Tag Archives: Vestara Khai

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Crucible’

Title: Star Wars: Crucible
Author: Troy Denning
Release Date: July 9th, 2013

Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers.

Where to even begin? I blame myself for how I feel about this book. I was so excited for it.
Too excited.
Han, Luke, and Leia together again on an adventure? This was going to be like old times. But it wasn’t. It was more of what we have gotten recently from the trio’s ongoing story.

Let’s look at the official synopsis before we get too deep.

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

Continue reading

Gender in the Saga – SWBTF #23

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Welcome back to Star Wars Beyond the Films!

This week hosts Mark and Nathan are joined by special guests Kelly of Big Shiny Robot and Nanci of Tosche Station Radio!
The ladies provide a female point of veiw this week as we focus on gender and sexism in the films and in the EU.
They look at the thin line of portrayal of strong and sexy characters.
Personality goes a long way. Sometimes it’s not about the gender, it’s the character’s personality, these characters don’t need to be made “sexy” they just need to allowed more page time.
Is the “catsuit” of Mara Jade’s just a publishing agenda?

Is the Dark Side sexier?
Cue Mother Talzin: “Yes… yes I am…”

One lesson Nathan learned in Star Wars is that the Empire is bad, anti-alien, and very sexist. And yet we have examples of women within the regime. In universe it seems equality is used well.
Mon Mothma was a chief of state. Even Leia, and no one batted an eye. Daala had a chance to show her stuff in the recent Fate of the Jedi series.

In Fate of the Jedi we were shown a very brutal father daughter scene, was it Sithly enough to work? Or was it too far? The hosts look into this hot topic.

Has the EU been gearing readers to the Dark Times of the Empire? As in it gets harder to shock the readers who are as up to date as possible? Humor runs rampant during this week’s episode. As does the name-calling!
One of the things that bothers Nathan is the occasional gratuitous, over-sexed scenes that we get with the strong characters, hailing back to the films with Leia and her slave outfit.
This gets the hosts pondering if it was purposeful?
Was it a “We can sell posters” mentality?
A basic rule: Give Jaina a lightsaber and let her be AWESOME!

Girls love Star Wars too! Merchandising needs to reflect this! It’s time for the Dathomir Nightsister battlepack! Her Universe appeals to not only girls, but fellas too, yet has created a hub for fangirls to gear up.

Kelly explains what any guy dating a fangirl needs to buy her. Yes it’s a 4 letter word: YODA!

Has sexualization been a taboo topic for Fandom? Is it a “Hot potato” topic? Does Fandom need to be ready for certain themes to be explored? Fandom can occasionally suffer from the “powder keg” effect. Twitter recently exploded over EUCantina’s gender themed articles. Sometimes the powder-keg effect gets fans so riled they miss the point of articles. Such is human nature. And everyone has an opinion. They hosts then turn to the different novels/comics that focus on leading ladies.
The ladies both agreed that The Courtship of Princess Leia had the potential to be a Leia-centric novel, but due to poor characterization it failed to capitalize on the potential.

In the end you can’t please 100% of the people, 100% of the time.

Email:         beyondthefilms@starwarsfanworks.com

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Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse Review

Apocalypse Review

About three years ago the Fate of the Jedi series started with the novel Outcast.  If you stuck with the series you know that Luke was exiled from Coruscant, Daala was in charge of the Galactic Alliance, Ben has a Sith girlfriend, Abeloth is a threat to the galaxy, and Jag and Jaina are back together.  We have been all over the galaxy including visits to planets from novels like The Courtship of Princess Leia and The Planet of Twilight.  The series has been a bit of a rollercoaster with some books outshining others and none of them shining too brightly.

On Tuesday, March 13th, the final book in the nine book series will be released.  With a title like Apocalypse, the series promised to end with a bang.  Here is the official novel description:

There can be no surrender.
There will be no mercy.
It’s not just the future of the galaxy at stake -
It’s the destiny of the Force.

In the stunning finale of the epic Fate of the Jedi series, Jedi and Sith face off—with Coruscant as their battlefield. For the Sith, it’s the chance to restore their dominance over the galaxy that forgot them for so long. For Abeloth, it’s a giant step in her quest to conquer all life everywhere. For Luke Skywalker, it’s a call to arms to eradicate the Sith and their monstrous new master once and for all.

In a planetwide strike, teams of Jedi Knights take the Sith infiltrators by swift and lethal surprise. But victory against the cunning and savage Abeloth, and the terrifying endgame she has planned, is anything but certain. And as Luke, Ben, Han, Leia, Jaina, Jag, and their allies close in, the devastating truth about the dark side incarnate will be exposed—and send shock waves through the Jedi Order, the galaxy, and the Force itself.

The novel is written by Troy Denning who lately has had a lot of influence on the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  Since 2005 he has written 9 of the 21 novels in the main, ongoing story.  In the nine book Legacy of the Force series he was also given the final novel.  One of the criticisms of certain Star Wars authors has been the overuse of pet characters or groups, like Zahn with Mara Jade and the Chiss.  For Denning it has always been the Killiks, Barabels, and Squibs and all play a part in this book.  I was happy to see that the Squibs were reduced to essentially a cameo appearance.  The Killiks and Barabels both play major roles but in my opinion both made sense for their part in the story.  The Killiks were used to reveal information that could be considered game changing for the Star Wars Universe and I just ate up that portion of the book.

Anytime a big series like this wraps up you have to wonder if something big is going to happen, like the death of a major character.  We all know the “big three” are safe (Luke, Han, Leia) but there are many other characters now that I care about, Ben, Jaina, Tahiri, Corran Horn, just to name a few.  This book does keep you on the edge of your seat and many characters are in peril throughout.  Where some of the other books in the series seemed to plod along, this one was almost all action all the time.  There is one scene of personal sacrifice that may even rival the epic death of Ganner Rhysode in the book Traitor.

One thing that has confused me about this series is the politics of The Galactic Alliance and the Empire.  There is very little logic to how leaders are chosen or come to power.  This book continues that trend with a borderline ridiculous debate/election that was thought up on a whim and the citizens just went with it.  I as a reader did not just go with it and the politics dragged me out of the book.  It was almost as if they knew this book would be released on an election year and were trying to parallel real world events.  I prefer Star Wars to be a little less real world and more like Star Wars.

A couple of small complaints aside, I really enjoyed this book.  There was something for everyone.  If you are a fan of Saba, Corran, Tahiri, or Zekk they all had their moments.  Jaina and Ben both kick some butt and do the Skywalker/Solo clan proud.  Even Boba Fett fans will have something to cheer about.  There was an unexpected (although I should have seen it coming) tie in to The Clone Wars TV show that should excite some fans and also spark much debate.  Hints of things from the Legacy comic series like the One Sith will make comic fans happy.  And speaking of the One Sith, there is an appearance of a character who might be someone, and if it’s who I think it is… well you’ll just have to read it.

Apocalypse was a satisfying ending to the Fate of the Jedi series.  It for the most part resolves the story of the Lost Tribe and Abeloth, but leaves just enough unanswered that you know there is more coming.  Some of the threads that were left open have me very excited for the future of the galaxy.

Random Thoughts:
The Jedi almost seemed to take too much joy in killing their Sith rivals.  Not very Jedi like.
Ben and Vestara have some cringe worthy flirtation.  Oh, teenage love.
Does bacta have the ability to regrow fingers?
Some moments with the Jedi leading the space marines made me think of the Clone Wars.
Allana is really good with a blaster for a 7 year old.

You can buy the book here.

Leave your thoughts comments and below.

Aaron Goins