The Phantom Menace: The Emergence and Importance of Fate


When I think about The Phantom Menace, I am overwhelmingly struck by the quintessential fairy-tale nature of the entire film. The scope, the dreamy colors, the adventure, and dangers, and daring! It’s all there and so are the familiar characters we as an audience know by heart: the age-old damsel in distress (who valiantly saves herself IMHO), the Arthurian-esque knights of morality who color our perception of good and evil for better or worse, the archetypal lost prince with an uncertain destiny, and larger than life villains who seek to overthrow goodness and humanity, etc. etc. In essence, TPM truly is the “Once Upon a Time…” segment of the Star Wars saga and without it the entire series is immediately unmoored and unbalanced.

The trials and tribulations of the future don’t mean as much or pack as much of an emotional punch when you don’t know that before Vader was Vader, he was Anakin, a young slave who dreamed of setting his people free and who opened his heart and his home to people in need and risked his life to help them when no one else would. And it’s hard to care about the momentarily-mentioned broken bond between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in A New Hope (when so much else is happening onscreen with Luke and Leia and Han) unless you’ve witnessed the two meeting for the first time and felt the ripples of fate move across the surface of the galaxy. And it’s difficult to feel pity for a man who makes ALL THE WRONG DECISIONS when it comes to his family unless you know that that entire future of that family began with a little boy innocently asking a beautiful young girl if she was an angel.

And that’s what I love so much about The Phantom Menace. More than any other prequel film, it shows the working hands of fate – or the force – and all that was required for the story that we know and love to come into existence. Padme’s world had to be invaded so she would leave it, her ship had to be damaged so it would need repairs, and Ani had to be a slave so he would be in the shop when Padme walked in looking for help. Because how else would a Queen from a lush, green planet meet a slave boy from a harsh, desert world?

In short, this movie had to happen, these events had to take place for the rest of the story to mean anything. Without TPM the story of Darth Vader is still there, but the emotional impact is stunted, and the characters only partially fleshed out. After all, a villain is only a villain at a certain time in his life, and a hero is only a hero when the story is told a certain way.

 

Media Via:

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Fandom Favorites: Who Talks First

Hello again my fellow fandom fans! I figured after Monday’s revelatory post (ya know…where we discussed Kylo Ren being a Hufflepuff and all) we’d take it a little easier today and I could think of no better way to chill out and celebrate the middle of the week than to share one of my all-time favorite groups from the Star Wars community with you… so welcome to the first installment of Fandom Favorites! This will be an ongoing installment because there are seriously SO many amazing members of the SW fandom and they deserve to be celebrated for being so awesome! Each new Fandom Favorite post will feature at least one of my favorite artists/podcasters/YouTubers, writers etc. etc. that make up this epic Star Wars Fandom. So, without further ado, let’s get to it shall we!

Up first is my all-time favorite Star Wars peoples: CT and Solo from Who Talks First: A Mostly Star Wars Podcast (aka The Knights of Rant)!

Now I’ve been a Star Wars fan since birth but when I first started delving into the sequel trilogy and the Reylo fandom, it was a YouTube video by CT that really caught my attention and made me question everything I thought I knew about Rey from Nowhere and the mysterious, brooding Kylo Ren. The way she explained their bond after TFA and the then-possible reasons behind it, made perfect sense and because I was new to the whole “Reylo” thing and unsure of how I felt about it myself, she really set the tone for an intelligent and intriguing intro into the sequel/Reylo aspect of the Star Wars fandom. I was so grateful that she was brave enough to post these things that I was quietly wondering about myself, especially since this was well before The Last Jedi and all the canon Rey/Kylo force connections.

What started out as a smattering of Star Wars videos then became the Knights of Rant channel, followed quickly by the Who Talks First podcast, and with each new video and podcast their content just kept getting better and better. I was instantly hooked! CT knows her SW lore and has such a great grasp of what Star Wars really means and what it encompasses, and Solo has some of the best observations and opinions on literally everything. It’s so refreshing and insightful to hear the opinions of someone who is relatively new to the Star Wars game because she sees things that the rest of us miss when we can’t step far enough away from the picture as a whole. And did I mention how hilarious they are?! Seriously, there is never a time I don’t end up smiling or literally laughing out loud (as my co-workers can attest) just listening to their stories and ideas. From piecing together the intricacies of canon lore to crazy mad-dash Force Friday shopping sessions, they take you on one wickedly wild and fun Star Wars ride after another!

So, if you’re ever in the mood for a hilarious but incredibly thought-provoking look at the Star Wars universe (with an emphasis on the sequel trilogy) definitely check out Who Talks First on YouTube, SoundCloud, and iTunes (links below)! And as added bonuses, check out CT’s Esty store Squadron Goals for some of the cutest SW merch you will ever find as well as Solo’s second podcast We Could Be Heroes, an epically fun D&D channel!

And, there you have it guys, the first of many Fandom Favorites to come and I’m so happy to start this thing off with my all-time favorite Star Wars group! I’d like to say a big thank you to CT and Solo for all the fun and happiness you’ve brought my way and for all the time and energy you put into making Who Talks First as amazing as it is! You guys genuinely make the waits between films easier and the fandom an all-around nicer place to be!

What about you guys, are you Who Talks First fans? Do you laugh as loudly as I do every time you listen to them?! Who are some of your favorite members of the Star Wars fandom? Make sure to let me know in the comments below so I can check them out too!

Find Who Talks First on:

iTunes, YouTube, Patreon, SoundCloud

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Saffels Photography 

Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!

Pictures via:

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Elenatintil.blogspot.com

Epic Star Wars Women!

I don’t know about you, my starfighters, but I love me some Star Wars! Shocking I know but can you blame me?! There’s epic space battles, heart-melting romance, mystical forces, and characters that exist so vividly that they almost literally leap off the screen!!! You tell me Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t actually exist somewhere out in the cosmos and I’m sorry but we can’t be friends, I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life 😉

But seriously, we get so many wonderfully rich, multi-faceted characters from the series and for me as a writer, I appreciate just how “real” they feel. This doesn’t happen with just every story, it takes a certain something extra for characters to truly come alive outside their films or books and I think it’s because they (the Luscasfilm/SW writers) really take the time to flesh characters out. Real people have motivations for everything they do, there are always precedents inspiring their reactions and actions, and perhaps most importantly, no one stays the same their whole life, people are never the same person they were more than once, and SW displays that beautifully (Luke in TLJ). It’s inspiring to see such a well-crafted universe filled with so many diverse characters, and with the books and animated shows (which I fully admit, I’m not completely caught up on yet) they just keep adding to this amazing lexicon.

There’s always a million off-shoot stories I want to see and characters we encounter that I want to follow further, but for today I want to focus on the ladies of Star Wars that I think need more screen/book/etc. time. I’m going to exclude Leia and Rey from this just because I understand we won’t get much more Rey content until the sequel trilogy is finished, and because over the past few years we’ve already been given some awesome new Leia content! So, let’s get to it shall we!

1) Ciena Ree — The female protagonist from Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars, Ciena is such an eye-opening character in so many ways. From the planet Jelucan, Ciena is a woman whose life is dictated by honor and the demands of keeping her word. She begins as a little girl with a dream to pilot the greatest ships in the galaxy and through that desire, leads us first-hand into the life of an Imperial Officer. I always wondered what kind of person would willingly work in such a horrid place as the Death Star, what would make someone think that what they were doing was acceptable? And following Ciena’s story, it opened my eyes to how many good people were manipulated into such a life. We see as she rejects the idea of the Empire doing any wrong because it conflicts with her upbringing of honor above all, we watch as she rationalizes the horrors around her, then finally as she accepts that the organization she’s pledged her life to, staked her life’s honor on, IS the great evil in the galaxy. And I have some interesting ideas on how she can easily enter the SW films themselves…

2) Kendy Idele — A delightful emerald-haired addition in the Lost Stars novel by Claudia Gray, Kendy is originally an Imperial cadet/officer during Palpatine’s reign but after the introduction of the Death Star and the evils she witnesses first hand she heroically switches side and joins the Rebel Alliance! She’s a sharpshooter extraordinaire and X-Wing pilot with the Corona Squadron whose hatred for the Empire rings with such emotional-comprehension that I would just love to see her again in perhaps a novel of her own.

3) Greer Sonnel — Introduced to us as the enigmatic personal assistant to Senator Leia Organa, Greer immediately caught my attention in Claudia Gray’s epic novel Bloodline. There was just something about her that stuck out to me as I was reading, something that I couldn’t put my finger on… She was competent, intelligent, and oddly uncomfortable in the life she was living. For a moment I thought she might be a spy for the upcoming First Order, but then we’re given more of her backstory and we learn that Greer’s story is a little more tragic than espionage-filled.  An up and coming young pilot, Greer developed a rare disease that literally made the thing she trained her whole life for — what she wanted most in the galaxy — the thing that was going to kill her. Han Solo himself (her mentor/friend) asked Leia to take her in and although she knows flying will one day kill her, Greer can’t help but yearn for the one thing that makes her feel most alive. In the end, she chooses to help Leia rebuild the resistance, knowing that once again, evil was stretching across the galaxy. Greer deserves a solo book of her own — perhaps with a dash of romance with her fellow pilot Joph Seastricker! — her tale has the potential to be emotionally devastating: a fierce, intelligent woman who chooses to fight for the greater good, despite knowing that each time she sits in the cockpit she is closer and closer to death!

4) Amilyn Holdo — Introduced to most in The Last Jedi, Holdo actually makes her first appearance in Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan where she admittedly is the odd one out in sixteen-year old Leia’s new crop of companions on her journey to being named the crown princess of Alderaan. As much as I enjoyed the strong, self-sacrificing woman Holdo became in TLJ, it’s her character in Leia, POA that really struck me as fascinating. Amilyn is someone who knows her own mind and doesn’t feel like she has to explain herself to those around her, she makes wild, often unsettling statements that have an uncanny habit of coming true later in the story. She sees things in a way that Leia (and myself as the reader) cannot comprehend and most of the time she just seems flat-out weird, a kind person perhaps, but definitely strange. But in reality there’s a next-level intelligence bursting from Holdo that I don’t think she knows how to communicate yet, but then again, I don’t think she feels like she has to explain herself, other people will catch up to her eventually (for example her not telling Poe about Crait). And she’s one of the most loyal, brave friends that Leia ever encounters, not only risking her life to help her friend, but standing by her side when Leia faces her first devastating loss. Amilyn teaches Leia how to find and center herself amidst suffocating depression and this is the Holdo I want to see more of!

5) Breha Organa — The Queen of Alderaan herself people! Leia’s adoptive mother was briefly seen in the closing scenes of Revenge of the Sith and is seen more frequently in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, but there is so much more I want to know about the woman that shaped Leia into the feisty, hero that she is! What was it like for her to raise the daughter of a woman she most likely had met, or at least was a friend of her husband’s? What was it like to know that her child was the offspring of another Queen and a Jedi, the unknown daughter of Vader herself? The fear she must have felt knowing that Palpatine and Vader were out there in the same galaxy as Leia… it makes my heart shudder thinking about it. In POA she mentions that she nearly died while completing her own tasks to be named crown princess of Alderaan, I’d love a narrative of this, or of her and Bail’s courtship in the time before the Galactic Civil War. There’s just so much that can be written about Breha and I think the world deserves to hear more about this epic Queen who defied an evil Emperor!

6) Qi’ra —  Introduced to us in Solo: A Star Wars Movie and in the book Most Wanted by Rae Carson, Qi’ra is the literal definition of an enigma! She’s street-smart, confident, and hyper intelligent, but that’s really about all we know! There’s such a big chunk of time between Most Wanted and the opening scene of Solo, and again between when Han and her get separated and reunited in Solo in which sooooo much obviously happens, and we know the result but not the reasons why she does what she does and chooses what she chooses. Obviously her relationship with Han is fascinating, but I feel like it’s  completely unfinished at the moment and there is more to tell there before he goes and his own way and meets Leia. I have a hard time imagining Han letting go of her so easily, so we definitely need to see what she’s doing with Maul. Whether she comes back in a sequel to Solo (which I would LOVE), or we get a book in her perspective, we need information about this epic new character!

7) Shmi Skywalker — This is the Skywalker woman we need to know more about! Shmi was the original driving force behind Anakin’s teetering to the dark side, his absolute love and devotion to her lead him down a shadowy path when she was taken from him, and I feel like there is so much we can learn from her. What was her life like before Anakin, what was her mental state when she realized what was happening to her (the pregnancy), and what were those early years with just her and Ani like? Did she sense Ani’s potential for great emotion, or wonder if that could ever go wrong? I mean, we have here one of the strongest, most capable mother’s in the Star Wars universe, and we just don’t get enough of her! Personally I would like to see her impact her great-grandson in some way, whether she comes to him in a dream, or like Rey, Ben touches something that holds memories of her and he sees her for the first time. Shmi just embodies steadiness and love and that’s what Kylo/Ben needs!

8) Padme Amidala — Last but certainly not least in my perspective, we are dire need for more Padme in the Star Wars universe! I know she was featured on the Clone Wars television show, but I haven’t seen much of it and what I have seen (while wonderful) still has her as a more secondary character. I’d love to see her get some novels of her own much like Leia, (Come on Claudia Gray, I’m counting on you!!!). Whether we go back to her early years before she was queen, or right after TPM, or those few precious years she and Anakin shared together there is just so much that can be explored. Padme is a strong, intelligent, brave woman and her impact on the galaxy is still felt now in the sequel trilogy. You can see her in Leia, in Ben even, and it’s such a missed opportunity not to see her again. (Yes, I’ve seen that she’s going to be in the new Thrawn novel, but against, that’s someone else’s book, not her own!) Bring back Padme, the Senator, the Queen, the lover of the Chosen One, and the Mother of the future of the galaxy!

And there you have it my starfighters, the epic women of Star Wars that we DESPERATELY NEED MORE OF!!! Were there any that I missed, any that I might have overlooked? Who’s your favorite of the SW ladies? Let me know in the comments! And remember: May the Force be with you!

Nine Moments We Need To See In Star Wars Episode IX!!!

Alrighty Starfighters, it’s 2019 and you know what that means…Episode IX is finally nigh!

gif via: rebloggy.com 

We’ve just got a few short months before Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, Poe, and the incomparable BB-8 return to our screens and finish out the Skywalker saga and I am just SO READY!!! Star Wars and that galaxy far, far away have been a part of my life since before I can remember and after 29 years together the Skywalker’s, the Kenobi’s, and all the rest definitely feel like family at this point — a dysfunctional, dramatic-ass family that has like zero chill but hey you know, family is family.

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Like most Star Wars fans, I have great expectations for Episode IX. 2015’s The Force Awakens was thrilling and heart-pounding, it gave us so much but also took something precious in turn. The next generation of heroes and villains breathed new life into the galaxy and seeing them fight alongside and against the original trio was just mesmerizing. The Last Jedi was sweeping, epic, and mysterious in all the best ways, revealing so much but leaving countless more questions in its wake. For the first time, hero and foe fought back to back, reaching across the cosmos and darkness to understand…to connect.

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And now it’s time to deliver on all that’s been promised over the past two films – if not the entire saga – and there are things I’m just so ready to finally see! Obviously no two fans want the same exact things, we all see the movies and characters differently, but I figured I’d go ahead and share with you guys the things I MOST want to see in this final Skywalker movie! So, without further ado…PUNCH IT CHEWIE!!!

picture via: theverge.com

1) Let’s start with Finn – who is the heart and soul of this new era!!! – I would love to see this stormtrooper-turned-resistance-hero inspire his old troops to abandon the First Order and ultimately lead them to revolution Mockingjay style! We see a hint of this in the deleted scenes for The Last Jedi, but it really needs to be shown on screen. Finn is undeniable proof that these troopers are just people, people who Hux admits were trained and programed from BIRTH to follow orders, so if Finn can reject his training and strike out on his own, why can’t he help the others to follow suite? Alongside this, I’ve long had the theory that the troopers are comprised of stolen Force sensitive children, so what better way to symbolize the freedom of the galaxy and beginning anew than to have these stolen conduits of the Force be released into the cosmos to discover for themselves which path they wish to tread.

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2) I would also love to see him reconnect with his family in some way. Perhaps it’s just the dramatic writer in me, but the idea that Finn’s family have searched the galaxy over for him since he was taken by the First Order just makes my heart hurt! There are so many ways to introduce his family – they could be nameless like Rey’s parents, or could connect to some other characters we’ve already met, for instance Lando Calrissian, Mr. King of the Capes himself, is coming back into play in this film, perhaps Finn is a relative of his. I’ve also heard rumors that Lando may be accompanied by a daughter (?) so maybe they’ve come in search of a missing son/brother?! I don’t know, stranger things have certainly happened in this galactic universe. Personally, I like the idea of Finn being the son of Ciena Ree and Thane Kyrell, the two leads of Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars novel, which was released before The Force Awakens. It would make his parents vague enough for non-readers to not question but throw an interesting loop in there for those who are familiar with the book! And I mean, how awesome would it be to meet a child of these two star-crossed pilots and to know that their story truly connects to the sequel trilogy!

picture via: starwars.com

3) Speaking of Lando, I desperately want to see him interact with Kylo/Ben! We’ve already seen Ben and his Unca Wanwo in Daniel Jose Older’s Last Shot novel and their relationship was ADORABLE. I mean Little Starfighter…no more needs to be said. But really, could Kylo turn to his Uncle for help or advice, seeking paternal figure now that he’s finally freed himself from Snoke or maybe Lando himself can initiates the contact. Either way, putting these two together is a powerful reminder of the horrors of Kylo’s past, it would force him to confront what he’s done and what they both have lost WITHOUT causing him to panic like he does whenever Luke is present.

picture via: starwars.com

4) Another reunion I’m hoping to see is Leia and Kylo/Ben’s. I think the movies kind of skip over how long it’s been since Leia has actually seen Ben, but Bloodline by Claudia Gray establishes that she was trying to get in contact with her son and Luke YEARS before the First Order officially arose. So, we’re probably talking about a good ten-year separation by the time The Force Awakens even begins…bring that boy home! Ideally, I would have loved to see them together on-screen but under the circumstances, it would still be highly emotional and cathartic to have a reunion planned offscreen perhaps with a message being received by Ben that his mother is on her way. That way we know it happens and the reunion can take place however the viewer wants it to. And as others have pointed out, the Skywalker downfall started with Anakin having to leave his mother, it should be resolved with Kylo coming home to his.

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5) And since I took it back to the prequel era for a moment, I would totally like to return to Naboo for the final act of the saga. It’s the place the story truly began, it’s the legacy and home of Ben’s ancestors, and it’s just downright gorgeous. I can picture no more beautiful or meaningful an ending than to have Ben and Rey start a life in that lush, peaceful place, surrounded by sunlight, glimmering water, and the gentle hues of healing green.

picture via: starwars.wikia.com

6) For this happy ending to occur though, (and what I am most excited about and desperately hope to see!) we need the REYLO REVEAL!!! More than anything else, I want to see these two lost souls come together and fully admit their feelings for one another. The Force Awakens pitted them together as adversaries and the The Last Jedi brought them together as allies (albeit still with unresolved issues) but now it’s time to see them fully acknowledge and accept that there is something between them. These two belong together, they are the living representation of the Force and it’s need to find balance and the films have been dropping hints like crazy that this is the endgame but now I want confirmation people! (And if we’re putting it all out there, I would LOVE to see the balance of the force represented in a child of theirs, preferably a daughter!)

picture via: starwars.com

7) I also want there to be a defined Reylo score in the film, I mean Across the Stars and Han Solo and the Princess (aka Han and Leia) are ICONIC. They are some of the most memorable and sweeping songs in the entire franchise, evoking so much emotion and truth each time you hear them and dammit I am ready for a Reylo equivalent!

picture via: starwars.wikia.com

8) But for this great Reylo ending to be possible, we need to see Rey acknowledge that the Jedi order and its strict ass teachings were flawed and dangerous, just as much as the Sith teachings were, and have her (and Kylo) comprehend that the middle ground (or Grey Jedi) path is the one that is needed. Kylo already wants to get rid of both the Sith and the Jedi, and even though most categorize him as the “villain” I actually think it’s going to be Rey that has a hard time letting go of the Jedi teachings. Being all light or all dark is not realistic, it’s not healthy, and if the prequels taught us anything it’s that not allowing yourself to see both sides of a story is lethal. I don’t want to see a resurgence of the Jedi order, I think their time has passed, and the galaxy is all the better for it. Let Rey and Kylo find a middle ground together, let them live their lives with love and compassion and understanding and flexibility. He needs to recognize the light within himself as valid and move towards it and she needs to recognize the darkness inside and accept it.

picture via: nerdist.com

9) And finally, I want to see Anakin reach out to his grandson and truly connect with Kylo so that for better or worse, Kylo can understand Anakin’s truths. I think because so much was kept hidden about Vader/Anakin after the fall of the empire in this canon timeline (which Claudia Gray’s Bloodlines touches on) that Kylo has no real concept of who is grandfather actually was. Snoke uses Vader to influence Kylo and push him to be the type of person that Snoke wants him to be, but is he ever told of Anakin? What better way to demonstrate that there are always two sides to every story and to have Kylo confront and accept his past and actively move towards a more hopeful and forgiving future than to have him come face to face with Anakin Skywalker himself?! This interaction would tie the story together perfectly, merging the beginning of the story with the ending, and for those that believe that Kylo is Anakin reborn it offers up some mighty intriguing ideas!

picture via: elenatintil.blogspot.com

And there you guys have it, a breakdown of those moments that I’m most looking forward to and hoping to see on screen this December when we venture once more into that galaxy far, far away! It was surprisingly hard to narrow everything down and put into words all that I hope to see, but wow was it fun! So now, what about you, are there any moments that you’re looking forward to that I didn’t list? Are there things on my list that you’re looking forward to as well? What are you most looking forward to seeing in this final installment of the Skywalker saga? Let me know down in the comments and as always: May the Force be with you!

Top 5 Canon Star Wars Novels

Alright starfighters, let’s start the new year off right! Now as much as I love the Star Wars movies themselves (and my stars and starships do I LOVE them!), they admittedly only span a certain amount of time with my favorite characters and plot points. They only have so much time and most people don’t care enought to invest in a seven or eight hour movie, but dammit I’m greedy and I want to know more! I mean there are so many questions that need to be answered!!!

What was Leia doing before The Force Awakens? What was it like for her being a teenage senator responsible for millions of lives while also becoming one of the most reknowed Rebel Leaders? And what in the galaxy drove people to join the Empire, how did they justify working in that environment?!

I could go on forever but I think you get my point 😉

The films give us so much, but they can’t be everywhere at once. That’s where the books come in! Now I’ve been reading Star Wars books since I was in the fifth grade and found the Jedi Apprentice books at a school book fair by accident, but for this list I’m going to narrow my favorites down to the new wave of canon books that have been released since The Force Awakens was announced.

So in no particular order, I present to you… my favorites!

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1) Lost Stars by Claudia Gray — Lost Stars is the first of the new-wave books that I came across and absolutely loved! It’s always risky for me picking up a SW book that is centered on characters I’m not familiar with since for me at least, SW IS its characters and I get very attached to specific people, but this book was a revelation! Set in the early years after the rise of the Empire we follow two young pilots as they chase their shared dream of flying the best ships the galaxy has to offer. Ciena Ree and Thane give us an inside view of what it was like growing up during Palpatine’s reign and how the Empire conned the best of its citizens into a life of dishonor. From backwater worlds, to imperial academies on gleaming Coruscant, to the Death Star itself, and even the bridge of a Star Destroyer during the final battle of Jakku, this book takes you on one wild ride with two protagonists who are deeply in love but fighting on opposite sides of one of the biggest wars the galaxy has ever seen. The stakes are high and love and honor are on the line!

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2) Bloodline by Claudia Gray — Leia is one hell of an epic woman, let’s just make that clear. Princess, Rebel Leader, Spy, Senator, she wears a lot of hats. But what does she do when she’s not out rescuing Han Solo from Bounty hunters and Hutts or saving the Galaxy from the stranglehold of the Empire? What does a warrior like her do when the battle is finally done and the war won? Get back to work to make the galaxy a better place, that’s what. One senate meeting at a time. This book sets us down a few years before TFA in a time just before Leia’s world comes crashing down around her. You can’t help but feel a near-suffocating desperate hopelessness while you read this one knowing that unbeknownst to our beloved Princess, she is witnessing the birth of the next great evil in her galaxy and possibly the end of her relative happiness in life. This book beautifully walks that fine line of telling it’s own story and subtly setting us up for the first sequel film. It’s breathtaking and heartbreaking. Leia’s strength shines as strong as ever, but we see the cracks starting to form around her. A battle is coming, but can she see it in time?

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3) Last Shot: A Han and Lando novel by Daniel Jose Older — I WANTED NOTHING MORE THAN TO SEE HAN AND BABY BEN/KYLO TOGETHER AND THIS BOOK DELIVERED!!! Ahem… Sorry about that, but as a Kylo fan I was desperate for more information regarding his life, especially relating to Han and while that isn’t the entire focus of this book, it is a wonderful part of it! Baby Ben and Han are just soooo precious and I demand more content with them! But all that aside, the majority of this book is set in varying points of time with Han, Lando, and a few other rather frightening characters while they race against the clock to fix a deadly mistake they both made in the past. As someone who is easily spooked by the thought of a robot apocalypse, this book actually scared the hell out of me at times. Honestly. There is some creepy sh*t going on, and while it was sometimes hard to follow with all the jumps in time, when it comes down to it this book PERFECTLY captures Han and Lando’s respective voices. It was almost uncanny. Really, excellent job!

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4) Most Wanted by Rae Carson — As someone who LOVED Solo: A Star Wars Story, I was eager to delve into the lives of Han and Qi’ra before we see them escape Corellia in the opening scenes of the film. What were their lives like in that murky underground gang, what were they to each other really, and perhaps most important to me, who is this Qi’ra girl? This book answers all these questions and so much more. Fast paced and thrilling we meet these unforgettable characters before they actually become the characters we know. Han isn’t the Han we see in ANH or even Solo yet and Qi’ra is just as compelling and beguiling as she was on-screen. I was left with the sensation of knowing these two people so much better but still having no idea how their story together will ultimately end.

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5) Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray — How does one top Bloodline you ask? Well let me tell you! This book IS Leia as she becomes the rebel leader princess we all know and love! Coming of age to be named heir to the Alderaanian throne, Leia must prove herself to her parents, her people, the galaxy at large, and most importantly to herself. Witness a girl who knows nothing but the strength and power of love as she starts to discover the hardships of those around her and struggles to find a way to help that won’t result in more devastation. This is the Leia I never knew I needed, this is a princess who isn’t as confident, isn’t as sure how to accomplish all that must be done, but still has that fiery determination to try. There were moments I literally gasped, moments I squealed in delight, and moments like reading the very last line where I felt such devastating despair at all that was about to come for one of my favorite SW characters 😭

And there you have it my starfighters, my top five favorite canon Star Wars books! I have a few more on my to-be-read list (The Aftermath trilogy) and a few that I liked just fine but these are the ones that really gave me those wonderful, epic SW feels. What about you guys, which of the new canon novels do you like best? Is there one you’d recommend I read? Let me know in the comments and remember: may the Force be with you!

The Lord of the Rings & Hobbit MASH

Alright my fellow adventurers, time for a blast from the past with one of my all-time favorite games…MASH! That’s right, the future-predicting phenomenon that has foretold the numerous men I am going to marry…you know, one day (though as of now I have currently married none of them, but I live for hope lol), as well as the awesome exotic locales I’m going to call home (again, nothing to show for all this oracular knowledge but I have faith) and pretty much everything in-between. I don’t know if you guys played this in school but this was the one that has stuck with me over the years and I have taught it to not only my younger brother but pretty much every younger cousin of mine as well as any friend I’ve ever had. So I figure it’s time that I bring that wonderful, suspenseful, and miraculous game to you! Now the rules may vary depending on who you’re with, their playing preferences, and just how evil and vindictive they want to be that day, but I’m going to keep it simple. Each category gets three slots to be filled in with answers of your choice and we’ll work from there.

YOU SHALL NOT PASS…WITHOUT PLAYING THIS EPIC GAME!!!

Now as great as this game is normally, my brother and I amped it up a notch (due to sheer boredom) and now we’ve created our own themed versions, including Harry Potter, The Tudors, Star Wars, X-Men, Disney, Pretty Much Anything We Want At The Moment, and of course, The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit! And today, I’m thinking what better than delving into an epic adventure in Middle Earth itself?!

Photo via: lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Éomer

Right off the bat (though you’ll see it lower on the list here, but I’m changing a few things to make it easier for us to play), choose Up or Down and pick a number between 1 and 20. That number is your Tally number. Now I choose Down and my Tally is 15, so I’m going to start from the highest option and count down, repeating the tiers until I hit 15. Whatever option I’m on when I hit 15, that’s my future! (These are just my answers so make sure you write down your own as we go along!)

Lord of the Rings and Hobbit MASH

M = Mordor
A = Angmar
S = Shire
H = Helm’s Deep

Mates:
1) Fili
2) Faramir
3) Eomer

Mode of Transportation:
1) Bill the pony
2) Rustobel Rabbits
3) Lothlorien Boats

Color:
1) White
2) Green
3) Silver

Journey Beginning:
1) Rohan
2) The Shire
3) Rivendell

Journey’s End:
1) Grey Havens
2) Gondor
3) Dale (pre Smaug)

Weapon:
1) Sting
2) Wizard’s Staff
3) Gimli’s Battle Axe

Occupation:
1) Shield Maiden
2) Herbalist
3) Queen

Race:
1)Woman of Rohan
2) Rivendell Elf
3) Hobbit

Nemesis:
1) Sauron
2) Sarumon
3) Witch King of Angmar

Ally:
1) Gandalf the grey
2) Galadriel
3) Aragorn

Creature:
1) Combat Ram
2) Misty Mountain Ravens
3) Brego the horse

Wizard or High Elf of Choice:
1) Radagast the Brown
2) Gandalf the Grey
3) Galadriel

Quest:
1) Aid the Fellowship
2) Rescue Merry and Pippin
3) Escape from Mirkwood

Lifespan:
1) Old and Happy
2) Grey Havens
3) Die saving Middle Earth

Wealthy
Poor

Beautiful/Handsome
Plain

Alright guys, let’s count down…

.

.

.

I got all the third options! Oh, there’s some great choices here, so let’s see… that means I’m going to marry Eomer (hells yeah) and travel exclusively by silver Lothlorien boats (I feel fancy already!), and my journey will begin in Rivendell and end in the lovely town of Dale (PRE-SMAUG!!!). My weapon of choice is going to be Gimli’s battle axe, and my occupation is Queen so I figure we’re right on track here (I look absolutely AMAZING in a crown), and I’m going to be a Hobbit! My nemesis is the Witch King of Angmar himself and my ally is Aragorn – who I’m thinking may not be the best for this particular foe, but hey I’m willing to give it a chance. My animal ally is Brego the Rohan war horse and I’m great personal friends with Galadriel, the Lady of Light herself — maybe that’s where I get the Lothlorien boats from! It never hurts having friends in high places! And let’s see, my quest is to escape from Mirkwood Forest (damn, where’s Bilbo when I need him?!) and I ultimately die trying to save Middle Earth. Dammit Aragorn, did you get me killed while fighting the Witch King in Mirkwood Forest?! Ah well, you win some you lose some. I’m going to be fabulously wealthy – which makes since I suppose since I am a Queen – and I’m also beautiful – not that that matters considering I am so clearly awesome. And Eomer and I call the Shire home, so I wonder if that makes me Queen of the Hobbits or if we just summer there when we get tired of Rohan? Either way, I call it a damn fine life!

Photo via: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Aragorn_II_Elessar

Make sure you tell me in the comments what the future holds for you my fellow adventurers! What daring deeds will you do, what friends and enemies will you have? Play the game and find out! And a big thank you to J.R.R. Tolkien for writing such an AMAZING work of art!!!

And be sure to check out the Harry Potter version of this game on my other blog channel Moonstonemaiden!

Legacy Of A Star Wars Queen

I don’t know about you guys, but one of my favorite things about reading Star Wars novels are those awesome aha moments you randomly get that connects what you’re reading now to the those stories we already know and love. It’s almost like the entire galaxy aligns for a split second and you can see the past, present, and future all at once and if you just try hard enough, you might be able to reach in and touch the very fabric of that galaxy far far away. Perhaps alter the story or at least walk in the hallowed footsteps of your favorite heroes! I’m overthinking it I know, but I’m a writer, that’s what I do 😂 Anyway, since I’m rereading Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Grey, I figured I’d share with you one of my favorites moments that I just stumbled across again! Warning: spoilers head!

On a diplomatic mission to one of Naboo’s moons, sixteen year old Leia Organa comes dangerously (and unknowingly) close to her birth mother’s home planet in an effort to prove herself worthy of being named the crown princess of Alderaan. Um…excuse me while I burst into my happy dance! Not only do we get a mention of Padme’s beautiful home world, but we also come face to face with the new Queen of Naboo herself and Leia even wears one of her mother’s most famous ceremonial dresses! *Swoon* It’s sheer perfection.

Perhaps it’s just me, but it makes me so absurdly happy to have Leia so close to her actual mom in some way, even if it’s only through culture, heritage, and a shared burden of responsibility. It’s almost like Padme is there with her daughter, guiding her through the political arena that she herself mastered before her untimely death. Don’t get me wrong — Breha is a WONDERFUL mother, queen, and guide but I just feel as though Padme is unfairly forgotten in the SW universe therefore any mention of her just makes my day! She was one badass SW lady and she definitely deserved more! And it’s heartbreaking knowing that two of my all time favorite Star Wars women will never know one another, especially given how similar they are. Leia could have learned so much from Padme, maybe even have followed in her mother’s footsteps and become Queen of Naboo herself! But sadly, we can’t change the past (or can we Rebels?!) and little moments like these are all we’re given. So I’ll happily take them and always hope for more!

And there you have it, such a quick, little moment in the overall course of Leia’s life, and SW history in general, but Leia’s visit to Naboo’s mining moon is definitely one of my favorite aha moments in the SW novels.What about you guys, what are your favorite aha moments? Is there one you’d like to see in a future novel? Let me know in the comments!

The Star Wars Women We Need More Of!!!

I don’t know about you, my starfighters, but I love me some Star Wars! Shocking I know but can you blame me?! There’s epic space battles, heart-melting romance, mystical forces, and characters that exist so vividly that they almost literally leap off the screen!!! You tell me Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t actually exist somewhere out in the cosmos and I’m sorry but we can’t be friends, I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life 😉

But seriously, we get so many wonderfully rich, multi-faceted characters from the series and for me as a writer, I appreciate just how “real” they feel. This doesn’t happen with just every story, it takes a certain something extra for characters to truly come alive outside their films or books and I think it’s because they (the Luscasfilm/SW writers) really take the time to flesh characters out. Real people have motivations for everything they do, there are always precedents inspiring their reactions and actions, and perhaps most importantly, no one stays the same their whole life, people are never the same person they were more than once, and SW displays that beautifully (Luke in TLJ). It’s inspiring to see such a well-crafted universe filled with so many diverse characters, and with the books and animated shows (which I fully admit, I’m not completely caught up on yet) they just keep adding to this amazing lexicon.

There’s always a million off-shoot stories I want to see and characters we encounter that I want to follow further, but for today I want to focus on the ladies of Star Wars that I think need more screen/book/etc. time. I’m going to exclude Leia and Rey from this just because I understand we won’t get much more Rey content until the sequel trilogy is finished, and because over the past few years we’ve already been given some awesome new Leia content! So, let’s get to it shall we!

1) Ciena Ree — The female protagonist from Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars, Ciena is such an eye-opening character in so many ways. From the planet Jelucan, Ciena is a woman whose life is dictated by honor and the demands of keeping her word. She begins as a little girl with a dream to pilot the greatest ships in the galaxy and through that desire, leads us first-hand into the life of an Imperial Officer. I always wondered what kind of person would willingly work in such a horrid place as the Death Star, what would make someone think that what they were doing was acceptable? And following Ciena’s story, it opened my eyes to how many good people were manipulated into such a life. We see as she rejects the idea of the Empire doing any wrong because it conflicts with her upbringing of honor above all, we watch as she rationalizes the horrors around her, then finally as she accepts that the organization she’s pledged her life to, staked her life’s honor on, IS the great evil in the galaxy. And I have some interesting ideas on how she can easily enter the SW films themselves… but that’s another post entirely!

2) Kendy Idele — A delightful emerald-haired addition in the Lost Stars novel by Claudia Gray, Kendy is originally an Imperial cadet/officer during Palpatine’s reign but after the introduction of the Death Star and the evils she witnesses first hand she heroically switches side and joins the Rebel Alliance! She’s a sharpshooter extraordinaire and X-Wing pilot with the Corona Squadron whose hatred for the Empire rings with such emotional-comprehension that I would just love to see her again in perhaps a novel of her own.

3) Greer Sonnel — Introduced to us as the enigmatic personal assistant to Senator Leia Organa, Greer immediately caught my attention in Claudia Gray’s epic novel Bloodline. There was just something about her that stuck out to me as I was reading, something that I couldn’t put my finger on… She was competent, intelligent, and oddly uncomfortable in the life she was living. For a moment I thought she might be a spy for the upcoming First Order, but then we’re given more of her backstory and we learn that Greer’s story is a little more tragic than espionage-filled.  An up and coming young pilot, Greer developed a rare disease that literally made the thing she trained her whole life for — what she wanted most in the galaxy — the thing that was going to kill her. Han Solo himself (her mentor/friend) asked Leia to take her in and although she knows flying will one day kill her, Greer can’t help but yearn for the one thing that makes her feel most alive. In the end, she chooses to help Leia rebuild the resistance, knowing that once again, evil was stretching across the galaxy. Greer deserves a solo book of her own — perhaps with a dash of romance with her fellow pilot Joph Seastricker! — her tale has the potential to be emotionally devastating: a fierce, intelligent woman who chooses to fight for the greater good, despite knowing that each time she sits in the cockpit she is closer and closer to death!

4) Amilyn Holdo — Introduced to most in The Last Jedi, Holdo actually makes her first appearance in Claudia Gray’s Leia, Princess of Alderaan where she admittedly is the odd one out in sixteen-year old Leia’s new crop of companions on her journey to being named the crown princess of Alderaan. As much as I enjoyed the strong, self-sacrificing woman Holdo became in TLJ, it’s her character in Leia, POA that really struck me as fascinating. Amilyn is someone who knows her own mind and doesn’t feel like she has to explain herself to those around her, she makes wild, often unsettling statements that have an uncanny habit of coming true later in the story. She sees things in a way that Leia (and myself as the reader) cannot comprehend and most of the time she just seems flat-out weird, a kind person perhaps, but definitely strange. But in reality there’s a next-level intelligence bursting from Holdo that I don’t think she knows how to communicate yet, but then again, I don’t think she feels like she has to explain herself, other people will catch up to her eventually (for example her not telling Poe about Crait). And she’s one of the most loyal, brave friends that Leia ever encounters, not only risking her life to help her friend, but standing by her side when Leia faces her first devastating loss. Amilyn teaches Leia how to find and center herself amidst suffocating depression and this is the Holdo I want to see more of!

5) Breha Organa — The Queen of Alderaan herself people! Leia’s adoptive mother was briefly seen in the closing scenes of Revenge of the Sith and is seen more frequently in Leia, Princess of Alderaan, but there is so much more I want to know about the woman that shaped Leia into the feisty, hero that she is! What was it like for her to raise the daughter of a woman she most likely had met, or at least was a friend of her husband’s? What was it like to know that her child was the offspring of another Queen and a Jedi, the unknown daughter of Vader herself? The fear she must have felt knowing that Palpatine and Vader were out there in the same galaxy as Leia… it makes my heart shudder thinking about it. In POA she mentions that she nearly died while completing her own tasks to be named crown princess of Alderaan, I’d love a narrative of this, or of her and Bail’s courtship in the time before the Galactic Civil War. There’s just so much that can be written about Breha and I think the world deserves to hear more about this epic Queen who defied an evil Emperor!

6) Qi’ra —  Introduced to us in Solo: A Star Wars Movie and in the book Most Wanted by Rae Carson, Qi’ra is the literal definition of an enigma! She’s street-smart, confident, and hyper intelligent, but that’s really about all we know! There’s such a big chunk of time between Most Wanted and the opening scene of Solo, and again between when Han and her get separated and reunited in Solo in which sooooo much obviously happens, and we know the result but not the reasons why she does what she does and chooses what she chooses. Obviously her relationship with Han is fascinating, but I feel like it’s  completely unfinished at the moment and there is more to tell there before he goes and his own way and meets Leia. I have a hard time imagining Han letting go of her so easily, so we definitely need to see what she’s doing with Maul. Whether she comes back in a sequel to Solo (which I would LOVE), or we get a book in her perspective, we need information about this epic new character!

7) Shmi Skywalker — This is the Skywalker woman we need to know more about! Shmi was the original driving force behind Anakin’s teetering to the dark side, his absolute love and devotion to her lead him down a shadowy path when she was taken from him, and I feel like there is so much we can learn from her. What was her life like before Anakin, what was her mental state when she realized what was happening to her (the pregnancy), and what were those early years with just her and Ani like? Did she sense Ani’s potential for great emotion, or wonder if that could ever go wrong? I mean, we have here one of the strongest, most capable mother’s in the Star Wars universe, and we just don’t get enough of her! Personally I would like to see her impact her great-grandson in some way, whether she comes to him in a dream, or like Rey, Ben touches something that holds memories of her and he sees her for the first time. Shmi just embodies steadiness and love and that’s what Kylo/Ben needs!

8) Padme Amidala — Last but certainly not least in my perspective, we are dire need for more Padme in the Star Wars universe! I know she was featured on the Clone Wars television show, but I haven’t seen much of it and what I have seen (while wonderful) still has her as a more secondary character. I’d love to see her get some novels of her own much like Leia, (Come on Claudia Gray, I’m counting on you!!!). Whether we go back to her early years before she was queen, or right after TPM, or those few precious years she and Anakin shared together there is just so much that can be explored. Padme is a strong, intelligent, brave woman and her impact on the galaxy is still felt now in the sequel trilogy. You can see her in Leia, in Ben even, and it’s such a missed opportunity not to see her again. (Yes, I’ve seen that she’s going to be in the new Thrawn novel, but against, that’s someone else’s book, not her own!) Bring back Padme, the Senator, the Queen, the lover of the Chosen One, and the Mother of the future of the galaxy!

And there you have it my starfighters, the women of Star Wars that we DESPERATELY NEED MORE OF!!! Were there any that I missed, any that I might have overlooked? Who’s your favorite of the SW ladies? Let me know in the comments! And remember: may the force be with you!

Top 5 Canon Star Wars Novels

Alright starfighters, let’s start this blog off right! Now as much as I love the Star Wars movies themselves (and my stars and starships do I LOVE them!), they admittedly only span a certain amount of time with my favorite characters and plot points. They only have so much time and most people don’t care enought to invest in a seven or eight hour movie, but dammit I’m greedy and I want to know more! I mean there are so many questions that need to be answered!!!

What was Leia doing before The Force Awakens? What was it like for her being a teenage senator responsible for millions of lives while also becoming one of the most reknowed Rebel Leaders? And what in the galaxy drove people to join the Empire, how did they justify working in that environment?!

I could go on forever but I think you get my point 😉

The films give us so much, but they can’t be everywhere at once. That’s where the books come in! Now I’ve been reading Star Wars books since I was in the fifth grade and found the Jedi Apprentice books at a school book fair by accident, but for this list I’m going to narrow my favorites down to the new wave of canon books that have been released since The Force Awakens was announced.

So in no particular order, I present to you… my favorites!

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1) Lost Stars by Claudia Gray — Lost Stars is the first of the new-wave books that I came across and absolutely loved! It’s always risky for me picking up a SW book that is centered on characters I’m not familiar with since for me at least, SW IS its characters and I get very attached to specific people, but this book was a revelation! Set in the early years after the rise of the Empire we follow two young pilots as they chase their shared dream of flying the best ships the galaxy has to offer. Ciena Ree and Thane give us an inside view of what it was like growing up during Palpatine’s reign and how the Empire conned the best of its citizens into a life of dishonor. From backwater worlds, to imperial academies on gleaming Coruscant, to the Death Star itself, and even the bridge of a Star Destroyer during the final battle of Jakku, this book takes you on one wild ride with two protagonists who are deeply in love but fighting on opposite sides of one of the biggest wars the galaxy has ever seen. The stakes are high and love and honor are on the line!

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2) Bloodline by Claudia Gray — Leia is one hell of an epic woman, let’s just make that clear. Princess, Rebel Leader, Spy, Senator, she wears a lot of hats. But what does she do when she’s not out rescuing Han Solo from Bounty hunters and Hutts or saving the Galaxy from the stranglehold of the Empire? What does a warrior like her do when the battle is finally done and the war won? Get back to work to make the galaxy a better place, that’s what. One senate meeting at a time. This book sets us down a few years before TFA in a time just before Leia’s world comes crashing down around her. You can’t help but feel a near-suffocating desperate hopelessness while you read this one knowing that unbeknownst to our beloved Princess, she is witnessing the birth of the next great evil in her galaxy and possibly the end of her relative happiness in life. This book beautifully walks that fine line of telling it’s own story and subtly setting us up for the first sequel film. It’s breathtaking and heartbreaking. Leia’s strength shines as strong as ever, but we see the cracks starting to form around her. A battle is coming, but can she see it in time?

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3) Last Shot: A Han and Lando novel by Daniel Jose Older — I WANTED NOTHING MORE THAN TO SEE HAN AND BABY BEN/KYLO TOGETHER AND THIS BOOK DELIVERED!!! Ahem… Sorry about that, but as a Kylo fan I was desperate for more information regarding his life, especially relating to Han and while that isn’t the entire focus of this book, it is a wonderful part of it! Baby Ben and Han are just soooo precious and I demand more content with them! But all that aside, the majority of this book is set in varying points of time with Han, Lando, and a few other rather frightening characters while they race against the clock to fix a deadly mistake they both made in the past. As someone who is easily spooked by the thought of a robot apocalypse, this book actually scared the hell out of me at times. Honestly. There is some creepy sh*t going on, and while it was sometimes hard to follow with all the jumps in time, when it comes down to it this book PERFECTLY captures Han and Lando’s respective voices. It was almost uncanny. Really, excellent job!

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4) Most Wanted by Rae Carson — As someone who LOVED Solo: A Star Wars Story, I was eager to delve into the lives of Han and Qi’ra before we see them escape Corellia in the opening scenes of the film. What were their lives like in that murky underground gang, what were they to each other really, and perhaps most important to me, who is this Qi’ra girl? This book answers all these questions and so much more. Fast paced and thrilling we meet these unforgettable characters before they actually become the characters we know. Han isn’t the Han we see in ANH or even Solo yet and Qi’ra is just as compelling and beguiling as she was on-screen. I was left with the sensation of knowing these two people so much better but still having no idea how their story together will ultimately end.

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5) Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray — How does one top Bloodline you ask? Well let me tell you! This book IS Leia as she becomes the rebel leader princess we all know and love! Coming of age to be named heir to the Alderaanian throne, Leia must prove herself to her parents, her people, the galaxy at large, and most importantly to herself. Witness a girl who knows nothing but the strength and power of love as she starts to discover the hardships of those around her and struggles to find a way to help that won’t result in more devastation. This is the Leia I never knew I needed, this is a princess who isn’t as confident, isn’t as sure how to accomplish all that must be done, but still has that fiery determination to try. There were moments I literally gasped, moments I squealed in delight, and moments like reading the very last line where I felt such devastating despair at all that was about to come for one of my favorite SW characters 😭

And there you have it my starfighters, my top five favorite canon Star Wars books! I have a few more on my to-be-read list (The Aftermath trilogy) and a few that I liked just fine but these are the ones that really gave me those wonderful, epic SW feels. What about you guys, which of the new canon novels do you like best? Is there one you’d recommend I read? Let me know in the comments and remember: may the Force be with you!