During yesterday’s 5K race, I was able to enjoy a few more chapters in Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. To be honest, I dislike this particular Expanded Universe character such that the storyline incited me to move along the course at a quicker pace. End result — I came in first in my age group.
Star Wars: Thrawn takes place after Revenge of the Sith and before Rogue One. The novel chronicles the rescue of the exiled Chiss leader by Imperial soldiers and his subsequent, and very swift rise to power. With his pragmatic approach to warfare, Thrawn relies on his intellect and his skill with military strategy to defend the Empire. Although he proves to be a valuable asset, his seductive and turncoat personality strikes the anger of his superiors.
One of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars storyline is the depth and breadth of the characters and how the franchise creatively introduces them and brings them to life. When we watch the feature films we learn about the Star Wars Universe, enjoy the adventures of the ever-growing number of characters, and how they interact to support the story. But it is through the Expanded Universe — the books, comic books, graphic novels, video games, and other media — that we gain an intimate knowledge of each character’s background and personal quest.
As I get ready to head out today for double-digit training miles in prep for my next race, I hope to finish the final chapters of Star Wars: Thrawn and consider something I read a few days ago about the question that plagues every Star Wars fan. The secret to Snoke’s true identity is right before our eyes.
Is Supreme Leader Snoke actually Thrawn?
In my last blog post on December 25, 2016, I said, “sometimes life strangles you with challenges you never in your dreams would expect to encounter.”
I love challenges. They keep boredom at bay and fuel my resolve. But Lord — it would be perfectly acceptable if sleep, or lack thereof, would not be part of your plan for me. Finding time for sleep seems to be my greatest challenge.
And here is the best aspect of my challenges. I have been offered more responsibility and projects in the workplace and have become more familiar with terms such as “procurement” and “guaranteed energy savings” and “HVAC setbacks.” I find it unreasonably intriguing.
Despite the life-encompassing challenges, reading is still a high priority, with many non-fiction titles being devoured, such as Call the Midwife, Hidden Figures, and Under the Tuscan Sun. Star Wars titles are also is high on the 2017 reading list with Rogue One and Aftermath: Empire’s End. Currently, I am reading Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, which follows the rise to power of one of the most ruthless and guileless villains in the Galactic Empire.
What of the 100 Half Project? It’s still on and I’m at crest the of reaching half marathon #85. But my promised goal to reach 100 half marathons in 2017 will linger into 2018 — and reality has forced me to borrow the infamous Jack Berger post-it note line. I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.
This week, I heard about two amazing book releases that were immediately added to my “want to read” list on Goodreads.
For Star Wars fans, a canon novel about Princess Leia Organa is due for release on May 3, 2016. New Republic: Bloodline takes place six years before The Force Awakens and describes Leia’s struggle against the First Order. It also will delve into Ben’s childhood, and how he was seduced by the Dark Side to rise as Kylo Ren. I’m intrigued, are you?
It’s a bit confusing at this point, but a new Harry Potter book will be released on July 31, 2016. J.K. Rowling was quick to clarify that the book is not a prequel, it is not a novel, but a script in book format. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part play that will open in London this summer and tells the story of the adult Harry Potter after the Great Battle of Hogwarts. We have another best seller on the way!
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post that offered my impression of Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. The novel was a complete shift in reading genres for me. But when I turned to the last page of the novel I found myself wanting more of the same. And then came the publication of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and one of the best reasons for self-inflicted sleep deprivation.
Written by Alan Dean Foster, the novelization of Episode VII in the Star Wars movie series fills in several holes left wide-open in the film by J. J. Abrams. I won’t divulge with annoying spoilers, but I will say that the novel reveals more about what Ren suspects about Rey—information that is also known by Snoke. As for the speculation about Snoke and his past, we know that he goes back before the rise of the Galactic Empire.
For pure reading entertainment and more answers to questions you may have about The Force Awakens film, I encourage you to read the book. Those prone to instant gratification can read this article from the Independent that reveals 16 questions answered by The Force Awakens novelization (definite spoilers ahead).
Next on my Star Wars reading list is A New Hope, also written by Alan Dean Foster as George Lucas’ ghost writer.
Let me preface this blog post by publicly stating that I am not a Star Wars geek. I am a committed fan, but when it comes to the significance of different light saber colors or what is the Kessel Run, I’m clueless. I just appreciate a good story.
Promoted as “what happened after Return of the Jedi,” Aftermath is the latest canon novel in the Star Wars story. It is the first of a planned trilogy that will explore the events leading to The Force Awakens.
First thoughts: Aftermath is chockablock with new characters and offers brief glimpses and mentions of a few favorite heroes from past Star Wars films. We learn that the Empire was not totally defeated at the Battle of Endor and is slowly regrouping beyond the galaxy, and we discover clues about the rise of the First Order. But the book leaves the reader with many questions. What was the true fate of Darth Vader’s light saber? We know that Han and Chewie are on a secret mission, but where and why? The Empire has one Super Star Destroyer left, which is seemingly under the command of Admiral Rae Sloane. But who is the mysterious fleet commander with the devious plan that is mentioned in the book’s epilogue?
Looking forward, Aftermath: Life Debt is due for release on May 31, 2016 and Aftermath: Empire’s End is vaguely listed for release in 2017. Novelist, screenwriter, and game designer Chuck Wendig is slated to write all three of the Aftermath novels. I’m getting anxious, so maybe, just maybe, I am a Star Wars geek.