Review: Star Wars: LOST STARS Manga Vol 3 #StarWars #Review #Writing #Fantasy

The conclusion of the thrilling manga adaptation of Claudia Gray’s Star Wars Lost Stars novel! What does destiny have in store for Thane and Ciena?

  • Series: Star Wars Lost Stars (manga) (3) (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (November 12, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1975358678
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975358679
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches

 

Okay, you all know my love of Star Wars and how rarely I do book reviews. Let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of the Lost Stars story. I did a review of it previously which can be read here, and the second volume of the Manga, which you can read here…

Though I did not do a review of the first Lost Stars Manga Volume, I will admit that I loved it. The story stayed true to the original novel, the art was well done, and for a fairly cheap price, it was a good buy and a good read… for the most part. The second volume wasn’t quite as good as the first. It was shorter and skipped quite a bit of the book. So how does the third measure up? Well… Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

Setting:
As with the novel, this part of the story picks up right as everything is geared up for the Battle of Endor. Key places include various Star Destroyers, the Endor, Naboo, and the Battle of Jakku.
Cienna is a low-born farmer from a fairly backwards area on the planet, while Thane is considered more of a noble birth from the same world. They’re not meant to get along, like each other, or even speak. Yet crossing their classes isn’t the only obstacle these two have to overcome. In the third volume, we delve into Thane leaving the Empire and joining the Rebellion while Cienna feels compelled by loyalty and her duty to keep her family safe, to stay with the Empire.
As the Empire continues to lose ground, their losses show in Cienna’s injuries and her lifelessness. She grows skinny, her eyes are shaded and her lips chapped. This whole time, Thane believes her to be dead.

What I liked:
Honestly, this story really goes a lot more into Cienna’s feelings toward the Empire, it covers her descent into nothingness and we get to visually see the toll her duty takes on her. By the end of the book, she’s emotionally drained, thin, badly scarred, on life support, exhausted, and no longer wanting to live. This is incredibly powerful.
The anime style is very well done, just as well as the previous books.

What I didn’t like:
My complaint here is not much different from the ones in the other books. This is pretty much an abbreviated version of the novel. The idea that a picture is worth a thousand words just doesn’t hold true here. The Battles of Endor and Jakku, two events that were major plot points in the book are barely glossed over here. We really don’t even SEE the Battle of Jakku in this volume as the story is focused on the bridge of the Inflictor.
Another powerful scene where Thane get’s sick and is counselled by an officer that later turns out to be Mon Mothma, one of my favorite scenes, is cut out completely.
Whoever edited this book’s story boards to turn it into a graphic novel didn’t do a very good job. You immediately jump from Cienna getting promoted to right when the Star Destroyer get’s boarded and Thane shows up to take Cienna off the ship. Literally there is no transition to tell you that you’re now seeing the Battle of Jakku… which I suppose makes sense as you really don’t even see it.

Story:
I went over the story in the last review, so I’ll spare you. I included the links above if you’re interested.


2.5/5 Stars
It really kind of hurts me to give it such a low review. Don’t get me wrong, the illustrations are incredibly well done, the story is gripping and getting some more detail into the characters was a nice treat…
Sadly, the book is shorter than the other two volumes and noticeably shorter than the first one. It cuts out key points, character developments, and the transitions from scene to scene are almost non-existent to the point where you’re confused as to what’s going on. The manga seems to assume that everyone’s already read the book and that should not the case. These should be standalone for new readers to be drawn in.
Is this worth reading? Hell yes, but before touching this series, I’d recommend reading the book first for full context, otherwise you’ll be introduced to Lost Stars via a muddled mess.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

As I’ve said before… if you thought TLJ was the worst Star Wars ever put out, watch this, learn why you’re wrong, then come back and let’s talk.

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!! LMAO!!!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

The Death Of Star Wars: “Toxic” Fandom and Drama #StarWars #LucasFilm #Fans #TheMandalorian

Full disclaimer, I do not believe that all Star Wars fans are toxic, not by half. So please actually read my article before you get all hot under the collar one way or another. If you disagree with me, let’s talk about it in the comments. 

Okay, I know I’m treading on rather sensitive grounds here, but this is something I really think I need to go over. As of late, there has been a lot of mudslinging back and forth between Entertainment News Media, Hollywood, and the fan base of Star Wars. Though admittedly my blog has a limited readership, I wanted to do my part to try to tackle each of these and create a point of order… or some semblance of sanity. 

First thing I want to tackle, is Star Wars dead? I’ve actually heard some people out there, including independent journalist Tim Pool say that Star Wars was dead the moment The Last Jedi hit the theater. A lot of people stated that the more they saw it, the worse it got… and honestly, that’s fair criticism. Upon seeing the backlash to it, I wrote a post defending the Last Jedi. I stand by what I said at that point, though even I have to admit that each time I watch it, it really does get worse and worse. Perhaps another bad sign that it wasn’t good was when I left the theater, my wife asked me if I liked it, my response was ‘I don’t know’. That has NEVER happened. I loved Episode 1 so much that I went and bought all the action figures when I left the theater… and they’re pretty much worthless now. I still defend the prequel trilogy because I don’t think it was as bad as everyone said and has a lot of good elements that adds to the Star Wars mythos.

For The Last Jedi, okay… I’ll come out and say it. It was bad.

HOWEVER, if you think The Last Jedi was the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars, go watch The Holiday Special, Caravan of Courage, or the Battle for Endor, realize why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me.

A close acquaintance of mine once said that once Disney purchased Star Wars, we’d all be begging for Lucas to come back within a few years. I’m honestly not sure that’s true. Let’s take a look at what Disney has put out individually…

The Force Awakens: AWESOME! Yes, somewhat of a retread of ANH, but there was enough new stuff to keep us interested and IT FELT LIKE STAR WARS!!!

Rogue One: A gritty look at the Rebellion’s behind the scenes activities. It was gutsy and had the best space battle since Endor. It was action packed, and kept me on the edge of my seat.

Rebels: I have to admit… I love this show. Like… I REALLY love this show. it had a few problems and… God help us, it brought continuity-killing time travel themes into Star Wars, but it handled them well (so far), brought back fan favorite Ahsoka Tano, introduced inquisitors, and brought Malachor from KOTOR 2 into the fold.

The Last Jedi: This… yeah, was a horrible HORRIBLE mess. However, one issue I take with the criticism was the concept of fuel… um… fuel has been around in the Star Wars universe for a while. In ANH we see them fueling the fighters, and in TPM, they literally say “There’s not enough fuel to reach Coruscant”! That’s the whole reaon they had to set down on Tatooine.

Solo: Had some problems and no one asked for it, and yes… I don’t like who they cast as Solo, but the movie itself was pretty good. It was a somewhat dark, but lighthearted heist movie. For what it was, it was pretty good.

The Mandalorian: SO FAR, it’s been awesome!

So, there you go. One truly bad movie. That’s it, that’s all we have to complain about here. The jury is still out on The Rise of Skywalker, and granted we’ve heard that there have been production trouble… but the movie isn’t even out yet. This movie could be a make or break for Star Wars as everything comes down to how it ends, but we still have to wait and see.

So let’s move onto the second topic, toxic fandom… Are Star Wars fans truly toxic as a whole? NO! Absolutely not! Star Wars fans are really the most loyal fanbase there is. These were the people who kept the hype going even during the dark ages of 1983-1991 when there was close to nothing coming out for the franchise and kids like me, who were born after the movies came out, had to rely on their older cousins and siblings to get their hands on the merch. It is a very diverse group of fans ranging all ages, cultures, ethnicity, and backgrounds.

I will admit that some fans consider Star Wars sacred and I can understand that. My intro to Star Wars comes before I was even born! My mother saw Return of the Jedi in theater while pregnant with me! Apparently I was very excited during the whole thing. So I can understand why Star Wars fans get so vocal about their disdain when something bad comes out.

Now, does that mean that some fans don’t take things too far or are not worthy of the label ‘toxic’? No…

The toxicity has been on full display with the treatment of people like Kelly Marie Tran and Jake Lloyd. It is sad commentary on what they’ve had to deal with. On top of that, we get people who are saying that the whole franchise is dead because of one movie, or are refusing to watch the good movies/shows because the franchise is dead, or just seem to be unable to please. This is part of the reason so many directors have refused to tackle Star Wars.

That being said, they are hardly the majority or even a vast percentage. These days, for some reason, Hollywood has gone head-first into the political realm… and not just politics, but deeply divisive, arguably radical one-sided politics. As a result, they seem to have become part of the twitteratti and entered into a bubble where everyone who doesn’t like the direction they go is… seemingly akin to Adolf Hitler himself. As such, when people criticize their movies, those people are labelled as haters and toxic. This is propaganda and nothing more. I think in many cases, this meme sums up the problem pretty well…

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So if you want to make the argument that Hollywood is complicit in creating this whole ‘toxic’ fanbase problem, I’m right there with you. This also lends credence to my argument that politics can ruin a story if that is the focus. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I try to keep things apolitical with the exception of two areas; children, because I love kids and have long advocated for their welfare… something that should be universal, and escapism, because I feel like it’s so important and politics has invaded almost every facet of our lives, making it near impossible to escape.

So in summation… Star Wars is not dead and Hollywood is as toxic as they claim the majority of the fan base is. People… it’s just a creative universe. I know we all love it, but it’s not worth getting this worked up over. If you loved the original movies and the clone wars series… they’re still there, you can go watch them and enjoy. The books from the original Expanded Universe are still being published, as are the comics! Star Wars is awesome, go enjoy the literal universe of material!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Review: Star Wars: LOST STARS Manga Vol 2 #StarWars #Review #Writing #Fantasy

 

The conclusion of the thrilling manga adaptation of Claudia Gray’s Star Wars Lost Stars novel! What does destiny have in store for Thane and Ciena?

  • Series: Star Wars Lost Stars (manga) (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Yen Press (September 3, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1975327543
  • ISBN-13: 978-1975327545
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches

 

Okay, you all know my love of Star Wars and how rarely I do book reviews. Let me preface this by saying that I am a fan of the Lost Stars story. I did a review of it previously which can be read here.

Though I did not do a review of the first Lost Stars Manga Volume, I will admit that I loved it. The story stayed true to the original novel, the art was well done, and for a fairly cheap price, it was a good buy and a good read… for the most part. Let’s get into the nitty gritty, shall we?

Setting:
As with the novel, the story takes place before, during, and after the events of the Trilogy. Key places include Jelucan, the Death Star, the Executor, Hoth, and the cruiser Liberty.
Cienna is a farmer from a fairly backwards area on the planet, while Thane is considered more of a noble birth from the same world.

What I liked:
It follow the story very closely, though I felt the characters’ affection for each other a lot more in this as you could actually see the emotion on their faces. Artist Yusaku Komiyama does an amazing job capturing facial features and emotions. One striking thing I did notice about the characters is that, while the images on StarWars.com and Wookiepiedia paint Ciena as closer to African American, the Manga… at least around her eyes and hair to an extent, make her look more like she originated in the Indian area on Earth. That’s my opinion anyway, but the shape of her eyes kind of match those that I’ve seen in both Indian/Arabian Cartoon characters.

What I didn’t like:
We don’t really spend a whole lot of time in various locations. I wish we got to explore some of them a little more, though to Lost Stars’ credit, in the first Volume, we did actually get to see the destruction of Alderaan from the perspective of people on the surface, which was an interesting touch.

Story:
Again, as with the Novel, the story revolves around two new Characters; Thane and Cienna. It surrounds their friendship and surrounds their thoughts on events from the original trilogy and how it affects them. They’re both assigned to posts either on or near the Death Star and when it’s destroyed, they both fear for each other’s safety. The story appears to be a round about   Romeo and Juliet style story where one character (Thane) becomes disillusioned with the Empire and joins the Rebellion, where Cienna is honor-bound by her oath to remain with the Empire. Eventually, they do have to come head to head, on more than one occasion, which makes the story even more interesting.

What I liked:
Here we see how Cienna has to decide what is more important to her; the Empire or Thane. We see her struggle with the conundrum and eventually chooses him. Though she says this will be the only time, we see her do it again in another instance where she could have killed him or turned him in.

What I didn’t like:
The Manga, especially Volume 2 suffers from the same problems as the main novel. Arguably worse so. The story jumps pretty quickly from the Death Star to Hoth with little breathing room or character development. What’s worse, it’s all over the place. The first volume deals with the Battle of Hoth while the second volume cuts it out. The editing and placement of these scenes seem somewhat sloppy and hard to follow. Again, places and events that should not be passed over, are either barely mentioned or not acknowledged at all.

Characters:

(See the book review, not much to add here)

My Overall Assessment:
3/5 Stars
I’ve waited months for this volume to come out and honestly… was somewhat disappointed. It was painfully short compared to the first one, and what’s worse, I find out that it’s a three-part story, which means I have to wait another month (hopefully no longer) for the next segment. I enjoyed it, I loved the artwork, and of course the story is great, but I can’t overlook the shortfalls of this book. Even so, I still recommend it to everyone. It is a great read for those who love anime and/or Star Wars.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Book review: Drakin, the story of Raiya

Awesome review by a wonderful reader! Thank you!

Tomas, the wandering dreamer

After two Sci-Fi books (Jurrasic Park and Resist), I got to read a book that is some kind of a mix of Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Another step into the unknown for me – and one that worked for me.

View original post 368 more words

Unpopular Opinion: Incredibles 2 wasn’t worth the wait. (Spoiler Free)

Yeah… this was a major let down.

torch-and-pitchfork.jpg

Oh, bring it on!

I went to see it with my family the other night at a drive-in. My kids loved the original and watch it ad nauseam.  I admit it’s a fun movie and definitely an entertaining take on Superheroes.

I actually got a laugh out of Samuel L. Jackson’s character when he’s arguing with his wife…

“It’s for the greater good!”
“I am your wife, I’m the greatest GOOD you’ll ever get!”

(No matter how many times I hear that, it still gets a laugh.)

So the movie takes place seemingly immediately after the first movie… despite 14 years passing. When the screen lit up and the cast appears on the screen to pathetically apologize for taking so long to make a sequel, I admit that was funny. It set the stage for what should have been a good movie.

What came after was… underwhelming. The story was a fairly run-of-the-mill paint by numbers superhero story. The “Surprise” bad guy that Disney seems to try to unleash on their audience lately has become so predictable… I had to resist the urge to point at the screen and be like, (okay, okay, ONE small spoiler! Skip to the next paragraph.) “Yeah, she’s the bad guy.”

It’s not that it was a bad movie, it just didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not helping matters though, was the voice acting…

Some of it was fine, as usual, Samuel L Jackson was his normal self and did a good job, but the rest of the cast sounded tired and out of it… except for one character, who arguably was even worse than that…

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This character is being portrayed by a 49-year-old woman… and it really shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against older actors playing younger roles… as long as they can pull it off. At no point did I believe that was the voice of a teenager. She actually sounded older than Elastagirl, which was kind of cringy, to say the least.

All in all, I didn’t enjoy this movie at all. It’s fun for little kids, I suppose, but it really doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table. Save your money and rent it when it comes out.

Readers, what did you think? Was Incredibles 2 good? Do you want to see it? What did you like about it if so? Let me know down in the comments.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Rose Tico: A Strong Female Protagonist?

This is something I’ve gone back and forth about publishing for a while… given everything that’s been going on between the creators of the new Star Wars series and the fandom.

This is a fight no one wins, so I don’t get involved.

That being said, there is a lot of buzz around Kelly Marie Tran and her character, Rose Tico.

First of all, I want to address what’s been going on recently. What’s been happening to Tran is, IMHO no different than what happened to Jake Llyod. It is not right, and it is not cool. No one should have to suffer that kind of negative blowback from a character they played.

Keep in mind, these actors do what they can with the roles their given. How they act and the lines they deliver are rarely of their own choosing. Harassing them is absolutely unacceptable and doesn’t do anything for the cause if such a thing exists.

All right, on topic. Anyone who’s read my review of The Last Jedi or Rogue One knows that I love the franchise and I’ve been… extremely charitable in my judging of these movies and have even gone so far as to defend many of the points of contention that fans have. I have not seen Solo yet, but I likely will be this weekend.

So… I welcome everyone’s input on this one… but I would like some feedback especially from my female followers/fans.

Since TLJ came out… the media has been singing praises for Rose Tico…

“in The Last Jedi, Rose Tico takes none of your fake sh*t.”
“It’s fun to see women on the big screen who continue to step up over and over again, proving just how strong they are.”
-SyFyWire

“Tran is also aware of the pressure of playing a strong Asian female role-model.”
-Huffington Post

“Her self-belief is as strong as her moral code of conduct.”
-Washington Post

“From the moment we were introduced to the character of Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, we knew we had met a strong woman we could root for.”
-Ohmy.Disney.com

Reading these reviews of Tico… I can’t help but feel like I was watching a different movie from the ones these editorialists watched.

When I saw Tico, she struck me as a bit of a ditsy, obsessive, fangirl. She makes assumptions and acts without thinking, or in Fin’s case, without even considering that he may have a reason for his action. She seemed to have a bit of an inferiority complex when it came to her sister’s heroic sacrifice… Her motivations are horribly muddled, and her actions, at least in my opinion, do not fall into the description of ‘strong’.

I often find her being complimented for saving Fin’s life from… what they often describe as a pointless martyr complex at the end of the movie, but her actions come insanely close to sealing the fate of the remainder of the Resistance. She sacrificed everyone else to save the guy she loved… how is that strong and not even considered a bit selfish?

So… this is where I need the feedback. I write a lot of female characters. The fan favorites seem to be Raiya and Mary Jane, though General Xaphan has also gotten a few compliments.

When I write a character, be it male or female, and I want to make them strong, what I look for is a character that fits at least MOST of these attributes;

Independent, yet not averse to the idea of relying on another person if the need arises.

Prideful and confident: You pretty much need at least one of these to be strong.

Driven and determined: They have their goals and their own agendas that may or may not be in line with the overall narrative.

Opinionated. They have their own vices, but aren’t afraid to face them.

Can function as a leader, but is also willing to listen to others when needed.

Can show emotion such as fragility or even just a soft side, even if resistant at first.

Is strong both emotionally and physically to some extent.

Has a reasoning for their situation and their worldview, even if it doesn’t make much sense to others.

Their existence is not predicated on the existence of another character.

I saw very little of any of this from Rose Tico’s character at all. If anything, she was the antithesis to many of these. Like I said, she seemed like an obsessive fangirl half the time, clingy, emotional, and selfish the rest of it. Her motivations were a bit skewed, especially when it came to saving Fin, and her entire backstory served no purpose other than ramming blatant social commentary down the audience’s throat. Ask yourself… would anything have been lost had Tico and the entire Canto Bight sidequest been cut in favor of watching Rey train with Luke and Fin and Poe fighting the Empire in space?

So I am genuinely curious… is Rose Tico an example of a strong female lead? Is she someone we want our girls to look up to? Am I way off on my assessment of what makes a strong character? Is Rose Tico the way you want strong women portrayed?

Let me know in the comments. I’m genuinely curious here.

 



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim