First off...this book is 3 stars only because of haters. Period. Most of whom not only did not read the book at all, or simply skimmed it claimed to hFirst off...this book is 3 stars only because of haters. Period. Most of whom not only did not read the book at all, or simply skimmed it claimed to have. They have hijacked Goodreads and Amazon as an attack on Disney.
They are not true fans of Star Wars.
Okay....enough of that. Now on to what I liked about this book. I had been looking forward to this new beginning of movies, books, television, and comics ever since Lucasfilm was bought by Disney. While I had a healthy bit of skepticism about this collaboration, I also was hopeful. When Disney bought Marvel, the quality didn't diminish at all. So I was confident that George Lucas had found the right taker for his vision.
But there was a catch. All the Extended Universe was relegated to being just "fan fiction" and not necessarily canon for this galactic saga and universe (some things remained like names of some planets, characters, and species, to name a few). Now all media would be connected and become canon.
This book is set in the ensuing months after the events of Return of the Jedi. The Imperial forces still control a large segment of this Galaxy and the New Republic made up of the Rebellion is now attempting to "win hearts and minds." Fair enough. One of the biggest things that always struck me as historically unrealistic was how in the old EU, the Empire was seemingly destroyed in a matter of a few years other than a few pockets and that it simply was more about the Imperial forces fighting, but not the worlds themselves that likely had more loyal to the Emperor than not. It would have been a difficult process to dislodge.
This book attempts to tell the story of one such world, Akiva, that had been loyal, but showed more and more indifference and ripe for the New Republic diplomats to turn them toward loyal new participants in this rebuilding. Not with out problems though, as some remaining high level Imperials are now also gathering there too for a summit of sorts to discuss their rebuilding and take back the Galaxy.
Enter a slew of new and various characters and odd heroes. A rebel pilot and her estranged 14 year old genius son. His trusty protector droid he built from the parts of old battle droids (Roger Roger), a bounty hunter, and a defected Imperial agent.
I grew to like the variety of characters. They eventually gelled well and were distinguishable and memorable. Likewise the Imperial Admiral Rae Sloan was also memorable and punchy. However I grew confused with some of the names and characterizations of the rest of the Imperial folks. The action was fast paced enough and had enough twists to keep the pages turned.
An interesting addition was the author's use of "interludes" scattered throughout the book that provide very brief vignettes and narratives of different points of view and places around the Galaxy post-Return of the Jedi events. These glimpses I also found more or less enlightening, but unnecessary. Though perhaps they will be used to hint at future stories, for which maybe I will give them the benefit of the doubt.
All in all, I rather enjoyed this book to prepare me for "The Force Awakens" and get me into the proper context and timeline of what is to come. I look forward to the upcoming books as well....more
The characters and premise were well developed. I felt the setting and build up was very Hitchcock-ian, which got me excited.
Where the author got offThe characters and premise were well developed. I felt the setting and build up was very Hitchcock-ian, which got me excited.
Where the author got off was not delivering. The "killer" in story turned out to be less than frightening or even creepy, so the suspense fell off considerably. Certain events and plot points seemed to get lost and rambled on with very minimal or sloppy closure by the end of the story.
I give the story three stars simply because the characters' various stories kept me interested and the author is a very good writer. I would like to read more, but this story felt too much like a series of journaling exercises sloppily tossed together to make it to a publication deadline....more
This was a novel idea for a History book. (I see what you did there!)
As a service member who has been stationed overseas, I knew the value of having sThis was a novel idea for a History book. (I see what you did there!)
As a service member who has been stationed overseas, I knew the value of having something good to read doing long stretches of down time. Our ship and bases almost always had an ample stock of books on shelves for service members to borrow and return or add their own and share. So I loved the history of how paperback and softcover books really got its beginnings during WWII. The value of which is really unfathomable.
The author did a fantastic job researching the creation of the program to provide quality reading material to the troops overseas. It was a daunting and invaluable task, one that is often overlooked and overshadowed. It really are these details that win wars--the morale of troops is paramount.
Perhaps my only criticism is that she did get a bit bogged down in some details and it felt like she was stretching out the material to tell a lengthy enough narrative. It felt at times that this could have best been told as a multi-issue expose in a large newspaper or Esquire magazine, rather than published in a book. So I did slow in my reading as I got bogged down and bored at times.
But over all the story was well researched and well done. I enjoyed learning something that is often forgotten or overlooked....more
A terrific collection of stories that reflect the stark brutality, wretchedness, and emotion-numbing experiences of a foreign correspondent assigned tA terrific collection of stories that reflect the stark brutality, wretchedness, and emotion-numbing experiences of a foreign correspondent assigned to war torn areas of Africa and the Middle East. It's impossible for the reader to not feel sickened and utterly in despair for the characters....and yet the author also is able to convey the same numbing conditions that dehumanize the situation simply so our minds can endure all the brutality our senses our experiencing.
And I mean all the senses! Even though this book is translated from Hungarian, I still felt a intimacy within the senses of where I was and what was occurring. Sometimes to the point of being nauseating.
These stories are not for the faint of heart. But they should be necessary reading....more
sadistic and page turning...just as one would come to expect from a story arc involving Gotham's Clown Prince of Mayhem.
my only bone to pick with itsadistic and page turning...just as one would come to expect from a story arc involving Gotham's Clown Prince of Mayhem.
my only bone to pick with it is it could have been a couple issues shorter. A few of the chapters felt forced into the story. Overall it was terrifying and riveting. No wonder the Joker is everyone's favorite villain. Nothing is truly out of bounds and everything is maddeningly gripping. Love it!...more
Erik Larson has a novelist's perception to history. With this latest one, the suspense builds up despite the reader knowing the end of the story. He dErik Larson has a novelist's perception to history. With this latest one, the suspense builds up despite the reader knowing the end of the story. He delves into the details with a keen understanding of where he needs to go...namely the final extraordinary moment when the German torpedo, fired from a U-Boat, struck the Lusitania and its sinking in 18 minutes.
Larson makes sure to point include every minute detail he can that any change or deviation from which could have tipped history in an entirely different direction. From the delays in departure, to the speed of the Lusitania, to the change in course to avoid getting torpedoed, to the lack of British Navy escorts, etc...
Like nearly anyone, I was taught that the sinking of the Lusitania cruise vessel was what led the US into entering WWI. And that was about it. It's refreshing and enlightening that a historian as talented as Erik Larson would decide to write about this. As well as appropriate on the 100 year anniversary. my only criticism was probably in taking too much time and giving too much space to the importance of some passengers. I couldn't get the "so what?" factor that the author was going for, even during the wrap up at the end. But beyond that, I was definitely engaged in the story the entire way.
A terrific summer book for anyone who loves history, but also loves a great page turner....more