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Book Review: Redshirts

Redshirts book reviewRedshirts by John Scalzi
My rating:
(Click here to see the Goodreads review)

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while but something else always came up first (mostly the Dresden Files books). I’m glad that I finally got around to reading it. I knew the premise of the book going in and avoided all of the spoilers. I will try to remain spoiler free of my Redshirts book review.

Also, some interesting trivia about the author, John Scalzi. He was a creative consultant for the Stargate Universe live action television series.

Those Recurring Star Trek Themes

While I am a huge Star Wars fan, I still have respect for the Trek. I’m quite familiar with all of the Star Trek tropes so I was looking forward to reading this book. It’s a parody of the classic “Red Shirt” Star Trek theme (i.e. the red shirt always dies). The premise here is that Andy Dahl, a “red shirt”, stumbles on to this suspicious coincidence and he’s determined to figure out why it’s happening. Hopefully, before his inevitable demise. What he discovers is far more unbelievable then he ever imagined, and convincing his other red shirt friends is even more difficult.

The way in which the author addresses this common Star Trek theme is a lot more meta than I was expecting. In fact, at first I wasn’t sure if I liked it. However, as I kept reading I began to understand the allegory of it. I did enjoy this book and that last chapter, the one right before the first CODA, is the best. Chapter. Ever! It definitely breaches the fourth wall but it’s probably one of my favorite chapters of ANY book. I recommend this book to any Star Trek and/or sci-fi fan. It’s a fun read; just keep in mind it’s a parody and try not to get too hung up in it’s conundrums.

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/LLAP

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Book Review: Changes (Dresden Files Book 12)

Dresden Files ChangesChanges by Jim Butcher
My rating:
(Click here to view at Goodreads)

I know, I know. The last book review I wrote for the Dresden Files was book 8. What can I say, I enjoy these books so much I immediately jump into the next book. In fact I do it so quickly that I don’t allow myself enough time to properly digest the book and, thus, write a book review. If you’ve read “Changes” then you know as well as I do, this is a good time to take a step back and breath before embarking on book 13.

Soooo, WoW! This book is aptly named! If you haven’t read it yet then I’m warning you now, there are MAJOR SPOILERS ahead! I was not expecting half the events that unfold for poor Harry in this book. With that said, there are few books that have me shaking and/or tearing up at the end; this book managed to accomplish both.

spoiler alert!!!

The following content contains spoilers for Dresden Files Book 12 – Changes.

A Brief Synopsis/Biggs’ Review

Susan Rodriguez, Harry’s old fling, has returned. She needs Harry’s help, which is always seems to get Harry in trouble. Except this time he has no choice. Susan’s daughter, Maggie, has been taken by the Red Court and she needs Harry’s help to find her; after all … it’s his daughter too??!?!

Over the past several books we have seen Harry Dresden change quite a bit. A rogue wizard who is under the White Council’s constant vigilance to a Warden and now a father! While these are typical changes every person and/or character may go through, this book, literally, changes everything! I’d have to read the book again (which I intend to do) to fully catalog all the terrible things that happens to Harry. By the end you’re wondering where will Harry live now? When will Queen Mab come to collect? WHERE IS MISTER???!? And then … that happens …

A fellow Dresdenite (is that a thing?) said to me that this book could also be called “Harry Dresden and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. Every book is, essentially, Harry’s worst day/week out of the year. However, this book turns it up to 11. Despite the rapid change in landscape, I really like this book. Easily one of my favorite books in the series. I love it when an author suddenly decides to flip everything on its head. Hit the reset button, as it were. I mean, if I didn’t know there were 4 more books, I would have thought this was the end of the series. In fact this book, more than any other book I’ve read, leaves you wondering … where do we go from here???

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diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Book Review: Cloak of Deception

Cloak of DeceptionCloak of Deception

by James Luceno
My rating:
(Click here to view on Goodreads)

James Luceno autograph

I’ve had this book since Star Wars Celebration III (circa 2005). I actually met James Luceno (in fact this book is a signed copy), he’s a great guy. This is also the book that I began reading last year and I was 40% away from completing to hit my 2020 Reading Challenge. I should have pushed myself harder to finish but November and December is always a busy time of year. Be that as it may, I’m always a sucker for some backstory, especially in the Star Wars universe. While I’m not aware of all the books that take place in the prequel era, this book is potentially as far back as I’ve gone in Star Wars canon (aside from the KOTOR games), with the possible exception of Dooku: Lost Jedi.

Biggs’ Synopsis and Review

Supreme Chancellor Valorum’s trade route taxation policies are highly criticized. So much so that attempts have been made on his life. A particularly nasty syndicate, called The Nebula Front, seem to be involved with these assassination plots. Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and his padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi, attempt to track down and thwart these terrorists before they succeed.

As I mentioned before I love backstory content, perhaps that’s part of the reason I’m such a fan of the prequels. Without giving away too many details, this book describes the events that lead right up to the beginning of The Phantom Menace. I really enjoyed reading more of the adventures of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, Palpatines continued manipulation of the events and some fun, new characters.

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diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Book Review – Dooku: Jedi Lost

Book Review of Dooku Jedi LostDooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott
My rating:

I don’t give 3-stars to too many Star Wars books and I almost gave this one 4 stars. Honestly its my fault because I didn’t realize this book is meant to be an audio book. The print form that I read is the scripted version of the audio book; which has its pros and cons. It takes a little getting use to but once you’ve acclimated the book moves pretty fast. There is some nomenclature and acronyms that I didn’t know what they meant. Such as “SOTTO” and “BEAT”. Some of them I could look them up (ex: SOTTO voice means softly or quietly so as to not be overheard). Anyway, let’s get into the synopsis and review.

Brief Synopsis and Biggs’ Review

In all fairness, the story is interesting. It gives you a glimpse into the childhood and Jedi training of Count Dooku. You even learn a bit about how he becomes a “Count”. Dooku is looking for someone from his past and, to do that, he has called upon Ventress, whom he hopes to make his apprentice. He gives her clues and some holo-recordings to help her track down this person. During her investigation she learns about her soon-to-be master’s past, including his family.

Like I said, I think the story is interesting. It doesn’t jump around through time a lot, it stays pretty linear as Ventress explores his past. We meet a few more Jedi Masters and even get a glimpse into Sifo Dyas. Minor spoiler: it turns out Sifo and Dooku were good friends growing up, which is something I never gleaned from the movies. It’s really not a bad book and I’d suggest reading it just to see more about Ventress’ relationship with Dooku. You just have to get used to the scripted format.

/MTFBWY

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Book Review: Force Collector

Book Review of Force CollectorForce Collector by Kevin Shinick
My rating:

In my last book review I talked a bit about the young adult genre and I hardly qualify as a “young adult” (however I’m not exactly “old” either) but I digress. I won’t turn down a good young adult novel but, I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure about this book. This is another book in the “Journey to Rise of Skywalker” series and I’m eager to learn more about the lore that brought us to that epic conclusion. Therefore, regardless of my age and how it corresponds to “young adult”, I read it and I was not disappointed. This is my book review of Force Collector.

Brief Synopsis and Biggs’ Review

Karr is a thirteen year old child on Merokia who suddenly discovers he’s Force sensitive. The Force allows him to see the history of the Jedi whenever he touches an artifact that, at some point in the past, encountered the Force. Now he’s determined to discover the truth about the Jedi. His journey will take him across the galaxy, to many familiar places and faces. He will learn not only about the Jedi but about his own past and his destiny.

I think what I enjoyed the most about this book is the different ways it links all the movies together. I’m a sucker for subtle references and Easter eggs. They are like the Force itself, binding the galaxy together. I know, that was corny. I’ll be honest, when I first started reading I was confused about where it occurred in the timeline. The last book I read, in this series, takes place just a few months after The Last Jedi. Naturally I assumed this book would be somewhere in the same time period. It is not. So, for future readers, it takes place BEFORE The Force Awakens; that is extremely relevant to the events of this book.

Unlike Spark of the Resistance, this book doesn’t add any context to Rise of Skywalker. It’s a fun stroll down memory lane. It’s sole purpose, in my opinion, is to advance the lore of the Jedi. It provides an idea of how and why the Jedi may have become so mythical and elusive after Return of the Jedi.

I definitely recommend this book for Star Wars fans. I had a hard time putting it down.

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

Book Review: Spark of the Resistance

Book Review: Spark of the ResistanceSpark of the Resistance by Justina Ireland
My rating:

I’m going to take this opportunity to speak on the Young Adult genre before I dive into this review. Granted, this book is actually classified as “Children’s Middle Grade” but I’m going to juxtapose the Young Adult genre to make my point. I am hardly a “young adult”; in fact I probably haven’t been one in 15 (or more) years. Regardless, I won’t turn down a good Young Adult novel, I’ve read quite a few. The genre doesn’t necessarily define the audience.

That being said, this is the first time I’ve read a “Middle Grade” children’s book for myself. Obviously its not a typical genre for me. There are four books in the Journey to Rise of Skywalker series (which includes the novelization of Rise of Skywalker). I really enjoy the new characters from the sequel trilogy and so very I’m eager to read more about them.

Biggs’ Synopsis and Review

This book takes place just a few months after the events of The Last Jedi. Rey, Poe, Rose and BB-8 are returning from a mission on behalf of General Organa. They unexpectedly receive a mysterious distress call, for the Resistance, from Minfar. Leary of a trap the heroes venture to Minfar where they befriend the Zixon and stumble onto a First Order plot.

This book is a mere 224 pages and probably about a 14pt font (perhaps these are characteristics of the “Middle Grade” genre). I really enjoyed the book and I’m very happy that I read it. Of course now I am committed to reading the other books in the series. Granted I’m not terribly upset by that, I had always planned on reading the Rise of Skywalker novelization anyway (I’ve read the novelization of all the other Skywalker movies). In fact I’ve already started a second book in the series. This book is not terribly vulgar or violent and the Zixon are your Ewok-like anthropomorphized creatures; because … Disney. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the characters, just seemed like typical a Disney story mechanic.

It’s a quick, fun read and if you’re interested about the events that lead up to the ninth Skywalker film, I’d recommend reading this one. I mean, we’re all in quarantine anyway. If you’re alone and the weather is nice, you could hop out to the patio or balcony and easily read it in a day.

/MTFBWY

diablo3-reading“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
– Dr. Seuss

 

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