Comics Highlight: Alex and Ada

Genre: Graphic Novel/Contemporary Science Fiction

Rating (whole series): 4.5/5

Image result for alex and ada 1There is just something so special about this series that I needed to do a spotlight review for the whole thing. I found the first volume of Alex and Ada for $3 at my local comic book store, marked down, on sale. At first I was unsure about it; the art wasn’t my style and the story sounded like a few books I have already read before. Boy was I blown away! The art grew on my and I find the style unique and beautiful, and the colors are amazing. And yes, the story is similar to things like Skinned by Robin Wasserman and Absolute Boyfriend by Yuu Watase, but it still had its bit of uniqueness to it.

This series is about a 27-year-old business man named Alex who lives in a world similar to what we know today, except people have robots and androids to help them out around the house, run errands, or use for companionship. When a massacre happens in a factory where an android that gains sentience kills thirty people, the world looks down on those who own androids, especially the ones that look more and more human.

Image result for alex and ada 2

Alex’s loving and doting grandmother, owner of her own X5 android (that she obviously used as a lover companion as well as to do work around the house), gifts Alex an android for his birthday, he is disinterested, wary from the media and the massacre. After trying the android out for a day, rather than sending it back, he calls her Ada and tries to make things work. Alex realizes that he wants more than an android can give and seeks out an android rights forum where he finds a hacker who can give Ada sentience. There are risks of unlocking an androids sentience, including destroying the android’s hard drive completely. When it works, Ada wakes up frightened by the sensations of the world that she can actually feel, smell, and taste.

Alex and Ada risk their lives with her sentience. When they go out, Ada must pretend to be a regular android so no one will rip her apart, like other sentient androids that have popped up on the news. When a new law is passed, hacking androids and opening sentience is a crime that with bring about prison time, if caught.

The two struggle to remain hidden, but it is inevitable that others notice things are a bit different with Ada. Ada researches love and finds herself wanting to be more than a companion to Alex, but something in him is saying an android and a human together just isn’t right. When Ada leaves, Alex is distraught. While Ada is out, she meets with other sentient androids who are willing to take her to a safe place to live, but a public encounter that turns violent ends up with Ada on the news, her identity and Alex’s safety are put at risk.

Image result for alex and ada 3

In a world of humans and androids with issues that reflect certain elements in today’s society, this series has a great deal to share about what it means to have humanity and to be a good person, as well as what it means to love. After reading the first volume, I instantly bought the second and third ones, and they were even more entertaining that the first! Alex and Ada is a riveting story that has the reader’s heart pounding with intensity the whole time. I would recommend this for a somewhat older audience, late teens or twenties. It has quite a bit of political value to it, along with some major takeaways in terms of themes that we can apply to our own lives. It’s not everyday that I find a series as well drawn and well written as Alex and Ada.

Advertisements

Replica-Should You Read It?

Image result for replica lauren oliverGenre: Young Adult Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Replica is a unique book by Lauren Oliver in that it is two books in one. It’s really all one story, but the reader gets the perspective story of Gemma and Lyra. There are a few different ways to read this book, and there’s really no wrong way to read it (see chart below).

How I read the book was Lyra first, just because her story is on the front cover of my edition, then Gemma, whose story is on the back. You can also read Gemma and then Lyra, or if you want, the book is uniquely set up that you can go back and forth between characters after each chapter, so Gemma Chapter One, then Lyra Chapter One, then Gemma Chapter Two, and so on, for an interesting blend of the two stories. Any way works. While I did Lyra and then Gemma, I find for the second book, Ringer, I will try out the alternating chapters for the experience of constantly flipping the book back and forth.

I’ll start with a brief summary of Lyra’s story, since I read hers first. She is a girl in a facility who doesn’t know much about the world. She only knows what the doctors tell her, and they want it that way. She is a replica, basically a word they use for clones. There are different generations of clones, some constantly sick and not what the facility aims for, and others pristine specimens. Some people do not approve of what this secret facility is doing with genetics, not to mention stealing other people’s babies.

When the facility is under attack, Lyra is outside speaking with a male replica, planning an escape. After an explosion, Lyra and the boy–72–look for survivors. There are gunshots and men who don’t belong, bringing Lyra to hide until another girl and her friend find them, and Lyra notices that the girl looks like a replica, but she has hair and her own clothes.

Gemma thinks she is an alien. She doesn’t really fit in with the other kids at school. When a threatening message comes for her, she flees. She runs into a strange man she doesn’t know, yet he seems to recognize her. Strange things are going on with her family, and she aims to get to the bottom of it, her first step heading to the Haven institute, a secret lab in Florida.

What Gemma ultimately finds astounds her. A boy and girl who seem to know nothing of the world, the girl–Lyra–holding the file of someone from the destroyed lab. Now on a quest to find out who they both are, Gemma seeks the truth and Lyra aims to find out what it’s like to be human, all while avoiding those who do not want such secrets to be revealed.

This book is, once again, unique in its craft of two stories in one, being able to alternate, and the quest for identity is exciting and fast paced. There is thrill to the novel in that the two girls know certain things that those working for Haven do not want to be revealed, and death is just around the corner. The end feels slightly abrupt, definitely open-ended, and rightly so, given that the second novel came out in October 2017.

I highly recommend this read to female teens especially, considering the two perspective characters are female teens trying to find their place in the world. I would also recommend it to those interested in genetics and clone studies because there are some political aspects that relate to this idea of genetic engineering that we see developing in the world today, showing how this novel touches upon contemporary issues.

Into the Wild-Should You Read It?

Image result for into the wild

Genre: Nonfiction

Rating: 4/5

Into the Wild is the true story of a young man named Christ McCandless. Jon Krakauer was commissioned to write an article about Chris’ death in Outside magazine, and the hype of Chris’ story was so high that Krakauer ended up writing a novel.

THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

There isn’t much linear or plot to the novel, since it is nonfiction, but the reader gets to experience facts from Chris’ life as recounted by those who knew him. Chris was a young man who had a college education and lots of money to invest in a good life, but he ultimately loved travelling across the country and removing himself from the need of materialistic things. After graduating college, Christ donated $24,000 to a charity that (ironically) fights hunger. He is determined to live off the land in the Alaska wilderness, something that just calls to him. He eventually abandons his car and other possessions and does not take material items or offerings from other people. Chris loved to hitchhike, and he has a draw to nature.

The book has a number of other parallel stories about people who have some calling to nature similar to that of Chris, including the author’s own experiences with mountaineering. Seeing that other people have this call to nature makes Chris’s story not quite as strange. Most people think he is stupid because he was unprepared to go into the wild, but he was actually very knowledgeable. It was just a bad moment of ill luck.

Once he got to Alaska, Chris found a Fairbanks bus out in the wilderness and basically makes it his home base. He is successful at hunting as well as being able to accurately identify edible plants. After two months, he went to journey back the way he came, but the shallow river he crossed before was full from snow-melt, and he could not cross. He didn’t even try to find another way; if he had, he would have found a place where the river breaks off into smaller streams as well as a pulley system to get across. Alas, Chris stays in the wild for another two months until he succumbs to starvation.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t necessarily his own stupidity, but eating moldy seeds that brought him to his death. The moisture in the air made some of his seeds moldy, but many times mold may not be visible at first, but may still be present. The mold he ingested actually made it so his body could not digest and pull nutrients to support his needs. He could eat and eat and eat, but still starve to death because of the lack of nutrients that his body is no longer capable of getting.

An unfortunate end to a young man who enjoyed the wilderness. When his parents finally visit the site of his death, they understand that Chris must have been happy out in the wild.

Despite being nonfiction, the book is written in a way that makes it feel like a narrative. The prose is stylish and worded well. Generally, nonfiction isn’t my genre, but I taught this in a Transcendentalism unit for high school Seniors, and it is a very enjoyable book that young people seem to like, especially compared to other nonfiction. My students and I both enjoyed this book, and I think that Chris’s story is definitely worth knowing. It is a book I would love to teach with a nonfiction unit again, if given the chance.

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 19

Krishna: A Journey Within by Abhishek Singh

Genre: Indian Mythology/Graphic Novel

Rating: 4/5

Image result for krishna  a journey within

First and foremost, the art in this graphic novel is phenomenal. Printed in the U. S. by Image Comics, this follows the mythology of the Hindi god, Krishna, seen as a major deity and by some the supreme deity over others. There is a detailed glossary in the back of the book that highlights some traditional Hindi names and the names of other deities and places that someone unfamiliar with the culture would  not recognize. This was helpful and unique. There are many stories involving Krishna’s tie with nature, as well as his want for peace among the people of the world, as well as overcoming the prophecy of his birth. For someone interested in cultural mythology, this is a very interesting, elaborately presented graphic novel that shares just a small snippet into another culture. An excellent book to keep in the classroom on the “SSR” shelf to encourage learning about other cultures.

 

Merman in my Tub (Vol. 1) by Itokichi

Genre: Manga/Monster Boy

Rating: 3.5/5

Related image

This manga is done in the four panel style and each chapter is like its own little mini story with little buildup from the previous chapter. One day, a boy names Tatsumi finds a man in need of help, but he doesn’t notice that Wakasa is not a regular man…he has a fish tail! The merman finds a home in Tatsumi’s bathtub, occasionally telling about what life was like living in the river. An occasional octopus boy or crab buy (literally a teeny tiny hermit crab man) find refuge in Tatsumi’s bathtub as well, since they seen to likewise know Wakasa. When Tatsumi needs to take care of his little sister, he does everything in his power to hide the merman living in his tub, but the fishy smell and splashing around is inevitable and unavoidable. Among these issues, Tatsumi has a massive water bill and Wakasa has no way to contribute for food or other necessities. What will Tatsumi do?

While this had some good humor, I am personally not a fan of the four-panel comics. I feel like there isn’t enough character development and buildup, and there is not an overarching plot development since each chapter is really its own little story. Despite this, the art is pretty cute and so is the innocence of a merman who knows naught of the misery’s and responsibilities of the human life.

 

I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and Jim Ken Niimura

Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Graphic Novel

Rating: 4/5

Image result for i kill giants

This story revolves around  Barbara Thorson, a D&D obsessed girl who goes a bit far beyond the game to the point that people find her to be a bit of an oddball. Her purse is her very own special hammer to kill giants with. While metaphorically speaking, slaying a giant refers to fighting the hardships in one’s life, such as Barbara’s case in slaying the giant of her sick mother, but real giants are an unbelievable enemy. Barbara knows quite a bit about giants and titans, and when a titan comes for her, she proves herself worthy in the fight all while trying to fight off the school bully and maintain a good friend. Barbara is also required to speak with the school councilor often, revealing the unsettling thoughts the poor fifth grader has as she deals with the hardships of life. Slaying giants is Barbara’s way of handling her problems.

The art isn’t really my style when looking for aesthetics when reading, but it is definitely detailed and unique, all black and white. Barbara’s last name, Thorson, feels symbolic of Thor’s son, a relation of the Norse god of thunder. Overall, a pretty heart-warming story that shows what young people may be going through in both school and home life, and that many share similar experiences and they are not alone in their fight to slay their own giants.

 

Overwatch Anthology Volume 1 and “Zarya: Searching” by Various Writers/Artists

Genre: Video Game/Graphic Novel/Media Tie-in

Rating: 4/5

Image result for overwatch anthology Image result for free comic book day zarya searching

This anthology has 12 short stories and a sketchbook from the vastly popular Blizzard game, Overwatch. The featured stories in this collection are “McCree: Train Hopper,” “Reinhardt: Dragon Slayer,” “Junkrat & Roadhog: Going Legit,” “Symmetra: A Better World,” “Pharah: Mission Statement,” “Torbjorn: Destroyer,” “Ana: Legacy,” and “Ana: Old Soldiers.” It also includes the holiday specials “Junkenstein” and “Reflections” as well as “Binary” and “Uprising.” Many of these stories are reminiscent with the videos that are released for various characters.

My personal favorites are “McCree: Train Hopper” and “Ana: Legacy.” McCree’s story involves defending a train from a heist, and he ultimately gets blames for the casualties. Knowing this, he leaves before the authorities can take him, a misunderstood man with a good heart. There are two stories in the anthology featuring Ana, but I really enjoyed Legacy because it involves her early years of being in the field as well as the origin of how she lost her eye.

Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May annually, featured a free Overwatch issue, “Zarya: Searching.” It is Issue #15 in the series. This will probably be included in the second anthology, but it was cool to get it for free. This is my other favorite of all the Overwatch comics I have read so far. This one features one of Zarya’s missions forcing her to work closely with an Omnic, which she can’t stand. It is interesting seeing her hatred of them and how she must come to terms with working with an Omnic to succeed in her mission. She eventually finds who she is looking for, but the information she previously knew conflicts with what this person says. Who is telling the truth?

 

Afar by Leila Del Duca and Kit Seaton

Genre: Graphic Novel/Space/Fantasy/Young Adult

Rating: 4/5

Image result for afar leila del duca

Boetema and her brother are on the run after their parents don’t return from trying to find a job. Her brother accidentally hears something he shouldn’t, get placed in jail, and escapes with the help of a monkey. Knowing they just can’t afford  to stay, they head out for the next city across the desert, but Boetema is beginning to experience something strange when she sleeps. During sleep, instead of dreaming, she astral projects into the bodies of other creatures of being on other planets. When she ends up in the body of a girl and the girl’s companion gets hurt during the projection, Boetema tries everything she can do to find her way back to that girl, learning how to control these new mysterious powers that others seem skeptical about.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this graphic novel when I first opened it (it was a gift from a friend), and I found the story a bit convoluted at first, but it definitely picked up. While the brother has some interesting characteristics, he’s not quite as developed as Boetema. The other planets were a bit confusing in trying to figure which were truly sentient beings and which weren’t. Some of the other planets would have been more interesting if they were developed just a bit more, but the planet with the other girl that Boetema projects into is somewhat more developed. The conflict there is a bit confusing, but the perspectives of astral projection by the people there are very different than that of her home planet. Overall, an unique and interesting read.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny (Comic Special)

Forces of Destiny is a new line of Star Wars short animations, children’s novels, and IDW comic books that are geared toward girls. This series features the main female characters across the larger Star Wars spectrum in the new canon. The Forces of Destiny line of comics has five issues, all one-shots within the collection. Each issue has a different written and artistic contribution team.

Genre: Children’s Science Fiction

Rating: 3/5

Image result for forces of destiny leia

 

Issue #1: Leia

This issue goes back and forth in time, the present being an expedition with Han and Hera, where Leia has trouble controlling her tauntaun. to 24 hours prior where the Rebel Base on (Hoth?) is attacked. When Leia’s tauntaun runs off on its own, her and the creature end up in a cave-like structure where some other planet native become a threat. Meanwhile, Vader seeks his prize (of course) but with no luck in finding Leia.

 

 

Related image

 

Issue #2: Rey

In this issue, we see Rey on Jakku just trying to make a living off of the junk she finds. When a rogue BB-8 droid gets caught up in a fiasco, Rey can’t help but to save him. Of course, there are creatures under the sand who eat metal, so they have to be careful when traversing the sands. Others find the BB-8 droid to be very valuable, but Rey protects it no matter what.

 

 

 

 

Image result for forces of destiny hera

 

Issue #3: Hera

Constantly on the run from the Empire, Hera does what she can for the Rebel cause. When she finds a factory base being devastated by Imperial control, Hera makes her way into the facility and brings justice for the poor, weary workers therein. Hera can’t stand the pain the Empire brings upon others. After helping, the Rebellion may just have some new recruits, but some cannot leave their home planet, hoping the Rebellion will come back to ensure their freedom as the years pass.

 

 

Image result for forces of destiny ahsoka and padme

 

Issue #4: Ahsoka and Padme

Anakin’s Padawan and lover aren’t known to be great friends, but Padme does what she can to make Ahsoka feel involved. When Padme asks Ahsoka to be present during an important dinner, Ahsoka is a bit disheveled by the offer, but is coaxed into being by Padme’s side anyway. Ahsoka has a keen eye, and notices one of Padme’s maids messing up the table settings on purpose, aiming to sabotage Padme’s political aims of making alliances with another race. Ahsoka finds that she has a place next to Padme, and that she is always welcome.

 

Image result for forces of destiny rose and paige

 

Issue #5: Rose and Paige

This one was nice because we get to see Rose and her Sister Paige, getting a glimpse of Paige before events in The Last Jedi. When the Resistance needs more resources, they have no way to get them. Many pitch ideas, but some are opposed to a younger person chiming in. Rose is an inventor, and one of her trucks can move across the terrain. When she loses her sister along the ride, technical difficulties of course, Rose questions her own inventions. She then meets some native wildlife that not only help her find her sister, but an abundance of material that the Resistance can use to build.

 

Overall, among the issues, the art is relatively simplistic and not too detailed, easy for a younger reader to follow along. The stories are likewise simplistic and easy to follow with very predictable conflicts and resolutions. While this is good for a younger reader, some of the older Star Wars fans may not be quite as interested. Nonetheless, these belong in my collection for their unique target audience within the realm of Star Wars. Also, some of the cover images I used are the regular A cover, and some are the B variant, which I actually like the art of quite a bit more.

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 18

Intense, Volume 1: Night on the Red Road by Kyungha Yi

Genre: Manhwa (Korean Comics)/Boys Love

Rating: 4/5

Image result for intense  night on the red road Intense is a Korean boys love graphic novel series featuring main character Jiwoon Kang. Orphaned by the mafia, yet still tangled up with the warring gangs, Jiwoon is sent to the red light district in a shady-enough-as-it-is town, meant to keep the peace as needed. There he is offered housing with Soohan, a local young man. While Jiwoon is a very quiet person himself–having seen his own father murdered in front of him, he is interested in the fact that Soohan actually talks less than he does, something he never imagined could be a possibility. It turns out Soohan is a mute, hence the lack of vocalization. When Jiwoon kisses Soohan in a moment of vulnerability, their already non-existent relationship may never even blossom.

When my husband bought this for me as a gift, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I dived in and figured “Oh, it’s just another gang violence series,” but when Jiwoon shows feelings for Soohan, I was like, “Wait, what?!” Only then did I turn to the back to find the genre “Boys Love” printed there. I enjoy boys love, but this definitely doesn’t have the feeling of a BL such as Love Stage or The World’s Greatest First Love. There is some mafia conflict in this first volume, and just enough to keep me wanting to read. One of the few first volumes where I feel like I really need to read the second one to decide whether I want to stay committed to the series or not. Also, the art is fantastic. An overall enjoyable manga.

 

Hellgate London by Arvid Nelson and J.M

Genre: Manga/Horror/Action

Rating: 3/5

Image result for hellgate london mangaThis manga series serves as the prequel to the video game of the same name. John Fowler, among others, unburies a human skeleton that may be worth something to the finder. Upon closer inspection, the remains have found to be buried in a peculiar way, a way that related to demons. After seeing some kind of spirit, the spirit of the remains and John’s ancestor, Isaac, he is called upon by the Templars, an organization committed to ridding the world of demons. When John himself must take on a demon arm with his own flesh, he finds that he doesn’t seem to belong anywhere. The only way to find his place is to take up his ancestor’s sword and fight the onslaught of demons that is to come.

Having never played the original game may have perhaps hindered my true appreciation of this manga, but it was still somewhat interesting. I find the art to be average and the story to be relatively cliche in the way it forms the call to action for the main character and its use of demons, a very common evil entity across genres. There are also basic ancestral inheritances that are very common among many genres as well, making this series not very unique and non-innovative in the grand scheme of available manga out in the world.

 

Black Clover by Yuki Tabata

Genre: Manga/Action

Rating: 4/5

Related image

Black Clover follows the story of Asta, a young boy who wants to become the greatest mage of them all: the Wizard King! The only problem is, no matter how much he tries and trains, he has no magic power. How can Asta become the Wizard King without any magic? When his friend and rival, Yuno, obtains the legendary Grimoire with a four leaf clover, others see him potentially predestined to become the Wizard King. Meanwhile, Asta’s Grimoire doesn’t arrive (I mean, you have to be a magic user to get a Grimoire). That is, until he is in the midst of battle against another magic user, and a Grimoire(?) presents itself to Asta, albeit a charred, mottled looking book. With the power of anti-magic, Asta might be able to participate in the magic games to be selected by a guild, and thus develop his skills and follow his heart and dream to become the Wizard King through his sheer force of will and determination.

I actually really enjoyed this book. It is a newer series (2015) but very reminiscent of Hiro Mashima’s works (Fairy Tail and Rave Master). It has the hero’s journey vibe with aspiring (non-magic user) Asta, who wants to be the Wizard King. He has the same feel of Haru Glory (Rave Master) seeking the Rave Stones, or Fairy Tail aiming to be the top magic guild. It is a shounen book to reflect the quest for greatness and features an underdog hero. The art is fun and the ending has me wanting to see how Asta will progress and if he will succeed!

 

Heaven!! by Shizuru Seino

Genre: Manga/Romance/Comedy

Rating: 3/5

Image result for heaven!! vol 1 seino Heaven is about a girl named Rinne who can see and exorcise ghosts, removing them from possessing others and helping them pass on. When Rinne almost becomes a ghost herself, school punk Uzaki saves her just in time. With his spirit knocked out of his body, a god decides to take over Uzaki’s physical form! Since a god is different than a spirit, smarter, Rinne has more trouble exercising him from Uzaki’s body. Meanwhile, Uzaki’s spirit is thrust into a stuffed pink monkey until Rinne is able to get him back into his own body. And of course, Rinne begins falling for…someone?! Is it the god within Uzaki’s body, or is she actually finding attachment to Uzaki himself? And will she ever be done exercising spirits from where they don’t belong?

Overall, a cute story, but seems very cliche. An imminent love triangle potentially presents itself, and the generic high school setting and heroine with medium powers is a bit overdone among the Japanese genres. If you like the whole high school romance, but with a ghostly twist, there are numerous other volumes that have a better story (some only slightly so and some much more), although occasionally dealing with demons rather than ghosts/spirits. *cough cough* Yu Yu Hakusho is great. Gaba Kawa is similar, with demons rather than ghosts.

 

The Titan’s Curse (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan, Robert Venditti, Attila Futaki, and Greg Guilhaumond

Genre: Young Adult/Graphic Novel/Mythology

Rating: 4/5

Image result for the titan's curse graphic novel

Once again the Percy Jackson adaptations blow me away. With this third installment, we follow Percy as he aims to save Anabeth from Atlas. When a prophesy calls for five heroes, saying that one will not make it, Percy is excluded because The Hunters of Artemis, who are likewise seeking to find Artemis, who has gone missing, don’t want a boy to go with them. When Nico finds Percy thinking about following, he encourages it, wanting Percy to keep his sister safe. Percy ultimately ends up joining the group, but cannot keep his promise. The heroes come across a number of trials as they try to avoid some ominous undead soldiers. Percy is also able to call upon the pegasi, having the ability to communicate with horses. That sure comes in handy when Percy wants to  get some quick, reliable transportation for him and his friends. With Thalia ultimately joining the Hunters of Artemis, it would appear that Percy is still the demi-god of prophesy who will either save or destroy Olympus when he turns sixteen…that is until a certain someone is claimed by one of the big three…again!

I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series and like the accessibility of the graphic novels. The art is a bit funky (it took me forever to realize which one was Thalia), but the story adaptation is excellent and an enjoyable way to get the story all over again without having to take the time to read the whole novel. At present this is the most current one (no word of the last two becoming graphic novels yet—please let me know if I am wrong), but I would love to have the refresher and brevity of the last two novels in the series without spending the time to reread them because, let’s face it, there are too many books and too little time!

Star Wars: Allegiance-Should You Read It?

Related imageGenre: Science-fiction

Rating: 4/5

First of all, this is an amazing novel that features the perspective of Stormtroopers-hey, they’re people too!

Second, this novel also features Mara Jade as a young Hand to the Emperor, a great back-story edition to the woman who becomes Luke’s wife (in the old canon, anyway…).

Only a few months after the Battle of Yavin, LaRone and four other Stormtroopers have been assigned to root out some rebels. When his squad orders the execution of planetary citizens suspected to be members of the Rebellion, they mistakenly murder innocent civilians, Han Solo and others having already left. With this realization, LaRone questions what they are doing for the Empire and what they should truly be doing with their lives.

Meanwhile, while LaRone and his troopers figure out what they truly want to do with their lives, Mara Jade sets out on one of her very first missions for the Emperor. When she finds some interesting mishaps with a Grand Moff, she offers to investigate further, aiming to remove any from the Empire who do not truly see the vision that Palpatine has.

Han and Luke have their part to play in this story as well. They are sent by Leia to investigate pirate attacks that are affecting their commerce and supply lines.

When Mara’s investigation and the aim of LaRone’s team, as well as Han and Luke, come to fall on the same planet, Mara asks the troopers to help her with her mission to stop a notorious pirate, one who may be involved with the questionable Moff.

So much happens in this novel that it is hard to touch on the details, but it was an interesting blend that really gives the reader the perspective from the Empire side of things. The daily life of a Stormtrooper, the fact that they have feelings and families, really made their side of the story so real. Getting to know Mara Jade as a bad ass in her early years was excellent too. Of course, we know her and Luke get married, and it’s definitely funny to know they are on the same planet dealing with their own situations, yet they never even see each other. Fun stuff!

Any Star Wars fan should read this novel because 1) Mara Jade and 2) Timothy Zahn, an amazing combination when it comes to style and characterization. This is a fantastic first novel in a duology, followed by Choices of One that likewise features a young Mara Jade.

Image result for allegiance star wars