Star Wars Without Nostalgia: Rogue One and Solo

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Rogue One and Solo were the last two movies left for me to watch before I dived into the shows and books. I initially intended to watch them much earlier (release order and all), but in the end, it made more sense to leave them for last – both because it made more sense to group them together separately from the sequels and because I wanted to watch The Rise of Skywalker as soon as possible to avoid spoilers.

As for the two movies themselves? I find them incredibly intersting to compare. So similar in so many ways, yet one was a riot and the other…not so much.

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December 2019 Monthly Wrap-Up

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December was an odd month. I hit a massive reading slump mid-November and that plus my mental health taking a sharp turn for the worse meant I didn’t exactly get to read much. I made no progress on any ARCs (sorry!) and there were more DNFs and disappointments than finished books.

But! I also discovered a new fandom: Star Wars. Thanks to all the criminally cute Baby Yoda gifs floating around, I gave The Mandalorian a try and I was immediately in love with everything about it. Ran out of episodes, decided to watch all the movies while I wait for the next. There’s nothing quite like the joy of getting into something new.

Hopefully, I will get the ability to read back sooner rather than later, but in the meanwhile, I hope nobody is too bothered by Star Wars squeeing…

2019 yearly wrap-up post to come soonish!

Books read:

  • Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames: I needed a lighter read, so I thought this would be a good fit, but it just didn’t do it for me. Not bad, just not my thing.
  • All Systems Red and Artificial Condition by Martha Wells: I didn’t like the first one very much, but it kinda grew on me by book 2. It’s an interesting character study, but very thin on plot or other characters except Murderbot. Also much more of a novel cut into 4 novellas than a novella series. I’ll continue the series since I can borrow them, but meeeh.
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (DNF 31%): Couldn’t do it. It was written in 2012 and it’s already very dated. The google worship and the very optimistic view on AI didn’t age well at all.
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (DNF 74%): After having it in my “currently reading” section for nearly a year, I realised finishing it is unlikely to happen. I stopped giving a shit about the story. I might pick it up again eventually, but…nah, let’s shelve it.
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold (reread): My third reread of this book this year. Yeah…
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (DNF 21%): Bored. Bored with the characters, bored with the setting, bored with the distant writing style. Decided to cut my losses and quit. Hopefully Starless Sea will be better.

Star Wars watched:

  • The Mandalorian: Basically perfection. Can be seen as either a space western about a badass bounty hunter without all the baggage westerns have…or a story of a criminally adorable green alien baby and the galaxy’s most wildly unprepared but devoted single dad. You choose 😛
  • The Originals (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi): Slightly clunky in places and some have aged worse than the others (side-eyes Empire Strikes Back), but still highly enjoyable space cheese with surprisingly good visual effects considering they are pre-CGI.
  • The Prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith): Found them to be exactly as awful as everyone else says they are. Revenge of the Sith was at least watchable, but I found The Phantom Menace irredeemably terrible and Attack of the Clones hilariously bad. Dodgy CGI, worse dialogue.
  • The Sequels (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi): Technically I only watched the first two in December, but I enjoyed both of them immensely. The Force Awakens was wonderful and fun, but The Last Jedi is my favourite of them all. Excellent character development.

Currently reading:

  • Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells: Somehow this one is more difficult than the rest. Hmm.
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire: Only just started. The prose is beautiful and the focus on alchemy intriguing. Let’s see where it ends up!

Books read this year: 72 (+ 19 rereads)
r/Fantasy Bingo Challenge progress: 20/25 (80%)

Star Wars Without Nostalgia: The Sequels

Since these movies are relatively new, spoilers will be covered up with white text inside square brackets: [spoiler] (highlight to reveal). If this method does not work for you – and it should on my blog – proceed with caution, as the post gets increasingly full of tags around the middle.

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There was one thing I knew about the sequels going in: they are wildly divisive. While the originals are mostly revered and the prequels mostly reviled, the reactions to the sequels run to both extremes and everything in between even among the reasonable fans. That made me doubly curious. I have “done my duty” in watching the rest of the movies, but my history with Star Wars doesn’t go back even a month. I had no expectations except a strong suspicion that the dialogue will be better and the CGI finally unnoticeable. All I had was hope.

Strap yourself in because this is going to be long. Really long.

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Star Wars Without Nostalgia: The Mandalorian

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Here it is, the show that turned my most stubbornly reluctant self into a massive Star Wars fan. Initially, I thought I’d give an episode a try out of curiosity, that I’d watch it for Baby Yoda. I was gloriously wrong. I fell in love with every single aspect of the show, from the titular Mandalorian, to the world, the soundtrack, other characters, and I fell in love hard. I fell in love with it as I fell in love with The Gray House, the obsessive, all-consuming, dorky passion that’s as intense as it is rare. It made me happy in a time when I needed it the most.

I have talked about it some in the intro already, but I really did not want to go into it too much until it was finished and I have watched all the episodes, just in case it fucked up in the later episodes. Which I’m glad to say it did not! After the last episode, I can comfortably say this is my favourite show, and generally one of my favourite pieces of media ever.

Continue reading “Star Wars Without Nostalgia: The Mandalorian”

Star Wars Without Nostalgia: The Prequels

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I’ve heard a lot about the prequels. Mostly negative, mostly that I should avoid the first one at any cost. But as I said in my intro post, I want the full experience. Skipping would not do. I went in forewarned, armed with a bucketload of popcorn, and ready for anything. However bad a trainwreck, it had to be done. And I was curious – will I hate them as much as everyone else, or will my opinion be unexpectedly positive?

I don’t think that I’m going to say anything particularly new – which is hard to do with movies as well known as these anyway – but I hope the reviews will at least be entertaining and result in good discussion.

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Star Wars Without Nostalgia: Intro and the Original Trilogy

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My blog hasn’t been very active for a while and there’s a very simple reason for that: I’ve been binge-watching Star Wars instead of reading. For the first time.

Because yes, despite being a lifelong, massive SFF nerd, I had somehow never watched Star Wars before. This is not surprising: I live in a hole when it comes to pop culture. If you ask me about anything, the likely answer will be “nope, haven’t seen it” – I watch like one movie a year, my TV watching habits are limited to cooking shows and documentaries, and I didn’t watch The Lord of the Rings until 2010 either. As for Star Wars…I have simply never been interested. The toxicity I saw online around the release of The Last Jedi did not help either. And besides, there’s no movie you have to watch or book you have to read without which you can’t consider yourself a SFF fan, so there might have been some (misplaced) hipsterish pride involved too.

My usual disinterest lasted about until I saw my first Baby Yoda gif. I got more and more intrigued. I sought out The Mandalorian. And I found myself, unexpectedly, completely obsessed. I wanted more of the world, what the hell do you do after binging all the available episodes within a day and you need more but there won’t be more until a week later?

You start binging the movies, of course.

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Review: The Hanged Man by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #2)

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ARC received in exchange for an honest review. Additionally, this review includes no spoilers for The Last Sun.

After finishing, I had precisely one word: Wow. That’s it. That’s the review. Pack up, go home, we’re done.

More seriously, if the first book was pretty good, this one makes me want to read everything the author puts out. The pacing is good, but the characters are perfect and it gave me all of the feels. It’s a perfect blend of action-y and character-focused and offers something for just about everyone. Me, for one, included!

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