Tag Archives: Cecil Castellucci

Review: “Star Wars: Moving Target” by Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry

Title: Moving Target
Authors: Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry
Series: Star Wars (Official Canon)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Disney Press, 2015

Third time’s the charm! Moving Target is the third of three YA novels featuring the “big three” protagonists from the original trilogy, set in that era but seeding elements from the upcoming film. This time we catch up with Leia in between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi as the Rebellion first learns of the existence of the second Death Star.

The Empire is rebuilding the Death Star. Once completed, it will essentially spell the end of the Rebellion, as any world that causes problems can be threatened with Alderaan’s fate. In order to buy time to assemble the fleet without the Empire noticing, Leia heads a decoy mission, drawing the Empire’s attention to the other side of the galaxy with a false recruiting mission. But such a course of action is dangerous, both for her team and for the various rebellious types responding to her beacons for a rendezvous that will never happen. Both Leia and the other members of her team are going to have to decide for themselves just what they are willing to sacrifice for the good of the Rebellion….

Whereas Smuggler’s Run and The Weapon Of A Jedi  served up lighthearted adventures with our favorite protagonists, Moving Target takes a slightly weightier approach. Throughout the book, Leia struggles with the idea of sacrifice, both how the rank and file of the Rebellion seem willing to sacrifice themselves to protect her and how her decoy mission threatens to make unwitting sacrifices of anyone responding to their spurious recruitment mission. During wartime, tough decisions have to be made…but does that truly justify the sacrifice of innocents, even to ensure the survival of the Rebellion? It’s not a question that has a concrete answer, and the authors don’t insult us by pretending it does. In the end, each of our characters are going to have to decide for themselves just what they’re willing to do in the name of freedom’s cause. The characterization was all spot-on, though it was occasionally odd to have Nien Nunb’s dialogue directly translated to English Basic. I get it, of course, its just slightly jarring given his only onscreen dialogue is in Sullustan. The authors seem to be trying to make up for the fact that most of the onscreen Rebels are human in the original films, populating Leia’s strike force with a Cerean (like Ki-Adi Mundi from the prequels), an Abednedo (like X-Wing pilot Ello Asty from the new film) and a Dressellian (like Orrimaarko, “Prune Face” from the original Return Of The Jedi action figure line. Yes, that was the character’s name for quite a while….), which is a welcome effort. Disney seems to be taking steps to make the Star Wars universe more diverse than traditionally seen, and I for one am not complaining. On the whole, this was a good book and a decent addition to the series.

CONTENT: Mild violence, including a discussion of torture. No profanity. No real sexual content.

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Review: “The Book Of Apex Volume IV,” Part 4

This post doubles as one of the “stops” on the Book Of Apex Blog Tour organized by the Little Red Reviewer, where we all read and discuss The Book Of Apex: Volume IV Of Apex Magazine (*****). This anthology collects all the stories published in Apex Magazine issues #30-#44, the first fifteen issues since Lynne M. Thomas took over as editor for the magazine. In my first post, I looked at some of my favorites from the anthology. This time, I’ll look at some more of those that didn’t make the cut. Not that they’re bad, some of them are great, they just didn’t “do it” for me like those others did. The great thing about Apex Magazine is that their stories are all available online, so if you are intrigued by a story you can just click the title and it will link you to that story on their website! I’d be interested to hear your opinions as well, so feel free to leave a comment telling what you thought of a particular story…..

Also, the giveaway is still running at the first post in this review series! Check that out here!

  • Coyote Gets His Own Back, by Sarah Monette. (***)
    This one is really too short to describe without rendering it moot. I wasn’t really a fan of this one, just didn’t connect with it. Doesn’t mean you won’t. CONTENT: Violence, some gruesome content. No sex or language.
  • Waiting For Beauty, by Marie Brennan. (***)
    An incredibly disturbing take on Beauty And The Beast. I wasn’t a fan, but maybe you will be. CONTENT: No explicit sex, violence, or language, but it is pretty disturbing nonetheless. I can’t tell you why, because spoilers.
  • Murdered Sleep, by Kat Howard. (****)
    This almost made my best-of post. As with most of the other times I’ve said that, I’m not sure why it fell short. Perhaps partially because I’m not at all certain I understood it. I think I got it, but I could be mistaken. Anyway, this was an excellent tale of a young woman who receives an invitation to an endless party in the land of dreams…and the costs inherent in accepting such an offer. CONTENT: Some violence. Mild sexual innuendo. No language.
  • Armless Maidens Of The American West, by Genevieve Valentine. (****)
    In the woods surrounding town, there’s an armless maiden, still covered in blood from where her father went mad and chopped off her arms. She lives out there, pitied and feared, with no human contact until one day a grad student comes to town looking for data for her project entitled Armless Maidens Of The American West. It would seem that this is not an isolated phenomenon…. Faintly disturbing, but I really loved the writing style here. CONTENT: Some implied violence. No profanity, and no overt sexual innuendo. There are a few speculations about why her father did what he did, and you could take that train of thought in a sexual direction if you wanted to, but the author will give you no help there.
  • During The Pause, by Adam-Troy Castro. (****)
    Our world is about to end. There is nothing we can do to stop it. Our world will end, and we will suffer endless torment as a result. Not even death will offer an escape, except for one brief moment moments/eons into our torment…and in that moment, we will have a choice to make. I won’t say I enjoyed this story all that much, but I definitely admire Mr. Castro’s imagination and craftsmanship. The entire story is crafted as a message from another world in the path of the wave of destruction, warning us of what is to come. It was actually fairly chilling…. CONTENT: No explicit sexual content, language, or violence, although the descriptions of what is to come can be a bit disturbing.
  • Always The Same. Till It Is Not, by Cecil Castellucci. (****)
    Here we have a challenging tale about what happens after the zombie apocalypse, told in first-person POV by an ex-zombie. I really enjoyed it, and I have to say it was really well done. I can’t say too much about it without giving things away though, so I’m gonna shut up. CONTENT:  No profanity. I don’t think the characters even know any. There is, however, a fair amount of evocatively-rendered violence, as well as some moderately explicit sexual content.

This is the fourth post in a series of reviews of individual stories from this anthology. The other posts can be found as follows:
Part One (My personal favorites….)
Part Two
Part Three
-Part Four
Part Five
Apocrypha (The reprinted stories from the relevant issues, not included in the anthology)

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