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

A Reaction to Midnight’s Edge Star Wars Video #MidnightsEdge #StarWars #D23 #Opinion

 

Okay, first of all, I’m usually a fan of Midnight’s Edge. They seem to have a strong finger on the pulse of not only the fans, but also the movie/tv productions as well. I will admit that they often take a rather pessimistic stance. I do enjoy their round tables especially, but in this case… I really feel the need to speak on this, given my own views on Star Wars and the trailers.

First of all, full disclosure… I love Star Wars. I will defend it day and night. So with that, I want to go back and rehash a few things I have previously…

  1. The prequels were not bad movies. They had their problems, I’ll admit, but keep in mind, they opened the door to the rest of the galaxy, which we had never seen. In the original trilogy, all we ever saw were large military vessels and far-off outposts. We saw junked ships being forced back into service and the scum and villainy of the galaxy. However, we never actually saw what they were fighting for. We never saw civilization, we never saw what the galaxy was like, and we never really understood how the Empire took control in the first place. The prequels answered that for us. On top of that, they were beautiful-looking movies.
    That doesn’t mean everything was good. Jar Jar was terrible, and yes the acting from the kids was hokey, let’s also not forget that George Lucas… isn’t the director he once was.
    I liked Episode 1, I found Episode 2 to be boring, Episode 3 however… I would put that with the original trilogy. It was dark, it was gritty, and I loved it. The movie delved a lot more into the Sith, it really worked through the mythos of the dark side, and it worked very well.
  2. The original trilogy is not perfect. This is especially true about a New Hope. The dated 70s acting takes you out of it a bit, the plot has holes, and it has some problems around what the original movie was meant to be vs. what it became. Originally, this was a rather expensive Flash Gordon rehash that was rewritten by Lucas’s wife, among others. In some places, that still shows. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing movie, but let’s not pretend it’s some pillar of perfection. It’s flawed, but what’s good about it far outweighs what’s not. Thankfully a lot of this was fixed come Empire, though Return of the Jedi went back ever so slightly, but as a series, these were solid movies.
  3. Anyone who’s saying that The Last Jedi killed Star Wars for them… HAS NOT BEEN PAYING ATTENTION! As far as I’m concerned, Disney has made one bad movie so far and that’s it.  Lucas did far worse. Don’t agree? Go watch the Holiday Special and then watch the Ewok Adventures, see why you’re wrong, then come back and talk to me. Disney made one bad movie, Lucas made four and a bad TV series (again, Ewoks). Yet I don’t recall people running this fast from Star Wars back then. Solo, despite being a box office disappointment, was good for what it was. I loved Rogue One, and despite being somewhat of a rehash, I really loved The Force Awakens. It felt like Star Wars again. Not to mention the Rebels series which was awesome itself and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
  4. Which brings me to my final point, the criticisms of the Force Awakens, Solo, and Rogue One were unfounded. The Force Awakens felt like Star Wars. It was a slight retelling, but there was enough really good in the movie that kept me coming back for more. It was just different enough for me to want more.
    Rogue One showed a new side to the rebellion. It showed it’s leadership and organization in greater detail, and it had arguably the best space battle since Return of the Jedi. I was on the edge of my seat and loved every moment of it.
    Solo’s failure was a rebellion by the fan base. Everyone who eventually saw it said that it was a good movie, despite being something that people didn’t really ask for or want. It was actually good for what it was.

Okay, with that out of the way, I understand the hatred of The Last Jedi. This whole trend of attempting to subvert expectations has proven disastrous almost every time it’s been used. I understand not catering to the fans, but intentionally attempting to go in the other direction is arguably worse.

TLJ get’s worse every time I see it. They assassinated Poe’s character, Luke has been killed off in more ways than one, and honestly… it feels like very little was accomplished. I had close to no reaction to the movie after seeing it in the theater. In fact, when my wife asked me what I thought, my answer was simply, ‘I don’t know.’

Even leaving Episode 2, I said I really liked it, and at the time, I meant it. Looking back now, it was the weakest of the prequels, but still not that bad. I really wanted to like the Last Jedi, I thought we were really going to dig into the Jedi mythos and finally get into some of the stuff that the Expanded Universe has fleshed out. What we got instead was a prolonged chase movie and too much that simply either didn’t make sense or made me not like that movie.

However, for people to say that this killed Star Wars? I’m sorry, no. The magic is not gone. The original trilogy, the Clone Wars cartoons, Rebels, et al, they’re still around. They’re fine, they’re okay, they’re safe to watch! If they weren’t ruined by the Holiday Special which is worse than The Last Jedi, they aren’t ruined now.

So what about this new footage? Did it do anything for me? Actually, yes. I’m concerned about the Action figure controversy surrounding the poster… that is a bit off, but the actual footage was amazing! The fight on the Death Star fragments? The old school ships? Emperor freaken Palpatine!? Sign me up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m cautiously optimistic, but I do have hopes for this movie. This could be make or break for the series… and given that my opinion of The Force Awakens is positive… I’m actually looking forward to see more of JJ’s work here.

Let’s stay positive people, Star Wars is not dead, it has not been damaged, let’s just see where this goes!

But let’s open this up. Readers, what do you think? Am I right on, way off? Do you agree with Midnight’s Edge? Let me know in the comments and we’ll keep the conversation going!

 



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

New Star Wars Trailer!

Won’t say anything! Just watch!!!!

 



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Darth Vader, Shards of the Past

Wanted to share this as I am a HUGE fan of the Star Wars Theory Channel! They do amazing stuff on there and are really high-level storytellers in their own right!



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

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

Star Wars Rebels, is that it???

 

 

[Spoilers Ahead, Ye Be Warned]

So the 45 minute series finale is over. We’ve seen where everyone ended up and how events unfolded. The Rebels successfully freed Lothal. The only fates that are not known are Admiral Thrawn, Ezra Bridger, and Sabine Wren.

So now that the rest of the Ghosts are off doing there own thing, what happens to Ezra and Sabine? Is Thrawn still out there wreaking havoc? What’s next for the Ghosts?

Really, this finale wrapped things up, but left so many strings open.

Lothal gets saved by the rebels, who then get help from the… Space Whales? I don’t know, I don’t remember their names.

So Hera was pregnant all along and we didn’t know. Fair enough.

Agent Callous was forgiven his crimes and happy to see that he didn’t wipe out Zeb’s people and was accepted by them.

The Ghosts fought at the Battle of Endor. Awesome! Wish we could have seen that from their perspective!

So what’s left? Well… Ezra and Thrawn went into hyperspace and we never saw them die. Sabine believes he’s still alive and at the end, Ahsoka shows up in… what looks like some kind of Monk’s outfit, and takes Sabine to find Ezra.

That’s where the show ends…

What the hell??? Any thoughts on what’s next??



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Ahsoka Tano proves JJ and Kathleen Have No Clue What They’re Talking About…

“‘Their problem isn’t Star Wars, their problem is being threatened…  Star Wars’ is a big galaxy, and you can sort of find almost anything you want to in ‘Star Wars,’…If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’ You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [‘Star Wars: A New Hope’] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.”

 

Okay, okay, there’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get started. There have been a lot of criticisms levied at J.J. for his comments in regards to fans being threatened by women. Both sides are right and both sides are wrong.

SOME Star Wars fans have been awful.

I’m not kidding, many people have lobbed a ton of hate at Admiral Holdo and Rose Tico. Now I personally don’t have an issue with this, I personally can’t stand Rose. That being said, lobbing horribly racist and sexist statements at the actor is not going to solve anything for anyone and basically empowers a victim narrative and emboldens a lot of the wrong people to continue pushing their narrative.

I’ve found a lot of sites saying that J.J. is basically saying that ‘everyone who hates the Last Jedi, has a problem with women. I didn’t get that from his commentary at all. I feel like he was talking about the people who actually do feel that, and yes they’re out there.

However, right now… it seems J.J. is pulling a bit of a Paul Feig. Those people that I mentioned above are a very small minority and the fact that J.J. is taking the time to call them out, kind of paints the narrative that he’s basically dismissing the majority of the criticism as sexism and that’s not really fair.

Yes, people can’t stand Rose Tico, she’s basically the Jar Jar Binks of the new trilogy. Yes, people (myself not included) think Admiral Holdo is basically a feminist portrayal. However, that is not the majority of criticism. I’ll address that more below…

Now onto Kathleen Kennedy. I don’t know what she’s talking about. I knew girls growing up who loved Han Solo, some dressed like him for Halloween. Others did dress as Princess Leia and… one did a surprisingly good Mon Mothma Costume. However, the girls that liked Star Wars didn’t just gravitate to Princess Leia.
The problem for Kathleen is that she seems to have convinced herself that people are not going to live characters that are not ‘like them’. We’ve seen this proven false many times over. (Go to Comic-Con and see how many girls dress up as Loki. Nuff said.) I agree with Kathleen when she says that it’s her job to tell a story, that’s fine. Tell a story, and if you want to push a narrative, fine push a narrative. However, do it in a way that doesn’t bring the damn story to a screeching halt. The Last Jedi would have been perfectly fine had the Canto scenes been cut.

So by now you’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with my chosen title and image. Well…

A few nights ago, Ahsoka Tano reappeared in Star Wars Rebels and it is now known that she survived her fight with Vader and was a major part of this episode.

The internet EXPLODED!

Article upon article came out talking about the return of the ‘beloved’ and ‘fan favorite’ character. Now, what do Ahsoka, Admiral Holdo, and Rose Tico, have in common? They’re all female.

So how does this punch a hole in what J.J. and Kathleen are saying? Well in J.J.’s case, it shows that the majority of Star Wars fans do not have a problem with women and are not threatened by them. Given how many Star Wars fans are boys, this also punches a hole in Kathleen’s theory too as the majority love Ahsoka.

So what’s the issue then? Honestly… the issue is extremely poor writing. It seems like everyone was so preoccupied with driving its narrative forward, that they didn’t stop and look to see if their characters were any good or if they were written well.

There’s nothing wrong with writing strong female characters. Nothing at all, I write strong female characters… or I try to. The problem is that these characters have little backstory, little in the way of motivation, and very little in the way of likeability.  Give us a reason to like Rose, actually make her strong instead of an annoying fan girl. Surprise us by having her do something amazing in the next movie and you’ll bring the fans back behind her. You can’t really do the same with Admiral Holdo… but I really didn’t have an issue with her.

So, sorry JJ and Kathleen, you can paint whatever picture you want with a broad brush, but you’re not going to get the great Star Wars of the past as long as you keep this up. If that’s even your goal. If you’re hoping that the crowd which Marvel seems to pander to will save you, they won’t. Most of them aren’t into these types of movies anyway.

But that’s my two cents, what do all my readers think?



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

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim