2023 Year in Reviews

And so another year passes. I’ve been doing these for quite a :

…so I think perhaps you get the idea.

All together, I love collecting data and I find it interesting to take a moment to look through what all I’ve done in the year. And hopefully–you find it interesting as well!

Overall, it’s been quite a year for reviews! This year I

It’s so silly to see some stats like that. I love it. So let’s break it down a bit more!

Table of Contents

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White Death NUMA Files #4

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition… or a German expedition to the North Pole? Also, if that weren’t enough, we have Basque independence and frankenfish!

It’s formulaic as any of these are and the inciting historical events are at once a bit weird–and not nearly as earth shattering as they often are? This time around, the modern threat is perhaps a bigger one.

There’s really not much more to say about these at this point. If you’ve liked the first three (or the whole of Dirk Pitt), you’ll probably enjoy this one! If not… how did you get here?

A weird one to end the year on, but I enjoyed it well enough.

Onward!


A Natural History of Dragons The Memoirs of Lady Trent #1

That’s not really at all the sort of book I expected, but I ended up quite enjoying it.

I believed myself to be ready then; now, with the hindsight brought by greater age, I see myself for the naive and inexperienced young woman I was. We all begin in such a manner, though. There is no quick route to experience.

In a nutshell, it’s a roughly Victorian period piece (feels fairly like Downton Abbey for the rough time period and most recent media I’ve experience with) in a secondary world that strongly echoes our own with some new names and one big difference–dragons!

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Star Wars Vol. 6: Out Among the Stars Star Wars (2015) #6 Marvel Star Wars *

STAR WARS #33-37 Annual #3

So many different stories in this one!

We have the beach episode.

A Lando Calrissian and Sana Starros team up…

…double (triple? Quadruple?!) cross!

Han (with a weirdly photorealistic face) and Chewie transporting a Hutt:

And R2-D2 on a mission!

I’d … forgotten that C-3PO had gotten captured.

And if that wasn’t enough, Scar Squadron—and our favorite Storm Trooper with a lightsaber.

That’s still weird to type.

I do enjoy the idea of a Storm Trooper just trying to do the right thing—that doesn’t actually join or even support the Rebellion. It’s a neat story we haven’t gotten in the movies/TV (that I’ve seen).

It’s quite the mix and feels a bit disjoined, but I enjoyed it all well enough. I just was hoping for a bit more closure.


Heidi

It’s a cute little story of a little girl with quite the tough start on life, finding (and bringing out) love in everyone she meets.

Heidi is just so innocent and fun. Her grandfather is the prototypical gruff old man with a heart of gold. Peter–the Goat General–is hilarious and a fun counter to the overwhelming wholesomeness. Clara you just want the best for–and yay magical mountain air!

There’s not much in the way of plot, but that’s all right. You’re still going to get a chance to live vicariously through Heidi for a few hours.

There’s probably a lesson in there touching on ideas of homeschooling, parental rights, and living outdoors and off the land, but really, it’s more a matter of the times (written in 1880) than anything. Take it as you will.

Worth the read, especially if you have little ones.

Onward.


Broken Soul Jane Yellowrock #8

That’s quite a book.

At first, it’s more of the same. Jane dealing with vampire politics and her own love life as things just keep getting a bit crazier.

And then we learn that the European vampires are coming to visit. And they might just want to poke their noses into various artifacts Jane has picked up through the books–or that Leo has and Jane hasn’t realized yet… Including another big piece of vampire history.

And then we get a whole deeper look into the metaphysics of the Jane’s universe. Light dragons. More about what the Mercy Blade actually is. More about Soul. And perhaps–more about how Jane’s own history and powers might fit in with all of it. It’s going quite a different direction than most Urban Fantasy I’ve read and I’m fascinated to see where this is going.

Plus, it’s a major upgrade for Jane’s powers–which she may very well need to survive–even if it comes at quite the cost.

Like I said, it gets crazier.

And on top of all that, we actually get a bit of a straight forward–well, relative to what’s come before–relationship for Jane!

“For a reason or a season," he said. “For a year or a lifetime. For a poem or a song. For a victorious battle or a bloody death. For honor. I would stand by you for as long as I might live.”

It’s about time… I hope the best for them, at least for a little while.

It’s a crazy book and worth the read if you’ve already made it this far. Even if (minor spoilers) … we don’t actually even get to the European vampires for the most part!

Side note: Almost the second book by that title I’ve reviewed!


Fire Ice NUMA Files #3

Another day (week?), another Cussler. I feel like I’ve read this one before, but that’s sort of the appeal of all of these books–some quasihistorical inciting incident (that happens on or near the oceans) then jump to the present time to find the resulting shipwreck and deal with the secret organization (for example) that’s trying to RULE THE WORLD.

This time with more Russia.

We have the daughters of Nikolai II, last Emperor of Russia–on the run with all the royal jewels, including one very shiny crown.

Cut to the modern era, we have a Russian spy who’s gone toe to toe with Kurt Austin several times over the years, a manic trying to blow up the ocean floor and cause tsunamis, and gangs of modern neo-Cossacks trying to bring back Mother Russia.

It’s exactly what it says on the tin–a NUMA Files novel–and quite the adventure for all that. Formulaic, but a fun listen.

Onward!


Star Wars Vol. 5: Yoda's Secret War Star Wars (2015) #5 Marvel Star Wars *

C-3PO has been captured!

And I’m not sure who’s the worse off for it. 😄

It’s not entirely clear if Darth Vader recognizes him or not. With as many memory wipes as C-3PO has apparently gone through, it’s worth wondering if he’s still even the same as he was when Anakin first built him…

But really, in an interesting sort of flip, most of this volume is the backstory! And—as might be hinted at by the title—we actually get pre-Prequel era Yoda! And Qui-Gon Jinn. Now I want to read more Qui-Gon Jinn stories. I wonder if that’s a thing.

Anyways, Yoda on a planet of feral—and force sensitive because of course—children. Because of course that’s a story that has to be in the Star Wars canon. It actually gets far more interesting that I expected, but as Star Wars (outside of the movies) seems wont to do… things get weird.

It’s a fascinating story, but again falls a bit into ‘just how much did Luke do outside of the movies’ trap that just feels weird.

Onward!


Star Wars Vol. 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger Star Wars (2015) #4 Marvel Star Wars *

Two main plots this time: good guys and bad guys—it’s all in your point of view and the Big Three steal something even bigger.

It’s fascinating how these stories at once seem smaller and more compact—not able to stretch out on the big screen—and at the same time tackle things the movies couldn’t dare to approach in two hours.

Worth a read!

On a side note: how much or how little the artwork looks like Mark Hammill/Harrison Ford/Carrie Fisher varies widely, especially if you include issue covers.


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