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September 2016

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Sep. 10th, 2016

Garak

Star Trek at 50 Pt. 4 - Favorites of DS9

I've said it before that DS9 is my favorite Trek show and tied for my favorite sci-fi show of all time (with Dr. Who). So I'm going to give it double the dosage of characters for my favorites.

Characters:
1. Garak
One of my favorite anti-heroes in TV. He was really my first big encounter with this archtype a guy who is neither really good nor evil, but so charming a fascinating that you can't help but love him and understand his motivations even if you don't agree with them. Also the 90's were the height of my James Bond fandom, so I always enjoy a good spy story.

2. Kira
The character I loved from the pilot and the one I latched onto as my favorite early on, though Garak surpassed her around season 3, she remained my fave of the regular cast. I tend to have a thing for strong female characters who are former revolutionaries turned politicians which is why Kira reminds me of Princess Leia. I loved how Kira always spoke her mind though. I also loved how Kira was so strong in her religious faith, something I could relate to a lot. She really is one of the most inspirational fictional characters of the 90s for me.

3. Ezri
Another character I related to a lot. Jadzia, while I liked her, never clicked for me in terms of being able to identify with her much. She was just too alien for me, but somehow when Ezri came along, I just instantly clicked with her - her introvertedness, her petiteness, her being an underdog late to the party, etc. I liked her for being a counselor like Troi. I enjoyed seeing someone who was never meant to be joined go through the process, a shrink who has so many of her own issues. I just really liked that contrast. Ezri's search for her own identity apart from walking in the footsteps of "the greats" like Jadzia and Curzon is a theme I like a lot.

4. Odo
Just like Data or Spock Odo is our "outsider" character for DS9, even among a cast that has more "outsiders" than any other Trek, Odo was still unique and things became even more interesting once we found out who his people really were. I also shipped him and Kira back in the day, one of my favorite Trek couples. Plus Odo/Quark just might be one of the best relationships in all of Trek.

5. Dukat
One of the best villains in Trek. I seem to have a fascination with Cardassians. Maybe it's just their scene-stealing nature. But there was no time I didn't ever enjoy Dukat. Rarely have I enjoyed loving to hate a character more.

6.Nog
This one kinda surprises me, but I love how much growth this character goes through in the course of the series. As soon as Nog makes the decision to enter Starfleet he becomes so unique. I love the path he chooses to become the first of his species in Starfleet and all the drama that arises from it. I love how a character so young is one of the ones who goes through some of the worst trauma in the Dominion War. And I love his friendship with Jake.

Runner-up: Worf. I love his inclusion on DS9 and seeing his continuing story, but as I said I think TNG uses his "outsiderness" to better effect and apart from Dax I prefer his relationships with the TNG crew better.

Episodes:
This was really hard since DS9 is a much more story arc-ed show, but I have tried my best.

1. Duet - made me cry, Kira at her best, considered among Trek's best as well
2. Improbable Cause/The Die is Cast - my favorite Garak story of the show and a major "move the plot forward" pair of episodes for the Dominion arc
3. In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light - a sequel to the two-parter above in a lot of ways, more great Garak stuff, another major turning point in the Dominion storyline, plus this time we have Worf and Martok along
4. What You Leave Behind Pt. 1 & 2 - I wish I could just include the entire 10 part story arc that wraps up the show, but I'll settle for the epic conclusion, which like TNG has one of the best ending to a show I've ever seen
5. Way of the Warrior Pt. 1 & 2 - the intro of Worf and the Klingons to DS9 is so epic and action packed, every character gets a chance to shine, some of the best scenes/moments from the whole show come from this episode including the root beer conversation
6. Necessary Evil - great Kira/Odo stuff, love seeing the station when it was Terok Nor, plus the whole murder mystery film noir atmosphere of the episode
7. In the Pale Moonlight - Garak!, considered among Trek's best, huge Dominion turning point, great Sisko stuff, among the darkest Trek ever got
8. Image in the Sand/Shadows and Symbols - Ezri's intro, the truth about Sisko's connection to the Prophets, Kira at some of her badass best
9. You are Cordially Invited - one of the funnest episodes of the show, the wedding of Worf and Dax!
10. Broken Link - a "bridge" episode of sorts for Garak involving the plot of my #2 and #3 choices, a huge shift in status quo for Odo, plus one of my favorite season cliffhangers

I really would have liked to do more but I had a hard enough time narrowing it down to these ten. Season 7 of DS9 might be one of the best single seasons of any TV show I have watched with about 24 out of 26 episodes rating a 10 out of 10 for me. Voyager should be easier as it's more stand alone.
Garak

Introducing a New Fan to DS9 Part 2

Yes, this post is a little late. Life got busy again. Happy Two Day Belated 50th Star Trek!

"T" continues to enjoy DS9. Her general thoughts on season 2 were that the season started off strong, got a bit mediocre in the middle but picked up again in the second half. Some favorite episodes included the three-part opener, Necessary Evil, Blood Oath, The Wire, and The Maquis Pt. 1 & 2 as best I recall. She didn't like Second Sight which may be the worst of the season for her though Sanctuary, Playing God, and Rivals didn't get great reactions either. She's also not too fond of the Mirror Universe idea, though she did find Kira meeting Kira fun.

Unfortunately the Kira/Odo mistrust after Necessary Evil isn't really continued on, I had to tell her, though she liked the twist of the episode.

Kira, Odo, Miles, Dax, and Garak remain among her favorite characters. She's also gaining appreciating for Sisko this season and likes his leadership style and the scenes he has with Dukat.

She thought Dax was used well in Past Tense Pt. 1 & 2. She likes Dax and thought that her background as the science officer and the computer expert of the trio was a good use of show don't tell in these episodes. We often hear how smart Dax is, but here her skills and smarts were particularly utilized to good effect.

It was hard for "A" & I to keep quiet about Winn becoming Kai and having to remember to always call her Vedek, but we somehow managed to do it. She considers Winn one of those hate the character but love the actor situations and likes to compare Winn to Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter. She liked Li Nalus's arc and misses Opaka. She's not a big fan of Bariel. She thinks he's okay as a vedek and a good opposer of Winn, but she really doesn't like the Kira/Bariel romance and finds it squicky. Though it's hard to say if she likes it less that Keiko/Miles. Problems with Keiko though for her stem from Keiko continuing be a problematic characters in that the writers just don't seem to know what to do with her which I have to agree with.

"T" is curious to find out more about the Dominion. She likes how the show is building them up and found the Sisko/Jake/Nog/Quark camping trip rather amusing.
Tags:

Sep. 7th, 2016

Garak

Star Trek at 50 Pt. 3 - Favorites of TNG

Yesterday was rather busy, so here's the next installment featuring one of the best Trek shows second only to DS9 imho and perhaps my favorite Trek character of all.

Characters
1. Data - perhaps my favorite character in all of Trek. I love the exploration of robot sentience. It's just one of those sci-fi things that fascinates me, so I love what this character is about and I love how Data wants to be human. The "outsider" character who is able to look at humanity from a different/alien perspective is usually one of my favorites in each series. But while Data is called the Spock of TNG, he's really McCoy. He is Pinocchio, and I love that and seeing his journey progress in becoming more human.

2. Worf - I love the Klingons and I love how Worf was able to be the most "renegade" of the Enterprise crew. He didn't quite fit, being another "outsider" character, able to get away with more conflict than other characters. He was able to cross the line and hold grudges. While I love that he joined DS9. I always thought he was at his most unique on TNG.

3. Troi - While she does suffer sometimes from not being as strong as she could have been she got better as the seasons went on, I love the idea of a counselor and empath on the ship. I love the Betazoid species and her romances with Riker and Worf and her friendship with Beverly. She really is the heart of the crew in a lot of ways.

Favorite episodes
This was harder to narrow down than TOS, this time in ranking order.
1. Data's Day - the best episode of my favorite character, the episode that made me a fan for life, slice of life, Data dancing, Miles and Keiko's wedding, just fun and ejoyable but with a important commentary on everyday life too

2. All Good Things pt. 1 & 2 - one one my favorite show finales, Q and Picard at their best, time travel

3. Unification pt. 1 & 2 - two generations of Trek meet and it's epic, Spock ftw, Vulcan & Romulan politics, plus the surprise origin of Sela

4. Redemption Pt. 1 & 2 - Worf's storyline reaches it height here in the Klingon Civil War, but I love these two-parters because so many of the crew get their moments to shine like the great Data subplot in this one, also continuity paying off makes things more epic

5. Face of the Enemy - Troi's best episode of the show as she goes toe to toe with another strong female all the while doing it undercover as a Romulan, a great "spy" story that introduced the Tal Shi'ar into Trek cannon

6. The Offspring - Data builds a daughter, one of two Trek episodes I remember made me cry the first time I watched it

7. Brothers - another great Data episode, this time with Brent Spiner playing three roles - Data, his android brother Lore, and their creator

8. Lower Decks - great idea to shift the pov focusing on characters other than the main bridge crew for an episode which you can see Star Trek: Discovery is now taking some inspiration from perhaps for it's main character, then of course you have the shocking ending which is another tear-jerker

9. Relics - another TOS and TNG team-up, always a special treat, one of Geordi's best episodes too

10. The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1 & 2/Family - it may seem a cliched choice, but which the Borg are so overplayed now, there was a time when they were the scariest thing in the Trek Universe, Picard's emotional fall-out in Family really is an emotional coda to this story (and I love Worf's adoptive parents)

I could easily make a top 20 or 30 for this show, but I'm going to stop here. Not sure I'm going to be able to limit myself on DS9 though.

TNG guests I have seen in person: Riker - Jonothan Frakes, Worf - Michael Dorn (twice), Data - Brent Spiner (thrice), Troi - Marina Sirtis, Geordi - LeVar Burton, Dr. Crusher - Gates McFadden (twice), Q - John DeLancie.

Regarding the TNG movies: First Contact is my favorite of course. I enjoy Insurrection and Generations about equally. Nemesis does not exist in my headcannon. DATA'S NOT DEAD I TELL YOU! That's a future installment of "Dear Murdering Bastards" right there. But I'm here to focus on the positive and tomorrow will have a double dose of that with DS9.

Sep. 5th, 2016

Garak

Star Trek at 50 Pt. 2 - Favorites of TOS

Movies:
What can I say, except that the even numbered ones are the best. I would rank them - 6, 2, 4, 3,...and let's just forget about those last two shall we. One is just boring as heck and gimme five if you know which Trek film is "that which shall not be named."

I love 6 best because I think I like stories that allegory the end of the Cold War. DS9 did it with the Cardassians and ST6 does it with the Klingons. I love the murder mystery, I love the Shakespeare, I love Michael Dorn playing father of Mogh instead of son of. I love how every TOS crew member gets some spotlight. And I love the ending. It just feels like the right end to an era. But the return of Khan and time traveling space whales are cool movies too.

Characters:
1. Saavik
Maybe it's cheating to say I love a character only from the movies, but I liked seeing Spock's apprentice turned lover. I think it's cool she's half-Romulan. I'm glad she wasn't Valeris's part in ST6. And I picture Curtis in my head over Christie.

2. McCoy
I love the emotional, heart on his sleeve, cantankerous, Southern doctor who could always tell you why Spock was wrong about everything. :-)

3. Uhura
She didn't always get a lot to do, but she made an impact and was a capable linguist which always inrigued me. If I could have a job on the Enterprise, I'd want hers. There was I time I wanted to be a mission communications specialist for NASA growing up. Zoe Soldana has only made her more awesome if that counts.

Favorite episodes, in no particular order except #1:
1. City on the Edge of Forever - a classic, makes me cry
2. The Menagerie pts. 1 & 2 - Pike's crew!, good Spock stuff
3. The Squire of Gothos - the equivalent of TNG's Q
4. Amok Time - Vulcan culture, Kirk vs Spock
5. Mirror, Mirror - alternate universe done well, some nice Uhura stuff
6. I, Mudd - so funny, also I love robots
7. Trouble with Tribbles - a classic, makes me laugh
8. Journey to Babel - Federation races, Spock's parents, murder myster-
9. The Enterprise Incident - Romulans, cloaking device origins, Kirk undercover
10. All Our Yesterdays - good time travel stuff, Spock & Zarabeth is almost as haunting as Kirk and Edith

Saw at a convention: Kirk - William Shatner, Scotty - James Doohan, Number One/Nurse Chapel - Majel Barrett-Roddenberry (twice), Uhura - Nichelle Nichols, Yeoman Rand - Grace Lee Whitney, Sulu- George Takei, and Chekov - Walter Koenig.
Garak

Star Trek at 50 Pt. 1 - Becoming a fan

On September 8, 2016 Star Trek turns 50! So welcome to a week or so of blog posts celebrating my favorites of the franchise. I've already shared nearly all of my convention guests stories so I thought I'd talk about some other things I love about the franchise like episodes, characters, etc. as well the season 2 review continuing T's first time watching DS9, a Steel City Con report on meeting Tony Todd and Tim Russ, and memories of volunteering at the Trek science center exhibit, the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas, and partying with Klingon cosplayers.

Next to Transformers, there are few things I can remember being a bigger fan of than Star Trek. If you'd asked me prior to 1993, I would have said I preferred Wars to Trek. Though I did like Trek, there seemed to be a distinct lack of female presence that made a lasting impression the way Princess Leia did. I'd only seen Wrath of Khan and Search for Spock. Uhura was practically a non-entity in terms of doing anything. I liked Saavik, who remains my favorite TOS character, but compared to Leia, there was really no contest. Troi was a step up. I remember watching a few episodes of TNG on their first airings - "Encounter at Farpoint," "Where Silence Has Lease", and "Qpid" (the Robin Hood episode where I mistook Vash for Troi and therefore thought she was Picard's love interest). I liked the idea of this telepath who had awesome hair and I was sure Troi was meant to be Trek's equivalent of Leia at last. Even so, the show never quite caught on with me for years. I liked it okay, it was just one of those shows that I always meant to watch but kept forgetting when it was on and didn't have that impetus yet to say, yes this is a must watch show for me.

I will say that one thing movies 2 & 3 did for me was keep me from worrying over the death of Optimus Prime. I was 10 by then and was smart enough to know how these things worked.;-) Spock was never really dead. The fans either demanded for him to come back and they listened or it was really the plan all along to bring him back and just make the audience sad for a while. So without knowing any of the behind the scenes stuff until a decade later on the Internet, I knew Optimus would return someday and sure enough, the final episode of season 3 was called The Return of Optimus Prime. I was only 6 when I saw Star Trek 2 btw, and no I didn't cry at Spock's death cuz I barely knew who the character was in the first place, but a lot of adults in the theater sure seemed sad. (Meanwhile, The Empire Strikes Back is one of those films that may have "scarred me for life" at 5 by giving me a permanent case of apotemnophobia and the trauma of Han being frozen in carbonite like that which is why Return of the Jedi is the best SW film.)

So what was the impetus for my love of Trek? Well, it started with my 10th grade astronomy and geology teacher, an amazing woman in her own right. She not only loved Star Trek but was a born-again Christian who served as an example to me that my religion was not incompatible with science at a time in my life when I was going through my own spiritual crisis. She also had the interesting hobby of palm reading. And it just so happened that there was a new Star Trek show debuting that year called DS9. The pilot intrigued me. I liked it. I didn't start watching regularly right away though, it took another month or two for that to happen, when I caught a rerun of TNG, it was the second half of the Worf-centric episode "Redemption" where K'ehleyr dies and Worf kills Duras. Then two days later I saw the episode that would cement me as a Star Trek fan for life - "Data's Day." On Friday March 12, 1993, I became a Star Trek fan. So it wasn't a female character that got me into Trek but a very manly honorbound Klingon and a sentient robot android even if he didn't transform. Well, okay there was also Major Kira who is more Trek's answer to Princess Leia than Troi ever was. That Saturday I began watching TNG and DS9 on a regular basis with the episodes "Birthright Pt.2" a very Worf-centric episode from TNG season 6, and "Move Along Home" (I don't care what anyone says I like that episode) from DS9 season 1. Don't ask me why those memories are so vivid for me that I remember all that, somehow they just are okay. And every week night I had the five previous seasons of TNG to catch up on. It was bliss! And it should be no surprise I did my astronomy research paper on wormholes. Ironically, while my astronomy teacher loved Trek and I credit here with getting me into the franchise, she never was that big a DS9 fan. TOS and TNG were her thing.

Of course, I also started devouring every TNG and DS9 tie-in novel I could. In fact, I think it was Trek fandom and Dr. Who fandom a few years later that kept me from having the cash to engage in the Star Wars EU. At least, I'm making up for lost time now.

Next time: Favorites of TOS.

Sep. 4th, 2016

Princess Leia

Star Wars Books/Comics Capsule Reviews Part 2

Bloodlines by Claudia Grey
I loved it! Can I just vote for Leia in November? Seriously though, I loved this view of politics in the SW universe and of course I love novels focusing on Leia. One thing I want to point out right off the bat is the supporting cast. The last Leia book, the YA novel Moving Target, left something to be desired with its stock supporting characters despite a good portrayal of Leia herself. Here the supporting cast all comes alive - Korr, Seastriker, Greer, are all wonderfully well-rounded additions to the universe, but I have to make special mention of Ranselm Casterfo (I listened to the audiobook, so my spelling may be off.) In a novel full of complex characters, he may be the winner. I love the love-hate bipartizanship he has with Leia throughout the novel. Some of these characters also become more special when by the end of the novel you realize why they never showed up in The Force Awakens. Greer is probably the closest thing we have to Winter in the new cannon so far. I would love to read more about her especially and the people of Pamarth. Maybe a novel about that race Han Solo is in charge of.

This novel really helps set up the beginning of The First Order and how the political situation in the galaxy got so bad that things are in the state they are in by The Force Awakens. I am a little confused though about exactly how many years before TFA this novel is set, or more specifically how old Ben Solo is when he hears a certain vital piece of info in the novel. But it explains a lot (and makes me question the Solos parenting skills a bit). I also love how Leia's reputation as Hutslayer gets used in the novel. That was a lot of fun. I also love little things too like that Mon Mothma was still the leader of the New Republic until she passed away from old age and that Ryloth is finally independent like Cham always hoped it would be. And was Leia's "little black dress" a deliberate nod to something I've seen at Hot Topic? Hillarious! And while the novel ends on a lot of bittersweet notes with parallels to Padme "watching democracy die to thunderous applause" I do love Leia's integrity to always take a stand and form a new resistance and hitting Lady Carise with a revenge that, while much less than what the woman deserves, is still satisfying because it hits Carise right where it hurts the most.

This is definitely one of my favorite SW novels I've read so far, though I would be remiss if I didn't mention a couple of nitpicks. They are not so much nitpicks though as comparative differences with the EU. While I love seeing the in-depth look at Leia in politics, I do confess disappointment that new canon Leia never became a "Jedi" like she did in the EU. The Leia of the new canon though could only choose one path or the other. And while there is a symmetry to Luke following Anakin's path and Leia following Padme's, EU Leia more or less got to have her cake and eat it too in terms of wish fulfillment. Along similar lines, while Bloodlines does a great job hinging on an important secret of Leia's, I don't recall this information being such a big deal in the EU. Again, I don't know how the EU handled it yet, but I'm under the impression Luke and Leia's heroic actions in the formation of the New Republic spoke for themselves in spite of that secret and that the new government, while it had it problems, never got as unstable as it does in the new canon with The First Order. If I'm wrong, please enlighten me. Aside from some disappointment that Leia never learned as much Jedi stuff as she does in the EU, (though I am looking forward to those Force usage rumors in episode 8, and the little snipits of things Aftermath is giving us) I really love what Disney has done with Leia in Bloodlines.

As for the secret being such a big deal, it makes a lot of sense and what the novel does with it is brilliant. I've just never been the biggest fan of [Spoiler (click to open)]children getting blamed for the sins of their parents, which I know sounds a little weird given the generational screw-up that is the Skywalker/Solo family, but I'm not talking about children fixing those mistakes or the hero internalizing that responsibility. I am talking about children being blamed for things that their parents did when they may not have even been born yet and crap. Leia and Ranselm trying to overcome this blame is a very heartfelt part of the novel. I just have overwhelming contempt for characters like the senators who think that evil is genetic or something. Ugh! So while it makes great storytelling when done right, like it is done here, it's a surefire shortcut to get me to hate a character. Another case in point would be the whole Worf/Duras story from ST:TNG. So I love-hate Claudia Grey for putting me through such an emotional ringer with this book and tackling this plot twist so well.

Dangit, I may have to read Lost Stars now, though I have a feeling Celia Ree is the type of character who is going to drive me up a wall. Ignorance is one thing because the Empire is good at covering up crap and being master spin-doctors, but I'm already dreading any arguments and self-rationalizations this character will have for staying an Imperial after her childhood friend turned rebel informs her of stuff like the slavery and genocide that the Empire gets up too, but no she has to stay because her people believe in DUTY/HONOR! In short, the faster Celia defects from being a Nazi Imperial, the more I'll like her.

I've read some more SW comics too, but this review is not so capsule anymore, so maybe next time.
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Aug. 10th, 2016

Princess Leia

Rebel Legion Jaina Solo Pictures WIP

Here are my pics for a few of my items for my Jaina solo costume I have assembled so far.

Jaina Solo Costume Guidelines:
http://newsite.rebellegion.com/jaina-solo-new-republic-jedi/

Boots - "Brown or tan knee-high, riding-type boots with little or no heel"
Zippers on the inside, elastic covered by flap on the inside right behind zipper. Straps that used to cross over at the ankle have been removed, but I am a little concerned if there is some discoloration left behind on the right boot. Does it look noticeable?





Pants - "Tan pants, lighter in color than the tunic"
They may look a little light outside here, but they are a basic khaki, women's Talbots pant. I also have them on in some of the boots pictures.


Scarf - "A neck scarf noticeably darker in color than the tunic"
Scarf is what I would call a chocolate brown fleece or fleece-like material. It looks dark when I took the outside picture so I have also taken an inside picture for color contrast. I can sew this into an infinity scarf if I need to in order to keep it from slipping as some other Jaina WIP threads have suggested. I can also cut off the fringe if that is not considered part of Jaina's costume.

Jul. 19th, 2016

Princess Leia

Star Wars Books/Comics Capsule Reviews Part 1

Now that I've caught up on most of the news from Celebration this past weekend and watched that Rebels season 3 trailer a dozen times, I was in the mood to do this. I've already said how much I loved the Leia and Kanan comics from last year as well as enjoying the YA Leia novel Moving Targets. He's what Star Wars stuff I've read in 2016.

Star Wars: Rebels
The Rebellion Begins
by Simon Kinberg and Michael Kogge
Normally I could care less about novelizations these days. But this one was surprisingly good. Not only do we get two additional chapters at the beginning that weren't in the show and thus read like deleted scenes but the novel gets inside the characters' heads at some of the best moments and offers insight in a way that the print medium can do that the visual medium cannot. Some such moments are funny like what was Zeb thinking about that "hairless Wookie" plan, while others are downright profound like the two description of Kanan fully opening himself up to the Force again for the first time in 14 years and it beautiful. Rarely have a heard a better description of how destiny and free will co-exists which can be such a tricky spiritual concept to get across, but here Kanan greets the Force like an old friend he hasn't seen in years, finally unafraid to embrace who and what he really is. This novel shows the strengths of translating a story to a different medium, nothing groundbreaking here, but strong enough to recommend for those who want a complementary way to experience the excitement of the pilot episode again.

Star Wars: A New Dawn
by John Jackson Miller
This novel was great! It certainly made me a JJM fan. And of course I loved seeing Kanan and Hera's first meeting and seeing it told well. JJM's skills for worldbuilding and creating interesting supporting characters are in full force here. I'm not sure I understood all the beats of Vidian's complex plan, but I easily got the jist of it and he deserves a place as a notable villain in the Star Wars rogues gallery. Rae Sloane is a notable character who seems to be making the rounds in this new universe in other comics and novels. Skelly is annoying, but important to the plot. And who can't help but love Zaluna and Okadiah. The heart of the story though is Kanan's journey which is the next stage in his character progression from the person he was at the end of the Kanan comic to the person he would become by the beginning of Rebels. And of course the impetus for all of this is meeting Hera with the two of them falling into a rhythm almost right away that will as the basis for their long partnership. I recently recommended this one to my friend "T" who is just now getting into the Rebels TV show and she enjoyed it too.

Star Wars: Shattered Empire Comic
This was fun if a quicker read than I expected. It was great to meet Poe's parents, especially his mom. I loved seeing her, Leia, and the Queen of Naboo flying and fighting the Empire together. I also enjoyed the mission Poe's mom goes on with Luke to salvage something important from the old Jedi temple. Nothing deep or thought provoking about this story, but good, fun adventure and it's great to see the continuation of introducing cool, female characters into the new cannon.


Star Wars: Rebels
Ezra's Gamble
by Ryder Windham
A swift but enjoyable read for Rebels fans who want to know more about Ezra's past in a story that is set just prior to the beginning of the TV show. Ezra's partnership with Bossk the bounty hunter draws some fun parallels to Kanan and Janus Kasmir. And sorry to all the Boba Fett fans, but Bossk is best bounty hunter! He was the only other bad guy Star Wars figure I had as a kid besides Vader so I always enjoy getting to see him get some love from writers. So bringing him into a Rebels story and teaming him up with Ezra was a lot of fun for me. I hope he shows up in the show at some point.

Star Wars Legends
Last of the Jedi #1 - the Desperate Mission
by Jude Watson
A Dark Times story about a Padawan trying to survive. Given my love of Kanan, you can see how this would interest me. And I thought the story was decent. I like Fergus Olin. I liked Obi-Wan leaving Tatooine to help him out. The two make a good team. However, the plot was just okay. Fergus had the Ahsoka-like advantage of leaving the order before Order 66, so the danger he was facing never felt as desperate as Kanan's. It also felt like it took half the book before Fergus even showed up. Then it ends on a cliffhanger. Basically I found the concept more interesting than the execution. So while I enjoying seeing a character who may have been some early influence for Kanan, I'm not in a hurry to read the next one, though I might finish reading them someday.

Star Wars Legends
Rebel Force #2 - Hostage
by Alex Wheeler
I liked seeing a Legends YA novel focusing on Leia and some survivors of Alderaan. My favorite parts involved the surprise (to me at least) return of Fergus Olin and how he operated as a secret Jedi guardian for Leia throughout her childhood like Obi-Wan did for Luke and flashbacks to young Leia on Alderaan. I found this Fergus and his undercover work more interesting than the Last of the Jedi series. The plot with Leia was somewhat predictable, but Han, Luke, and Leia were in character and I liked the way Fergus danced around being a Jedi with Luke around. Not sure I care about who this mysterious "X" guy is though who didn't do much and kept interrupting the main plot with his interludes which ties into some bigger story. But I wouldn't mind reading more of this series, or at least the final one where Fergus has some kind of confrontation with Vader.

Star Wars Legends
Dark Times Comic Vol. 1 & 2
More stories of Jedi being hunted during the Dark Times. The first volume left me cold with it's cannibalism and failure to really connect with any of the characters. The second volume did a little better with the story of the Jedi padawans, but not enough to make me want to continue the series (apart from the crossover volume with KOTOR). Disappointing. The new cannon is much better at handling Dark Times stories from what I've read so far.

Star Wars Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir Comic
Worth a read as Maul's storyline was one of my favorite parts of Clone Wars. It fills in some of the blanks between Clone Wars and Rebels and I liked seeing how Maul's alliance with the Black Sun and Deathwatch fell apart as well as what happened to Mother Talzen. Can't think of much else to say other than it was a good continuation and bridge between the two animated shows. Definitely worth it for Maul fans.

Star Wars Legends
Kenobi
by John Jackson Miller
Another great book from a man who has become one of my favorite SW authors. The story starts slow with Kenobi showing up in the prologue then disappearing for five chapters until a critical moment. Honestly, I was getting bored up until that point. But the character and worldbuilding of those early chapters serve the rest of the novel well. I especially loved the character of Analeen and her pseudo-romance with Kenobi. Obi-wan state of mind in the wake of RotS is well-examined here. I love his journal-style meditations to Qui-Gon, and the way the story builds until he's forced to confront some of the deep regret and failure regarding Anakin. Obi-wan is so good at bottling things up (cuz, "there is no emotion, there is peace") and I love the way it all just comes out in a emotional explosion. I really dig the space western plot. The Sand People's culture is alien and disturbing, but still not as disturbing as the sexist pig Analeen has to deal with throughout the book. I'm sad this novel is no longer cannon because it's wonderful. But it's still a must read for any Obi-Wan fan like me.

Star Wars Legends
Star Wars Adventures Princess Leia and the Royal Ransom Comic
Just an all-ages comic with Han and Leia on a mission to rescue a spoiled kidnapped princess who is the stereotypical opposite of buttkicking Leia. The plot is predictable and the art is only okay, but as a Leia fan, it was nice to see a few girl power moments from her. Otherwise skipable.

Star Wars: Dark Disciple
by Christy Golden
Something of a mixed bag. I really like Assajj Ventress in this story. It's a great continuation of her story from Clone Wars and provides a good conclusion to her story. The love story between her and Vos was also believable and well-realized. The two do complement each other as a couple. But Vos himself was just kinda meh. While I was interested in the progression of his relationship with Ventress, he just felt so bland which is weird considering his mission should be more interesting than it was. Maybe it was just that we know Vos could never succeed given we know when Dooku dies and it's obviously not here. Therefore the suspense of the story is forced to rest on the fight for Vos's soul which I didn't care as much about for Vos's sake but more for Assajj's sake and the sake of their relationship. It was hard to tell when he was being influenced by the dark side and when he wasn't and when he though he was fine but still really wasn't. There was so much back and forth and it was confusing. The middle of this story dragged, but the beginning and ending were strong. I did like how Vos's psychometry powers were used throughout the plot and how Dooku used it against him. Obi-Wan continues to be the voice of reason as the hypocrisy of the Jedi Council continues to have me roll my eyes. I enjoyed Obi-Wan and Assajj teaming up. This probably would have made a great span of episodes but it just feels too long as a novel and could have used a tighter storyline. But as a fan of Ventress and for an interesting look at a lighsider/darksider romance, I'm glad I pressed through to the end of the book.

Star Wars Legends
Dark Forces Trilogy Radio Dramas
I really like Kyle Katarn. He's become one of my favorite Legends characters. I can see some of the comparison to Kanan, but I think Kyle is very unique in his own right too. I like seeing his evolution from Imperial Trooper to Rebel to Jedi Knight. I like seeing a Jedi who has family connects like a father and lover. He and Jan make a good team. I was a little disappointed to learn that the Radio Dramas did not use the video game cast. Jerek was a cool nemesis and I loved getting to know about Rahm Kota who also has influenced Kanan some. So I really dug the story. However, it does feel kinda disjointed being based on video games. I'm not sure if these stories are adapting the games, filling in the gaps, or some of both, but I was disappointed with the time jumps between the stories. I wanted to know more. I also didn't like how distrustful Mon Mothma was of Kyle but I do see her wariness as surprisingly consistent with the vibe I'm getting between Mothma and Jyn in the Rogue One trailer. I found the stealing of the Death Star plans that Kayle and Jan pulled off a bit underwhelming and almost too easy, but that might again be a problem with it being a radio play and not a big budget feature. Anyway I loved the final showdown with Jerek and am looking forward to Kyle and Jan showing up in Legends novels.

Star Wars Legends
Knights of the Old Republic Comic Vol. 1 & 2
by John Jackson Miller, etc.
I am enjoying this so far which is good because it's a pretty long series. Zayne is a likable protagonist and I like the rag-tag crew he joins up with. This crew connected with me in a way the Dark Times crew failed to do. The white female alien reminds me of Hebzibah from the X-Men's Starjammers and they are just a quirky bunch. I like the mystery and conspiracy that has been set up that put Zayne on the run in the first place. The Jedi Council of this era is even worse than the Clone Wars era council. I hope the story provides a satisfying conclusion to Zayne's plight but I'll enjoy his adventures along the way. Since this is a long story I will take my time with it, but I do plan to read it all. I just haven't decided if I want to read it all from the library or buy my own copies yet.

Star Wars Darth Vader Comic Vol. 1
It was okay. Being part of the Marvel reboot I decided to give it a try but the new characters haven't made much of an impression on me, including Dr. Aphra. The most important plot points are getting referenced in the main SW comic anyway. I guess I'm just not a big enough fan of Vader to be interested in a monthly book about him. I will try the Vader Down crossover at some point though. Otherwise I'll stick to other titles.

Star Wars Comic Vol. 1 Skywalker Strikes
Now this I liked a lot. Everyone was in character and the art was great. It really felt like a story that captured the feel of A New Hope and could be set between episodes 4 & 5. I'm a fan already of Cassaday's art from Zorro and X-Men and I look forward to seeing more of him and Gillen. I'm adding the trade to my pull list. Can't wait to see what Sana Solo is all about.

Star Wars Legends
Young Jedi Knights #1 Heirs to the Force
by Anderson and Moesta
I remember some of this series vaguely from my childhood. I can't remember how many of them I read before or not, but I enjoyed this first one either way. I love Jaina and Jacen and Lowie and Tenel Ka. They are some of my favorite Legends characters. Even Em Teedee isn't as annoying as I remember. These bring back some nice nostalgia so I'm currently making my way through these right now before I dive into the main adult series. I really wanted to read some Jedi twins stuff and didn't want to have to wait until I got to NJO. I also have a big interest in Jaina as I am putting together a cosplay of her for Rebel Legion. Next to Leia she's my favorite female SW character. So I enjoy reading about her and Jacen before all the angst of their grown up years.

Star Wars Legends
Knight Errant Comic Vol. 1
by John Jackson Miller, etc.
Kiera is another great character I love as much as Zayne, maybe a little more. I enjoy her impulsiveness and her trying to balance what she needs to do for the greater good vs her personal vendetta. It's a good dilemma for a Jedi. And I like seeing it done with a female character. I hope to collect all of this series. I love how there are two main villains for this series who have a rivalry - one being a tyrant and the other being just nuts. The KOTOR time period is so much fun.

Star Wars Legends
Dawn of the Jedi Vol. 1
It's interesting going back to the earliest days of the Jedi. I like seeing a time when lightsabers are a new thing and the characters are nice mix. So I think I will continue with this series, but I want to finish Knight Errant and KOTOR with Zayne first.

Star Wars: Legends
The Jedi Path
This was a cool idea to do a book like this. I like the idea of a Jedi handbook that gets into depth about the order and Jedi powers and stuff. I like the comments from the books many owners as well from Yoda to Luke. I know this book isn't cannon anymore but the lore is still very helpful and I feel like such a geek and I can say stuff like I think Kylo Ren's Force specialty is control abilities. That suspension of a blaster bolt in mid air looks like some advanced form of tutaminus. It's also fun imagining what path and abilities I'd like to specialize in if I were a Jedi. Probably I'd be a Counsular, specializing in Form 6 since it's the most well-rounded for both offense and defense and incorporates cool telekinesis techniques. I'd be either a Seer or Researcher but a researcher out in the field with the Exploration Corps making archaeological discoveries or meeting new species. I know handbooks exist for Sith, Imperials, and Bounty Hunters too, but I'm a Jedi lover at heart so this is the only handbook that has really interested me, though I love the concept of these books as a whole. I'd love to see a Rebel Alliance handbook. I'd definitely buy that.

So that's what I've had a chance to read so far. I'm reading Young Jedi Knights and the Leia Bloodlines novel right now. Then I'll do Lords of the Sith and Shatterpoint and then go back and do Dawn of the Jedi, Knight Errant, KOTOR, Dark Rendezvous, Empire and Rebellion 1 & 2, Heir to the Empire and start into Zahn (Scoundrels, Alligiance, Choices of One) and the Ahsoka novel in October. My hope is to chronologically get through the Thrawn trilogy before Zahn's new Thrawn novel comes out in April. I want to reread the original before I see what Zahn does with him in the new cannon.
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Jul. 13th, 2016

Princess Leia

Predictions For Star Wars Rebels Season 3

I wanted to get this in before Star Wars Celebration this weekend just based on what we know so far. I'll do predictions after that news too before season 3 begins. Spoilers below!
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May. 15th, 2016

Bluestreak

"Dear Murdering Bastards" of Sleepy Hollow

Beware of SPOILERS!

Sleepy Hollow finished its season first so it gets to be the first victim!

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