Wednesday, May 4, 2016

STAR WARS: Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away Vol. 1: ALIENS by Landry Q. Walker - Paul's REVIEW (UPDATED)

Title: Star Wars: Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away Vol.1: Aliens
Author: Landry Q. Walker

Recent Release Date: April 5, 2016

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Synopsis: The worlds of Star Wars are full of countless alien species, each stranger and more fascinating than the last. Here you'll find six stories for kids about just some of the amazing aliens who appear in the smash-hit movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Featuring a dashing tale of piracy and double crosses, the story of a wise Jakku constable and an unfortunate droid, and a mystery that can be solved only by the gruff cook at Maz Kanata's castle, this collection will bring thrills and chills as it takes you deep into the corners of your favorite galaxy far, far away. . . .

Review: Four of the novellas featured in this book were released in digital form prior to The Force Awakens coming out. I read all those novellas then and absolutely loved them. It added to my viewings of The Force Awakens to know stories about a few of the background characters. I've always loved the Star Wars background characters. I have the action figures to prove it!

Below are my reviews of each of the stories in this collection. The two new stories are listed first, A Recipe for Death and True Love. I highly recommend this book! I give the overall book a 5/5! Since it says Volume 1 on the cover, I'm hoping for more. I'd love to see more Star Wars written by Landry Q. Walker. 



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Title: A Recipe for Death

Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: When his sous chef turns up dead, the cook at Maz Kanata's castle holds an unusual competition to find the culprit.

Review: This story takes place in the kitchen of Maz Kanata's wonderfully quirky castle. The sous chef is dead and the head chef has been framed. An investigation takes place in the form of a cook-off. It's like a cooking reality tv show meets murder mystery. Like many of Landyr's stories, this story is both playful and dark. There are plenty of wonderful details that make sure you know this story takes place in the Star Wars universe. I want to see what a Mon Calamari/Quarren hybrid looks like! I give this story a 5/5.



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Title: True Love

Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: The repugnant scrap trader Unkar Plutt may finally have met his match.

Review: Unkar Plutt gets a message from a dating service. I liked to see modern uses of technology shown in the Star Wars universe that was created before the Internet was a household thing. I enjoyed learning more about the junker and seeing Jakku, but this was probably my least favorite of the stories in this collection.I give this story a 4/5

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Title: 
The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku

Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: Every pirate in the sector is after the lost treasure of Count Dooku! Will Captain Ithano and his crew beat his rivals to the prize?

Review: This was my favorite of these  short stories. Ever since I first saw the Crimson Corsair in the Vanity Fair spread, I thought he looked cool. I wanted to know more about him. This story follows him and his crew in a race across a desert planet against other pirates searching for a lost treasure. Captain Sidon Ithano, as he is also known, is an awesome character. There's a toy coming out of him and his first mate that I think will be one of the few The Force Awakens figures I actually buy. 

This story has it all. Like a lot of the new canon, it takes inspiration from all the Star Wars films and tv shows. It even starts with a Hondo quote! Fans of The Clone Wars tv series MUST read this! 

I found myself using wookiepedia to get accurate ideas of what the characters looked like. The Ortolan pirate known as One-Eye is such a cool image. 

The chapters are very small, which made it very easy to read. This story is full of adventure as well as comedy. I love when Star Wars stories make allusions to classic lines and such in creative ways. I never had a bad feeling about this book while I was reading it.

I give this short story a 5/5. I want more! I am so much more intrigued by the character of the Crimson Corsair. I want to follow his crew on many more adventures. I really hope Walker gets to continue writing their stories.




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Title: 
High Noon on Jakku

Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: A renegade droid causes problems for Constable Zuvio on Jakku.

Review: I have not yet seen The Force Awakens, but from promotional material it seems like Constable Zuvio is the character most featured in the film out of these four stories. In this story he is the good guy, keeping the law in order. I'm interested to see what his role will be in the film. 

This short story is a great introduction to Jakku. It sets up how the planet works and the minimal law enforcement that is present. 

The design of Constable Zuvio is really cool and I've seen the action figure, but I didn't realize him and his cousins are members of an already existing Star Wars specis. They are Kyuzo, which is the same species as Embo the bounty hunter from The Clone Wars

This is a crime story with a bit of heist. I really enjoyed the way it played out. I give it a 5/5.




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Title: 
The Face of Evil
Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: A notorious thief learns to be careful what she wishes for on Takodana.

Review: With this story, we get our first look inside the castle of Maz Kanata on Takodana. There is an Edgar Allan Poe feel. It is a dark and stormy night. There's something in the basement. There's also a Frankenstein-like feel to the science. 

When I first saw the fluffy yellow creatures featured in this story, I thought they were ridiculous even for Star Wars. But, I like their characterization. I want to explore Maz Kanata's castle more. 

I give this short story a 5/5. It is a fun and creepy read. 



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Title: 
All Creatures Great and Small
Author: Landry Q. Walker

Synopsis: A storyteller uses his captivating skills to calm frightened villagers on Jakku.

Review: This was the first creature we were introduced to in the Force for Change promotional video. And again, at Comic-Con. In this story we get to meet this unusual storyteller.

I like how uncertainty and believing in the implausible is at the heart of this story. Although it does get kind of outrageous. I'd be interested to learn more about how he is aware of such details. 

The story told within this short story is a tale of the unsung heroes of Yavin who aided in the destruction of the Death Star. 

This story was fun and interesting. It's a story that makes you wonder about stories. I give it a 5/5.



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--PAUL

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