Book Review: The Perfect Weapon by Delilah S. Dawson

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Delilah S. Dawson’s The Perfect Weapon is an e-novella starring blink-and-you’ll-miss-her Bazine Netal from The Force Awakens. You’ll remember Bazine as the Harley Quinn-esque bounty hunter who made the call to the First Order on seeing Han Solo & co arriving at Maz Kanata’s bar. And while her screen time was limited, it was enough to make this a character fans wanted to see more of.

The Perfect Weapon fills in the blanks with this enigmatic character, sending her on a mission requiring her to revisit the ghosts of her past. In many ways, Bazine mirrors those Harley Quinn tropes, a deadly assassin with more empathy than you’d expect, but Dawson also does a great job creating a fully-rounded character in her own right as opposed to just “the best bits” from other franchises. The story is fun, a modern noir combining the smoky jazz feel of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and the mischief of Christa Faust’s Angel Dare series for Hard Case Crime, the seedy outer rim our playground for the most part. And the writing is excellent – sharp, witty and engaging making for a super-fast and rewarding read.

The Perfect Weapon succeeds brilliantly in developing the character of Bazine Netal, hopefully in preparation for her appearance in future movies. I could see her becoming the new Boba Fett of the franchise, playing more of a pivotal role as the story of Rey & co progresses. Either way, if this is anything to go by, further Bazine novels/ novellas would be very welcome.

BUY THE PERFECT WEAPON: AMAZON UK/ AMAZON US

 

Book Review: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

ahsoka-cover-06-17-final-758x1024A longtime favourite of the Star Wars universe, Ahsoka Tano first appeared in the animation, Clone Wars, before joining the cast of Rebels in Season 2. This book is set between those two series: although once a Jedi, and Padawan of one Anakin Skywalker no less, when we meet Ahsoka here, she is neither. She is but a fugitive, operating on her own, trying to stay one step ahead of the Empire following the lethal Order 66.

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Book Review: Cities Of The Dead by Sion Smith

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I’ve never read any Jack Kerouac but if I did, I imagine it might be a bit like Sion Smith’s CITIES OF THE DEAD. Beat Poetry, to me, sounds like a sort of noirish slam on regular poetry and that’s kind of what’s going on in this book. It’s like hard-boiled travel writing. Like the author, Sion Smith, has captured the true feelings of the various cities he visits – their hopes and fears and dirty secrets – and he’s telling us about it in a language we can all understand.

It’s like that bloke, Jonathan Pie, who does the satire news reader thing, you know the one. He’s on Youtube and he’ll deliver the news like it’s usually delivered and then it cuts to his ‘off camera’ rant where he tells you what he really thinks. CITIES is like that, in a way: the bits of the travel guide that Smith put together after hours in his dimly lit hotel room – banged out on an old typewriter, cigarette dangling from his lips.

It’s primarily historical figures Smith’s interested in with the cities he visits – dead people – but always from a completely fresh angle, again digging deeper than what’s in your average guide. And then there’s the living characters he meets along the way – damaged people who seem, at least to me, somewhat dead themselves, ghostly and ethereal in their interactions.

CITIES OF THE DEAD is the elegant, accessible and emotionally engaging story of a man on a different type of journey. And it’s one which the reader can feel part of, too. So, grab your hat and climb on board – it’s going to be a rocky ride but, trust me, well worth it in the end.

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Book Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

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I’ve always been tempted by the Star Wars tie-in novels or Extended Universe, as it is known by fans. I even dipped my toe into the water, trying one of the X-Wing novels but, to be honest, while there was nothing at all wrong with the writing, I felt the story required you to have at least some knowledge of the many, many books and comics and games and whatever else that had gone before it. So while Disney’s decision to reboot the EU, rendering its back catalogue as ‘legends’ and releasing its own slew of canonical novels, was understandably met with derision by many fans, it was an opportunity for people like me to reconnect.  And reconnect I have.

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