Posted in Liked It, Sci-Fi Friday, Science Fiction, Space travel, Star Wars

Star Wars Lords of the Sith

Author:     Paul S. Kemp

Genre:       Science Fiction

Rating:     L


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. . . .
When the Emperor and his notorious apprentice, Darth Vader, find themselves stranded in the middle of insurgent action on an inhospitable planet, they must rely on each other, the Force, and their own ruthlessness to prevail.
“It appears things are as you suspected, Lord Vader. We are indeed hunted.”
Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight, is just a memory. Darth Vader, newly anointed Sith Lord, is ascendant. The Emperor’s chosen apprentice has swiftly proven his loyalty to the dark side. Still, the history of the Sith Order is one of duplicity, betrayal, and acolytes violently usurping their Masters—and the truest measure of Vader’s allegiance has yet to be taken. Until now.
On Ryloth, a planet crucial to the growing Empire as a source of slave labor and the narcotic known as “spice,” an aggressive resistance movement has arisen, led by Cham Syndulla, an idealistic freedom fighter, and Isval, a vengeful former slave. But Emperor Palpatine means to control the embattled world and its precious resources—by political power or firepower—and he will be neither intimidated nor denied. Accompanied by his merciless disciple, Darth Vader, he sets out on a rare personal mission to ensure his will is done.
For Syndulla and Isval, it’s the opportunity to strike at the very heart of the ruthless dictatorship sweeping the galaxy. And for the Emperor and Darth Vader, Ryloth becomes more than just a matter of putting down an insurrection: When an ambush sends them crashing to the planet’s surface, where inhospitable terrain and an army of resistance fighters await them, they will find their relationship tested as never before. With only their lightsabers, the dark side of the Force, and each other to depend on, the two Sith must decide if the brutal bond they share will make them victorious allies or lethal adversaries.

Bluestocking’s Opinion:  I have to say I was really impressed with the fact that Cham came pretty darned close to destroying Vader and the Empire.  If he had done a little more planning, well….

The most interesting thing about this book was the fact that it delved into the relationship of the Emperor and Darth Vader.  Something that has never been touched on in prior books is that Vader didn’t fully have the Emperor’s trust.  I believe that in the Star Wars Revenge of the Sith it was briefly alluded to that the Emperor wasn’t getting quite what he bargained for in Vader.  First, Vade was missing a lot of limbs by that point, and it was insinuated that this would limit how powerful he could become in the Force.  Second, Vader still had underlying guilt about killing his wife.  In this book, that intense guilt crops up a lot for Vader.  In fact a couple of times it becomes a somewhat deadly distraction.  It never occurred to me that Vader struggled to embrace the Dark Side, but you get to see that in this book.  I guess this is what Padme meant when she said that she knew there was still good in him.

I liked this book better than some of the other revisionist Star Wars books that they’ve been publishing.  

I still miss the extended universe though.  

Posted in Fantasy, Loved It, Young Adult

An Ember in the Ashes

Author:     Sabaa Tahir

Genre:       Fantasy

Rating:      L


Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Bluestocking’s Opinion: Wow!!!  I saw this book in Barnes & Noble, and I was very intrigued by the cover.  I got distracted by a couple of other books that came out, but I did eventually come back to read this one.  

This one had a bit of a slow start.  Don’t get me wrong, it started with a skirmish, I meant in terms of getting to the real conflict of the series.  For a long time, I kept wondering why this book was a fantasy, but eventually the author got into some of the mythical creatures.  By the end of the book, I was definitely hooked.  I can’t wait to see how this series is going to turn out.  I’m hoping that the fantasy elements will play a much bigger role in the next book; they should, particularly as this entire world’s history has been shaped by mythical creatures (though most don’t recognize this).  I have a sad feeling that the Martial Empire is going to learn far too late the consequences of taking knowledge/technology from creatures whom they have no hope of truly comprehending.  

I like the character’s Laia and Elias.  Obviously, they are going to end up together (this is a YA novel after all).  I found Elias to be a lot more interesting of the pair.  I think it is because he has had such a strange life- being abandoned by his mother and then subsequently being adopted byhis grandfather.  I’m really curious as to who his father is.  His mother mentions that Elias’ father failed to kill her.  This would suggest that he isn’t a pleasant man, but Elias’ mother is rather twisted so it is hard to know how credible she really is.  Elias’ mother is also rather interesting.  She exhibits such hatred for her own father, yet she appears to be having the family motto tattoed on her body. There’s a lot going on here.  

Anyway, my prediction for the series is that Laia and Elias will help the Scholar and Martials put aside their difference and work together to defeat their common enemy.  But we shall see.  

This is a great series to start this summer.