Reading Review of 2021

In this post, I list and briefly review all the books I read or listened to in 2021. These are in order of how they were consumed. Since I’m doing this retrospectively, some of my recollection about the books may be hazy, but my only real goal is to vaguely convey how much I enjoyed each work.

Resistance Reborn

This book fills in the void between Episodes 8 and 9 where Poe, Leia, and the other surviving rebels rally around the galaxy looking for allies to help fight in the resistance.

I enjoyed it at the time. In retrospective, it was a little forgettable compared to other books I read this year. It’s nice that it revisits some characters we’ve met in both the movies and the other books. I’d recommend it for any Star Wars fan.

Thrawn: Treason

Thrawn starts off with an interesting mystery. Using his keen intellect, it leads to a bigger conspiracy. We get to see more Chiss, and we revisit Eli, which was nice. I really enjoyed this book, and thought it was a great read. Highly recommended.

Tarkin

Tarkin gives us a look at what shaped Tarkin into the character we meet in Episode 4. It gives us back story about where he grew up, and how his childhood shaped his story. I thought it was reasonably interesting, and think any Star Wars fan would enjoy it.

A Boy and His Horse

I read the Narnia novels in the now current order which is in-universe chronologically, and not in the order of when they were written, which in retrospect, I think is wrong. This book follows a story that takes place entirely while the children are ruling Narnia in the first book. While it was a fine story, I was disappointed to not get the next part of the story with Peter, Susan, or Lucy. I’d recommend it, but would also recommend reading it in publication order which puts it after the Silver Chair.

Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

This book was very enjoyable, and was the revisit to Narnia I wanted/expected after reading the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I found it very enjoyable and would recommend it to any one who enjoyed the first installment.

Darth Plagueis

It makes me sad that this is “legends” as it, in my opinion, works very well with canonical Star Wars. This was a longer book, and at times is really more about Shiiv Palpatine than it is about Darth Plagueis. I found the entire thing very gripping and loved all that it added to the Star Wars universe. Highly recommended to any Star Wars fans.

Rebel Rising

Rebel Rising follows the story of Jyn Erso during her time living with Saw Gerrera. It takes place before and up to the main events seen in Rogue One. I honestly don’t remember a lot of details now, but I remember it being enjoyable at the time.

From a Certain Point of View

For the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, 40 short stories were commissioned showing key parts of the saga from the point of view of other characters. It was entertaining for the most parts. Some stories stood out more and stuck with me more than others. In particular, I loved one of the first stories about why the gunners didn’t fire on the escape pod because they’d have to file paper work, and also since there were no life signs, their kill ratio would go down, which would look bad. I’ll consider that canon. Some of the stories are a bit of a stretch. It’s not a necessary read, but it was mostly entertaining.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The next installment in the Chronicles of Narnia was again an enjoyable tale. This time, Edmund and Lucy are accompanied by their cousin Eustace and get transported to Narnia aboard Caspian’s ship, the Dawn Treader. Caspian is looking for the lost lords of Narnia, and they have many magnificent adventures. I really enjoyed this installment, and highly recommend it.

The High Republic: Into the Dark

This is, so far, the only High Republic book I’ve read. There is an interesting plot about a seemingly abandoned space station, mysterious transportation pods, and sentient plant life, and a Sith shrine which is exuding dark side energy. It was an interesting, new adventure in the Star Wars universe. I’m curious to see how fleshed out Disney will make the High Republic era eventually.

Star Wars Last Shot

This book is about Lando and Han in two different time periods interacting with the same crime boss, attempting to get a device/weapon/mcguffin, the Phylanx. It takes place mostly after the battle of Jakku, before episode 7. It was another novel that I thought was enjoyable while reading, but not very memorable once finishing. I still would recommend it to any Star Wars fan.

Humble Pi

I listened to this narrated by the author, Matt Parker. It was a fascinating book with many anecdotes about times when people got the maths (that’s a British term) wrong and the interesting or even devastating consequences that arose. I just loved this book and couldn’t recommend it enough.

The Princess Diarist

I listened to this one narrated by the princess herself, Carrie Fisher. She is hilarious. This book was a bit risque at times, but was fascinating. I thought it would be more about her life, but it really was mostly about her life around Star Wars. It was an enjoyable book, and made me sad that she is gone.

Children of Dune

This novel follows the story of Paul’s children. Leto II and Ghanima. It was an okay read. Dune hasn’t been my favorite franchise as it leans so heavily into the constructed lore. I realize that some people love that. For me, it makes it a little harder to get into it.

God Emperor of Dune

Of all the Dune books, this was probably my favorite. Leto the second is living as the God Emperor of Dune and is taking us down the Golden Path. I thought it had an interesting plot and I really enjoyed Leto as a character. Recommended!

The Saints Volume 1

The Saints is a book presenting the history of the early LDS saints. The content is comprised of primary sources as much as possible with secondary sources when no primary is available. I don’t usually consider myself a fan of history, but I found this very fascinating. It filled in a lot of the gaps between the stuff I did already know. It’s more a book about presenting the history and therefore isn’t preachy so it could be an interesting read for anyone interested in the history of the LDS church, even if they themselves are not members.

Heretics of Dune

I didn’t love it. I read it out of my desire for being a completionist, and because I know my brother really likes the books, but I didn’t find the narrative super compelling.

Bossypants

I listened to this narrated by the author, Tina Fey. It was a short book, but very humorous and engaging. She’s a very funny lady, and had some great anecdotes, and insights inter her life and career. I’d recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of 30 Rock.

The Silver Chair

This book reunites us with Eustace and an old King Caspian. Eustace and a friend from the Human realm embark on a journey to rescue Caspian’s son. I rather enjoyed this entry into the Narnia saga, and would recommend it.

The Last Battle

This was a fun one. We are reunited with Eustace, and his school mate Jill once again. In Narnia, there is a false Aslan who has been doing questionable things. Eventually the charade is revealed. It presents a nice final ending to the saga, and was a fun book. Recommended!

The Saints Volume 2

The Saints Volume 2 continues where Volume 1 left off and brings us to the cusp of the 20th century. Another interesting insight into the events and people who were integral to the early church.

Conclusion

All in all, I don’t regret reading any of them and enjoyed most of them. The standouts this year were:

  • Humble Pi
  • Darth Plagueis
  • Voyage of the Dawn Treader

 

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