Star Wars Legacy II: Prisoner of the Floating World

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Prisoner of the Floating World Volume I Cover (Dark Horse Comics)

I don’t read many comics or graphic novels (manga excepted), but I did read most of the first “Star Wars Legacy” series. I was excited to hear that Dark Horse was doing “Star Wars: Legacy II” featuring a female protagonist. I believe this bind-up is volumes 1 through 3 of a planned 18-volume arc; as many have probably heard by now, by 2015 Star Wars comics will be moving from Dark Horse back to Marvel.

THE PLOT: I think this picks up not long after Legacy I ended, with some of the same characters. For example, Marisiah Fel is empress in the triumvirate government. However, most of the action takes place in a junkyard with Ania Solo and her sidekick, the Mon Calamari Sauk. They find a lightsaber, which is actually symptom of a bigger problem with imperial knights, a communications array, and (surprise!) Sith.

MY TWO CENTS: My problem with Legacy I is that I never really liked Cade Skywalker. His character just didn’t appeal to me, and I felt like he was drawn as a cruel distortion of Luke (which, I suppose, was partially the point). In any case, I do feel more sympathetic to Ania. She seems like a tough, spunky girl who is worthy to be a descendent of Han Solo and Princess Leia. The question is: where does she fit in the family tree? She’s supposed to be a great-great-granddaughter, which means either a granddaughter of Allana or of Jaina’s child(ren). Ania does, apparently, realize that she’s part of the Fel family, but doesn’t associate with them. Her question of “Do I look like royalty?” is met with the response, “Han Solo wasn’t royalty. He was a smuggler.” But it seems that the ruling Fels aren’t aware of Ania’s existence, based on Sia’s exclamation at the end: “Who the HELL is Ania Solo???” Indeed.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The art is interesting and colorful, Ania is engaging, and I’m willing to go along for a while to find out more about future Solos…especially outcast ones.

TEACUP RATING: I’m giving this about three-and-a-half to three-and-three-quarters cups. It seems to be a promising beginning.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, I was interested enough that I bought a copy for my Kindle Fire. Did you know that in Kindle Fire you can isolate and zoom individual comic panes? It’s kind of awesome!

Seeds Volume 3 by M.M. Kin

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Seeds Volume Three (Cover Image: Moranyelie/Osario Morales)

I had previously reviewed Volumes 1 and 2 in this trilogy here, and was eager to find out of the conclusion was satisfying. Spoiler: It was.

THE PLOT: When we left off in Book 2, Hades had done something…iffy…that you just KNEW was not going to go down well. Sure enough, this volume picks up with Persephone’s anger, plus the continued wrath of her mother, Demeter, against Zeus’s human acolytes. Without giving too much away, Demeter finally does reunite with her daughter…and the first thing she does proves she hasn’t learned a damn thing from her daughter’s absence. Thankfully, Persephone has truly grown up during her captivity and is no longer the easily bullied little girl.

Does Persephone forgive Hades? Do they get a happily ever after? Will Demeter ever forgive Zeus OR Hades? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Again, I don’t want to give away the ending. However, I found the ending reminiscent of the “Battlestar Galactica” reboot’s finale, which I very much enjoyed.

MY TWO CENTS: The author took the Hades/Persephone myth and truly fleshed it out into a relatable story. I found it a very richly drawn portrait of an ancient era. I also had an emotional connection with the characters. For example, when Demeter gets Persephone back and tries to mold her back to a child, I was FURIOUS. I felt bad for Seph and triumphant when she fought back. That’s the kind of involvement I want with my books.

BOTTOM LINE: I have enjoyed M.M. Kin’s “Seeds” saga more than the works of any other indie author I’ve sampled. If you are a fan of mythology, I suggest you give this series a try. Do keep in mind that there are some VERY steamy scenes throughout, but overall, this story encompasses more than just a romance between two characters.

TEACUP RATING: Five overflowing cups of dark, seductively scented tea.

Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful #1) by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful Front Cover (Disney-Hyperion)

Dead Beautiful Front Cover (Disney-Hyperion)

I was drawn to the description of this book, but then as I started to read, I thought, “This isn’t going to be vampires, is it? Please, PLEASE tell me it isn’t vampires!” Thankfully, it was not vampires.

THE PLOT: Renée is a normal girl until her parents die, strangely enough, of heart attacks at the same moment…out in the middle of the woods, where Renée is inexplicably drawn to their bodies. Renée’s grandfather, now her guardian, sends her off to a mysterious boarding school where she meets Dante, a loner who nevertheless is drawn to Renée. There is a mystery involving some missing students, the school’s past, and an elite group of monitors.

MY TWO CENTS: Renée and Dante’s first bonding in class reminds me of another supernatural couple’s first meeting. At least it’s not Renée’s scent that gets his attention. I found this a fairly quick read. There is an interesting take on the supernatural (NOT VAMPIRES!!!), but other than that, no significant new ground is covered.

BOTTOM LINE: I’m excited that there wasn’t a love triangle, and interested enough to see if I can get the other two books from the library…although I’m not rushing out for them. It would seem that Renée has an active role to play in the ongoing plot, which is another plus. (Is there anything worse than a passive supernatural heroine?)

TEACUP RATING: I give about 3 1/2 out of 5 teacups. It’s certainly better than some YA I’ve read recently. Also, the heroine has a normal name. Hurrah!

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Star Wars: Crucible By Troy Denning

I spent the last couple of weeks dealing with a nasty ear infection, but hopefully now I’m on the mend. Here’s a book I’ve been meaning to review for a while now: Star Wars: Crucible by Troy Denning.

Crucible Cover

Crucible Cover (LucasBooks/Random House)

When the world rocked with word of the sale to Disney and release of future movies, I (and undoubtedly many other Expanded Universe fans) thought: “Where will this fall in the timeline? Are they stopping production of the ‘future’ books so they won’t interfere with the movie storyline?” Maybe this book provides some answers.

THE PLOT: This book is mostly about “the big three” (i.e., Luke, Han, and Leia) on an adventure initially to help Lando with some pirating problems, but it’s actually a much bigger issue. They take lots of damage and struggle a lot with age issues (which seems very realistic at this point in the timeline), yet still remain the heroes we know and love. For those of you who read the last series Fate of the Jedi, Vestara is also integral to the plot, only with a new name.

MY TWO CENTS: I LOVED this book. It was a really easy read, and I just wanted to keep going with it until I was finished. It went down MUCH easier than the Fate of the Jedi series; I’m still only through 6 of 9 of those books. Forgive me, but I also liked that Jaina Solo and Ben Skywalker were basically sidelined for this entry. We NEEDED a book that was mostly the big three, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Is this the setup to “The big three are retired now until the movie?” Maybe; it would be a good move. And we still don’t know where in the timeline the new movies will be set. Will Jaina, Ben, and Allana be featured? If so, it’s a good idea to sideline them and their adventures for the time being, too. If this book was meant to be a temporary wrap-up, mission accomplished.

BOTTOM LINE: Read it, enjoy it. If you haven’t been following the Expanded Universe, I’d read this as a crash-course in what everyone is up to and some background on the newer characters.  (Vestara, PLEASE don’t get rehabed like Mara. You need to stay a villain, only worse.)

TEACUP RATING: Five teacups full to the brim of nice, spicy holiday tea. Lots of good but relatable action in this book.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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