SW Summer Reads: Tarkin

So I know this is late… probably too late to be referred to as Summer Reads, anyway. But the book we’re looking at today amazing enough to be read at any time of the year: James Luceno’s Tarkin. There’s much to discuss so let’s get goin’!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode IV, TCW “Citadel”, “The Wrong Jedi”, “Crystal Crisis” arcs, Freemakers episode The Kyber Saber Crystal Chase, and Tarkin.

A long time ago in the same galaxy, I saw Episode IV for the first time. Unfortunately I didn’t grasp it as well as I should have. I understood the basics, but I could not tell you the name of the man we know as Tarkin. Nearly ten years later, countless rewatchings of the film as well as many viewings and re-viewings of The Clone Wars and Rebels truly brought to light this truly amazing and fascinating character. And now, upon reading the book bearing his name, I know him now more than ever. Oh gosh where do I begin? James Luceno covers nearly every angle of Tarkin’s story, from his earliest adventures to the events that bestowed him the title of “Grand Moff”. But not a word of it is unnecessary; every chapter is a piece of what made Tarkin, Tarkin.
Strong, undaunted, articulate, fearless, calculating, and firm in his beliefs, I was re-reminded what an incredible character he is in just about every paragraph. Mr. Luceno wrote so well for him that I often forgot he was supposed to be a villain. But that’s just one of those things that make him such a fascinating character; he so believes in what he considers right, that he’s willing to do whatever it takes. In several situations I could agree with what he was after, but I couldn’t fully agree with his methods to get it. And as we watch him take on a group of less-than-scrupulous rebels, we really get to dig into deep thoughts on the difference between right and wrong… and how easily those lines can be blurred. Dude this book’s got philosophical thoughts for days! It’s amazing stuff!
And there is so much I learned from this novel. Tarkin’s had connections with just about all the big events in SW history in one way or another, and we get to experience those from his unique perspective. Not to mention just the general discussion on SW tech, warfare, and everyday life. There’s something special about knowing the inner workings of these things, even something as seemingly average as a comlink. I also learned quite a few new big words I had no idea existed in the English language, and i consider myself very well-read so it rather took me aback I didn’t know every word 😛 (Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who didn’t know what an “adjutant” was!) The book’s both deep and in-depth, definitely not a beginner’s SW novel, but a truly incredible one nonetheless.
Tarkin’s life story brings both a sense of empowerment as an ordinary guy achieves great status, but also one of sadness as, for all of his intelligence and cunning, he still understood so little of what truly mattered in life. Many times throughout the story that last fateful image of the Grand Moff came to mind. That last shot as he quietly observed the battle, not truly believing anything or anyone could knock down the battle station he put so much faith in. And then he and that battle station were gone in an instant. The book is a powerful reminder to be careful of where the lines blur, and that power gained by wrongdoing ultimately fails us in the end. I’m sorry if I butchered that in any way but ahhhh this book’s so so powerful! Every inch of Mr. Luceno’s story was masterfully written, so much so I can barely put into words how much so it was.
And now, some other thoughts I had while reading the book. Enjoy the randomness (and the occasional moment of deepness).

– Had to read this one slowly. A lot of information, a lot of politics, a lot of stuff to digest.
– Tarkin sounds 100% like I’d expect him to.
– Gets fashion advice from a protocol droid. #Fabulous
– Scars from previous battles? Hmm Tarkin’s had a lot of adventures hasn’t he?
– THE HOLOFASHION MACHINE OMG I NEED THAT.
– What’s a fitness apparatus?? Hah yeah he totally lifts bro.
– Wow such great descriptions…
– Hehe Tarkin was a ginger just like me, has blue eyes too– wait oh dang I hope I don’t look like Tarkin when I’m his age O_O
– Nah I could never match his cheekbone game.
– “Outer Rim” is an accent??? Mind. Blown.
– Wow someone likes looking at himself, don’t he?
– So all that stuff on the Imperial uniforms actually has a purpose? Not just greeblies anymore? Cool. Imperial cosplayers take note!
– Pff this is gonna be one of my weirder posts.
– Ehhh not a big fan of Grand-Uncle Jova… but fascinating trying to imagine Tarkin as a small child. I can barely see it.
– BTdubs I imagine a name like “Wilhuff” got him bullied a bit as a kid.
– Whoa dude’s a real multitasker. I never thought I’d say I’d want to be like Tarkin in any way, but I’d sure like to do that.
– YAYY I LOVE A PARADE!! Oh wait it’s full of Imperials bleh XP
– Parking lots are a thing in SW. Good to know.
– I’m really enjoying learning more about how the Empire works. Makes me feel super-smart, too 🙂
– Thing I learned today: “Comm” applies to the hologram communication devices as well as the little microphones they talk with… at least, I think so. I could be reading it wrong…
– Also I realized I think I typically have spelled it “com” with one m. Not feeling quite as smart right now.
– Hmmmm Tarkin’s good. *Nods*
– Can I just say I love learning about SW tech? I know I’ve said it before but it’s still seriously cool.
– Admiral Trench! I knew that guy! I remember that battle!
– OK wow this whole thing with the Droid Gotra. A bunch of battle droids gone rogue! Kind of a scary thought, but also kind of cool to know they had that kind of free will. Think R0-GR ever ran in that crowd?
– Wait I’m confused… Poggle The Lesser didn’t design the Death Star? Or did he? The Death Star’s origins remain a mysteryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy it seems…
– Man it’s kind of amazing how much effort truly went into the Death Star. All these millions of probably decent people contributing to this mysterious ultimate weapon in many ways. It’s astounding, though in a rather sad way.
– Hey look it’s Mas Amedda. Vizier is quite a fancy title. Much better than “secretary” like I was calling him 😛
– Did they seriously just describe him as an “ambitious amphibian”? I mean, that’s really good wordplay, but is his species actually amphibious? Huh the things you learn from SW books!
– Is it wrong I really enjoyed Tarkin and Amedda’s conversation? Hehe so much snarkiness, my goodness!
– Wooo galactic history lesson! I love how this novel was written as if speaking to the everyday citizens of the galaxy, not to us dumb Earth people 😛
– Actually maybe it’s more like a galactic news report than a history lesson.
– The ancestral pioneer Tarkins sound like cool peeps.
– Keep in mind I said “ancestral”. Tarkin’s parents are purty snooty.
– Also if they’re as rich and fancy as they are, why does his dad even consider putting his elbows on the table, even for emphasis? Breakin’ your own rules Mr. Tarkin.
– It’s funny though… little Wilhuff sounds like an adorable kid. I can see it now.
– But seriously still what kind of parenting is this?? “Oh look here come the men to kidnap you for your rite of passage! Have fun honey!”
– Joke’s on them though ’cause little Wilhuff was prepaaaaared.
– Oh hi Grand-Uncle Jova. Ah this explains the “blood” comment. All about the context.
– So far this makes me feel really bad about my lack of survival skills.
– Think using animal interiors (like tauntauns) as shelters was a covered topic? Ew…
– Such a waste of a perfectly good vest. Not to mention the poor critter. But I don’t need to tell you that.
– AHH DANG BRO ATE RAW LIVER. THAT’S GROSS.
– Smol Tarkin has guts. (Absolutely no pun was intended)
– Seriously.
– He has GUTS.
– He did some gross stuff out there.
– I couldn’t do what he did.
– At all.
– #Respect
– Wonderful childhood amiright?
– OK Tarkin just figured out that Imp was using spice from a stain on his shoe. Wow he’s good. So so good. Hey, he may be considered a slightly bad dude but at least he expects his crew to be decent!
– Oooh the Carrion Spike is a stealth ship! Very fancay.
– Not sure his uncle gives the best advice still tho.
– Any weird chance this Q’anah girl might be related to Aurra Sing? Or if not, that maybe they hung out on the weekends and talked piratey-bounty-huntery things?
– Yay he caught the pirates. But yikes the way he did ’em in… that’s all I got: YIKES.
– OMG Palpatine’s living in the former Jedi Temple?? UGH YOU SCUMBAG.
– Sorry that might’ve sounded mean but it’s kinda true.
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP IMPERIAL GUAAAAAARDS!!! ❤ ❤
– *Is punched for that brief fangirly outburst*
– New thing I learned: Coruscant natives are referred to as "Coruscanti".
– AHHH TEACH ME YOUR STAR WARS WRITING WAYS, MR. LUCENO!
– Pff the Emperor is such a diva.
– Well actually he's just a very very busy man with his Death Star and stuff… oh who am I kidding he's still a diva XD
– If you think that's scary, wait 'til they hear about the Palaptine Museum they're building!
– Anyway, it's nice to know Wilhuff had a friend or two. He doesn't typically seem like the social type.
– Maybe if he used a different cologne. Whatever it is, it's not a scent that the Rebels care for. *Tomatoed*
– Oh yeah I remember the Citadel escape! That was fun 🙂
– *Cough not for most everybody tho cough*
– Hehe the looks Ahsoka gave him were well-deserved, but priceless XD
– And I'm getting off-track again.
– Whaaaat Palpatine was a ginger too?? So when we see him in Episode I, that blonde hair of his is fake? Haha he really is a diva.
– DON'T FORCE-CHOKE ME EMPEROR SIR.
– Hehe Tarkin's absolutely fanboying getting to meet the good Senator here.
– And by "teacher" you mean Plagueis, right?
– *Is punched for stating the obvious*
– Yeesh stop punching and tomatoing me already dude!
– Wow Palpatine is so good at being bad.
– Tarkin's entrance game is 110% on-point. I wish I could rock that confidence.
– *Stupidly imagines Tarkin as Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove* BOOM BABYYY!
– Get it? Because his entrance game was on-point…?
– Just… trust me on this. It’s hilarious.
– *Tomatoed*
– Lol haters gonna hate, Wilhuff. Just shake it off.
– *Ducks from tomato and fist*
– Hmm bro was a bit of a bad boy in the academy. Who’da thunk?
– THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS ‘CAUSE YOU’RE SO FABULOUS AND CLASSY.
– “Lightsaber diplomacy”… I like it. Or as some call it, “aggressive negotiations”!
– My first instinct is to assume Tarkin’s reading into the Jedi all wrong, but who knows? They’re might’ve been some snobby ones back in the day.
– Tarkin’s survival skills are also 110% on-point.
– If you ignore the fact it was an act of survival, it sounds like Tarkin could host the best campouts ever!
– …no, not really.
AHHHHHH VADERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!
– Also boo Tarkin you were such a jerk to Ahsoka.
– But whatever it’s VADERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!
– Yep that’s Vader. Still as scary and awesome as ever.
– Though yikes the way he killed that guy…
– Please Amedda, Darth don’t care about your dumb rules.
– “I will give the matter some thought…” translation: not ever.
– The fact they literally have to designate where and when he executes people really says something about where the Dark Lord is right now.
– He powerful and he angryyyyy.
– Fascinating seeing the mutual respect Tarkin and Vader have for one another. Seriously.
– Oh wow Tarkin figured it out. Bro’s smart.
– It’s kind of freaky seeing the two Empire big-shots engaging in some casual small talk. Aside from the Lego one-liners, what must it’ve sounded like to hear Lord Vader just talk casually without intending to strike fear into someone? Can he even do that??
– Uh-oh did they end up finding that massive kyber for the thing?? How??
– Man they put so much work into that Death Star. How did they forget that one teeny little hole…?
– Only Tarkin could tell the Emperor “I like what you’ve done with the place”, and not be severely Force-lightninged.
– Somehow I’m not surprised Palpatine’s proud of his decor.
– Seriously Tarkin’s theories are right again! Mostly.
– Like I said earlier, watching Tarkin having pleasant conversations with the Darths is amazing. Just the fact that either of the darksiders could ever act like a decent human being is fascinating and really cool.
– Tarkin does freelance writing in his spare time. Who knew? Maybe he runs a holoblog? I’d read that. “Talkin’ Tarkin: Thoughts Of An Imperial Governor” or maybe “Keep Calm And Carrion Spike: A Governor’s Life”?
– THAT MOMENT WHEN IT SUDDENLY OCCURS TO YOU YOU KNOW WHO NILS TENANT IS AND YOU FEEL LIKE AN IDIOT FOR NOT RECOGNIZING HIM.
– Hi Yularen! Fun fact I seriously didn’t realize he was in Episode IV up until a few months ago.
– Took a minute to look up Janus Greejatus in the starwars.com databanks just out of curiosity and boy is he scary-looking.
– Interesting stuff happens when all the big-shot Imps get together in one room…
– It’s fascinating watching Sidious and Vader interact one-on-one… and quite chilling.
– Wow Tarkin and Palpatine knew each other on a first-name basis. Practically BFFs.
– Lol not really. OK maybe a little.
– Whoa a clone-turned-storm. I feel kinda bad for this Sergeant Crest.
– Really interesting seeing what Tarkin understood about the Jedi from his side of the story. What difference would it have made if he’d known the truth about the Clone Wars and the role the Jedi played in it? I’m gonna shoot looks at him like Ahsoka did though XP
– Oooh a little Dooku backstory! This novel literally has everything!
– Seems he made a different kind of spark of rebellion, huh? Not the good kind, but still veryyyyyyyyyy interesting…
– I want a book on Dooku’s life story now, OK? That would be awesome.
– Tarkin and Dooku in the same room but on opposing sides! Great stuff!
– Sidious’s droid is Plagueis’s old droid. Goodness, he must be an old thing.
– Oh wow I read into that wrong. Vader might have some respect for Tarkin, but apparently he’s been a little sore with him since the Ahsoka incident. Heh I know I would.
– When you read a SW book you learn something new just about every page! It’s seriously amazing.
– So the Emperor’s plan: let’s stick the two on a mission together and see what happens! Great idea! This won’t end badly at all!
– Well I guess it actually might not and they’ll become buddies up until the Death Star goes boom.
– Just have to see I do suppose.
– AHHH WOW SIDIOUS IS TERRIFYING. HE KNOWS EVVVVERYYYYYYYYYYYTHINGGGGGGGGGGGGG.
– “Chapter Ten: A Better Womp Rat Trap”. These chapter titles are amazing btw.
– He literally just compared the smell to rancid cheese. I like Mr. Luceno’s style. Serious, but completely honest 🙂
– Wheeeee we’re takin’ a ride in an old-school gunship!
– Koorivar have a single cranial horn… so they’re unicorns then??? *SHOT*
– *Twilight wracks her brain trying to recall where she last heard the name “Crymorah” in SW*
– Uh-oh there went the Carrion Spike.
– And Tarkin ain’t a fan of none of this.
– He got some doubts.
– Vader’s patience with him is impressive.
– Oh yeahhhh I remember the Sugi now. From back on Anakin and Obi-Wan’s crystal misadventures!
– That’s probably where I remembered the Crymorah from too.
– OK so that clears that up.
– Note to self: it’s spelled “gotal” not “gothal”. *Sigh* now I gotta fix the tags again…
– Wow a whole paragraph just talking about different varieties of body odor. Lovely.
– Again, love this book.
– Zygerrians have some fur. I did not know this.
– The fancy royal ones in TCW probably just shave it.
– The things ya learn!
– Pirates they may be but I like ’em. They’re the cool crew.
– DUDE DON’T TELL VADER HOW TO DRIVE. HE’S GOT THIS.
– AND DON’T QUESTION VADER’S PLANS. HE’S GOT THIS.
– Whoops. Nevermind they’re gone.
– Noooope Vader’s stillll got this bro.
– “DARTH SIDIOUS WAS ANNOYED…” What else is new? XD
– More cool SW tech terminology: “holocams”!
– These rebel-sorts are gooooooood.
– Governor Motti’s first name is “Antonio”. Fabulous name bro.
– Pooooor sleepy Tarkin…
– But he’s still sharp as ever when figuring out the rebs’ next move.
– Interesting looking at the opposing angles of Teller and Hask’s thoughts on innocents in the Empire. These rebs work well together and that’s likeable, but they’re not quite the rebs you wanna cheer on. They’re not the Ghost crew, who try to keep from killing people they don’t have to. These piratey rebs don’t seem to care who gets caught in their crossfire, with the exception of Hask, it seems. Seriously this concept is genius. They make you subliminally root for who we usually know as the “bad guys”. Wow. first time seeing some actual depth in these observations of mine in a long while.
– Oooooh Tarkin isn’t gonna be too happy when he gets a load of all that damage done to his ship…
– Y’know is it just me or does it seem that Teller doesn’t like Tarkin? /sarc/
– OMG HASK IS RIGHT. HASK IS SO RIGHT.
– When lines get blurred… stuff happens. Not good stuff usually.
– Ahh wow this book!
– “Magnetically sensitive”? Is that normal for all gotals or just Salikk?
– Sounds like Salikk leads a hard life.
– I’m sorry I’m not saying more right now but there’s so much to wrap my mind around OMG.
– Yep you can still tell that’s Anakin in there. Just as impatient as ever…
– Ohhh it’s read as OneOne-FourDee not Eleven-FourDee I feel dumb.
– SW computers are cool. It’s fascinating how they work and what they’re capable of compared to our technology.
– It’s too bad, Tarkin could’ve been a great wildlife journalist (or whatever you’d call it) had he not ended up in the Empire.
– That and the fact he didn’t bat an eyelash at killing anything he deemed dangerous or edible.
– Vader is so terrifyingly good.
– “Moff Tarkin sends his regards” *Drops the mic*
– “…Race to the light of the lasers!” might be the coolest line in the whole book.
– Coruscant has weather control waaaaat??
– They seem to consider “humanoids” and “nonhumans” two different things. Wonder why?
– Guess maybe humanoids have mostly human anatomy, while nonhumans have more “alien” anatomy.
– Tarkin is absolutely all smugness right now.
– Anora deserves a medal for that beautifully poetic burn.
– Tarkin don’t care tho he jus’ gonna shake it off, shake it off.
– But seriously she is 110% right.
– So right it’s scary.
– Hey hey everybody there’s a new GRAND MOFF in town!
– It somehow never occurred to me what a big deal being grand moff is until this moment.
– And then I only now realized this story takes place after Rebels. At least, I think so. In Rebels he was only governor and I don’t think the Death Star was quite under construction yet.
– It only took me nearly the entire novel to figure that out!
– Orrrrrrrrrr maybe not?? Apparently he still goes by “governor” in most circles. So maybe this was before and the Death Star was just well-hidden when the Ghost crew passed by Geonosis?
– IDK man it’s all a mystery to me.
– Wow the Tark is some celebrity. Have to wonder if people still thought that after the Death Star went up in flames…
– How is it that Tarkin’s connection to the Carrion Spike inspires in me both a feeling of warmth and unease?
– Oh hey Jova how ya doin’? And hey Teller– wait waht?? How’d he get here?
– Kind of hilarious watching Tarkin and Jova just catching up like nothing’s weird while the dork reb is stuck in a trap below them.
– I’d wish Teller good luck but I don’t think he deserves it.
– THERE ARE HEROES ON BOTH SIDES AND EVIL IS EVERYWHERE!
– Oh yeah and THA DEATH STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!! Or at least the BABY DEATH STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!!!
– It’s sad to think that this battle station he loves so much will one day be the death of him.
– Though I’m not gonna lie. When it first moved… I got chills, too.

And so that concludes the final SW Summer Read of the year. So glad you all got to read along with me!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

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SW Summer Reads – The Weapon Of A Jedi

It’s Star Wars Summer Reads time again, and I’m thrilled that today I’ll be writing my thoughts on a book that actually came out in the last year! I mean, I like taking my time reading SW books, so I can properly appreciate each one and digest all its awesomeness, especially with the 100% canon books. So generally most of my posts are on older books I’ve read more than once. But there happened to have been a sale earlier this year and Jason Fry’s Journey To The Force Awakens Novel, The Weapon Of A Jedi, was there and it was useless to resist. And I am so so so so glad I bought it. It’s without a doubt one of the greatest SW books I’ve ever read. And I shall tell you the reasons why!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VII and The Weapon Of A Jedi

So I’m not going to give you a full play-by-play commentary on this one like I usually do with the young readers books, I feel like honestly the best way to express my feelings for this book is to just talk about them straight-up instead of trying to retell the story and fangirl as I go. That method probably works best for the older books and episodes than this incredible book. So with that in mind it will likely be a less time-consuming post to read today! Yaysies!
Anyway, so this was released in anticipation of Episode VII, with small keys to the future of SW. TBH I probably missed most of those “keys” and I read this after seeing the film… twice. But the coolest of these keys was impossible to miss: a Resistance pilot named Jessika Pava. We open with this sweet little prologue of Threepio telling Jess the story of Luke’s first lightsaber duel. It was absolutely great getting to meet Jess Pava a little here. We haven’t seen a huge lot of her yet but clearly she’s an awesome human being. And she gets a ton of cool points for helping destroy Starkiller Base. Just from the two brief chapters we get to see her in, we feel her frustration with being stuck working on droids instead of piloting, totally understand her slight impatience with Threepio, and 100% get her admiration for the great Luke Skywalker. I do wonder a little what time exactly the prologue/epilogue takes place in, since of course yes Jess is here for the Resistance and Threepio rocks a red arm, but it must’ve been a littler earlier than most of the events in TFA because it sounds like Luke is still around and Artoo is fully functional. You just wonder how long ago it was. How long ago was it before there was a Starkiller Base? Before a young Ben Solo went down the wrong path? Before all that we saw panned out in VII’s opening titles? Even though that’s all still somewhat of a mystery, it’s kinda fun not knowing all the answers in this time and place. But I’m rambling.
So the golden droid’s tale starts out smack-dab in a space battle as Luke and Wedge take on a whole lotta TIEs. It’s truly amazing how Mr. Fry put the dogfight into words. I mean… I’ve tried to write space battles for fanfics. They’re confusing. I write better with characters more than I do with war machines. I have to wonder if any of these great SW authors ever had trouble figuring them out too. I suppose it’s just something that takes time and patience and practice and lots and lots of SW reference books (and probably discussions with the Lucasfilm Story Group would help). But boy oh boy did I learn a lot in just this first chapter alone. Not only is it an exciting opener, but it makes sense for dumb readers like me. Even with all that X-wing jargon I had to learn all the while. I didn’t know they used the terms “port” and “starboard”! Small thing but still cool to know. And wow there are so many ways to describe laserfire and explosions without reusing the same words over and over again! Reading this book was a lesson in Star Warsian vocabulary for sure, as well as a lesson in Star Warsian warfare, Star Warsian technology, and Star Warsian culture. I feel smarter already! I suppose this all sounds dumb to those of you more-seasoned SW fans, but *points to blog site title* I’m still learnin’.
Yeah no doubt Jason Fry knows how to write the wars in the Star Wars, but he equally knows how to write for the stars in Star Wars, too. I am absolutely amazed how well he wrote for Luke. We spend the majority of the book in Luke’s head and it is a mind-blowing feeling. And it’s a great place in time to be there! Just fresh off destroying the Death Star, Luke’s simply trying to be the best Rebel he can be, but this little thing called the Force keeps throwing him off. We learn so much from his perspective it’s astounding. One of my favorite things we get to dig into were those little moments that we didn’t see in the movie. I know I’ve been pretty shortsighted and somehow assumed everything that happens in the films happened somewhere between two hours and two days. Luke recalls a number of times Obi-Wan trained him and gave him nuggets of Jedi wisdom in the days between “Hello there” and “If you strike me down…”. It blew my mind wide open knowing about these parts of the story we didn’t know, and of course, it further reminded me what an amazing person Ben Kenobi is (even though I certainly already knew that). Even knowing just the smallest things, like how very hurt Luke was after Owen and Beru’s death, brings new meaning and understanding to the character and his overall story. From the film, we gather that Owen and Beru care for him, but it also seems that their relationship with Luke was sometimes difficult. Knowing he wrestled with anger and grief over what happened to them says that there was so much more to their relationship that we didn’t know. That clearly, Luke loved them, even when they didn’t get along, and Owen and Beru must’ve loved him too. They were his only family, man… OMG I’m sorry I can’t believe I spent so long on that topic but wow it’s really kinda incredible to think about. *Curls into a ball and cries for Luke* Not to mention seeing how much respect Luke has for his father in this chapter in history. We all know his dad isn’t exactly all that honorable at this point, but seeing him still having this connection with him, even not having ever known him, is all kinds of feelsy :3
Of course, one of the biggest things we really get to dig into in this story is the Force. It’s the kickstater for the whole adventure as Luke finds himself led by the Force to the ruins of a Jedi temple on Devaron. For those of us wondering how it is Luke knew how to use a lightsaber as well as he did in Episode V… this is how. With a few words from Ben and a trio of training remotes and a whole whole lot of patience, Luke gets pretty good at the Jedi-ing by the end of the book 🙂 One of the things I love most about SW books is getting a first-person view of the Force, when an author eloquently paints a mental picture of what it’s like to be surrounded by it, working with it, feeling it… it’s a beautiful thing. And Mr. Fry’s work here is no exception. He just absolutely brings it to life in the most spectacular, poetic manner! Watching Luke gain a better understanding of the Force through every twist and turn is amazing. His training session puts him through a lot both physically and emotionally, with descriptions so amazingly vivid you pretty much feel all those moments of frustration and victory yourself (I know I was pretty exhausted just reading all of his lessons in lightsaber-deflecting). Oh gracious everything about it’s fantastic. I wish I could get my thoughts in better order on all of this, but really you just have to read the book for yourself. Can I just say again that it’s seriously amazing spending time in Luke’s head? All the other SW books I’ve read have bounced back and forth between various characters’ perspectives, but 90% of Weapon Of A Jedi focuses on young Skywalker. It’s different, but a really really cool kind of different. I feel like I know this guy even better than I did before. I don’t think there could possibly been a better book to start with for my first canon novel in the Original Trilogy era. Seriously. Like wow. It all leads up to one awesome duel between Luke and an unexpected foe wielding an electrostaff that is all kinds of edge-of-your-seat. Lol I’m not sure if I’m writing this with spoilers in mind or not anymore. But anyhow this book was truly one of the most epic and wonderful things I’ve ever read. It’s a perfect balance between action and heart, and quite honestly should be read by every Star Wars fan, young and old. Jason Fry’s clearly a master at writing Star Wars stuff and I will definitely have to hunt down some of his other novels. And I certainly can’t wait to dive into the other novels in the Journey To The Force Awakens and see what Han and Leia were doing too 😀
So I’m glad we got to sit down and talk about The Weapon Of A Jedi for a moment. But before I sign off…

FIVE OTHER THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS BOOK, OR JUST FOUND PLAIN INTERESTING OR WORTH MENTIONING!
1. Getting “spacesick” is a thing.
2. Y-Wings are none too fast.
3. Luke’s acting skills are terrible, but in a rather adorable way XD
4. Screwdrivers exist in the SW galaxy.
5. Luke spends a loooooooot of moneyyyy in this book.

OK now we’re done. See you next month for another Star Wars Summer Read!

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

SW Summer Reads – Jedi Prince #5: Queen Of The Empire

It’s not only the first Star Wars Summer Read of the year, but it’s also a very special one! The fifth installment in Paul and Hollace Davids’ Jedi Prince series, Queen Of The Empire, was among the first SW books I ever read. And sometime this month, it will officially have been FIVE YEARS since I first read it! Yeah I was dumb and read the series a little out-of-order, but that didn’t take away from how much I enjoyed it. If you want to refresh your memory on the last four adventures, read my previous posts on The Glove, The City, The Revenge, and The Mission, right here. And now let’s find out what this whole Queen deal is all about… ’cause in all technicality, wouldn’t the official term be “Empress”? I guess Empress Of The Empire doesn’t sound as cool though… who cares let’s just read already.
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode I, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, Episode VII, The Glove Of Darth Vader, The Lost City Of The Jedi, Zorba The Hutt’s Revenge, Mission From Mount Yoda, and Queen Of The Empire.

Project Decoy, we haven’t heard a lot about it at this point. But as our Rebs head to the secret labs in the bowels of the Mount Yoda base, we readers are about to get some answers at long last. Scientists Fandar and Fugo are happy to introduce Leia Organa Mark II, an exact droid replica of our favorite previous-princess-future-general! Everyone is impressed, though Han is all “Well this is just creepy” XD Leave it to SW to perfect the perfect human droid! For all we know they might be running around the Resistance now and we’d never even know it O.O Hmm that’s actually kinda a scary thought. So maybe it won’t catch on as a normal everyday droid in the galaxy, but it can be useful when you’re as… um… popular as Leia is right now. And by “popular” I mean she’s been captured or nearly killed three or four times lately. So yeah I can approve the decision. Takin’ a note from her mom’s book 🙂 So yeah Mark II’s got Leia down right to her voice and gestures, except for the small fact SHE CAN SHOOT LASERS OUT OF HER EYES. A useful feature, unless of course it misfires and hits you in the chest. Yeesh poor Fandar. Ho’Din boss healer Baji gets him stabilized, but a heart transplant is absolutely needed. With little time to lose and the Falcon the fastest way to the Chandra-Fan homeworld, Han’s got this, and Leia’s going with. And they make it there 22 standard timeparts later. Sooo is a standard timepart like a minute? I’m assuming something like that. Ahsoka coined the great term “mynock minute”, so I guess that makes “minute” the official-canon term, but either way it works. Hehe the conversations we have here at Padawanline 😛 Though problem, you would not believe the weather they have out here on Chad. They have a pretty bad amount of methane going on and that leads to some pretty bad hurricanes. Oh goody more ship repair bills for Captain Solo… not to mention the fact that landing in a hurricane is incredibly dangerous. Oh, and Threepio got a dent in his arm! Oh heaven forbid! Yes because the perilous landing is the least of our worries right now XP But yeah they made it juuuuust barely, thanks to Han’s mad skillz and a little help from the Force. Leia is all “A little help?” XD Whatever the case, Fandar now can get the medical help he needs and that’s the most important thing here. Oh and then one thing led to another and Han basically got caught in a rockslide. Thank you, no thank you stormy atmosphere and your lightning. It just gets better and better out here! Also, new great SW-ism “…like a drunken alien on hoverskates” yep makes all the sense in the world. Use that one often XD
So anyway, by the time Leia got the security guard out of her hair she turned around and found that rockslide mess. She can sense he’s still alive (always cool seeing the Princess making quiet use of the Force), but for how long is the question. So Leia doesn’t waste a second before she takes control of a boulder-dozer. The image of her at the controls of this massive machine, which is really just a laser cannon with treads, is too awesome. NO DUMB ROCKSLIDE’S GONNA MESS WITH HER MAN! Miraculously, Han comes out relatively unscathed. He’s all “Dang that rockslide ’bout ruined my plans for us!” to which Leia raises an eyebrow “What plans?”. YEEEES, WHAT PLANS CAPTAIN SOLO?? Then he derps out “Oh cool a boulder-dozer! Corellian-made isn’t it?” Pfff a little nervous maybes? Also not that anyone cares but Artoo’s OK. Except for the fact he’s still short-circuiting from the incident earlier that led to the rockslide thing. That’s still a problem.
Back at the DRAPAC Luke, Ken, and Chewbacca were keeping an eye on their dear guest, Triclops. The seemingly decent human being who just happened to have Palpatine for a dad. It’s soon evident why the Empire kept him around despite seeing him as a threat — he sleep-invents terrifying weaponry. Good guy by day, potentially dangerous evil genius by night. Also it seems he knows things about the Reb’s Project Decoy in his sleepy mumblings. One thing for certain, the man is an enigma. Is he Force-sensitive? Just crazy? Super-talented? Who knows. And I’m serious I haven’t read these in a while so I don’t remember the answers to these questions or if these questions are answered at all. Either way, as I’ve said before, much mysterious…
Back on Chad things were looking up. The skies cleared and Fandar was good as new and it looks like R2-D2’s up and running. What next? “WE’RE GOIN’ TO HOLOGRAM FUN WORLD!” is Han’s answer. Leia’s like “Um… no we’re not” to which Han replied “Well if we’re goin’ to elope we are!” and then Leia’s all “WHUT.” I could totally see this happening for reals. Han’s confidence mixed in with his feelings with a little nervousness thrown in makes for one awkwardly adorable proposal that’s so cute I don’t dare rehash it my own words. *Dies fangirling* ❤ Once Leia gets where he's coming from, she's all good though. Soooo good. THreepio walks in on that PDA and he’s all “NOPE” XD Though the princess has no questions about marrying her prince, she was sorta hoping for a more grandiose wedding (hey, what girl doesn’t?). Han assures her they can have an official party later, but for now, with no idea what the future might bring… THEY’RE GOIN’ TO HOLOGRAM FUN WORLD! And there’s an astonishingly gorgeous ancient Corellian wedding band awaiting her, too :3 AHH I CAN’T. IT’S TOO PRESH. I’ll be honest when I first read this I dropped everything and drew a pic of them. Still have it too. ‘Cause AHHHHH DANGIT THEY’RE ADORABLE. *Cough* OK hitting pause on the fangirl button.
So you guys remember Zorba right? Jabba’s dad with a vendetta, current governor of Cloud City, has crazy head of hair? You know him. Well, since he became governor things haven’t been going that well. Business has dropped like a billion times, mainly on the fact that the city’s become a dump next to Hologram Fun World. I don’t think it’s necessarily just the fact that people want cool virtual world experiences over casinos, but probably a lot to do with the fact it’s controlled by a Hutt. So now he’s heading to said Fun World with a handful of bounty hunters, ready to make it look like a dump next to his turf. NUUU WHY YOU GOTTA TAKE IT OUT ON THE INNOCENT HAPPY PEOPLE?!
So Hologram Fun World sounds like a blast. May sound kinda far-out but hey, a galaxy without theme parks wouldn’t be much fun now, would it? Thrilling VR experiences through state-of-the-art holograms. You want to go hoverskiing down the side of an exploding volcano? You can do that! As someone who loves to hunt out cool vacation spots and collects travel brochures everywhere she goes, I most definitely want to take a visit there. Unfortunately, it’s popular enough that one particular show’s been sold out for six months. Dude if there’s a magician out there who’s that good, let me know ’cause I’m not sure anything is worth being sold out for that long. Except SW stuff, anyway 🙂 Also the line to the droid repair shop’s pretty cray. But Han’s more than OK with this, and actually pays a little extra to keep the droids out of his hair. Threepio will not interrupt them again — at least not tonight, anyway. Also, we get to see our good buddy Lando again, now the baron administrator of HFW! Maaaan he done well for himself. The Force most defs be with him considering it wasn’t that long ago when he lost his governor’s position. And he gives them quite the grand tour. THAT STAR DRAGON RIDE SOUNDS AMAZING. I NEED TO RIDE IT. ESPECIALLY IF A STAR DRAGON IS ANYTHING LIKE A VARACTYL. ANNDDD NOW I’M SHUTTING UP ABOUT THIS. And they even get to walk down the streets of a virtual Alderaan. OH SWEET MERCIFUL HEAVENS THE FEELS…! After the fun, the power couple just about had everything together for their exchanging of vows… except for their birth certificates. D’oh. Ugh can you imagine the paperwork you’d have to go through if your certificate was destroyed along with your homeworld? Lando promises he’ll get things set up by the next rotation, and until then, he’ll continue to give them the best Fun World experience he can muster, including front-row tickets to that sold-out magic show I mentioned earlier. #Benefits But while they’re having fun… lo and behold Zorba stepped into HFW (or sloshed into, I guess) and had his own kind of “fun” with his scoundrel crew. Theft, destruction, graffiti, the whole dang shebang. He was having an absolute wonderful time until one of his hunters mentioned seeing Leia — and she’s very much alive. So Zorba’s done; he’s gonna personally take to ending her this time. OmO
Gotta say as slow as the Hutts are they sure work fast. He gets a bounty hunter to disguise himself as the magician and quite literally makes Leia disappear. Once again another nice pleasant day ruined by a bad guy. Han and Lando are on the move.
I don’t need to tell you for you to know that Leia’s negotiating skillz are on-point. Too bad she was negotiating with someone who can’t be negotiated with. What the law states and what she was in her right to do don’t matter a centimeter to Zorba, you kill his son you pay the price. Regardless it didn’t get her anywhere I still applaud Leia for defending her honor and throwin’ sass all over that jerkface like she did. But yeah how she’s gonna get outta this one? She’s not entirely alone though… look it’s carbonite Trioculus! Remember him? Wait OMG TRIOCULUS?? EX-EMPEROR WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD? Zorba wins at everything, evidently. At least when it comes to revenge anyway.
The real magician heard everything, so Han and Lando know where they need to go to get Leia back. The Pit of Carkoon on Wonderful ol’ Tatooine! But they’re not alone on their mission, ’cause Luke and Ken popped in with Leia II. The Alliance could tell that the Falcon and the Zorba Express in the same place was trouble. Also everyone knows about the Haneia engagement now so Luke wouldn’t miss a chance to say congrats 🙂
So what do you get when the Grand Moffs have a conference? A MOFFERENCE! No seriously that’s what they’re calling it. Pffff sounds so dignified don’t it? Yeah the Moffs decided to discuss some business right outside of Tatooine so you know things’ll get interesting later. The business they’re discussing is their problem with new Emperor Kadann, who not only killed Trioculus but is planning on demoting all the moffs. The Moffs no likey, especially not Hissa, who was left to die by one of the dark side prophets and now bears two mechanical arms and is permanently confined to a hoverchair. So once they see Zorba heading their way, they decided to play the revenge game themselves. So now the number of people Han and crew have to save Leia from has doubled. Wonderful. Basically all heck broke loose in the moffship. Somehow with enough stormtroopers, they managed to apprehend Zorba. And wow man Zorba looks absolutely huge in the illustration. Comparably it looks like he could sit on four Hutts and hold Rotta in the palm of his hand. Granted, Mama The Hutt could probably still skoosh him (I believe she’d be Zorb’s aunt, if my memory serves me well), but still! He’s a monster! Somehow didn’t stop the Imps though. The Grand Moff and his crew were quite happy to see Trioculus frozen, but alive. Zorba was pretty smart to only keep a decoy in public. But now… oh boy… the dark, scarred ex-Emperor rises, and he’s got some unfinished business to attend to. But first he takes a walk down memory lane with Hissa as he looks at their lovely weapon stash. Ah, the countless lives he’s destroyed! Slaves, settlers, tourists that took a wrong turn… such good times! Yeesh. GET. A. HOBBY. TRIO. And then Zorba makes a deal he knows the three-eyed gent can’t refuse: his freedom for Leia. Trioculus couldn’t seal that deal soon enough. Once again, Leia fearlessly speaks her mind to the dark dude, but somehow all that doesn’t sway the dark dude’s feelings. Trioculus offers her all the power and position as his bride and the opportunity to watch Zorba eaten by the sarlacc, but she just keeps negotiating like a boss (seriously they wrote amazingly for her). So Trio makes an offer she can’t refuse — to stay with Zorba or with him. Leia finally says “yes”. But only ’cause she’s buying time to look for a way out. ‘Cause bro Princess Bosslady is taken mkay?
As the Falcon crew prepared the rescue, Trioculus put on his show and sent the old Hutt to the mouth of the Sarlacc. Trio’s pretty sure he saw Leia smile, though it could’ve been a grimace… he’s not really good at understanding emotions. He uses it an excuse to convince her the Dark Side’s a done deal, and even pulls out the “your dad’s Darth Vader” card again, but Leia’s still all kinds of NOPE. Which for him means it’s time to start the wedding! Poor guy has no clue what social cues are, does he? Being engaged to two guys in two days might sound kinda cool like “wow I’m so fabulous everybody’s fighting over me”, but for Leia, it’s really really not. Especially when she only loves one of those two guys. But surprise! Said guy and company were waiting in the wings and they’re goin’ home! And now four more stormtroopers are gonna wake up in garbage today. Hehe XD
Now it’s time for the royal Imperial wedding!! Squeeeeeeee!! Well, I’m pretty sure the talk dark dork was the only one squeeing today, but that’s all that matters to him right now. Oh, the wedding was beautiful, you should’ve seen it… the black zinthorns, the turbolaser access shaft they used as an altar, all the moffs abuzz with the belief that Leia’d gone to the Dark Side, and of course, the wonderful moment where it turned out to be the replica droid and her gaze literally pierced his heart. Aww I told myself I wouldn’t cry but… that was a beautiful plan! Trioculus died with the knowledge he’d been played… with the destroyed Leia II by his side. Fitting. Verrry fitting. Though whoo I bet the Grand Moff’s not gonna be happy about this…
So our heroes head back to Mount Yoda alive and well. And the conversation turns to new wedding plans and whether “best man” can apply to someone who’s not human (politically correct, that should be “best male being”). But there might be a small problem they don’t know about yet… and by “small problem” I mean BIG because look who crawled his way out of the Sarlacc? Zorba The Hutt, and he’s still gettin’ the last laugh…
Ohhh myy that was fun! Theme parks, lots of villainy, and HanXLeia sweetness! So many fun memories reading this, and I’m thrilled I was able to read along with you now. Until the next post is up…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

Star Wars Reads Day ’15 – Jedi Prince #4: Mission From Mount Yoda

If you’ve been keeping track, you know what today is… Star Wars Reads Day! Anytime is a good time to read a SW book, but it’s nice to have one special day a year to do so as well. So like we did a couple years back, we’re digging into Paul and Hollace Davids’ Jedi Prince series. Reading the fourth chapter in this exciting and intriguing adventure, Mission From Mount Yoda! You can catch up with the last few chapters here, here, and here. Now let’s get started!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode VI, The Glove Of Darth Vader, The Lost City Of The Jedi, Zorba The Hutt’s Revenge, and Mission From Mount Yoda.

We find ourselves in the midst of a meeting amongst the Dark Side Prophets in Space Station Scardia, where the big cheese of the DSPs, Kadann, is about to make a few predictions. Really creepy stuff here. The idea of the dark side being a bit of a cult is quite fascinating. Though it was written before the Prequels explained more about how the Sith work, it makes a lot of sense even now. Honestly I could see this kind of deal existing officially-canonically. Kadann comes out and makes mention of a few little things; first, he now speaks for the dark side, second, he’ll destroy all that is good in the Force, and finally, he also mentioned something akin to “when the dragon pack perched upon Yoda’s stony back receives a visitor pierced by gold, then come the last days of the Rebel Alliance”. Yikes. Much yikes. And you know Kadann… if his predictions don’t come true, he makes them come true. Rebs beware.
But the Rebs don’t know nothin’ of this, they’re vacationing on Z’trop! Because if anyone deserves a vacation, these guys do. Especially since Leia caught the unwanted attention of Zorba The Hutt and stuff. Han so badly wanted some down time with his princess, but so far they’d just started back down the bickering trail. Over pointless things I might add, like whether Septapi are carnivorous or herbivorous. I’m thinking a bit of this has to do with the fact that he’s got nerves since considering a certain proposal 🙂 But that intelligent conversation doesn’t last for long, because as usual, cue the Empire. Artoo may have spotted an assault vehicle not too far from the sunny shores. Turns out, upon further inspection, that there’s no ‘trooper to be found, however, Luke does find a few holodiscs marked with the Scardia symbol. Either way, the vacay’s over as they head back to their secret base on Dagobah’s Mount Yoda. Though seriously how cool is it Yoda got a mountain named after him?! A little something the Rebels did in honor of him. I’m sure he brags about it to Anakin and Obi-Wan often 🙂 The Mount Yoda base, known as DRAPAC (the Defense Research And Planetary Assistance Center), is pretty sweet digs for being located on the highest peak in a slimy mudhole. Not completely finished, but still impressive with levels upon levels of everything the Alliance could need. Right down to their top-secret project known as “Project Decoy”. The Rebs don’t waste much time before looking into those holodiscs, which happen to hold Kadann’s most recent prophecies on there. It doesn’t take long for Luke and Leia to decipher that it’s talking about Mount Yoda and DRAPAC. And Luke queries whether a gold knife, also found in the missing Imperial’s belongings, might have something to do with that “pierced by gold” bit. Wonder who owned that stuff to start with. Maybe dude was just stopping for a smoothie and then came back to realize his assault vehicle was broken into. His boss won’t be pleased… whoever that boss of his is right now since Trioculus became a museum exhibit.
Speaking of Trioculus, yeah the Empire wants the guy back and a little less frozen. Thankfully, Zorba’s out of town, making his dream of converting the palace into an extremely profitable prison a reality. When the lothcat’s away the womprats will play (Completely weird thought: I kept referring to lothcats as tookas for a while because of their similarity, before that I was calling them “mookas”, which this book actually refers to as in “purring like a mooka”. I know the name “tooka” came from Dave Filoni’s cat but where did “mooka” come from? Either way yay cats in SW!). The Stormtroopers and their chief have little problem walking into the museum and coming out with the Emperor. Honestly they did the folks of Bespin a favor… who wants to pay money to look at that ugly mug? He’d scare the kids man! And what exhibit would that go into anyway? “Cloud City Museum presents… The Hall Of Carbonite!” 😛 But yeah unfreezing him might cause more problems than a few unhappy museum attendees. Just as Grand Moff Hissa was about to free him, our friends from Scardia showed up. High Prophet Jedgar demands Trioculus turned over to them since Kadann’s in charge now. Jedgar and Hissa have a nice long debate over the ex-Emperor as well as the politics between the Prophets and the Empire. But Jedgar played dirty and revealed just how much dirt he had on Hissa and ultimately the Grand Moff had no choice but to switch his loyalties. So the Prophets now have the three-eyed bro and you can figure they have no intentions to let him live…
Back on Dagobah, things are also taking a downward turn. At least for Ken, anyway, who’s about to start his studies and DRAPAC’s Dagobah Tech. He’s never been a fan of such things, so yeah he’s not too happy about this. Luke tries to give him a little encouragement, talked about how much he wanted to go to the Academy back in the day, but to no avail. First day of school should’ve been easy, right? Nope. Tests on the first day, and only a portion of them on stuff he understood. Random fun thought: since this school is run by Rebels, who would teach what classes? Maybe Sabine could teach languages and art appreciation? I could totally see that. OK random fun thought over ’cause not long after Ken’s tests were over a ship nearly crashes down right into DRAPAC! The driver of said ship is a Duro named Dustini, who comes off a pretty nice mannerly guy, but also not doing so well. That’s because his planet isn’t doing so well… it’s become a hazardous waste dump and it’s being looted for its treasures by the Empire, mostly because Kadann really really likes shiny things. Also yeah this book seems to refer to the planet as Duro and not the species as a Duro so since I have no clue what the planet is called canonically I’m just gonna refer to it as the “Duro homeworld”. So yeah Dustini came here for help so they could help save his people, who have gone into hiding for fear of being turned into Imperial slaves. He takes a moment to showcase a few of the DH’s priceless artifacts, only to accidentally trigger a poisonous booby trap in the crown of their ancient king. So that would explain the “pierced by gold” bit… Kadann’s better at this predicting thing than I thought. While medical droids work to heal the poor guy, Artoo plays back one of Dustini’s holodiscs explaining the mission at hand. Onward to the Duro homeworld!
The next day, Ken was supposed to be at school. He just wanted to say goodbye and may-the-Force-be-with-you to his friends before his classes started, but one thing led to another and before he knew it he was trapped in the Falcon‘s cargo hold just as they set off to the DH. Wellllp… at least he won’t have to do any tests today. What no one on the Falcon knows is that Hissa and Jedgar have them in their sights. First gunner to destroy the Millennium Falcon gets to dine with the Prophets! The Falcon‘s firepower isn’t enough to match their opponent’s and their hyperdrive is kaput, much to Han’s chagrin, so flying for their lives seems like the best option for now. Artoo finds out that a bit of the trouble has something to do with a locked cargo hold. It takes Luke using the Force to get that door open, and inside he finds, not an Imperial spy, but a young Jedi Prince. It’s a miracle Ken was able to convince Luke he hadn’t stowed away on purpose. More of a miracle was that Threepio was able to do a minor repair and fixed the hyperdrive and quad cannons again. Seriously, THREEPIO JUST FIXED SOMETHING. *Slow clap*. Instead of immediately hitting the hyperspace outta there, Han makes a risky move and takes aim at the baddies’ ship. Which unfortunately doesn’t end too well for our heroes. With quite a few new holes in the ship, Han decides now would be a good time to hit the hyperspace button.
Speaking of things not going too well, we soon find Kadann at the other end of a laser, completely decimating the carbonite-frozen form of Trioculus. And now he himself wields Darth Vader’s glove. All is proceeding as dude’s forseen. After all, Kadann is never wrong, right?
The good news is the Falcon managed to survive its near-crash on DH, the good news is that Duro mechanics are awesome at what they do, the bad news is that the estimated repair bill is a whole lotta credits. Ouch indeed. Mechanic dude makes an offer to trade the hunk of junk in for something new, but Han calls no deal. Thankfully Leia believes SPIN’ll pick up the tab on this one. You gotta love Han’s legit undying loyalty to that ship. It’s clearly still lookin’ good thirty years later! 🙂 So they head back to their destination in a rental, where Artoo accesses a map from Dustini’s holodisc to the Valley Of Royalty. It’s where all the archaeologists are that they need to set free. Also of note nearby is an Imperial Reprogramming Institute… wherein lives the mysterious Triclops, the true son of Palpatine who the Empire fears but keeps alive anyway. Ken decides to divulge a little of what he knows on the subject of this guy, but what this guy has to do with Dustini’s mission we do not know. Shortly thereafter our heroes headed off, originally not with Ken, but the kid knows how to persuade, especially when he pulled the “Obi-Wan said our destinies are connected!” card out. So Leia stayed behind to watch the ship and Ken went on. Smart boy 🙂 Honestly I think Obi-Wan could sympathize with Luke on this one.
Guess who also just arrived on Duro? A certain grand moff and dark side prophet. Jedgar reveals the nature of their mission, to recapture the escaped Triclops. Yeah just what Hissa wanted to do this weekend… chase down a madman on a toxic waste-covered planet! ‘Course, you think they have problems… Luke and the gang were facing down giant mutant Fezfe beetles! Somehow they managed to slice and shoot their way outta that mess, and we must thank Ken for saving his master’s life in a moment of crisis. Yeah fun planet right? They continue on through into the bowels of the Valley, facing steep stairways, treacherous turns, and toxic gunk falling from the ceiling as they go. Not to mention encountering the man of the hour himself — Triclops! Bro’s pretty chill for someone who escaped a correctional facility. Escaped with the help of a reprogrammed Imperial assassin droid, for good reason too since he very nearly got a lobotomy. Yeesh. Tri has no problem helping out our Rebels and leading them to the imperiled archaeologists. He’s very interested in Luke’s Jedi ways, as he mentions knowing a Jedi once. And also seems to know something about Ken, about the silver charm he wears, about his past… much intrigue. Tri is all kinds of much intrigue. But even so, he’s clearly nothing like his dad, so let’s just be glad for that 🙂 Doesn’t take ’em long before the find the rest of the Duro dudes, all working to get their relics together before they leave their festering stinkhole planet behind. For sure they’re eternally grateful for SPIN’s help, happy enough to hug it out with Captain Solo, though Han had slightly differing opinions on that matter XD So from there on out everybody starts working together to get the loot back to the planet surface and under the care of SPIN until the Duros relocate. In the midst of this, Han receives a little something courtesy of the Duros — an ancient Corellian wedding ring. Oh wait that sounded really creepy. What I meant was that Dustini’s cousin gave it to Han as a “thank you” gift, that it could eventually be given to the one he loves. Han doesn’t elaborate too much on where he is in that stage of life, but accepts it all the same, just in case. Hehe yesss all the forces in the universe are working to get the power couple to tie the knot already X3 But aboveground, Imperial interrogator Defeen has quite literally needled the truth out of a Duro, revealing the whereabouts of a certain Valley. That’s trouble. And as if we needed more trouble, Hissa and Jedgar showed up with a gaggle of ‘troopers and a big boring mechanism. In the midst of the chaos that ensued, the bad guys nearly nabbed Ken, but that’s where Triclops came in… and bro’s third eye is hypnotic. And we mention he hand-to-hand fights like a boss? He could’ve easily finished Hissa off, but a sudden rush of toxic sludge did his job for him. Grand Moff Hissa + toxicity – Jedgar’s help = 60% less Grand Moff. Eww. Dude this is intense! Our heroes make a narrow escape from the cavern and Leia and Chewie arrive with their ride outta here just in time! So go off our Rebels, along with the Duros, their treasure, and Triclops in tow. By the time they return to DRAPAC, things all fall together nicely; Dustini is alive and reunited with his people, the Falcon is better than new, and everyone’s all together again. Things are looking up. But one thing still remains unanswered; Triclops is being held for questioning for now… but he is really the real pacifist anti-Empire good guy deal? What did the Empire want with him? Much intrigue… much intrigue indeed.
So there you go! Another fun Star Wars Reads Day and a fun post to go with it! Now, I’ll be seeing you next week with some new Rebels awesomeness! Until then…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight

SW Summer Reads: A New Dawn

The pressure’s on my friends… because today I’m writing my first SW Summer Reads post on a full-size undoubtedly-canon book! I apologize in advance if this comes off like a big fat mess of fangirling. Then again, that’s pretty much what all my posts come out like! But it would be a crime not to write about the amazing book known as A New Dawn. We’re talkin’ some serious action, adventure, heart, and of course all the deliciously delightful Kanera banter :3 So let’s go ahead and cut to the chase to see what interesting things I found in reading John Jackson Miller’s exciting SW tale!
NOTE: Contains spoilers from Episode III, A New Dawn, and Rebels episode Fire Across The Galaxy

Cover art for A New Dawn

Every saga has a beginning, including that of the saga of the Ghost crew and the Rebel Alliance. And it all starts with a young, scoundrely guy working in a mining facility. That guy would be Kanan Jarrus. I’ve gotta tell ya, I never thought the term “scoundrel” would apply to him. Han, yes. Lando, naturally. But Kanan? Kanan the strong, selfless, wise Jedi master? Never! I mean, sure, he’s as quick with his sarcasm as he is with his blaster, sure he doesn’t fit the role of a conventional Jedi, but he’s not a scoundrel or anything! But before he was a rebel, before he was a master, he was a gunslinger, a drinker, a big-time flirt, and could punch your teeth out if you got on his nerves. At this juncture, the bro’s left all traces of his former life behind and drifts from one job to the next, just aimlessly doin’ whatever. But though he puts on this tough act, Kanan’s heart of gold still shines. He quietly lends a hand to his fellow workers every now and again and helps out his sweet old landlord Okadiah. It takes a few unexpected turns, a few new friends, and the Empire’s craziness to help him find a new purpose and a new ‘tude that eventually turns him into the Rebel we know and love. Mr. Miller does an excellent job at writing from Kanan’s perspective, bringing out that fun side of his as well as his heart in just the right way.
Of course, the second player in this game would be Hera Syndulla. While Kanan’s changed quite a fair amount since this story took place, Hera really hasn’t changed a bit. Perhaps she’s become a little more learned since she’s seen and done a lot since then, but otherwise, she still has her epic piloting skills, her drive for change, and her kind heart for others. And Miller does an awesome job telling us about her but not telling us everything. We don’t know what she was doing beforehand and how many other rebel-sorts are out there working with her, all we know is that she dropped by to Gorse and Cynda to meet up with an informant. And turns out she came back with more than she expected… including a new crewmember.
Oh, and then there’s our chief villain, Count Vidian. The guy’s relentless, calculating, and did I mention a human cyborg? I absolutely love what a great villain he is! He’s a perfectly creepy guy who will do anything to stay on top and keep his high political standings, even destroying Cynda. I love that he’s a more political-based baddie than most we see in SW, but yet he’s still a genuine threat. Heightened senses and a mostly robotic body are quite a deadly combination for our Rebs. Plus, the fact he talks through a computer and not his own mouth is the icing on the terrifying villain cake! Before Kallus and The Inquisitor were problems, and before our heroes ever tangled with Darth Vader, Vidian was the Imperial-nasty-of-the-day. And Miller played him out and wrote for him perfectly. I could only dream of creating a bad guy such as him!
But the good thing is, villains have this bad habit of not winning, and aside from Kanan and Hera, we have two others to thank for that, Skelly and Zaluna. Skelly is a slightly-messed-up Clone Wars veteran, and one of those guys who made the mistake of getting on Kanan’s nerves. He does the demolition work for the Cynda mines, but he’s strongly against the methods they use, as he fears it will destroy the moon. Bro does some nutty stuff to get the Empire’s attention, and maybe doesn’t think through his plans as clearly as we would, but sometimes a wild card who knows how to throw around explosives is useful when you’ve got an Empire to fight 🙂 Zaluna was once one of the Empire’s eyes and ears — and not just because she’s a sullustan. She was quite content to go about her day watching people and alerting the Empire to potential troublemakers, but when her friend gets arrested and needs a hand getting some info where it needs to go, it sends Zaluna right to Hera. And she soon finds herself on a path she can’t return from as she joins up with these would-be rebels to save their world. And I suppose we could count a third person who helped bring down the Count, someone not even on our side, Rae Sloane. Rae’s an up-and-coming captain for the Star Destroyer Ultimatum who finds herself driving Vidian around a lot. And though she’s still an Imperial through-and-through, she don’t really like the guy’s moon-destroying plans. She’s a fascinating character and I would really like to see where her story goes, ’cause it almost seems there’s a chance her destiny won’t lie with the Empire. Mr. Miller created quite a wonderful batch of new characters for this story, who complement well our primary heroes.
Now let’s just talk about Kanera for the rest of the day, OK? Obviously I wasn’t about to not fangirl over discuss this wonderful element of the story. Yessss that meetcute I can’t even… ^w^ She’s pretty and she can fight thugs with the best of ’em! Kanan defs be crushin’! Hehehe who am I kidding of course I’m going to fangirl over this. He’s generally a pretty smooth operator but his flirts fall flat around her, and a few times her own charm leaves him with nothing to say. Their banter is music to my ears, something I absolutely eat up in the show, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg in regards to what makes their thing so great in this book. It’s ultimately Hera’s determination and spirit that makes Kanan decide he’d follow her anywhere. And while Hera isn’t impressed with Kanan’s “smoothness”, she is a bit impressed with his generous, kind Jedi heart. It’s interesting to look at their relationship from this angle and then look at it from Rebels around eight or ten years later. They’re much more in sync as they both have a similar focus to helping those affected by the Empire. Kanan’s more of a nice guy now, and Hera does most of the flirting, which I find adorably hilarious XD Their bond is comfortable and has a unique chemistry all its own. But mannnn when that hug happened… you can see that Kanan doesn’t see Hera as just another girl, she’s someone worth treasuring :3 And Hera might be a little more impressed with her copilot these days 🙂 I’m sorry but AWWWW! This book has heightened my love of these twosies to a ridiculous level that I had no idea I could achieve since I already loved them so much! So yeah I can’t wait ’til Rebels comes back so I can fangirl over them some more!
Really everything about this story is amazing. I love just how much we get to experience the inner thoughts of these characters, how much more of the galaxy we see, how multifaceted the plotline is! It was hard to put down, as it felt like I was watching a really long episode of Rebels and every time I had to take a break from it (because it was maybe a little bit late and I needed to go to bed) it felt like I had to keep putting the episode on “pause”. And of course, the amazing coolness that is the fact it’s undeniably 100% canon, that our characters lived through these events and that these elements Miller invented for the book really exist and could easily show up in another show or movie. My only big question regarding its canonicity (which is weird considering I don’t usually have these kinds of questions with the stories I personally consider canon) is that it nods to Kanan having been 14 at the time of Order 66, which is odd considering I’m pretty sure Kanan is 34 and would’ve been 19 when it happened. The big question now is who is right… official SW social media or this book? I’ll stick with what I know firsthand for now, though it would be interesting if Kanan ended up being a bit of a street kid at 14 just like Ezra was. But regardless, A New Dawn is one incredible book. Now I really want to hear more stories about Kanan and Hera’s adventures! I want to know what their first few missions were like and how they met Zeb and Sabine and how Chopper came to be and if they ever sang along with the radio while in hyperspace! (Sorry I know that last one is weird) Until then, I’m definitely very excited to read more Star Wars stories in the future! Guess I better go look into getting Tarkin now…

Keep The Peace,
– Twilight