Darth Pony

Ruling the galaxy is so overrated.

Reading progress update: I've read 206 out of 356 pages.

The Ship Beyond Time - Heidi Heilig

I am really enjoying this book and the series as a whole, but OMG. How many nautical metaphors do you really need to cram into one paragraph?

 

. . . [tears] flooded in, too fast to bail.

. . . I shuddered like the ship in a storm.

. . . sobs struggled up through my chest like bubbles from a rift in the floor of the sea.

. . . I clung to her as though she were a raft.

. . . fragmented thoughts popped up like flotsam from a wreck.

 

And as a bonus, because in reading the three short non-nautical-themed sentences that close out the paragraph you might have forgotten the MC was raised on a sailing vessel, the first sentence of the next paragraph starts thusly:

 

Finally, the tide of my own tears ebbed

 

I don't know, people. I think Heilig could've crammed more in there. I mean, there were three whole sentences in the paragraph with no nautical metaphors. Maybe something about barnacles or lampreys or ocean currents or sea turtles. What do you think?

The Girl From Everywhere

The Girl From Everywhere - Heidi Heilig

This book has a lot going for it: good writing, flawed characters, an interesting and new-to-me twist on time travel (sort of), pirates, myths and legends, history, anarchy, existential crises, etc. If it hadn’t been so slow to get going (and if it hadn’t tried to sell me on a love triangle), it would have been near perfect.

 

My inner pedant demands I mention the numerous typos in this print version, but the author is such a human ray of sunshine that I almost feel bad for noticing them.

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return: Star Wars Part the Sixth

William Shakespeare's The Jedi Doth Return - Ian Doescher

—O knavery

Most vile, O trick of Empire’s basest wit.

A snare, a ruse, a ploy; and we the fools.

What great deception hath been plied today—

O rebels, do you hear? Fie, ‘tis a trap!

~Admiral Ackbar, Act IV, Scene 3

 

Yes, good Admiral, ‘tis a trap! I was lulled into a false sense of security by the general awesomeness of Star Wars meets Shakespeare and everything was going swimmingly—until I was forced to picture Harrison Ford as Han Solo singing a jubilant love song. A trap indeed! Minus half a star for that!*

 

*Not really for that. I just enjoyed this slightly less than The Empire Striketh Back and slightly more than Verily, A New Hope, so I rated accordingly.

William Shakespeare's The Empire Striketh Back: Star Wars Part the Fifth

William Shakespeare's the Empire Striketh Back - Ian Doescher

Nay, nay! Try thou not.

But do thou or do thou not,

For there is no “try.”

~Yoda, Act III, Scene 7

 

Apparently I was not the only one put off by the excessive use of the Chorus in Verily, A New Hope. Enough people complained that Doescher mentioned it in the acknowledgments of this book and talked about how the criticism shaped his narrative approach moving forward. The improvement is vast. Many thanks to my fellow complainers who came before me. The squeaky wheels really do get the grease sometimes!

 

I went into this with a little trepidation. Empire is my favorite film of the original trilogy and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stop my inner pedant from being hypercritical. Fortunately, Doescher hit his stride after tossing aside his chorus crutches and there wasn’t much fault to find in this one. What little faults there may be are insignificant next to the power of Yoda speaking some of my all-time favorite Star Wars quotes in haiku. That was about a million times more delightful than I thought it would be (and I thought it would be pretty damn delightful).

 

I’ll leave you with perhaps my favorite line of this play, which is not a line at all, but stage direction:

[Exit, pursued by a wampa

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope

William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope - Ian Doescher

Friends, rebels, starfighters, lend me your ears. ~Luke Skywalker, Act V, Scene 4

 

My friends, I have made a tactical error. I should have read these books in the order in which they were written (4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3) instead of chronological order. If I had, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the huge difference in quality between Part the Third and Verily, A New Hope. It was rather jarring, like descending a staircase and not realizing I had one step still left to go instead of level ground. It’s a bit clumsy in comparison to the prequel novels, with more noticeable errors and an over-reliance on the Chorus. It’s still rollicking good fun, but I feel like Doescher and Quirk Books hadn’t quite hit their stride when this was produced.

 

Learn from my folly! 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3. And then 7, which I think is out now. And eventually 8 and 9. And possibly 10, 11, and 12, but now we're getting way ahead of ourselves.

William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge: Star Wars Part the Third

William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge: Star Wars Part the Third - Ian Doescher

After three books, I am still stunned by how much more sense the Star Wars prequels make as Shakespearean plays. I would pay real money to see this whole series of adaptations acted onstage by classically trained thespians. Get on it, Disney, and make it snappy. I want to see Patrick Stewart in the cast list, and that blessed man isn’t getting any younger.

 

As with the previous book, I have to dock it half a star after once again finding myself wishing Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t quite so prolific. (I Like SLJ! I shouldn’t be feeling this way, Doescher, but you just didn’t know when to quit!) I can’t say for sure if SLJ’s movie titles appeared in the first book. If they did, it was done so smoothly I didn’t notice. Some movie titles must have been easier to work in than others, and unfortunately the more difficult ones were easy to recognize for what they were, even in cases where I’d never seen or heard of the movie. Did you know SLJ was in a movie called Trees Lounge? No? Me neither.

 

I almost added the half star back after the last scene, but not even the mental image of Vader shouting “Nay!” in James Earl Jones’s voice could make up for the massive distraction of the gratuitous SLJ movie title Easter egg hunt.

 

It is a pretty great mental image, though.

 

Nay, Padmé, nay! O, be not dead, my love! ~ Darth Vader, Act V, Scene 3

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh: Star Wars Part the Second

William Shakespeare's The Clone Army Attacketh: Star Wars Part the Second - Ian Doescher

I swear, these Shakespearean adaptations are ever so much better than the movies. I loved this one almost as much as Part the First, but I had to dock it half a star for Doescher violently shoehorning Samuel L. Jackson’s movie titles into Mace Windu’s dialog.

This produce is pulp; fiction is your plan. ~Mace Windu, Act V, Scene 1

I mean, really? -___-

William Shakespeare's The Phantom of Menace: Star Wars Part the First

William Shakespeare's Forsooth, the Phantom Menace: Star Wars Part the First - Ian Doescher

I love Star Wars. I like Shakespeare. I have no idea why I didn’t start reading these books sooner. I almost docked it a half star because Doescher didn’t grant my secret wish and play on the whole “Jar Jar Binks was really a Sith Lord” theory, but the route he chose to take with my least favorite Star Wars character ever was very Shakespearean, so I decided to forgive his oversight.

 

Besides, if I’m being honest, the full five stars were in the bag the moment R2-D2 started beeping in iambic pentameter.

 

Beep, meep, beep, squeak, beep, whistle, meep, meep, hoo!

~ R2-D2, Act I, Scene 5, Line 101

Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

Cuckoos are interesting birds. Several species of cuckoo engage in brood parasitism, meaning they drop their eggs in other birds’ nests so those other birds will raise their young for them. Does the title of Cuckoo Song seem a trifle more disturbing now? Good. The mood is set.

 

 

This book is strange and wonderful and creepy and delightful. It makes me wish I had a time machine so I could send a copy back to the ‘80s for ten-year-old me. While it’s meant for a Middle Grade audience, it’s got plenty of appeal for older readers. Early 1920’s England comes alive in the vivid prose. It might be premature to crown Frances Hardinge the Queen of Metaphor after reading one book, but I’d say she’s definitely in the running.

 

But this isn’t just a good, creepy, dark fairy tale. It’s a good, creepy, dark fairy tale with substance. It deals with issues of family love, loss, identity, and acceptance in kind of amazing ways. My hat’s off to Hardinge. This was a delicious book that I wanted to devour but just had to savor.

Star Wars Aftermath: Empire's End

Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

This is going to be short because I cannot bring myself to care anymore. The stakes were high. I didn’t care. People died. I didn’t care. People lived. I didn’t care. One of the reasons I freaking hate Wendig’s third person present tense writing style is that it makes me feel distanced from the characters and the action, like I’m reading stage direction for a play I've never seen. I still think he’s a decent storyteller, but he’s just not my cuppa. And I’m glad my favorite characters made it out. But even more than that, I’m glad it’s over with.

 

Please, Powers That Be, don’t let this man write more Star Wars novels. My lifelong Star Wars obsession will compel me to buy them and read them, and that will most definitely propel me further down the path of the Dark Side.

 

Nobody really wants that.

Reading progress update: I've read 346 out of 448 pages.

Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I've already stated (twice? three times? more?) how much I freaking hate Wendig's writing style. I guess I should have taken a break between Life Debt and Empire's End because it is reeeeeeaaaaaaaally irritating me now. Especially when I come across sloppy crap like this:

 

She feels the ship drift downward, drifting as it goes.

 

It DRIFTED while it was DRIFTING. The DRIFT was so DRIFTY he had to say it TWICE in the SAME SENTENCEYOU GUYS. THIS IS ME RIGHT NOW:

 

 

 

$1.14

I see there's been another ebook antitrust settlement. Time to bring out the Scrooge McDuck pic again! I got a whole $1.14. I've never been wealthy, so I hope this unexpected windfall doesn't go to my head and make me financially irresponsible. XD

 

Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I have neither the energy nor the desire to review this in depth. My feelings for this book are much the same as my feelings for Aftermath. I still freaking hate Wendig’s writing style. I still like some of his original characters, and I still think they feel awkwardly shoehorned into the galaxy far, far away. And I still think he’s a decent storyteller in spite of his style not being my cuppa, and I still think maybe I’d enjoy this series more if it had nothing to do with Star Wars and wasn't written in third person present tense.

 

The only new impression Life Debt gave me is that Mister Bones is basically becoming the Jar Jar Binks of refurbished murder droids. I don’t remember him annoying me this much in Aftermath.

Reading progress update: I've read 334 out of 432 pages.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

I was forewarned about the therapy Ewoks. Even so, I rolled my eyes so hard I think I strained something.

Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 432 pages.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

Aaaaaaaaaand the esteemed Admiral Ackbar just used the phrase "gone off the reservation". Really, Chuck? Really, Disney/Lucasfilm? Really, Penguin Random House? REALLY?

 

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 432 pages.

Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) - Chuck Wendig

Sloane takes the data pad but doesn't look at it. Instead, her eyes stare off at an unfixed point a thousand kilos away.

 

I've been living long enough in a country where metric is the standard and "kilo" generally refers to "kilogram" that this had me wondering exactly how far away 2200 pounds is.

 

Currently reading

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Progress: 206/356pages