Reviews

Film Review: Ninja Scroll
Reviews / 13th February 2017

I am not a huge follower of Japanese cinema and in particular I am not a huge follower of Manga. However, whenever I have watched examples of Manga film, I have very much enjoyed it. I watched Ninja Scroll for the first time a few nights ago and was blown away by it – the film had striking visuals, engaging characters, an intriguing story and the right balance of thought and action. Why I chose to watch it? I had heard great things about this film in the past and decided to give it a try as I am trying to broaden my horizons with the films I enjoy. Plot The plot was centered around the central protagonist, Jubei, and his journey with a female lead and damsel-in-distress-turned-heroine of the story, Kagero. A group known as the Devils of Kimon are the antagonists of this story and in video-game-like fashion become progressively more challenging for the heroes of the story to overcome. Although Ninja Scroll is strictly a fantasy story, it is set in Feudal Japan and the story is largely political – the Devils of Kimon are attempting to overthrow the government and are planning to purchase weapons from Spain in…

Book Review: Star Wars – Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel)
Reviews / 4th February 2017

An excellent prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which bridges the gap between the Clone Wars era and Galactic Civil War era in a convincing and satisfying way. Why I chose to read it? I chose to read this novel hoping that it would add some new insights into any future experience of rewatching Rogue One while also proving to be a very interesting story in its own right. Plot The plot for Rogue One was excellent and aside from shedding new light on the wider Star Wars canon immediately before and during the Galactic Civil War era, it also was an engaging, immersive and enjoyable story in its own right. I think this was evident in the writing style which while not explaining the Star Wars universe for us, presented it in a way which could be engaging for readers who may not be passionate fans of the franchise while not explaining it all thoroughly. Most of the key points in the back story were implied, rather than explicitly stated which I believe worked best. Characters I loved how this novel showed us a backstory on the relationship between Krennic and Galen, and how Galen’s work had…

Book Review: Star Wars – Tarkin
Reviews / 5th May 2016

An excellent addition to the new Star Wars canon, and a great exploration of the previously mostly untouched backstory of one of the franchise’s most loved villains, Wilhuff Tarkin. Why I chose to read it? I love Star Wars novels when they are done well as they add greater depth to an already vast narrative universe and can even give me greater enjoyment in watching the films as I watch them again with the characters backstories as established in the novels in mind. Again, I feel this is the case when the novels are written well and realistically expand on the characters and events as this book does so very well. Plot The plot follows Tarkin’s career some years after the Clone Wars and shortly before the events of the Galactic Civil War (the original trilogy time period) and ends with his promotion to Grand Moff. We are also provided with interesting flashbacks to his years as a younger man living on his home planet of Eriadu. Alongside this is a subplot following a small group who we assume to be a part of the early Rebel Alliance or at least a group with sympathies for their cause, although the…

Books Review: Star Wars – Aftermath
Reviews / 27th February 2016

Chuck Wendig’s sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy is, in my opinion, nothing short of a masterpiece. Why I chose to read it? I read this book shortly before the release of The Force Awakens as I was hoping that it may give a glimpse as to what we could expect in the film and provide some clues as to the content. Also, as Disney had officially disbanded the pre-Disney era Star Wars expanded universe as canon and decided to reboot the expanded universe (releasing any preexisting stories under the non-canonical ‘Legends’ label), I was curious to see how they would write a Star Wars novel. I was very pleasantly surprised. Plot It takes place immediately following the events of The Return of the Jedi, starting exactly at the point where the film ended. The story follows a series of characters and their individual stories in a way that begin as separate narratives that ultimately tie together in a way that is very subtle and naturalistic. One thing which I loved about this book was its realistic portrayal of the delicate political landscape that would have arisen after the fall of the Empire as a result of the power…

Book Review: Star Wars – Scoundrels
Reviews / 14th March 2015

I am a huge Star Wars fan and have enjoyed many of the books in the franchise as well as the films. Zahn’s earlier Thrawn trilogy was brilliant, imaginative and captivating while remaining true to the characters and believable as a sequel to the original film trilogy. As Zahn’s earlier work was so well written and captivating, I was expecting this book to be equally great. I was hugely disappointed. I gave up reading the book about three quarter’s of the way through, which is very rare for me (I can only think of two other books that I have not bothered to finish through sheer boredom before). I will more often give a bad book a chance, hoping the end will somehow redeem it. But in this case, I just could not bring myself to finish it. What was wrong with it? I hear you ask. Well, firstly many of the characters are poorly presented and did not attract any real interest from me as a reader. Even Han, Chewie and Lando, who were all favourites of mine from the films, were presented in such a bland manner that it was near impossible for me to have sustained interest…

Book Review: Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
Reviews / 13th September 2014

Introduction to the book This book answers the question: what if Star Wars were written four-hundred years ago by one of the English language’s most famous playwrites, William Shakespeare? I very much enjoyed this book as I was expecting I would before I read it. In this book review I will explain why I firmly believe this book to be an excellent piece of work and beyond merely being a parody of Star Wars and Shakespeare. Why I chose to read it? I chose to try this book as I am a huge Star Wars fan and also a literature enthusiast and writer myself. So this book seemed very interesting to me and I was also expecting a few laughs from it. Essentially I was curious as to how Star Wars by Shakespeare could be presented. Plot As we would expect at the very least, the plot is exactly the same as the first Star Wars film (A New Hope). In fact the story told in Verily, A New Hope is a scene-by-scene retelling of the film with only the use of language in the dialogue changed to Elizabethan English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation (see below: Writing style). Characters The…