Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail MaryProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Ryland Grace awakens from a coma, he discovers he is on a spaceship. He doesn’t know why, or how, in fact, he can’t even remember his own name.

Checking his surroundings, Ryland quickly determines he is alone; the other two crew members evidently not making it out of their comas. Well, shoot, not good.

Figuring he has nothing but time, Ryland sets about investigating his surroundings in the hopes he can determine his purpose for being where he is.

As his memories slowly return, he understands the importance, and improbability of his task. He’s on a solo mission to save Earth from an extinction-level event. So, no pressure.

I absolutely adored this story. I am one of the few people left on the planet who hasn’t read, The Martian yet and after reading this, I’m disappointed in myself.

This was incredibly well-written; fast-paced, clever and hilarious. I loved Ryland’s character so much. His analytical, yet humorous nature, truly made this story shine.

As a longtime Sci-Fi fan, I can honestly say, this is one of the best books I have read in the genre. Everything about it was gripping from start to finish.

The way Weir constructed the mystery of it all and then plotted the reveals, chef’s kiss!!!

I highly recommend this, even if you don’t tend to read Science-Fiction, I believe this story can be enjoyed by Readers of all genres.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was a remarkable reading experience, one I will remember for a long time!!

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland

Star Wars The High Republic: Out of the ShadowsStar Wars The High Republic: Out of the Shadows by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Out of the Shadows, is an upcoming Young Adult novel set to be released on July 27th, as part of the new Disney Star Wars: The High Republic content.

This novel is set approximately a year after the galaxy-wide event known as the Great Disaster.

This is the fourth installment of the High Republic materials that I have read and I enjoyed watching all the various storylines converge a bit in this one.

The larger, outlying picture is beginning to come more into focus. This novel follows a host of different perspectives including one of my favorite new characters, Jedi Vernestra Rowh, along with various other characters that I have come across in the earlier HR works.

As generally happens with Star Wars novels, there was quite a bit of action, but this additionally had a healthy dose of back-handed political maneuverings and finer details surrounding the Nihil raiders.

While the Young Reader installments, such as A Test of Courage and Race to Crashpoint Tower focus on a singular encounter with the Nihil, this was broader in scope. It clearly shows that the Nihil are much more resourceful a foe than the Jedi initially surmised.

Following shortly after the Nihil attack on Valo, many of the characters are still reeling from that trauma and are ill-prepared for what may be coming next.

I appreciated how Ireland kept that a part of the narrative. Allowing even Jedi to question their role and feelings regarding the current threats in the galaxy. Particularly conversations between Vernestra and her Padawan, Imri, I found to be quite touching.

I am genuinely excited to see what happens from here. Also, I still have a couple earlier HR books I still need to get to, so definitely plan to do that soon.

Like any Star Wars book, the HR books can be read in any order, as long as you are cognizant of where it falls in the timeline.

With this being said, you do have some time until this one releases, so I would definitely recommend checking out some of the previously published HR books while you wait. To make things easier for you, I will list them below:

Light of the Jedi
Into the Dark
A Test of Courage
The Rising Storm
Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower

That’s a lot of great content to sink your teeth into. Don’t delay, start today!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with an early copy of this to read and review. It has been my absolute pleasure to devour all these recent publications!!!

This is top-notch Canon content here and I’m living for it!

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older

Star Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint TowerStar Wars The High Republic: Race to Crashpoint Tower by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Race to Crashpoint Tower is another fantastic Junior Star Wars novel set in the era of the High Republic; the golden age of the Jedi.

The recently released HR books all take place around the time of a galaxy-wide event known as the Great Disaster.

This catastrophic event caused a bit of chaos as ships were launched out of hyperspace, moons were destroyed and great amounts of debris were spread about.

To put it in a timeline perspective, these High Republic novels predate all previously released Star Wars Canon materials.

This story is set on the planet of Valo, after the Great Disaster, where a Republic Fair is about to take place.

Jedi Padawan, Ram Jamoram, is working diligently in his garage when a security alarm sounds from the communication center known as Crashpoint Tower.

Ram sets out with his trusty droid, V-18, to investigate. Once there he discovers the tower has purposefully been tampered with; blocking all communications. Nihil sabotage!

Now Ram must warn the Jedi and seek help as the planet comes under siege. With the galaxy teetering between balance and chaos, can order be restored?

Luckily, another young Jedi Padawan arrives from off-planet, Lula, and she joins Ram as they try to repair the comms, so they can notify the Republic they’re under attack. Perhaps Starlight will send reinforcements.

The Nihil raiders have also joined forces with other dark force beings from the wider galaxy, raising the stakes and the difficulty level of Ram and Lula’s mission significantly.

This was such a fun story. I loved seeing the connections between this and the other stories within the new High Republic materials.

There was even character crossover, as one of my favorite characters from A Test of Courage advised on this mission.

As always with the Junior Canon novels, I found this to be easy to follow, fast-paced, funny and an excellent introduction to the belief system of the Jedi and the workings of the galaxy in general.

I am really glad I had a chance to read this one. The audiobook is incredible, as the Star Wars audiobooks always include great narration and fun sound effects.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with the audiobook of this to read and review.

It was a ton of fun and I cannot wait for the next releases in the High Republic content!

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Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno

Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One StoryCatalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, while admittedly not my favorite, was still a good story. I can appreciate all the fine details it adds to the larger picture.

It’s probably my fault for picking this up directly after, Dark Disciple, which I absolutely loved!!!

This is a prequel novel to the Rogue One film.

Basically it follows Orson Krennic, part of Chancellor Palpatine’s Death Star Project, along with brilliant scientist, Galen Erso and his family.

This had a lot more technical details and political maneuverings than character work and drama, but as I said, it was still good.

I’m glad I read it as it provides a solid backdrop for the events of Rogue One, an immediate prequel to A New Hope; probably only necessary, or interesting, to hardcore fans.

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Review: The Phantom Menace (Star Wars Novelizations, #1) by Terry Brooks

The Phantom Menace (Star Wars: Novelizations, #1)The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

This is a fantastic novelization of one of my go-to flicks, The Phantom Menace. Terry Brooks did a phenomenal job bringing the action and political intrigue to the page!

Admittedly, I am slightly obsessed with the movie The Phantom Menace. Poke fun at me if you must.

I’ve watched the movie a zillion times, so I figured I should probably check out the novelization.

It was only then that I discovered it was adapted into book form by the renowned Fantasy author, Terry Brooks!?

If you’ve seen the movie, there will be no great surprises here, but as with most book/movie combos, you can find a lot more additional information in the book.

I feel like the book allows more space to build out some of my favorite characters in the entire universe, like Anakin and Qui-Gon.

I think if you are a fan of Star Wars, this is definitely worth a read; consider it supplemental to the movie.

I am definitely going to pick up the other novelizations in this prequel trilogy. Attack of the Clones was written by R.A. Salvatore, so I am actually really looking forward to starting that one soon!

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Review: A Test of Courage (A Star Wars Junior Novel) by Justina Ireland

A Test of Courage (Star Wars: The High Republic)A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Test of Courage is a super solid Junior Star Wars novel set in the era of the High Republic; the golden age of the Jedi.

The recently released High Republic books all take place concurrently in the year 232-BBY.

As determined by these novels, this is the year of the Great Disaster, a catastrophic event that caused numerous ships galaxy-wide to be suddenly, and violently, launched out of hyperspace.

It also destroyed moons and created a great amount of debris causing further problems for ships and navigators.

To put it in a timeline perspective, these High Republic novels predate all previously released Star Wars materials.

In early 2021, Disney released three of these novels; one Adult, Light of the Jedi, one YA, Into the Dark, and this one, a Junior novel.

This story follows a group of kids who after their transport ship is destroyed, find themselves stranded on a dangerous jungle moon.

Venestra, Avon, Imri and Honesty are completely on their own. Outside of all adult supervision, they need to not just survive, but take on enemies much older and more experienced than themselves.

This novel took me completely by surprised. Ireland went much deeper than I expected.

This group of characters were so interesting and fun to learn about. Venestra is a Jedi prodigy, the youngest Padawan to pass Jedi trials in generations. She stole the show for me and definitely fell easily into a leadership role.

Additionally, I loved Avon! A Senator’s daughter who wants to experiment on kyber crystals. That’s my kind of girl.

A Test of Courage is fast-paced, action-packed, full of deep space adventures and wonderfully nuanced characters.

The Star Wars audiobooks are known to be incredible, with fun sound effects and great narrators. I am happy to report, this one is no exception.

I highly recommend the audiobook for this. It is super engaging and is a great way to take in this content. I was super impressed with the entire production.

I’ve been loving the new High Republic content and recommend them not just for long-time Star Wars fans, but also to those who may be interested in the books and are unsure of where to start.

This is a great jumping off point. I think this story is a wonderful example of the type of deeply compelling material that can be found within the Canon novels.

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Review: Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rogue Protocol is the third book within The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

I picked this series up on a whim last year and quickly fell in love with Murderbot and Martha Wells’ humorous writing style. It draws you in right away!

In this installment we rejoin Murderbot on its continued hunt for answers regarding its violent past.

It ends up on another mission, this time heading to a terraforming facility once run by the mysterious and sinister GrayCris Corporation.

More humans are involved; there mucky things up for our beloved Murderbot, yet again. It also needs to befriend, or intelligently influence, another AI. This time a tragically adorable, human-form companion robot named, Miki.

Miki’s entire personality was exploding with cute. I loved their interactions; so pure.

As usual, there was a lot of action, more betrayals and corporate cover-ups. It also ended much too quickly, although this one definitely crushed my heart a little bit there at the end. Not going to lie.

Why did I have to be listening to it before I had even had my first coffee of the day?

Sadness aside, I can’t quit Murderbot! I’m excited to continue on with their story.

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Review: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Artificial Condition, the second installment of The Murderbot Diaries, we reunite with everyone’s favorite Sec Unit, Murderbot.

Murderbot is curious about its past, having been involved in an incident at a mining facility, which left a lot of humans dead. It has only vague recollections of that time and has a strong need to know more.

Recently setting out on its own, with no ties to any human, it now has the time to seek answers.

Making a new acquaintance, an AI, who it calls ART, the two, when not binging media shows together, set to work preparing Murderbot for the next steps.

It alters itself a bit, in order to pass as a human, and accepts an assignment as a security consultant. Its new clients are a group of computer scientists, who had their work stolen from a previous employer.

They want to negotiate to get it back. This assignment will take Murderbot exactly where it wants to go.

Yet again, it struggles with, dare I say, emotions where its human charges are concerned. It is the most soft-hearted Security Unit in all the galaxy; although it can definitely slay when it needs to.

There’s corruption, there’s evil entities, there’s action, there’s humor and whole lot of heart.

I adored the interactions between Murderbot and ART. Just the sweetest moments.

If I wasn’t so terribly frightened of the possibilities for AI, I would want one myself.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining novella and I cannot wait to carry on with this series.

Martha Wells has an incredible style and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced Science Fiction series!!

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Review: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Obsidio by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am over the moon in love with The Illuminae Files. I certainly consider it to be ground-breaking and if this doesn’t gain Classic status, the world will suffer for it.

I’m sure AIDAN would see to that.

As Obsidio is the third and concluding book in the series, some mild spoilers are ahead. I will not be hiding them.

You have been warned.

After Hanna, Nik, Kady and Ezra, survive the attacks on the Heimdall Station, they find themselves crammed aboard the Mao, with 2,000 other desperate refugees.

The only choice for those aboard the Mao is to return to Kerenza, the site of the initial BeiTech assault. They’re not really sure what they’ll find there, but it has to be better than drifting through deep space, eventually running out of supplies, including oxygen.

On Kerenza, Kady’s cousin, Asha, has survived and joined the underground resistance, fighting against BeiTech’s continued presence on the small mining planet.

When her ex-boyfriend shows up, among the ranks of the enemy, she cannot believe her eyes, but perhaps she can use their prior relationship to their advantage.

The narrative alternates back and forth between the situation on the Mao and that on the ground of Kerenza. There is a lot of drama and a whole lot of action!

I loved how this brought everything together, including the style of the Files themselves. It all becomes clear and frankly, is just brilliant storytelling.

It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters, as you are with them through every step of the battle. I became so connected to each and every one of them.

There were moments when I had to step away. The ending got pretty hairy. I knew Kaufman and Kristoff weren’t looking to spare my feelings, so absolutely anything could happen to any one of our heroes at any time! It was intense, to say the least!

I’m so happy that I finally saw this series through to the end. I even read Gemina twice, which turned out to be my favorite book in the series upon reread.

Of course I am a little sad that it is done, but feel like it is a story I could revisit. For now, Hanna, Nik, Ezra, Kady, Ella and AIDAN, will live on in my heart; strong, funny, fearless and smart, just as they’re meant to be.

I highly recommend this series to everyone in the Universe!!!

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Review: Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Claudia Gray

Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic)Into the Dark by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Into the Dark is a 2021-Canon release set within the era of The High Republic; known as the golden age of the Jedi.

The events in the three recent High Republic books all take place concurrently in the year 232 BBY.

As you discover in this novel, this is the year of the Great Disaster, an event that caused numerous ships galaxy-wide to be suddenly launched out of hyperspace.

It also destroyed moons and created a great amount of debris causing further problems for ships and navigators.

To be clear, the events in this book take place before any previous media you may have watched or read.

We’re talking all new Star Wars goodness! Now with that little bit of timeline info out of the way, let’s get into the review, shall we?

Jedi Padawan, Reath Silas, dreams of days spent pouring through the archives versus deep space adventures. He’s comfortable in Coruscant, known to be the center of the Core System and home to the Jedi Temple.

When his Master, Jora Malli, gets assigned to the new space station, the Starlight Beacon, in the Outer Rim territories, he has to go with. An assignment he’s not happy about.

Malli takes off early, leaving Silas to travel aboard The Vessel, a civilian transport ship, with three other Jedi: Master Cohmac Vitus, Orla Jareni and Dez Rydan.

The only other passengers aboard The Vessel include its Captain, Leox Gyasi, Co-Pilot, Affie Hollow, and Navigator, Geode.

It’s during their journey to Starlight Beacon that the aforementioned Great Disaster occurs, virtually ejecting them from the hyperspace channels and stranding them in deep space.

As you can imagine, that’s not good.

The group discovers an ancient space station, the Amaxine, that seems to be abandoned. Unfortunately for the intrepid crew and passengers of The Vessel, they aren’t the only ones to discover the station and not everyone is friendly.

Making matters worse, the dilapidated Station may not be as abandoned as it appears.

Claudia Gray, surprising no one, did an exceptional job bringing this story to life.

It was an absolute joy to read and learn about this earlier era of Star Wars history. The characters were incredibly well done. I loved their interactions with one another and getting to read from all of their perspectives.

My favorite character was obviously Geode. If you read the book, you will quickly discover why. He was the best and I loved every scene that he was in.

There is a ton, a ton, a ton of action, with some very serious baddies that need to be stopped. A lot of the action focuses on some ancient idols that were discovered on the station, thought to have been left there by the Sith.

I would highly recommend this story to any Star Wars fan, or really even someone who is just looking to get into the books. This is the literal beginning. What better place to start?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it did not disappoint!

I cannot wait to pick up the rest of The High Republic materials!

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