The Burning World (Warm Bodies #2)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Post-apocalyptic Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Normally I don’t do reviews or summaries or anything on sequel without having written about the first book prior, but I read Warm Bodies quite awhile ago and my opinion is still the same: It was an amazing read, even better than the movie, and I would love to read it again. (For technicalities, this book is actually #3 in the series because it is followed by a short novella called The New Hunger, which is dubbed as book #2).

When I found out that there was a sequel to Warm Bodies, The Burning World, I got it immediately! Sad to say, this novel is a much slower-paced story (in my opinion) and does not have the same excitement and potential fear that the first novel had, but it was still somewhat interesting. It took me nearly three and a half months to read this book because it moved that slow for me, compared to my speed reading of other novels. Despite this, the conflict in the novel was still interesting enough for me to keep reading, but it was slow to get there.

One of the interesting features of this book is the alternation between “I” and “WE,” the first person perspective of R and the collective perspective of the dead. While this did have its interesting moments, I didn’t feel like the “WE” added anything special that the book couldn’t live without. Another thing about this book, one of the more negative things I have to say, is that the transitions were all over the place. One moment the group will be in the plane and the next they are in a house. quite a few of the transitions were confusing, but after reading a page or two in, it clicks where they are and what they are doing. It’s just a small thing that took away from the flow of the reading. There was also quite a bit of post-apocalyptic politics, which made the book run a bit slower and drier than the first novel.

This book begins with R and Julie having their own little home outside of the Goldman Dome, where R is learning how to be human all over again, including reading, writing speaking, socializing, and romance! When some helicopters fly overhead, Julie has her suspicions, because who could it be with operating helicopters?

When R and Julie head to the main headquarters in the Dome, they find themselves face to face with some members from a group called Axiom, a group that seems like it wants to establish peace across the various human colonies, but rather has other plans. The Axiom group, although shrouded in mystery, seems to have some kind of ulterior motive, which is reinforced by the destruction of the armory and the leaders of the Dome.

Taking Julie, R, and Nora captive, they aim to get information on this new “cure” that seems to have made itself known at the Dome. With torturous interrogation by the Axiom group, the prisoners seek a way out. Before their eyes, Perry, Julie’s once-boyfriend, seems to have shown up, but how? What looks like Perry is actually his older brother that no one really knew about, and he is there to get them out. While he is a member of Axiom, he finds that perhaps what they are doing is not right, and he has a daughter to think about.

When they escape, Axiom goes after them endlessly, but when  M saves the day, the group decides to head to R’s old home: the airplane! With Abram (Perry’s brother) having the skills to pilot a plane, the group plans on heading out to some other place, away from the Axiom-dominated America. Aboard are R, Julie, Abram, his daughter Sprout (not her real name), Nora, M, and R’s two “children” who roamed around the airport with him in his more dead-days.

When the group jumps from city to city, finding old homes ravaged, burned down, or destroyed, or not even being able to cross another country’s borders, they eventually end up in New York, where the head of Axiom resides. Along the way, R continues to recover his past life, and the terrible things he had done before his new life. He wants to tell Julie, but he is afraid that she would not be able to accept him for his past.

While in New York, they meet the woman responsible for the Almanac, a hand-written and self-published newsletter that she sends out to the world to give survivors information. This interesting woman has discovered one of Axiom’s secrets: they have a tower that is jamming all frequencies except for their own sick message to draw people in. When she destroys the tower, she expects to be able to share the news of the world on a global level, but the group finds out that there is another jamming tower on the west coast, and they head out to destroy it.

With the ending being thus, we can expect another book to be coming in the series. Despite the slower pacing and the switch from surviving the dead to surviving the living, it was still a decent read. I would recommend it for an older reader (16+) because of a lot of the vocabulary, political, and sexual inferences that are in this book. While it was slow, the end shows promise and gives the reader something interesting to look forward to. Since Warm Bodies and The Burning World are so different in terms of plot, there’s no saying what kinds of things we can expect to happen with the characters in the next book. Overall, slow but decent. You should read it if you feel like Warm Bodies needed to continue, but if you are satisfied with the ending of the first book (or perhaps the movie) then maybe just leave it at that.

Champions of the Force (Jedi Academy #3)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Science-fiction

Rating: 4/5

Champions of the Force is the final volume in the Jedi Academy trilogy, following Jedi Search and Dark Apprentice. While the first book was pretty exciting, the second was a bit lacking. This book makes up for the lack in the second novel by far. 

With Luke in a coma, the Jedi apprentices struggle to find a way to bring him back. While they perceive Luke as defenseless, his Force ghost fights the evil Sith Force ghost of Exar Kun. Only one can see and hear Luke in his Force state: Jacen Solo, a mere toddler. While Exar Kun uses the forces of Yavin 4 to kill Luke’s physical body, little Jacen makes a stand to keep his uncle safe.

Meanwhile, Kyp still has the Sun Crusher and aims to save his brother and destroy any solar systems with planets with Empire loyalists. Han is the only person who might be able to get through to Kyp, but when he almost has the Jedi apprentice back on the good side, his trick to get him there angers Kyp even more.

The Maw instillation is officially being searched and taken by the New Republic force led by Wedge. They aim to gain the technology and resources that may be useful to them, and then destroy the Maw, but some of the scientists have escaped in the Death Star prototype!

On Kessel, Lando and Mara Jade are aiming to become business partners using the mines of Kessel for its glitterstim in more legal ways than Doole. Speaking of Doole, he is still a problem, having locked himself up in his own facility. Mara and Lando aim to get Doole out, but when the Death Star prototype shows up, they have a bigger problem at hand.  The scientists want to test their prototype on Kessel, but their practice round misses the planet and hits the moon instead, lucky for Mara and Lando.

Maw Instillation turns into a massive battle site where Kyp aims to use the Sun Crusher on it, the Death Star prototype returns to collect their research, and Admiral Daala, who narrowly escaped the scourge of the Sun Crusher, returns to destroy everything in the Maw, including all the New Republic citizens therein.

With Kyp’s quick thinking, the Death Star Prototype falls into the black hole cluster, and Daala manages to escape…AGAIN.

Back on Coruscant, Mon Mothma no longer hides her illness, and Leia is nominated as Chief of State. With the new Jedi, one may be able to heal Mon Mothma, who was poisoned by Furgan. Furgan, who escapes the Sun Crusher and aims to take Anakin Solo from his safe planet. Luckily, Winter has a number of massive tactics and defenses for herself and the infant until help arrives.

In this book, we learn a bit more about the different Jedi apprentices and some of their more unique abilities. It was a good conclusion to the trilogy and leaves a lot of open-ended things that will be explored in further novels, which is nice. We will see Daala again eventually, and we will get to learn a lot more about the Jedi apprentices in both I, Jedi, which takes place during the events of the Jedi Academy trilogy (from a different perspective), and Jedi Academy: Leviathan.

Overall, while the series has its high and low points and is not quite as good as the Thrawn Trilogy, it is still a great installment to the expanded universe and leaves the reader wanting to know more about Luke’s new Jedi apprentices, Han and Leia’s Jedi children, and the New Republic’s endeavors. Overall a wonderful addition to the Star Wars universe that any fan would enjoy!

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 15)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Knights of the Old Republic: Destroyer (3963 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Ron Chan, et. al.

This is the eighth volume of the KotOR series of graphic novels. It contains “Masks,” “The Reaping” parts 1 and 2, and “Destroyer” parts 1 and 2. “Masks” is short and revolves around Malak, one of the Jedi Zayne and Jarael previously met in their adventures. Now he is recruiting for the war against the Mandalorians, but Zayne won’t go and he will not allow Jarael to go either. They end up discussing her past of being a Slaver and how it affects her in the present. “The Reaping” had Zayne and Jarael searching for the Crucible, a slaver group that Jarael was once a part of, if nothing more than to bring the group down from the inside. When Zayne brings eighty slaves abourd, his hidden motives are revealed to Gryph, and Jarael reveals who she once was to the rest of the group. “Destroyer” features Zayne being purposely taken in the the Crucible group so that he can get an inside glimpse. When one of Jarael’s enemies manipulates him with the Force, Zayne questions Jarael’s character and why she still have the name meaning “Destroyer,” but Jarael tells him the name has a different meaning: “Protector.” With Zayne and Jarael looking to go their separate ways, what will become of the Crucible?

The art is a bit different in this one (different artists do different issues of the comic). The story is interesting in that we get more on the mysterious Jarael, and leads the reader into wanting to find out more and to see what will be come of Jarael…and Zayne.

 

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Star Wars: Darkness (30 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema, Ray Kryssung, et. al.

This graphic novel consists of issues 32-35 of Star Wars. It features Quinlan Vos and his padawan Aayla Secura after having lost their memories. Quinlan had to be retrained, and when a Guardian from his home planet seeks only him for a mission, the Jedi council is wary, since Quinlan has touched the Dark side and is still very close to darkness. Meanwhile, Aayla hates Quinlan for what he has done in the past, but all Quinlan wants is to find his lost padawan and restore her. When Anzati wreak havoc, and show Quinlan some disturbing memories, he must fight his greatest fear once more, and save his padawan from the darkness!

I was very excited to come across this at a comic book store. I always check the Star Wars selections from the original Dark Horse publications, and I had actually never seen this one before. With the same writer and artists as the Clone Wars, this was a great edition to Quinlan Vos’s character, adding even more detail to an already phenomenally interesting Jedi.

 

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Star Wars: Yoda’s Secret War (0 ABY, Flashback to before the Clone Wars)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Jason Aaron, Kelly Thompson

Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, Emilio Laiso, et. al.

This is the fifth compiled volume of the Marvel Star Wars series of comics which contains issues 26-30 as well as Annual #2. “Yoda’s Secret War” begins in the present time of the series with C-3PO having been captured by a special squad of stormtroopers and Luke following R2, who refuses to leave his droid friend behind. In his travels, Luke reads from Obi-Wan’s journal and learns of a mission Yoda once went on to save a planet. Luke feels drawn to the same planet and sees the remains from what Yoda left many years earlier. It is a Force-heavy planet with great stone giants that are like mountains, and the people of the planet fighting each other over Force and terrain. “Annual #2” features a bystander, a female engineer, who ends of helping Leia from a tight spot, despite her not really liking Leia.

Overall, the art is splendid in this compilation, but the story is lacking. The “Annual #2” was an interesting addition to Leia’s adventures, but the arc with Yoda was boring and seemed like a tangent in comparison to the new Marvel Star Wars as a story, which was disappointing. I am hoping the next installment will continue with the main story, rather than a past event that was very lackluster.

 

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Poe Dameron Volume 2: The Gathering Storm (30-34 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist(s): Phil Noto, Joe Caramagna

The second installment in the Poe Dameron graphic novel series features Poe continuing his work for Leia and the Alliance, but knowing that there is a potential spy among his Black Squadron is almost too much to bear. When See-Threepio seeks Poe’s help, he finds himself bringing back a droid that may or may not have vital information on Snoke and the First Order, while being followed and tracked by ex-stormtrooper Terex. Terex has his own plans in mind when he aims to bring the entire Alliance to the First Order!

While I enjoyed the first graphic novel, this one seemed to be lacking; but it wasn’t! It was even more interesting than the first volume, with higher stakes for Poe and his Black Squadron! Phil Noto does not disappoint. As he is both the cover artist and issue artist, you can easily judge this book by the cover, because the art is phenomenal, and Marvel knows what it is doing when contracting for the new canon comics!

 

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 10

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan, Attila Futaki, and Tamas Gaspar

Genre: Graphic Novel/Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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When Thalia’s tree protecting the camp is poisoned, Percy finds that he must help the tree to save the camp. When Clarisse goes to the prophet to have gain the quest to save the camp, Percy and Clarisse find that they encounter each other often as they both aim to get the Golden Fleece. Of course, Luke is still a threat, and his goal of reviving Chronos is becoming even more of a reality.

Even better than the first one, this graphic novel adaptation picks up the essence of its original novel counterpart very well. The art, especially the landscapes, is amazing. I was not sure the graphic novels would be too good. The first one was okay, but this one has me ready and eager for the next graphic novel!

 

The Exile: An Outlander Graphic Novel by Diana Gabaldon and Hoang Ngyen

Genre: Graphic Novel/Historical Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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I was excited to get a graphic novel version of Outlander, and from Jamie’s perspective, nonetheless. While it is meant to be from Jamie’s perspective, we are still given some of Claire’s thoughts. It was interesting to see Jamie’s thoughts and ideas that were unspoken/unheard/unseen in the original novel. This otherwise is the same story of Outlander with some minor twists (such as Geillis Duncan, who has a man after Claire to find if she moved through time too, and perhaps to kill Jamie because of his heritage and threat to Geillis’s son’s legacy to Castle Leoch).

The art is soft but detailed, adding a nice visual reference of the world and characters. The plot did have to be altered somewhat to be a self-contained piece, but this is a wonderful addition to the series and a nice perspective for any Outlander fan.

 

My Neighbor Totoro (the novel) by Hayao Miyazaki and Tsugiko Kubo

Genre: Adolescent Fiction/Ghibli

Rating: 4/5

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This is the novel adaptation of the original Ghibli film by Miyazaki. It follows the story of 4-year-old Mei and 11-year-old Satsuki who move to the countryside to be closer to their hospitalized mother. When they discover a sacred tree in the forest, the girls find that the forest spirits, among them Totoro, strive to help the girls become more knowing of the world by gifting them with acorns to plant their own forest. When Mei goes missing, Satsuki enlists in Totoro’s help!

When transcribing something from screen to page, the effect is similar to that of page to screen. Some things are taken out that flow well visually in the movie, but would sump the flow of the novel, and the organization is slightly different to help the chapters move along. Of course, it is very different reading a description of something over seeing it with carefully chosen background music, but the description adds a whole new element to experiencing My Neighbor Totoro. Well worth the read for any Ghibli or Totoro fan!

 

The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare and Joshua Lewis

Genre: Companion/Guidebook/Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

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This is an informational companion to Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter novels. It is presented in a similar way to a Dungeons and Dragons book and has chapters and sections for everything in the Shadow World. There are beautiful illustrations by a number of artists, including Cassandra Jean, who does a lot of the special and exclusive art for many of Clare’s works (including the graphic novel adaption of City of Bones). There are also little notations written by Clary, Jace, and occasionally Simon, throughout the text. Some of it is rather comical, such as the section on “Facemelter” demons, the description being “self explanatory.” The two appendixes give interesting information about the vreation of the Shadowhunters as well as some information about The Circle.

Overall, this book was interesting in the extra detailed information on things like Idris, Downworlders, and the Mortal Instruments, as well as various types of demons. While it is a bit of a slow read if you are reading it as an actual book, it is a nice reference to look to when questioning politics and things from the main series, and the images are nice. I wish there were more images (like one for each demon or Downworlder race).

 

Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Miller and Steve McNiven

Genre: Superhero/Graphic Novel

Rating: 4/5

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This graphic novel was slow at first, but it became interesting very quickly and definitely picked up the pace. When the Hulk’s group seeks money from Logan to protect his family, he heads out to get the money with a limited amount of time. When Hawkeye arrives asking for accompaniment on his journey to deliver a special package, Logan offers to be a driver only, and not to get involved with fighting. Along the way, the duo ends up saving Hawkeye’s daughter and fighting off some mole creatures that have dug out the underparts of many major cities. Hawkeye’s shipment turn out to be something that could revolutionize the power of mutants (in an evil way), and Wolverine’s secret to why he chooses not to fight becomes revealed. When he finally gets the money, he is too late, and goes out to seek revenge against the Hulks.

Of course I picked this up after seeing Logan. I was not sure what to expect, and the beginning was slow, but once Wolverine’s past is revealed, along with the fate of the X-men, as well as the images of his bloody vengeance, it is a vastly visually appealing piece. The art is above average for a Marvel superhero work, and I was actually very impressed by this graphic novel overall.

Bloodlines-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction/New Adult Fiction/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

While this is a spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, it can still be read as its own series. I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first anyway, because this book has a lot of references and characters that first appear in Vampire Academy. One of the characters in the later part of the series, a supporting character, takes on a leading role in this series, and the main character, Sydney, reflects upon events that happened with her and the vampires during the Vampire  Academy series. Also, I had trouble deciding whether this should be young adult or new adult, because the main characters are 18 and 21, but the other characters are high school age and the predecessoing novels are young adult, so I put under both, because I think college-age would like this novel too.

After Lissa Dragomir becomes the Queen in their society, her cousin, Jill, is in grave danger. With the Vampire rule that a ruling monarch must have a living relative to hold the position, Jill’s life is attempted at to remove Lissa from the throne. Told from the first person perspective of Sydney, the Alchemist must keep the peace while aiding to hide Jill in Palm Springs.

Alchemists find Vampires to be against nature, their very existence a foreboding thing against God. Sydney is frightened of their use of magic, abnormal beauty, and blood diet, but even more foreboding are the Strigoi. Strigoi are the evil, corrupt version of the Vampire community who live forever and enjoy killing, while Moroi are the mortal elites, and Dhampirs are half human half Moroi.

With Sydney finding her latest assignment acting as Jill’s sister at a boarding school in Palm Springs and keeping Jill hidden and safe, she also notices a number of things. One is that everyone loves her tattoo and thinks it makes her super intelligent so she doesn’t have to try academically. When other students begin getting tattoos that make them high or enhance them physically, Sydney suspects the misuse of compounds made by her own association: the Alchemists. The other thing that she notices is that a strange sting of murders has happened in the area over the last few years. Could there be any connections here?

The only local Vampire in Palm Springs believes that his daughter, among those murdered, was killed by some vampire hunters. The odd thing is, vampire hunters seem like a thing of myth, since it is part of the Alchemists jobs to keep the Vampire world hidden. When the attacks appear to be from a Strigoi, Sydney and Adrian investigate, only to find that something even more shocking than a Strigoi OR vampire hunter has been behind the murders.

To keep the human world safe from the Vampire world, Sydney must learn to face her fear of Vampire magic and mystery, and fight to keep her job in Palm Springs. Jill and Adrian have some interesting secrets of their own, but Sydney finds that even though they are Vampires, she can possibly call them friends.

I was a bit wary of this book at first, thinking it may not be as good as the Vampire Academy series, but it was an excellent read. Like I said, you can read it on its own, but I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first because of the number of events and character appearances. This book is amazing, and shows what happens to Adrian after his heartbreak with Rose. That being said, Adrian was definitely one of my favorite characters from the original series, and I am glad he was able to get his own story, because he is an interesting character, and the development of both him and Sydney is superb. I can’t wait to read the next one!

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

This is the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, following A Darker Shade of Magic. I previously spoke highly of the first novel, and saying that, this one is even better! The unique and quirky characters are back, with some new characters entering the fray. This novel is better paced than the first, a heart-pounding adventure leading into an exciting magic tournament.

Lila and Kell are no longer partners in crime, but they sure are busy with their lives. Lila, using her crafty methods, finds herself aboard a ship with a captain who has a connection to the royal family. Alucard, captain of the Night Spire, not only enjoys blundering pirate ships with Lila’s help, but finds her company and potential affinity for magic to be interesting and fun as well.

Meanwhile, Kell is busy keeping Rhy out of trouble. The prince tends to enjoy going out for a drink and the occasional tryst, and thanks to their life/death bond, Kell can feel what Rhy feels, and is the best protection the prince can have. Despite this, the country seems to be wary of Kell, thinking that he was somehow the one responsible for the tragic and devastatingly dangerous events four months ago. Because of their bond, Rhy can tell that Kell needs to use his magic, to blow off steam, so Rhy enlists Kell into the Essen Tasch under the guise of the name Kamerov Loste. If Kell, an Antari, were found competing in the Magic Tournament, he would disgrace his country and possibly face execution by the king.

The Essen Tasch is a tournament where magic users from the three main neighboring countries come together to demonstrate their skill and is used as a bonding scheme for the three countries that already have some growing tensions between them. Kell must choose only one or two elements to use, rather than all five, because triads (users of three elements) are already extremely rare.

When Lila finds out that Alucard will be going back to London for the magic tournament, Lila knows inherently that she must somehow enter as well. Since all the competitors wear masks, it is a matter of displacing someone in order to take their place in the tournament. After moving the ocean, Lila knows she is powerful, and she finds that she may be even more powerful than she first thought. She continues to use her power despite the risk of it destroying her from the inside.

Reunited, both Kell and Lila find each other as a huge surprise in the tournament, not to mention the minor detail that Rhy and Alucard were once (are still?) lovers!

While all this is going on, Holland finds himself awake and free in Black London, where he meets a dark being of magic. This magical being offers to give Holland his freedom if he can give another Antari to him as a host body, and of course, Holland plans to offer up Kell for his own freedom.

Vastly more exciting and enjoyable than the first novel, this book was fast-paced and fun. Getting to learn more about Lila as a character and seeing her magic develop was an enriching quality, and the tournament itself offered the same kind of excitement you see in fighting tournaments across the various media types, but with a risk. The reader reads in anticipation, wondering when Kell and Lila will cross paths again and if Kell will be found out in the tournament. The twists and turns that the characters must take to keep stable is ever-enticing. Now with Kell being sought out by Holland, readers greatly anticipate reading the next book. If you couldn’t get into the first novel, try again, because it is worth it to get to this excellently crafted second book of the series!

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 14)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

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Knights of the Old Republic: Dueling Ambitions (3963 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (6 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Dean Zachary, Michael Atiyeh, et. al.

This volume of KotOR features “Prophet Motive” parts 1 and 2, “Faithful Execution,” and “Dueling Ambitions” Parts 1-3. “Prophet Motive” Gryph, Zayne, and Jarael have a long-running plan to dismantle a shady auctioning syndicate that utilizes slaves. When their plans are found out, Gryph and Jarael must disguise themselves, and their Mandalorian friend finds himself in a bind for refusing to remove his armor. In these issues, Jarael demonstrates a potential to use the Force, and Rohlan pushes her further to utilize these newfound powers. “Faithful Execution” is a short issue featuring unique art by Dean Zachary, art that makes the characters appear softer, rather than having the sharp angles. This issue involves Zayne and crew coming across a ship of suffocated people, with a lone survivor and a droid. When Zayne suspects the droid of the murders, the real murderer comes forth when Jarael is in trouble. In “Dueling Ambitions,” Zayne finds himself face-to-face with one of his childhood icons in a dueling arena, excited to race and be a part of the duels, even though they can be very deadly. When the truth is revealed, that those in the duels are slaves that are forced to fight and race, Zayne makes it his ambition to free them, but he also learns Jarael’s secret of the past!

Having the different artist in one of the issues was an interesting and pleasant twist, and this new arc of Zayne, Gryph, and Jarael’s adventures shows promise. For the first time, I am extremely eager to see what happens next in this series, especially where Jarael is concerned.

 

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Jedi Academy: Leviathan (12 ABY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)

Writer: Kevin J. Anderson

Artist(s): Dario Carrasco Jr., Mike Heike, Ray Murtaugh, et. al.

When a mining planet sends out a distress signal, Leia calls Luke to send out some of his Jedi Trainees to investigate. While Kyp and Dork 82 arrive too late, they find that the planet is inhabited by ancient monsters that seemingly collect the souls of those they devour. While the Jedi are too late, Kyp knows that he must defeat the leviathans and release the souls of the victims and rid make the planet safe for the next settlers who choose to live there.

This is a single volume following Anderson’s Jedi Academy trilogy (and is preferred to have read I, Jedi and the Callista trilogy as well). It features some of the main Jedi that Luke brought to his new academy on Yavin 4 including Kyp Durron, Kirana Ti, and Streen, and introduces us to Dorks 82, who hopes to have some connection with the Force as his predecessor did. The art is good and the story adds just a bit more to the training of the new Jedi.

 

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Doctor Aphra: Aphra (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Artist(s): Kev Walker, Marc Deering, Antonio Fabela, et. al.

Doctor Aphra is an archaeologist. After faking her death with Darth Vader, she now continues to hunt around the galaxy for rare artifacts that she can sell for a high price. Black Krrsantan still helps her out in hopes of getting what she owes him, but when her Doctorate is disabled by her father, she must comply to his wishes before she can be reinstated. Searching for hints to a lost civilization on Yavin 4 brings the Empire down on them,. but unlocks a great historical mystery.

This is one of the best installments to the new canon with a great character. Aphra is a fantastic edition to the story: her character is interestingly developed with her own unique qualities that make her stand out from other characters in the series. The art is superb, as usual, and I cannot wait for the next one!

 

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The Star Wars (No Timeline)

Publisher: Dark Horse (8 Issues)

Writer: J. W. Rinzler

Artist(s): Randy Stradley, Mike Mayhew

This is Star Wars before it was revised to become the beauty that it actually is, based on the original draft by George Lucas. The story is pretty much completely different, featuring the Jedi-Bendu who once guarded the Emperor before the rise of the Knights of Sith.  Annikin Starkiller is the hero of the story with an older Luke Skywalker as the mentor/master. Annikin and Luke must now protect the princess of Aquilae, Leia, from the Empire. In this version, Han is a Urellian, a race that hunts Wookies on their home planet of Yavin. Darth Vader exists but is off screen most of the time, commanding his Sith from afar.

Despite the original story by George Lucas being awful, they at least got some of the top artists from the Star Wars line of comics. There is some action, but the story itself is so dry compared to its multiply drafted-over counterpart. While this is an interesting piece in the creation history of Star Wars itself, it is not worth the read if you are looking for extended universe qualities about characters you are already familiar with and want to know more about.