankh-Morpork as a city, making it feel like one of the characters itself. It also mashes up genres really well, with a fantasy-noir type of plot that plays with classic fantasy tropes of kingship and their right to rule.


Reading Next

MaddAddamI’ve talked about what I want to read next in the last couple of weeks already, but I suppose it bears running down again since I should actually be getting to all of them within the next week.

For my next novel I’ve got MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, the final book in the MaddAddam trilogy. I also plan to read Star Wars: The Scourging of Shu-Torun by Kieron Gillen et al, to catch up on on the volumes I currently have. I also mean to read Bloodborne: The Veil, Torn Asunder by Aleš Kot et al, the 4th graphic novel based on the video game of the same name. Since two of these are comics, it’s likely I’ll have both finished by next week.

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