Thursday, September 21, 2023

Review: From a Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi

From a Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi (From a Certain Point of View, #3)From a Certain Point of View: Return of the Jedi by Saladin Ahmed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed these stories so much. They add such context and flavor to the Star Wars world. That said, this one was not as good as the first two. Some of the stories were a bit of stretch in terms of their connection to the movie. So many involved the same trope of a flashback that was not related to the movie itself. And I thought there were some stories that were missing: namely a story about Captain Rex and how he ended up on the Endor mission. A Hera story would have be good too.

Still, there were some great stories that enrich the movie, the story, and the Star Wars world. Some of the stories were quite sad, e.g. The Ballad of Nanta. Others were funny or just plain weird. The sarlacc story was both of those. The Max Rebo story was not one of my favorites but I liked how the story itself had a rhythm. "Brotherhood" was poignant. The Sidious story was chilling. One of my favorites was "The Key to Remembering" about one of Jabba's droids. The idea that sentience was connected to memory was quite interesting (and points out of the leitmotifs of Star Wars: memory of the past and hope for the future).

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Review: The Wanted

The Wanted (Elvis Cole, #17; Joe Pike, #6)The Wanted by Robert Crais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not my favorite Cole/Pike novel, but it was fast-paced and entertaining.

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Monday, September 04, 2023

Review: All the Pretty Horses

All the Pretty Horses (The Border Trilogy, #1)All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my final assessment, I am glad I read this book. I didn’t love it; but it did grow on me. The language has a haunting beauty to it and there are some fascinating moments and provoking conversations. But I found the first 30 pages or so confusing and meandering. McCarthy is somewhat careless with pronoun antecedents so it was hard to follow who was saying what to whom. The story didn’t feel like it was going anywhere in particular; just two young guys riding down to Mexico for adventure. But once they get settled into Mexico, it picks up and gets more interesting. The Great-Aunt is a wonderful character and some of the best moments of the book are between her and Grady. Many of the lines one sees quoted from the book come from their conversations: “between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”

The plot doesn’t really have much of through-line and there’s almost no plot-theme to speak of. Worse, there is the occasional deus ex machina when things start to bog down. Other than Grady and the aunt, the characters and their motivations are somewhat thin.

The book is worth reading though I think it is over-hyped. It is not the greatest American novel nor do I think it is innovative or ambitious as some critics claim. It’s a bit more violent and pensive than a Zane Grey or Louis L’Amour, but otherwise not all that different.

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