Book Review: Moving Target (A Princess Leia Adventure)

Moving Target

Details:

Title: Star Wars: Moving Target (A Princess Leia Adventure)

Author: Cecil Castellucci, Jason Fry

Illustrator: Phil Noto

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press

Release Date: September 4th 2015

Genre: Space Opera, Action, Adventure, Middle Reader

Pages: 231

Synopsis:

Reeling from their disastrous defeat on Hoth, the heroic freedom fighters of the REBEL ALLIANCE have scattered throughout space, pursued by the agents of the sinister GALACTIC EMPIRE.

One rebel task force protects PRINCESS LEIA, bearing her in secrecy from star to star. As the last survivor of Alderaan’s House of Organa, Leia is a symbol of freedom, hunted by the Empire she has opposed for so long.

The struggle against Imperial tyranny has claimed many rebel lives. As the Empire closes in, Leia resolves to make a sacrifice of her own, lest the cause of freedom be extinguished from the galaxy….

My First Thoughts:

I needed a simple book to read while collecting myself between exams. I was stuck between rereading an old favorite and reading from a favorite universe of mine. I had already read a Princess Leia adventure earlier in the year, it was a comic set right after A New Hope, and I absolutely loved it! I had this Princess Leia adventure for a few months and decided that it was the perfect length and focused on my favorite character of the series, so I decided that it would be the perfect book to help me relax between exams.

Story Breakdown:

This Princess Leia adventure is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The story is about a single mission that Leia and a small team of Rebels undertake to help set up the major events in Return of the Jedi. It also helps show character development for Princess Leia, especially how she handles duty, and comes to the decision to help save Han. There are also some tid-bits for the newest movie, Force Awakens, which will introduce you to Commander Leia and a few of the other characters.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

This story was absolutely perfect for relieving my stress during finals week! The plot was very straight forward and the language was simple enough to keep me from getting lost when my brain was too tired from studying. I will admit that so much happened in so few pages that I would have liked for the book to be longer, at times some events seemed a little rushed, but I felt like the story as a whole didn’t suffer as much from that. This book did a pretty fantastic job with the world building for the planets that Leia and company travelled too, especially for a short book like this. The authors placed in enough detail to really paint the different planets in your mind and to describe the various peoples that lived on them. The authors also did a really good job of showing the characters develop through the story and bond as their mission unfolds.

I think what I loved most about this story was the depth that it added to Princess Leia’s character. I have always loved her, ever since I was a little girl, but I always felt like some parts were missing. Don’t get me wrong, she is by far my favorite character in the entire series and she wasn’t lacking a lot, but there were some small things that I felt were missing. Just like the last Princess Leia adventure that I read, this one really added in some of the minor details that I never knew that I was looking for. This story really shows Leia’s dedication to the Rebellion and to her duty to the cause, but it also shows how she grows to understand the duty that she neglected to herself. As Leia travels across the galaxy with her small team of misfit rebels, she learns some things about herself and the love that she has for Han, ultimately showing you her decision to go save him.

As a little surprise, this novel will show you sides to characters in the Rebellion that only appeared for a few minutes but had a large impact on the fans. Readers will also get to see just how the Rebels discuss and plan their next course of action, the things they take into consideration and the politics that never quite made it into the movies. As you read, the story shows you how other groups of people cope with the Empire and how they do things without the Rebel Alliance. You’ll see sides from people that support the Rebel’s actions and those who believe them to be futile, only making things worse instead of better. All in all, this story is an interesting read that will add depth to characters that fans loved from the original trilogy and color to a universe that many people have tried to immerse themselves in.

As with the other books in this series, Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this book was illustrated by the talented Phil Noto. As with the Luke adventure that I’ve reviewed, I’m a bit disappointed and angry that the cover doesn’t list him as an illustrator. You’ll find him accredited on the back flap of the hardcover and the title page in the front, but honestly, how many people actually look back there?

Anyways, like the Luke adventure, I absolutely loved his work in this story as well! He does a fantastic job of creating simple pictures of scenes with enough detail not to give away much, but to make you stop and really take in the work. The simple grey scale coloring is fantastic and it makes the periodic red jump out at you and draw you in at the same time.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this book to anyone, young or old. It’s perfect for a parent to read to their child, or for any adult that wants a light read in between heavier books. I would recommend this to any child, boy or girl, because while it does focus on a female character for little girls to look up to, it also has enough action to keep a little boy entertained and interested in Leia’s adventure. Little boys might even grow to like Princess Leia with this adventure because it doesn’t show her as girly, but a capable kick-butt woman with only the title of ‘princess’. And for any fans of the original trilogy and Princess Leia, this story will help add even more depth to the princess you grew to love.

Rating(s):

Story: 4/5

If this story were 100 pages longer it would get a 5/5 hands down. But even though it was shorter than I would’ve liked given the amount of action, it was a great read and a perfect break from exams. I loved the amount of world building that the authors did, even though it wasn’t a whole lot in hind sight, it was enough to really paint the worlds and the people that inhabited them. The authors also did a fantastic job inserting this little adventure between two great movies, giving Leia even more depth and reason behind some of her actions later. I also loved the little moments between her and Mon Mothma! This is definitely going into my favorites!

Illustrations: 5/5

I just love Noto’s work. The illustrations are simple but have enough detail to really jump out at you. The scenes he draws show enough to give a slight preview of what’s to come, but not enough to really spoil anything for the reader, unless you’re really intuitive. Honestly, I should go hunting for his other works because I have been absolutely impressed with his portals of the characters I’ve loved since childhood! His depiction of Carrie Fisher is by far my favorite, even as Commander Leia!

Related Reviews/Books:

The Weapon of a Jedi Princess Leia

Book Review: The Weapon of a Jedi

The Weapon of a Jedi

Details:

Title: Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Author: Jason Fry

Illustrator: Phil Noto

Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press

Release Date:  September 4th 2015

Genre: Space Opera, Fiction, Action/Adventure, Middle Reader

Pages: 184

Synopsis:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

The REBEL ALLIANCE has destroyed the Empire’s dreaded DEATH STAR, but the galaxy remains convulsed by civil war, and the Imperial starfleet is hunting the rebels throughout the galaxy.

LUKE SKYWALKER, the pilot who destroyed the Death Star, is now hailed as a hero. But Luke seeks only to support the freedom fighters, serving the Rebellion behind the controls of his X-wing fighter.

Even as he flies alongside the pilots of Red Squadron, Luke feels stirrings in the mystical energy field known as the Force. And this farm boy turned fighter pilot begins to suspect his destiny lies along a different path….

My First Thoughts:

So I got this book, and the others in this series (I use that term loosely), after I saw the Force Awaken. I loved the movie, my family practically raised me with Jedi, Sith, Hobbits, and Star Fleet officers, and I wanted just more Star Wars! I’m excited to see if it will reveal any secrets!

Story Breakdown:

This story is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or Episodes 4 and 5. It hasn’t been long since the Death Star was blown up by Luke Skywalker or since his importance, and fame, in the rebellion skyrocketed. Within this novel, we see just how Luke is getting accustomed to everything since the fateful explosion, including how to train with the Force without a wizened teacher.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

I honestly didn’t realize that this book came with illustrations, especially since there was no illustrator credit on the front cover. So I was more than surprised, though rather delighted, to see that this book came with a few illustrations to capture some of the more important scenes within each section. Sure, they might have been a little bit of a spoiler, but honestly I felt like the illustrations were a wonderful addition to the book!

Growing up I always imagined what happened to our wonderful heroes in between each movie, specifically in the original trilogy. Every time I watch the older movies, I felt like there was something missing, that there were important events that shaped the characters into who they were for the second and final films. I always wondered how Luke learned to use the Force without Old Ben there to guide him. Sure, Luke would hear Ben’s voice every now and again, but that doesn’t function as much as a teacher. Well, this book served as an explanation, a little peak into what Luke to better command the Force and how he accomplished it.

When I say a little peak, I really mean that Jason Fry barely described the tip of the iceberg. However, I believe that it was enough to satisfy some of the questions I’ve been harboring since I was a child. It was really interesting to see, years later, your questions answered without an entire movie dedicated to it. The part that Fry did focus on in the book, regarding to Luke’s self-training, was actually pretty detailed in how Luke came to his conclusions and mastered his daunting tasks.

The one thing that irked me some about the book was how it advertised meeting characters from the newest Star Wars movie and being able to get clues into The Force Awakens. This book, and the others like it, was released a few months before the movie came out when nobody (for the most part) didn’t know what was going to happen. So the advertisement that it was going to lead the reader into the world of the Force Awakens was a big leap that everyone took. I read the book after the movie, and honestly the only character you meet that was a new addition to the movie only had about 30 seconds worth of screen time. The character never spoke and you saw him briefly, his name wasn’t even spoken in the film! The only reason why I knew who he was before reading was because my boyfriend got the action figure of the character and did some research, but even that didn’t bring up much. Sure, it was cool to learn more about Sarco Plank and see how he might be tied in later in the new films, but he was definitely not important in Episode 7 like the advertising made it to be.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this to any parent who wants to get their child more into the Star Wars universe, or settle the child’s craving for more Star Wars. I believe that it would be a fun story for any young boy or girl, as there are characters for any child to love and connect with. The story isn’t very long and is pretty straight forward, so something that can easily hold a child’s attention.

Honestly, this book isn’t just for younger readers, sure it’s aimed at them, but let’s be real, a lot of Star Wars fans are kids at heart. With that said, I would recommend this book to any age, whether they are a diehard Star Wars fan or wants to become one. It’s a short read, something to use as a break between two larger books or just a fun adventure to help pick up your day!

Rating(s):

Story: 4/5

The story is a pretty straight forward adventure that fills in some of the holes between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. You don’t need to see either of those movies first, or know what happens in them to enjoy the book. Fry actually does a wonderful job highlighting the big events from A New Hope and showing how they might actually affect Luke immediately after. It was also pretty interesting to see how Luke trained himself and how he was able to overcome small, yet daunting tasks. The book ends with hints at possibly having more books following Luke’s adventures, however, the main story gets wrapped up rather soundly. It’s definitely a fun, quick read to fix whatever Star Wars cravings you may be having!

Illustrations: 5/5

I loved the illustrations! I’m actually a bit disappointed that Noto didn’t get credit on the front cover. His illustrations, while few and far between, were a wonderful addition to the book. He always seemed to capture just enough action within the pictures without spoiling anything, allowing the reader to wonder what was happening within the scene. And I loved how he kept each one simple and uniform in coloration, only using true color in one object per image. Fantastic work!

Related Reviews/Books:

Lost Stars

Graphic Novel Review: Star Wars Princess Leia

Princess Leia

Details:

Title: Star Wars: Princess Leia

Volume: 1

Issue: 1-5

Publisher: Dan Buckley (MARVEL)

Writer(s): Mark Waid

Penciler(s): Terry Dodson

Inker(s): Rachel Dodson

Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna

Cover Art: Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson

Released Date: November 3rd 2015

Pages: 120

Genre: Graphic Novel, Space Opera, Action

Synopsis:

When Princess Leia Organa was captured by the Empire, she never betrayed her convictions – even after the complete destruction of her home world, Alderaan. When her rescue came, Leia grabbed a blaster and joined the fight, escaping back to the Rebel Alliance and helping strike the biggest blow against the Empire – the destruction of the Death Star! But in the aftermath of that victory, the question remains…what is a princess without a world? As Leia comes to grips with her loss, a new mission leads her to the underground world of Sullust. The Empire is rounding up fugitive Alderaanians, and that doesn’t sit well with their Princess! But what can one woman do against the Galactic Empire? They’re about to find out! Join the galaxy’s toughest Princess on a quest to save her people and rebuild her life!

First Thought:

I first found this graphic novel discounted in the reading isle of Walmart. I always loved Leia as a kid, but I never thought that she had enough to do in the movies, like she was missing on some action herself. Sure she had great roles in the movies, but I never felt like her entire character was explored in the originals. So when I found this in Walmart I swept it into my basket, happy to fulfil the little girl dream of reading a Leia centered adventure.

Overall Thoughts and Opinions:

As a little girl, I started watching the originals before I saw the prequels, I even remember watching all three of them before going to see The Phantom Menace in the theaters when it was first released. I never knew a time in which I didn’t know Leia, she will always be my first beloved Princess, but as I got older and the more I saw the originals I felt like her character wasn’t explored enough. Sure, from the movies you get that she is a stronger, independent, and sassy young woman who has a soft spot for a certain scoundrel, but you never see how her people saw her and you never saw her grieve for the loss of her homeworld. In a way, this graphic novel, while short, sheds light on those two missing aspects of her character.

Honestly, I am still getting used to the pacing in comics because they’re a lot different than novels and manga. With that said, I thought the pacing of this graphic novel was perfect and it fit beautifully with the action. Would I have liked this graphic novel to be longer? Sure, I would love to read more about the adventures Leia has between the movies, with and outside of the Rebellion. However, this story per se doesn’t really need much more to it. This story was about Leia doing what she could for the survivors of Alderaan, keeping them safe from the Empire, as her way of grieving for the loss of her people, what she believed to be her greatest failure. This story is short, but it’s sweet and to the point as well. Anymore added to this adventure wouldn’t aid it in the long run.

There were some parts of the story that were a little slow, but for the most part it was a thrilling page turner. A lot of the story was driven by the developing relationship between Leia and Evaan. Leia’s actions in desperate times gains the respect and friendship of Evaan, and with Evaan’s help Leia shows her true colors as a leader and allows herself to see past her ‘failure’ to Alderaan. The story was simple, nothing super elaborate and gut wrenching, but enough to fill in some of the color missing from the image of Leia that I had since being a little girl.

The artwork for this graphic novel was amazing, some of my favorite so far! They were able to make Leia feminine but also badass and sympathetic. The coloring made my jaw drop, especially with the different species they featured and some of the hair coloring of the different people. The character designs were pretty amazing; I loved all the elaborate fashions, the different aliens and the cultures they tried to flesh out. I do have to say that the poses sometimes were a bit dramatic, but that didn’t really hinder the art, it sort of enhanced everything, almost reminding people that this is more of a space drama than an action adventure story.

Final Thoughts:

Still hungry for more Star Wars after the recent film? Always loved Leia and wanted to hear more stories about her adventures? Want to read something that is actually canon? Have a little girl, or boy, that you want to introduce to the world of comics? Or even a friend or family member who is insane about Star Wars? Then look no further, because this novel is for you! It certainly was for me!

Ratings:

Art: 5/5

I absolutely loved the art! I loved how feminine they made their female characters and how they added some extra sense of power or strength to the women who weren’t completely feminine. The coloring was fantastic, especially with the blending and color choices. I loved looking at the different character designs and how they portrayed different species, you could really tell a person’s character through their design. Have I mentioned the various covers? Well, I wouldn’t mind having them as actual posters to hang on my walls!

Story: 4.5/5

However short the story was, they did a fantastic job showing the different characters’ personalities and how they changed over time, it was fascinating to see especially the change in body language and dialogue. I honestly don’t mind that this graphic novel was short. I would love to see more Leia adventures, and who knows, maybe they will. However, this story was stronger because of its length. It was only supposed to be a quick adventure for Leia to have after losing her world, allowing her to see past her failure. It also served to add more to the picture of Leia for current and former little girls who idolized her as a princess, and gave fans another adventure in the canon universe of Star Wars, finally explaining what happened to the survivors of Alderaan’s destruction.

Overall (or average): 5/5

“We are not our enemy. We are Alderaan. We answer rage with wisdom. We answer fear with imagination. We answer war with hope.”

Maybe we should think about taking a few notes ourselves?

Related Material:

COMING SOON!