WWW Wednesday – 2017/06/14

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

Unfortunately I have not made any progress on Theft By Finding by David Sedaris since last week. I’ve been a little out of whack. I’m a little disappointed in myself, since I feel getting a review up for it should be more urgent, but I just don’t feel a huge drive to get through it.

I decided to focus the majority of my energy on Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett, which I’m over 200 pages into now. It’s an odd tale that puts an interesting spin on Macbeth story, if Macbeth were wracked by his crimes for himself and his wife. It feels like the plotline is more of a frame to flesh out the witches and their place in the world than it is the focus of the book. I’m quite fine with this though, as the three have a good dynamic between them. For the most part they’ve reacted to what is thrown at them, so to speak, rather than being more active, but that is changing in the book’s final third.

Recently Finished

I read Darth Vader: The Shu-Torun War over the weekend, the third volume in Marvel’s Darth Vader series that ran from 2015-2016. Though it does involve Vader combating some of his rivals, challenging him to become the Emperor’s new enforcer, this volume felt a lot more like a side-story than I would have liked. This was following the crossover event Vader Down, however, so I do understand  a desire to let things settle a little before ramping back up.

The story concerns a conflict on a planetary level — a change in scale I appreciate in Star Wars when I can get it — and shows the kind of measures the Empire takes to keep certain worlds in line, as well as what they shape out of impressionable young leaders in the process.  I liked seeing both Vader’s influence in political matters and his being made to reign himself in (out of necessity) by the rulers otherwise under his heel.

Reading Next

Hard to say what novel I’ll read next, though I am still eyeing Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff. Since the New Year I’ve had a list of books I wanted to read this year, though, and there are a couple of Neil Gaiman books on there I ought to crack open as well. Otherwise, I’m definitely going to read Darth Vader: End of Games soon to finish off that series, and will probably read the first volume of Hellboy: Weird Tales as well.

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Book Review – Tarkin by James Luceno

Summary

Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the imperial ranks, enforcing his authority mercilessly while pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. But insurgency remains a genuine threat. Guerrilla attacks by an elusive band of freedom fighters must be countered with swift and brutal action — a mission the Emperor entrust to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome Sith enforcer, and Tarkin, whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.

TarkinCover

Tarkin by James Luceno is part of the new Disney canon of Star Wars, after all of the previous extended universe (EU) stories were reduced to “Legends.” I bring this up because Wilhuff Tarkin, the book’s titular character and villain from the original Star Wars film, had an extensive history established in the EU. Some of it has apparently been adapted here, but if you’re invested in those old stories I’m afraid they no longer apply. I’m coming at this book with virtually no knowledge of Tarkin’s history outside of what was established in the films, but I wanted to acknowledge that this isn’t the first time Tarkin has been given more backstory. For better or worse, however, this is now the backstory.Read More »

Book Review – Lords of the Sith

Summary from Goodreads

When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.

LordsoftheSithCover

Published in 2015, Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp is one of the new canon Star Wars novels, taking place between the films Revenge of the Sith and the novel Tarkin. Set on and around the planet Ryloth, the story focuses on the relationship between Darth Vader and the Emperor, as well as the Free Ryloth Movement led by Cham Syndulla — a recurring character from the Clone Wars series — who plot to overthrow the Empire by assassinating Darth Vader and the Emperor in one fell swoop.Read More »

Star Wars & Meaningful Side-Stories

At this point, there’s no denying how much we seem to love side-stories and prequels to series and franchises we know and love. Whether it is Better Call Saul spinning off from Breaking Bad, The Wind Through the Keyhole filling a gap between books in the Dark Tower series, or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them giving us background on the world of Harry Potter, it would seem we can’t get enough.

I’m personally fine with them, for the same reasons as many others: we get to spend more time in these worlds with these characters. What does sometimes bother me though is a side-story that seems to exist for its own sake. The importance of a prequel or side-story to me is that it adds something. Most the time the main series works as a cohesive story all on its own, so a side-story had best add something that expands my understanding of what was going on and who these characters were, or explore a detail in the world that was a smaller piece of the big picture.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Darth Vader (2015) Vol. 1

VaderCover

With the release of Star War: The Force Awakens has come a lot of new fiction to the Star Wars universe. Regrettably, this resulted in a lot of the old expanded universe fiction being relegated to “Legends” status in the canon, but I’ve seen it as an opportunity to get deeper into the now more manageable canon of expanded fiction. One such series that saw release in early 2015 was Darth Vader, an ongoing monthly series by Marvel Comics, written by Kieron Gillen with art by Salvador Larroca.Read More »