Thursday, 23 March 2017

Review: Specter of the Past: Star Wars (The Hand of Thrawn): Book I

Specter of the Past: Star Wars (The Hand of Thrawn): Book I Specter of the Past: Star Wars (The Hand of Thrawn): Book I by Timothy Zahn
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

I dropped this 3 hours and 10 minutes into the audiobook.

I was very excited for this book. Unfortunately, I read a plot synopsis and I just found the conceit of this book dumb.

The actual Hand of Thrawn is a disappointment.

The character of Flim is aggravating, which I guess is the point but I'm not putting up with it.

I was intrigued by Teirce because up until that point, I had never read about a character in the Royal Guard. (You know, those red soldiers that flank important people in the Empire.)

It has too much of the character Mazzik, which wouldn't be so bad if Marc Thompson hadn't decided to give him this weedily Woody Allan voice. He's a bounty hunter! I shouldn't be picturing Woody Allan!

In about 3 hours of the audiobook, there were roughly 10 "lip twists". Everyone's lip was twisting, or they felt their lip twist.

I'm still looking forward to Timothy Zahn's upcoming Thrawn book, but The Hand of Thrawn Duology isn't something I want to sink my time into.

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Monday, 13 March 2017

Review: Dark Disciple: Star Wars

Dark Disciple: Star Wars Dark Disciple: Star Wars by Christie Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***This Review Contains Spoilers. You Have Been Warned***

when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.
But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress.


This novel is adapted from a series of unproduced Clone Wars scripts. While I'm a huge fan of the currently running cartoon Star Wars Rebels, I'm actually not a fan of Star Wars: Clone Wars. I've only seen a handful of episodes and it never really grabbed me, though it did flesh out some great characters, like Cad Bane and Assaj Ventris.

I picked this up because while discussing with a family member if Thrawn would survive through Rebels, he mentioned Ventris was still alive by the time Episode 3 came along. So I googled and spoiled myself. But I wanted to know more so I found this book.

Since Clone Wars has things it needs to reconcile with Episode 3, any stories from this era are tacitly locked to a track of this has to happen or this cannot happen because of, well, cannon. Obviously, Vos will not be successful in assassinating Count Dooku because of how Episode 3 opens. So, we have to look at this story as a character study for Ventris and Vos.

As a character study, it's very good. It peels through Ventris' hard personal defenses and her trauma, and it does a good job leading Vos to the darker side of the Force and really made his fall excruciating and gradual. And tricky.

I even enjoyed this book more than The Thrawn Trilogy, simply for the writing. It didn't rely on crutches ("Thrawn's glowing red eyes glittered...", "So and so's lip twisted" again and again and again. It should be a drinking game.)

I listened to the audiobook edition and it was, as always, very high quality. Once more read by Marc Thompson, these audiobooks are exceptional. No voice seemed off or grating.

If you're a fan of Star Wars, even just casually, you should give this a try. If you're a fan of Clone Wars or Rebels, and you haven't read this yet, stop reading this review and order it right now!

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review: Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So for some reason I decided to read Gillian Flynn's novels in reverse order, having disliked Gone Girl, enjoyed Dark Places and then this one, which I picked up because various reviews of both of Flynn's other books liked to mention how all of Flynn's protagonists are messed up and disturbing and disturbed.

I expected something like Warren Ellis, I got something like SVU.

This super disturbing protagonist? She's a cutter (oooh edgy! No pun intended) who cuts words in her body, and those words burn and tingle at opportune and suitable times. Like a sixth sense or something. She thinking about her dead little sister? The word "Bundle" will throb. When she's not lamenting about her word-scars, she goes on and on about how beautiful her face is.

It was ridiculous.

I didn't get the interested until over 50% of the way into the book. Far too late into it for it to grab me.

The actual mystery was obvious, but also confusing at the same time. Then the actual details of how the crimes were committed were explained by the narrator after the fact. Not TO the narrator by the killer. Show. Don't Tell.

Finally, I listened to the audiobook. It was fine, but I found the narrator to be too gentle and soft spoken to carry the text and characters. She has a lovely, calm voice and is very expressive, just too soft for this particular story.

Skip it. There are better mysteries out there.

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