Review: Queen’s Hope (Star Wars Canon) by E.K. Johnston

Queen's Hope (Star Wars)Queen’s Hope by E.K. Johnston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Queen’s Hope is a YA-Star Wars Canon novel mainly following Senator Padme Amidala. To put it in timeline perspective, this novel falls concurrently with some of the events of Attack of the Clones and directly thereafter.

This is also a time of upheaval in the galaxy as the Clone Wars are raging.

Padme and Anakin have decided to take their relationship to the next level, even though they have to keep it 100% secret.

They are a committed to one another, completely in love and want to make that commitment binding. There’s no doubt there will be some challenges, but they really want to give it a try as husband and wife, so they do.

The honeymoon period is but the blink of an eye, however, as Anakin, a Jedi Knight, is called forth to actively fight in the Clone Wars.

Padme’s involvement in the Wars is more subtle, but no less important. In fact, as Padme is prone to do, she ends up getting herself way more involved in the political investigations than the average government official would; as in willingly puts herself in harms way.

During the time Padme is off on a secret mission, one of her most loyal and best handmaidens, Sabe, takes over the role of Senator Amidala.

Sabe makes her own discoveries during her time posing as Amidala. The halls of leadership aren’t as copacetic as they would lead you to believe.

And of course, looming quietly on the fringes of this narrative is Chancellor Palpatine, like a dark cloud hovering over a picnic.

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. In a way, it felt like I was adding some behind-the-scenes substance to the content I have previously read and watched. That’s always what I am looking for with Star Wars novels and why I continue to pick them up.

I love the feel of continuously building-out this world that has been a part of my life for practically my whole life.

Before I started really getting into Star Wars novels, it was just a fun, nostalgic movie and t.v. franchise that I enjoyed. Having the boosted content of the novels has elevated my fan status to a whole new level.

If you enjoy Star Wars films, or any of the t.v. shows, or comics, I highly recommend checking out some of the Canon novels. In my opinion, you can really start anywhere, pick a timeline era you find interesting and just dive in!

I personally have been absolutely loving all of the content that has been released over the past few years. There’s a great list of contributing authors and the stories are so well done!

Padme is a fascinating character to me, so I have loved having this trilogy from E.K. Johnston. It has really enhanced my understanding of her, particularly being able to see and understand her relationships with her handmaidens in a different light.

I was slightly disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of Padme and Anakin’s relationship in this one, but I do understand they really didn’t have much of one at this time, due to them both being pulled in different directions during the Clone Wars.

So, it does make sense, but I still would have liked to have gotten a little more of them together.

Overall, I think this is a great book. The audiobook is freaking fantastic, with the sound effects included really adding to the intensity. You can’t go wrong with Star Wars audibooks!! 10/10 recommend that format.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press and Disney Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I had a blast with this one and look forward to more Canon content in the future!!

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Review: Star Wars: Midnight Horizon (The High Republic) by Daniel Jose Older

Midnight Horizon (Star Wars: The High Republic)Midnight Horizon by Daniel José Older
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

The High Republic era continues with Midnight Horizon from veteran Star Wars contributing author, Daniel Jose Older.

This installment features a huge and varied cast of characters, many of whom will be familiar to Readers of previous HR books.

The main action is set on the planet of Corellia and more specifically in its capital of Coronet City. Jedi Masters Kantam Sy and Cohmac Vitus get sent there, along with Padawans Reath Silas and Ram Jamoram, to investigate a possible Nihil attack on the Core Worlds.

Known for its massive shipyards, Corellia would be a tantalizing target for the evil Nihil raiders.

It’s on Corellia that Reath and Ram run into Crash, a bold young security specialist who lost one of her close friends during the recent attack.

The young people team up and infiltrate the Coronet City night life, including a wacky ruse involving an intergalactic pop star, while the Masters pursue more mainstream channels of investigation.

This book was so packed full of action my head is still spinning. This is definitely one that I will need to read again in order to be able to pick up on all the finer points.

Older’s passion for the Star Wars galaxy is evident on every page. You can absolutely tell this is a person with vast knowledge of the world, characters and lore.

It’s not just action, however. This story is full of insights into many popular HR characters.

Since this era began, the characters we have come to know have been through so much. There’s a lot to process. I like getting the chance to go along with them on that journey.

Some of you may be wondering about my 3.5-star rating; although rounding up to a 4, it may seem low to some.

Basically, for me, I wasn’t as swept away in this installment as I have been with earlier works. I rate novels based off a comparison to other novels in the same genre that I have read. Star Wars, in my opinion, being a genre unto itself, that is what I am comparing this reading experience with.

I’ll be honest, I did get lost at times trying to keep up with all the characters and action. Additionally, I found my attention sort of waxing and waning amongst the separate lines of the plot.

With this being said, I fully accept that may be more of a me problem, than a problem with the actual book.

I respect this author’s contribution to this world so much. I think the level of content here is fantastic. I just may need to read it again in order to be able to soak it all in.

It’s really good though, so I actually wouldn’t mind…

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it so much!!

I have absolutely adored my time spent with the new High Republic materials and definitely recommend them to any Star Wars fan.

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Review: Star Wars The High Republic: Mission to Disaster by Justina Ireland

Star Wars The High Republic: Mission to DisasterStar Wars The High Republic: Mission to Disaster by Justina Ireland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Mission to Disaster is a Junior Star Wars novel set in the era of the High Republic. Releasing on March 1, 2022, this novel is part of the second wave of HR materials set to be published by Disney and LucasFilms Press.

The events in this novel follow those of the 2021-HR releases, but still 200-years prior to The Phantom Menace.

After the startling events of the Republic Fair, the galaxy has been put on alert. The Nihil are much more of a threat than the Jedi initially anticipated.

They’re cunning and calculated, seeming to have influence everywhere.

Kicking off this novel, I was quickly reunited with one of my favorite new characters from the HR releases, Avon Starros.

Avon, the daughter of a Senator, is gifted in science and invention. She’s currently stationed at Port Haileap, due to her mother’s wishes, but is finally getting the opportunity to research kyber crystals, so that’s a win.

Avon hopes to discover new ways to harness the power of the crystals in a way that will help everyone; think clean energy research. She finds herself in her lab on the day the spaceport comes under attack.

After receiving an alert call from Port Haileap, Jedi Vernestra Rwoh and her Padawan, Imri Cantaros, get sent to investigate.

Arriving to Avon’s lab, Vernestra and Imri are able to discover a survivor of the attack, but she tells them Avon is gone, perhaps captured by the Nihil!

Following clues discovered during their investigation, Vernestra and Imri find themselves on Dalna in the Outer Rim Territories; a known area of operation for the Nihil.

There they work with the government and people of Dalna to the best of their ability, to find Avon and any other children the Nihil may have captured. They face some difficulties there, as the people of Dalna aren’t too fond of the Jedis.

Avon, for her part, is in fact a hostage of the Nihil. Even worse, she is made to aid the Nihil’s version of an evil scientist, Dr. Mkampa, in assembling horrifying weapons.

It’s a race against time, as the Jedi try to help the people of Dalna and hopefully defeat the evil Nihil organization once and for all. Will they be able to rescue everyone before true disaster strikes?

I had such a great time reading this story. I actually listened to the audiobook and as is known with Star Wars audios, the production was magnificent. All of the sound effects really make you feel like you are part of the action!

I was excited to get another HR novel from Justina Ireland. She puts a lot of heart into her stories. The characters are so well developed. I loved being reunited with many characters from this era. I feel like I am really getting to know them.

Following the Great Disaster, the galaxy has become unstable and these young characters have had a lot to deal with. I feel like they’ve shown incredible growth in these stories, now rivaling the maturity level of the adults around them.

This was super fast-paced and exciting. There was never a dull moment. Additionally, I loved learning more about the mysterious Nihil. The full picture is really starting to become clear as far as they are concerned.

I’m really looking forward to continuing on with the High Republic era. This was a quick one, but don’t let the length of this novel fool you. There is a ton of stellar content packed in here!!!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney and LucasFilms Press, for providing me with the audiobook to listen to. It was such a treat!

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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: 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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Review: Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura

Poe Dameron: Free FallPoe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Teenager, Poe Dameron, wants adventure and freedom. On his home planet of Yavin 4, he feels smothered by a father he views as overbearing.

He doesn’t want to take over the family farm, he wants more. Why can’t his father understand that?

His father, Kes Dameron, was a sergeant in the battle against the Galactic Empire. Along with his wife and Poe’s mother, Shara Bey, a renowned Rebel pilot, the two lived the sort of adventurous life Poe dreams of.

His mother taught him how to pilot his own craft and it’s well-known that he is gifted behind the controls; well exceeding his peers.

Since his mother’s tragic death, Poe and his father have had a difficult time connecting and it seems her death has made his father even more protective over him.

Considering Poe is really all Kes has left, it is no surprise he may be holding on a bit too tightly. Poe doesn’t see the reasoning behind it, however. He’s young and just wants to be able to choose his own path.

When an opportunity arises for him to flee Yavin 4, he jumps on it without too much consideration.

His means of escape just so happens to be piloting a ship full of Spice Runners. The Spice Runners of Kijimi, to be exact, one of the deadliest crime syndicates in the galaxy.

The Spice Runners needed a new pilot, after the demise of their own, and Poe just so happens to be in the right place at the right time.

He jumps on his chance and off they go. Of the crew he now finds himself with, Poe bonds quickly with young, Zorii Wynn, a human female, a native of Kijimi and an all-around badass.

They become quite close. It’s no surprise, considering they’re the same age and they continue to rise up the ranks together.

Their relationship has moments of romance, but mostly is built on a mutual respect. Zorii has grown up in the Spice Runners and Poe learns a lot from her regarding their lifestyle and practices.

Ultimately, Zorii is hardcore, she has loyalties that go much deeper than any Poe could ever feel for the criminal organization.

When the two begin to be at odds about what the future holds for them, tough decisions must be made, pushing both of them to their limits.

Y’all, I really enjoyed this. As an origin story for a character I love, I thought this was fantastically presented.

I really felt for Poe. It can be so hard to be a kid who feels like you were made for great things, but you don’t feel supported in pursuing those things.

I love that he had the boldness of character to set out on his own. Even though the way he went about that was reckless, it ultimately made his life what it is.

I think he needed that experience with the Spice Runners to truly understand what he was meant to do; his destiny.

Overall, this is a great addition to the Disney Canon. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to read it.

Finding out the details behind Poe’s early life and his relationship with Zorii, a relationship that shaped them both, it was just so satisfying.

As far as the Canon timeline goes, this novel falls after The Mandalorian and prior to the novel, Bloodline.

If you have watched the new trilogy movies, you are probably familiar with Poe Dameron’s character and if you enjoy him, as I do, you should definitely check this book out. It’s a heck of a good time!

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

I was so happy to have the opportunity to get my hands on it early and provide my thoughts. Available everywhere in the galaxy, Tuesday, August 4, 2020!!!

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Review: Dark Disciple (Star Wars) by Christie Golden

Dark Disciple: Star WarsDark Disciple: Star Wars by Christie Golden
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

The only way to bring down the Sith’s most powerful warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

Dark Disciple is an Adult novel within the Disney Star Wars Canon. To put it in timeline perspective, it is my understanding that this book falls after the novel, Catalyst and just prior to the Revenge of the Sith movie.

Interestingly, or at least for fans, this novel is based on a story arc scripted for The Clone Wars television series that went unproduced after the show was canceled.

My initial attraction to this book, besides the fact that I want to read all the Canon novels, was Asajj Ventress, the infamous former apprentice to Count Dooku.

This book built out her character in such a pleasing way. I love when a antihero gets their time to shine.

As the war rages on in the galaxy, Count Dooku’s tactics become more and more brutal. The Republic cannot stand by while hundreds more innocent lives are lost.

The Jedi Council surmises the best way to defeat Dooku, perhaps the only way, would be to join forces with someone who knows him best.

Asajj Ventress, Count Dooku’s former protege, becomes their focus for the mission.

Ventress, now making ends meet as a bounty hunter, is perfect for the assignment. After Dooku attempted to have her killed, she severed all ties with him and that hatred runs deep.

Quinlan Vos, the Jedi Knight assigned the mission, sets out to find Asajj with the goal of getting her to assist him in assassinating Dooku.

Once the two meet up, their budding relationship grows quickly. I loved the banter between them as they struggled to figure out a power balance.

Ventress ultimately teaches Vos many things, including how to harness the power of the dark side; a line that is most dangerous to cross.

As is to be expected, there was a ton of action in here. I loved the various battle scenes, but also loved the quieter moments between Vos and Ventress.

I certainly don’t need romance in my Star Wars, but for me, it was more about watching Ventress being able to let her guard down and open up to someone.

She has such a tough facade and reputation, and rarely lets that slip, even for a moment. Reading her in the more vulnerable moments, particularly when she told Vos the truth of what happened to her fellow Nightsisters, it gave me all the feels.

Additionally, the deep bond that forms between them was so well written. A forbidden romance if ever there was one.

Ultimately, this story did shred my heart in a hundred million pieces, but I’m willing to forgive Christie Golden because she wrote it with such care and grace.

Overall, I loved this story. Highly recommend to Star Wars fans who enjoy to dabble in the power of the dark side.

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