Sunday, March 27, 2016

Read, You Must: Rey's Story

Thanks to a fantastic performance by actress Daisy Ridley in The Force Awakens, Rey has quickly become a favourite new character to many fans. It’s easy to see why: she’s awesome!

Now Rey fans can enjoy reading Star Wars: The Force Awakens Rey’s Story, a new middle-grade chapter book from author Elizabeth Schaefer, available in paperback from Disney-Lucasfilm Press. It’s a brisk, 140-page take on The Force Awakens and a fun, exciting way to relive many of the main scenes of the film. The book is literally only Rey’s story from the film. 

The narrator follows Rey along on her adventure from scavenging the desert of Jakku to meeting BB-8, Finn, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Maz Kanata and then Kylo Ren and eventually even a very famous Jedi in hiding...

That means, however, that there’s barely any mention of Poe Dameron, General Hux, Captain Phasma or Supreme Leader Snoke. I didn’t realize that Rey never or barely encounters so many key characters in the movie until reading this book!

The story unfolds as though the author is there side-by-side watching Rey’s journey, but no more privy to her deeper thoughts than the other characters. Most likely there were many restrictions placed on the author because Rey is a character with such a secretive past, hopefully to be revealed in future Star Wars movies.

Then again, even Kylo Ren couldn’t get inside her mind either!

Elizabeth Schaefer’s writing is never needlessly complicated but offers vocabulary appropriately challenging to confident young readers. The book also contains many terrific Brian Rood illustrations, as does the cover.

Put aside any expectations that this will answer all the big questions about Rey from the movie and just enjoy a well-written, fast-paced version of Rey’s Story from The Force Awakens.

Publisher’s Recommendation: Ages 8-12

Also check out: Before the Awakening, a middle-grade collection of three short stories, one of which focuses entirely on Rey. Read our review here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Read, You Must: Star Wars Original Trilogy Graphic Novel!

Most Star Wars books are great so it’s hard to review so many of them without being repetitive. I love books and I love Star Wars, so putting them together usually results in something special. Sometimes the books are even fantastic. Occasionally though, a book comes out that really should be on EVERY Star Wars fans’ wish-list. A “must-have”.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel is a must-have book! It is wonderful.

Star Wars: The Original Trilogy – A Graphic Novel from Disney-Lucasfilm Press is a faithful adaptation of Episodes 4, 5 & 6 (aka The Original Trilogy) into comic form bound in one amazing 208 pg. hardcover collection. It is as suitable for younger Star Wars fans as the movies themselves but offers plenty to enjoy at any age. There have been many books that retell the story of the films “for a new generation” but this one really stands out.

Past comic and novel adaptations of the films have usually been released around the same time as their corresponding movie, so to get them out on time they have been created based on early versions of the scripts. This usually results in scenes not in the movie, key moments missing and overall minor differences in the dialogue throughout. This kind of thing really bothered me as kid; “That’s not what Luke said!” “That’s not in the movie!” I’d say.

In this case thankfully the creators felt no need to change the script as we know it from the classic movies. I could easily hear the characters and famous lines in my mind as I read along. A few minor scenes were left out of these books but what is here is Star Wars greatness!

The new treat here the amazing artwork. This graphic novel is very modern in its style, presenting Star Wars in a way that would be very appealing to kids who read the popular Bone or Amulet series’ or enjoy shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Some of the panels look like they’re from a Star Wars 2-D animated show or movie, which would be amazing to see! There hasn’t been much Star Wars 2-D animation since the original Star Wars: Clone Wars “micro-series” from 2003-2005. This book makes me wish there was much more!

Words like beautiful, exciting, and absolutely cool are the words that best describe the artwork, created by a very talented team. If you know the story (if you’re reading this you likely do) then you already know how awesome THAT is!

Still not convinced? At a very reasonable price of $19.99 or less, this retelling of Episodes 4 - 6 belongs in EVERY Star Wars fan collection

Even better – the final page promises more of these graphic novels coming for Episodes 1 – 3, The Force Awakens and beyond. Yes, please!

(Publisher's Recommendation: Ages 8+ )

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