Category Archives: Book Reviews

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills

Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills by Greg Rucka

Synopsis:
On the desert world of Jedha, in the Holy City, friends Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the hills, who looked after the Kyber Temple and the devoted pilgrims who worshiped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. Then a man named Saw Gerrera arrives, with a militia of his own and grand plans to take down the Empire. It seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha live better lives. But will it come at too great a cost?

Review:
Author Greg Rucka has written several backstories of characters from the recent Star Wars film. Baze and Chirrut are introduced in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. And now we get a backstory focusing solely on these fascinating characters. This story begins with Baze and Chirrut already dealing with the Empire invading their world. When Saw asks for their help in rebelling against the Empire, the two friends must weigh their distrust of Saw versus the evil the Empire is causing.

This is a quick, fast-paced read for Star Wars fans of all ages. There is plenty of suspense, intrigue, and drama packed in this fun adventure. I only wish we could see even further back in these characters lives – such as when they first meet. Where this picks up, Baze and Chirrut are pretty much the same rough and jaded men they are in the film and have the same, brotherly camaraderie. I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting adventure, and hope to see much more of these fantastic characters.

Spotlight: Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book

Marvel: Guardians of the Galaxy 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book

Dot-to-dot artist Thomas Pavitte has developed a book of 20 complex dot-to-dot puzzles with at least 1,000 dots for each image. This time, the theme is Guardians of the Galaxy!

Guardians Dot to Dot

There is a sample page to get you started.

Guardians Dot to Dot

Each page is color-coded in groups of 100. The numbers are very small, but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly easy to follow. If your eyesight is good enough to see some of the more faded numbers!

Guardians Dot to Dot
Guardians Dot to Dot

Here’s a partial and completed page that features Star-Lord!

Guardians Dot to Dot

And Gamora

Guardians Dot to Dot

And Rocket!
I love these images… Each one has been a lot of fun to complete. These dot-to-dot books are for those who love puzzles and mindless fun. I usually work on them while “watching” tv. Each takes more than an hour to complete usually. And I’d recommend for teens and up, because of difficulty and length of time to completion.

Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Templars Volume 1: Black Cross & Volume 2: Cross of War

Assassin’s Creed: Templars Volume 1: Black Cross

Synopsis:
In 1927, Darius Gift, young, handsome, terribly entitled, is given his first mission for the ancient Templar Order, and the chance to clear his tarnished family name. All doesn’t quite go to plan when he arrives in Shanghai, however, and his inexperience jeopardizes the whole operation. Thankfully, he isn’t the only Templar new to the city, as the enigmatic Black Cross is stalking the shadows… and saving Darius from failure! Collecting the first arc of the brand new explosive Templars series, from the world of Assassin’s Creed, Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero offer a new perspective on the century-spanning feud between the Assassin Brotherhood and the Templar Order!

Assassin’s Creed: Templars Volume 2: Cross of War

Synopsis:
In the dungeons of Tripoli, a man will have his fortunes changed forever as he becomes an agent of honor for the legendary Templar Order. The introduction of the second character ever to be officially called the Black Cross, defender of the Templar Order ideals.

Review:
This series focuses mainly on the Templar’s and the mysterious Black Cross character. Volume 1 is a very exciting story, with some great plot twists. In 1927, the son of a disgraced Templar tries to save his family name with a mission in Shanghai. But his incompetence is soon apparent, when the Black Cross steps in to save the day. I wasn’t a big fan of the artwork and coloring. It was dark and rigid, and wasn’t easy to depict some of the characters.

Volume 2 introduces an older man who agrees to look back in his ancestor’s memories for the Templars. This story arc has a nice balance of both time periods – both with thrilling storylines. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And I enjoyed the artwork more. I do wish the character of Black Cross was fleshed out more, more of his purpose and duty. The person is supposed to be shrouded in mystery, which I understand. The series doesn’t lack for action and suspense. I look forward to more in this promising comic line.

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Rebel Rising

Star Wars: Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

Synopsis:
When Jyn Erso was five years old, her mother was murdered and her father taken from her to serve the Empire. But despite the loss of her parents she is not completely alone-Saw Gerrera, a man willing to go to any extremes necessary in order to resist Imperial tyranny, takes her in as his own, and gives her not only a home but all the abilities and resources she needs to become rebel herself.

Jyn dedicates herself to the cause-and the man. But fighting alongside Saw and his people brings with it danger and the question of just how far Jyn is willing to go as one of Saw’s soldiers. When she faces an unthinkable betrayal that shatters her world, Jyn will have to pull the pieces of herself back together and figure out what she truly believes in… and who she can really trust.

Review:
In the film Rogue One, there’s a big gap from when Jyn’s a child and rescued by Saw to when she’s rescued from the Imperial prison. Rebel Rising fills in those missing years.

Jyn is just a young girl when she goes to live with Saw. With Saw, she learns skills beneficial to subverting the Empire. And Saw trusts no one, especially with the truth of who Jyn’s father is. Through the years, Saw become more of an extremist. And after a horrifying massacre, Jyn flees a planet and finds herself alone for the first time. This coming-of-age story is action-packed yet heartfelt. There is plenty of adventure, intrigue, drama, and even a bit of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed Jyn’s story from beginning to end, when she chooses to join the rebellion in an inspiring finale.

Graphic Novel Review: Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth)

Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth)

Synopsis:
The team of Rucka and artist Nicola Scott weave the definitive and shocking tale of Diana’s first year as Earth’s protector. Paradise has been breached, Ares stirs, and the Amazons must answer with a champion of their own…one who is willing to sacrifice her home amongst her sisters to save a world she has never seen. Wonder Woman’s journey begins in this epic origin story!

Review:
Even though this is volume 2, this is another origin story for Wonder Woman. Not much new here, but a fresh story once she actually gets to modern day America. There is a mysterious group of terrorists who leads to a familiar foe. And I enjoyed the new characters that befriend Diana. Steve’s story is pretty similar with a bit of a heart-breaking twist. And it was pretty funny that during each action scene, he manages to lose his shirt. The artwork was great, with vibrant colors. And I really like Wonder Woman’s modernized costume. I look forward to the next in this series reboot.

Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: LOCUS

Assassin’s Creed: Last Descendants: LOCUS

Synopsis:
Tommy Greyling has traveled to London in search of a murderer – and a secret. Teaming up with the Assassins Evie Frye and Henry Green, he sets out on a quest to uncover the mystery that has changed the world.

Review:
LOCUS ties in to the young adult The Last Descendants mini-series from Scholastic by Matthew J. Kirby. This story focuses solely on the Templar’s investigation, using young Sean to get the details about Tommy Greyling a Pinkerton agent in Victorian London.

This standalone story is a fast-paced and exciting story for fans of the series. It’s not absolutely necessary to have read the Last Descendants series (books 1 and 2 are out now) to get to know the modern day characters, as the story focuses mostly on the Victorian quest. But I’m really enjoying the series, so I highly recommend it to teens and older. They are quick and easy reads with a great twist. And this graphic novel installment is another exciting story and some fun interactions with a historical figure.

SciFi Book Review: Stargate SG-1: Exile

Stargate SG-1: Exile by Sally Malcolm and Laura Harper

Synopsis:
The long road home… Reeling from the shocking revelation at the end of STARGATE SG-1: Hostile Ground, Colonel O’Neill’s team continues its quest to find a way home. But as SG-1 comes to terms with new circumstances, they find themselves divided. With tensions mounting, the team undertakes a dangerous rescue mission on behalf of their new allies – and O’Neill makes a decision that will threaten the future of his team. Meanwhile, fleeing the Goa’uld attack, Dr. Janet Fraiser negotiates a treacherous path as she and the other refugees struggle to survive on a barren new world. But she soon discovers that the most dangerous enemies of all are those who lie within…

Review:
Exile is the second book in the Apocalypse series. The SG-1 team is stuck in a post-apocalyptic future, while Dr Fraiser struggles to save as many as she can while being undercut by those who are only out for themselves. The novel is told in parallel stories set in the two time periods. The writing is excellent, as the characters are spot on as well as an impressively complex storyline. There are several great plot twists that lead to big revelations in the other time period. It has been a while since I read the previous book in the series, but I was able to jump right in and follow along. The Goa’uld, Wraith, and even traitors from within makes for a thrilling adventure. I look forward to the next in this exciting saga.

Graphic Novel Review: Assassin’s Creed: Volume 2 – Setting Sun



Assassin’s Creed: Assassins Volume 2 – Setting Sun

Synopsis:
Charlotte De La Cruz is in way over her head. With the realization that she is now deep in trouble with the Templars, her only hope is to unravel the mystery of what they want from her… and to do that she needs the Animus. Diving into the memories of her Inca ancestor, Quila, she is desperate for a clue, a link, anything that might point towards a little more… knowledge.

Review:
Charlotte and her Assassin colleagues, Galina and Kody, are on the run in Mexico, as she investigates her ancestor for clues to the present day. Her ancestor is an a young Inca woman who gets involved in a large conspiracy. The story jumps back and forth from modern day to the ancient Inca Empire. Quila’s story is fascinating and thrilling, set in the impressive, ancient empire.

What I love about these Assassin’s Creed stories is the dual layer of mystery and intrigue. What we learn from the past affects the present day’s adventure. The characters in this series of comics are new – Charlotte having the main focus. I would love to see more of Galina and Kody fleshed out. I highly recommend this exciting, fast-paced series to fans of the saga. I’m not a gamer, but I love the books, comics, and movie. It’s a rich world of possible stories, blending historic fiction and science fiction.