Who’s Your Myagi?

Hey everybody! Long time, no talk! Besides the book reviews that would come in once in a while, I haven’t posted a real blog post. So, recently at my youth group we talked about who our life leaders are. My youth pastor Ron asked the questions, who is your leader that supports you in your spiritual growth? Who is the one that you approach when things aren’t going well (God yes, but we’re talking about people), and who is the one that approaches YOU and asks you how things are going? These were good questions and I could actually name a few that I’m not ashamed of revealing. There are pretty much three. My youth pastor Ron, my Dad, and my Mom’s Dad. They have tutored and encouraged me so well that I will always have a place in my heart for them and I will always think of them.

Guys, I want to tell you that I’ve become so connected and so in love with the Quad Cities and their people and the people I know. I think my friends are great, the launch team members that come to my parents’ launch team meetings on Wednesdays are such wonderful people and if any of you guys are reading this now, I’m telling it to you now.

I wanted to slip that in here, but let me ask you a question that you don’t have to answer via comment if you don’t want to, but the question is this. Who is your physical “Myagi” (taken from the tutor’s name in the 80s Karate Kid)? Who supports and encourages you when you’re stumbling?

Star Wars Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter Book Review

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Star Wars Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter by Michael Reeves delivers a fun chase book that puts you at the edge of your seat screaming in your head about whether or not this extraordinary set of characters will live.  This is only my opinion though, because not everybody believed it was that way.

Okay, so we know that Darth Maul wasn’t going to die, that the plans for invading Naboo wouldn’t make it to the Jedi, and we knew that the Jedi wasn’t supposed to know about this mysterious Sith assassin yet, BUT, when I was reading this book, I became very engaged with the characters.  Michael really knows how to bring them to life in my opinion.  Unfortunately, Michael has a way of creating ineffective characters.  The only new character that made any effect to the story was the droid I-Five (he’s so remarkably effective that it makes C3-PO look like an idiot), I-Five is a protocal droid after all and he seems to have everything when the other characters do not.  Not to mention (spoiler following) he’s pretty much the only new character that didn’t die in the end but got its memory wiped.

I have to admit, Darth Maul was a pretty effective villain in this book and you could probably understand his frustration in the end when he just couldn’t kill the Corellian (Han Solo right?) Lorn Pavan who was probably my favorite character in the book.  Despite some brief annoyances, I thought Darsha Assant was a great character although I thought it was real weird that Lorn was falling for Darsha when she’s, oh I don’t know, maybe a LITTLE older than Ahsoka Tano?  Anyway, the romance wouldn’t have worked out anyway because she’s a Jedi and she’s supposed to avoid attachment.

Now on to some negative elements.  First of all, I thought some of the products mentioned in this book was stupid and weird.  First of all, Darth Maul is searching for the Neimodian Hath Monchar who started the whole chase in the first place and he attempts to track him down through debit card use.  You heard me, DEBIT card use!  What the heck?  What was Michael thinking when he leaked real modern elements in this book.  He should’ve whipped up something a little more unique.

Everybody complained about how the new characters died in this book, so what was the point?  Well, I liked Michael’s attempt at squeezing a story in with characters that aren’t quite so stale like they are in other Star Wars novels.  This one is definitely one I’m putting on my shelf along with my #1 favorite: The Clone Wars Wild Space.  I don’t know why I like books where the endings are pretty much predictable, but maybe it’s because I loved traveling with these characters even though they died at the end, but the thing is, it’s the character development that grabs me and pulls me into a very interesting ride.  It doesn’t hurt sometimes, it really doesn’t.

4.6/5 stars.

Deadline Book Review

This was one of the longest books I have ever read, and I actually didn’t think I would make it through the whole thing at first. This was a good book, but it wasn’t spectacular.

I actually have different opinions for each section of the book, the beginning, the middle, and the end.  The beginning was good but not great, boring at times but had some really good moments (ex. Finney’s entrance into heaven is a very memorable scene), the middle was only okay for the most part, and the end was great (starting with Jake giving a school teacher a piece of his mind).  This book means it when it was made for adults.  This book deals very heavily on premarital sex, abortion, and even has some pretty intense violence.  This is a Christian book so it had some great character development throughout but still had a few loose ends Randy didn’t bother to tie up and seemed like he tried rushing through a few bits.

For instance, Jake’s daughter ends up getting HIV and Randy keeps hovering the fact that she may die over our heads.  At the end of the book, Randy rushes the fact by saying “the doctor said the HIV had not made any effects at the time”, AT THE TIME he said.  Okay…does she eventually die?  This weird ending kinda thrust us into a guessing game.  I could be wrong, there ARE sequels to this book but they’re all centered around different characters that had very minor roles in this one.

Anyway, I think this book went to into Jake’s job at the Trib, though part of the plot is there, they spent too much time centered around that part of the character’s life that could’ve really been shorter.  As a matter of fact, the whole book could’ve been shorter but chose not to.

Besides the HIV thing, the book did wrap up real well.  I’m not one to reveal a lot of spoilers here so I won’t say much of what happens, but it IS a worthy read if you’ve got time.  It’s a book that IS hard to put down I’ll tell you that, and I’ve running into those a lot (and jeopardizing a lot of school tests here).  Still, it is a good book, not great, but good.  I noticed that when Finney is in heaven there’s not one description that says the streets were made of gold, and isn’t that what the Bible said?

Anyway, 3.5/5 stars.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye Book Review

I’m actually kinda’ a newbie at this type of nonfiction but this was good advising book about the consequences of dating.  It has very good advice, and I confess, I’m not interested in dating and this book made me MORE uninterested.  Let me just say, I’m taking a different approach rather than dating.  I’m waiting until God specifically points out the right person.

There’s not much to say about this book, although I do admit that at some times the writing feels somewhat tedious, but it’s as if Joshua discovers that and gets me sitting back up again in no time.  I know for a fact that for anyone who is seeing the consequences that dating can produce will not regret reading this if that person really pays attention.  I should know, I’ll probably have to read this book a second time to fully understand it, to fully grasp it.

The style Joshua has is not boring I’ll tell you that, but it’s not as straightforward as other books I’ve read, say, Every Young Man’s Battle.  Sometimes it takes reading the same chapter again to finally get the concept.  I know other books are like that, but I thought it would be a little more straightforward so that teens could understand.

Anyway, it does have great advice, and it is a worthy book to read again (not to mention it DOES help).  But I’m not going to explain the messages here, I’ll let you find out for yourself and see what you think.

Overall, this book gets 4/5 stars.

The Clone Wars Season Three Overall

This season was a very ODD season. For any of you that followed this season, you’re probably not surprised that the second half of the season was much better than the first half. This season should’ve been called Rise of the Politics because of its constant political intrigue that makes you wonder if you’re even watching Star Wars at all! The second half brought out the elements Star Wars is supposed to have. The Jedi, the Sith, the Expanded Universe secrets never revealed (on screen), and Chewbacca. It all made the first half really lame, notably Corruption and Supply Lines. Those two were awful.

But on to the second half. The season continued with an amazing trilogy of episodes about Darth Maul’s brother. I didn’t really care about Ventress and the Nightsisters, I just liked Savage Opress and the Zabraks. Then came a pretty trippy, interesting trilogy known as the Mortis trilogy. I had very mixed feelings for that one. Altar of Mortis was great, Ghosts of Mortis was good, and Overlords was okay. Overlords, though I liked the reappearance of Qui-Gon, weirded me out a bit, and the Altar of Mortis kind of lightened up a little bit. I loved Altar of Mortis because it had some great battles and good biblical truths that I could think of (notably from Ephesians 2).

The Citadel trilogy was good, but besides Tarkin, this trilogy seemed more of an enlightenment for the little kids that the clones are still a part of this series. The season finale was great and just had an amazing storyline. The ending made us feel very good and made me look back and think, wow, this was a pretty emotional season. The characters are blowing me away. I used to not like Ahsoka, but ever since Heroes On Both Sides, I’ve been starting to like her character. It’s maturing for sure.

This season probably won the “Most EU Errors” award according to a lot of frustrated fans of the Expanded Universe. I’M not a big EU reader so I don’t exactly notice much, and when I do find out, hey, George Lucas is behind this project too, so whatever is getting sent to the screen he probably doesn’t mind. Yeah, they changed Darth Maul’s origins such as where he was born and they even did a little cover-up but that’s George’s vision so I’m willing to let that go. Then there’s the thing about Qui-Gon, but it’s possible that Mortis IS the netherworld of the Force that Yoda was talking about in Revenge of the Sith. So actually I think this element enhanced the story instead of making a continuity error. When Obi-Wan is surprised, it could possibly be remembering his experience on Mortis but now Qui-Gon is out of it and now he could talk to him anywhere.

That being said, Wookie Hunt was the best episode with Altar of Mortis second in line, and Corruption was the worst episode (you could see why in my review in the reviews pages for Season Three).  3.8/5 stars for this season.

The Force Unleashed Novel Book Review

I confess that I haven’t actually played the game that this novel adapted from, yet. Being really interested in the character Starkiller (whose name is actually Luke Skywalker’s original name before it became what it is now), I went to the library and picked this book up. I started reading and was drawn in completely. Sean Williams did an excellent job with this book. Because I haven’t played the game yet, I don’t know if this was faithful to the game or not, but I didn’t care. This was too good.

What better to begin a book about Darth Vader’s secret apprentice then to begin with a scene where Starkiller and Vader are doing a test duel (little do they know they will be doing a literal duel at the end)?  I mean, this book tied up the loose ends about the Rebel Alliance down to how they adopted their symbol!  It turns out that in the classic trilogy (IV-VI), Darth Vader and the Emperor were actually fighting something that Vader’s apprentice had started BY THE COMMAND OF VADER HIMSELF!  It was Vader’s fault that there was a team of rebels running about stealing battle station plans and whatnot.  Very, VERY interesting.

The set of characters was very interesting too.  I liked Master Kota and PROXY a lot, and the change in Starkiller was extremely evident over the course of the novel.  His back-story really made sense.  By the way, for anyone who has read Dark Lord: Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, is it possible that Vader had actually found Starkiller (excuse me, Galen) on Kashyyk near the end of the novel during the ending battle?  It would make a great connection.

Yeah, there wasn’t much meaningful dialogue here.  Just a lot of dialogue that had to do with the action, a lot of “we have to do this and we have to do that” type of stuff.  Plus, Sean sure likes to use the word telekinetic a lot for some reason.  The character development is mostly through the action instead of the dialogue for the most part which is fine, but I like dialogue a lot (which is the reason why I liked The Clone Wars: Wild Space by Karen Miller a lot, because it used more talking and less action to show some character development).

Overall, this was a very, very good novel and is probably my second favorite Star Wars novel now.  Very, very intriguing read.

Rating:  4.8/5 stars

Jesus A Jedi? Never!!!

I know, I know, I’m a Star Wars geek, nerd, junkie, whatever! Anyway, I’ve been thinking though, and I even brought it up with my Dad and I settled on the fact that Jesus could never be a Jedi!

Okaaay, why you may ask?  Well it is true that the Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice in the SW galaxy as Mace Windu says in Attack of the Clones: ‘we’re keepers of the peace…”, and the Jedi fight for what’s right and protect the weak and all that type of obvious stuff.  Yes well, Jesus does those things too you may say.  But every SW nerd knows that the Jedi tries to avoid attachment.  Uh huh there’s the word.  There is the fact that we as teenagers try really hard not to get into really deep relationships with our boy/girlfriend and try hard just to stay as “friends” because of the consequences that may come if we dive in too deep, but Jedi avoid attachments period.

Can you guess by now that Jesus can NEVER do that?  Jesus can never be a Jedi because he would have to avoid attachment, and that’s one thing that Jesus just cannot do!  He loves us too much for that and He wants to have a relationship with us that that’s far better than just as simple friends.  With Jesus, we are one as the body of Christ and covered by the power of His great love.  His love for us is too furious and too strong to want to avoid attachment, (if you ask me, Jesus would probably get expelled from the Jedi Order on the first day).  He has all the qualities a Jedi has except avoiding attachment (plus He has no darkness in Him which is something Anakin had who disobeyed the rule of attachment as well).

Overall, if someone asked me if Jesus would make a great Jedi, I would say no because His love is too deep and too furious to avoid attachment.