Here at Common Novel, it's Star Wars week, baby. Yeah, I know--The Force Awakens came out a month ago. But, I don't even care. That movie was awesome and I'm still not over it, so I plan to use this week to celebrate all things Star Wars. Today, I'm talking about some of your Star Wars entertainment options, but later this week, I'll be bringing you some Star Wars treats and some casual Star Wars cosplay. So, without further ado, let's head on over to Mos Eisley Cantina and get this party started.
For most of my life, my complete lack of knowledge and opinions on Star Wars was a non-issue. No one cared. That is, no one cared until I started writing for major movie and gaming websites. Suddenly, everyone had strong opinions on Star Wars, and my secret shame was that I barely remembered watching the movies. And what I did remember (cheesy effects and stilted dialogue) didn't really endear me to the series.
But, when Disney announced it was bringing Star Wars back, I knew there was no more running. I had to educate myself on the series--not just to be a competent pop-culture conversationalist, but also to keep my jobs. To my extreme pleasure, I discovered the original trilogy was going to be retold in middle grade book form.
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love middle grade and young adult books. So, that's where I started. The MG retelling of A New Hope, entitled The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy, by Alexandra Bracken. Now I'd read Bracken's YA zombie series for one of my many book clubs, Darkest Minds, and was pretty into it, so I felt pretty good about the choice.
And, unsurprisingly, I loved it. I loved it so hard that I don't really have the words to describe my love for it. I told everybody about it. The thing that it does--the thing that I love most--is it tells the story from the three different characters points of view at the time when their story is the most interesting. So, instead of following Luke around on Tatooine while he complains and has problems, we follow Princess Leia as she withstands torture and tries to escape. Then we follow Han as he shoots first and flies the Millennium Falcon into the Death Star. Finally, we pick up with Luke right as they escape. It's masterfully done, with great pacing.
Post-reading it, I decided I was wrong about everything, and picked up the entire Star Wars series on blu-ray because I was officially obsessed. That time around, the movies felt fresh and exciting, and I was just so excited to see these characters that I already loved brought to life on screen.
Now, I didn't read the other two MG retellings (because I was busy watching all the movies before The Force Awakens), but they are an option for any Star Wars fan in your house, especially the younger ones. I also haven't gotten around to reading Claudia Gray's Lost Stars, which is a YA novel set in the Star Wars universe with all new characters, but Gray is one of the most interesting and enjoyable YA authors around right now, so I'm excited to get to it when I have some time. I've also heard great things about Chuck Wendig's Aftermath, which is the first canon novel set after the events of Episode VI.
And that's not all--there are comic books, side stories, tabletop games, and video games too. For much younger readers, my son (who is two) enjoys the Golden Book retellings of the movies. He's also into the Jeffrey Brown series, especially Goodnight Darth Vader.