Review: The Perfect Weapon by Delilah S. Dawson (Spoiler-Free)

The latest string of Star Wars short stories — three within the ‘Aliens’ collection, and this short story by Deilah S. Dawson — focus on a handful of supporting characters that are set to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While their roles in the film remain a mystery, the saga’s masterminds have skillfully revived a tradition established in the early days of the former Expanded Universe (now known as Legends): filling in the gaps with mountains of backstory that make even the slightest background character into someone interesting and real.

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In The Perfect Weapon, bounty hunter Bazine Netal takes center stage with an incredible heist and a sense of wit as sharp as any weapon. At first, Bazine seems to fit within the same sleeve as the legendary Asajj Ventress, a former Sith acolyte turned bounty hunter whose tragic, beautiful story started in The Clone Wars and continued in the pages of Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple (released this past summer). But Bazine is different — despite her own fiery pride, the assassin takes on her missions with a constant physical reminder of what happens when one does indeed get too cocky.

Netal’s adventure opens the character up in an honest manner, and she’s given time to show off who she is in order reveal secrets to the reader that one might not have guessed when they first saw her in the trailer for The Force Awakens.

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Dawson, known for artfully crafted dark romances and the supernatural, does an incredible job of fleshing out a complicated woman within less than sixty pages of story. Bazine’s vulnerability does not reduce her to a doe-eyed inner child so that readers are forced to feel sympathy for. Her rough upbringing is looked at through the honest, no-nonsense lens of Bazine herself.

Bazine Netal is an extremely enjoyable new addition to the canon, and almost every bit of her outward appearance is explained. From the caps that cover her skull to the massive heels that seem so deceptively difficult to run in (for Bazine, that’s the point — but there’s a lot more to it than just the element of surprise), every part of her is a believable and refreshing definition of this new character.

For a one-shot adventure, the story packs a punch without desperately trying to make too many direct connections to The Force Awakens. From start to finish, this is Bazine’s story, so it rarely points and grins at the seventh installment to the blockbuster saga; instead, we’re given more of what the new expanded canon is in a most direct sense — a look at that galaxy far, far away at certain points in it’s history that focus on the many people, creatures and droids that make it so massive.

Get your copy of this ebook — only $2 — right here.

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Stormtrooper Dresses.

There’s never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan.

I’ve said this so much recently that it almost feels like a played-out mantra, but as with most things involving my ridiculous devotion to the saga, I’m too enamored to care. As Force Friday came and went, fans showed off the new additions to their collections — figurines, drones, that adorable Sphero BB8 — but something else happened that day, too.

Brands like HerUniverse, We Love Fine, and ThinkGeek revealed new clothing lines for men and women, but the stand-out piece to me was this single stormtrooper dress (which you can find at Kohl’s, the Disney Store, and other retailers) that was made for kids who love the white-armored soldiers of the Empire.

To describe how I felt, here’s a nod to Star Wars: Aftermath, Chuck Wendig’s excellent new novel that explores the state of the Galaxy after the fall of the Empire above Endor. Please excuse my totally-not-NYT-bestseller-worthy (!!!) interpretation:

Then: I learn how to sew at age 11, fed up with the poor choices in clothing and the weird, boxy way boys’ clothes fit on my rapidly changing, possibly freakish body. I learn how to take in shirts, fix sleeves, and properly cut for tank tops when no store will sell so much as a shirt with Princess Leia’s face on it for girls. I pick stormtrooper tees off of the shelf, and then I head home, setting up my sewing machine. It’s a learned skill, sure — but it’s frustrating. In a galaxy where the princess arguably saves the day more often than most of her comrades, I can’t even get a basic girls’ tee with Vader’s helmet on it. Girls don’t like Star Wars, my classmates tell me when I walk in the next morning with my shoddily tailored tees.

But.

Now: An adorable little girl attends her first day of school wearing Kohls’ latest additions to their Star Wars line — a stormtrooper-print skirt with white tulle, and a gorgeous, quilted, white “zip-up top” with Stormtroopers printed on the back panels, which she wears as a jacket ala Coco Chanel. I’ve been fawning over this dress for a little while, throwing in quips about how great it is, how happy I am that it exists, but I think it’s right then that it hits me: this is real, and the door is open.
 

It’s cute, it is incredibly stylish, but for the most part, there are four pieces in this new line specifically for little girls. Still, the very idea that something like this could exist would have blown my mind as a kid. The idea that people actively made Star Wars clothes with me in mind would have been exhilarating. It would have meant the world to me, and might have even edged me out of the library corner enough to peek over a copy of Han Solo at Star’s End and, perhaps, socialize with other kids who liked Star Wars. At the very least, those boys would be proven wrong.

What I’m trying to say is that this means a lot to me, and I hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Star Wars clothes with young girls in mind. I am thrilled beyond reason for the gorgeous designs that I get to pick as a woman, where choices have become historically wide thanks to independent creators and the brands I’ve already mentioned (though they’re still slowly growing in retail stores), but I hope that every little girl who loves Star Wars can soon find a shirt with their favorite character on it that fits, that’s made for them, and that tells them that they are just as welcome in this family as anyone else.

Keep up the good work, Lucasfilm. You’re doing a bang-up job of making me proud to be a fan.

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5 Fandom Friday: 2015 Fandom Resolutions

The new year is upon us, and I have a lot on my to-do list! This year will see a lot more productivity on my part (I hope) on various platforms. I want to accomplish things this year, and get back into my old hobbies. Along with the ladies at Female Geek Bloggers, I decided to hop in with those promises, since they’re a lot easier to keep.

 

blog1I’d really like to kick off my first novel this year, and I already have a basic outline done – so inspiration is important! It’ll be a space opera, and while the genre seems limited, I’m determined to find great books to take me off into the stars again. This is also just a really great reason to read more this year. If anyone has some great recommendations, I’d love to read them!

 

blog2It’s been a hot minute since I’ve watched Arrow. Actually, I’m way behind on virtually every show DC aired this past year, and that’s a crying shame. While Gotham never really captured my fancy, I love Arrow and The Flash. I really want to give Constantine a chance, too. Marathons shall be had before the new seasons air!

 

blog3It’s been a while since I’ve made a new costume, and while I’ve definitely fallen out of the hobby a bit, it’s always lots of fun to wear a costume at conventions. For most of the year, I’m working at cons and don’t really have the time or capacity to cosplay; I’m hoping that this year gives me a little more time to have fun on the side! As far as which dream costumes occur, I have a small list – Leia’s Cloud City outfit and Capcom’s Son Son are two of my more do-able dream costumes.

 

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I’ve been struggling to come up with vlog ideas, but since I got to much positive feedback on my latest vlog, I think focusing on a particular subject is going to help me produce more great content – so, of course, Star Wars was the immediate go-to. I’m very comfortable talking about the fandom and lore, so expect more videos from me soon!

 

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I have a good excuse for not gaming, and it’s because I’ve not had access to a console for months. I’m planning on changing that by grabbing a PS4 soon, and getting more games for my 3DS. I’m super excited about my incoming PS4, not only because of the PS4 games I’m excited to play, but the indie games offered in the PSN Store. I’ve played a lot thanks to Sarah, including Velocity (which I LOVE) and Chariot (which will destroy your relationships, and is great), so I’m really excited!

 

There are plenty of other things that I could list, but I think these promises are definitely the type I can hold up. What are you resolving to accomplish this year?

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Vlog: 2015 Calendar for Star Wars Fans!

2015 will be the year of Star Wars, so I decided to highlight things to do, see, or read up until summer of 2015!

Next year, I’ll be back with a ton of fun new content and videos – but until then, you can keep up with me on MoviePilot, where I now report full-time!

Here are all of the dates and links:

Star Wars Rebels returns to DISNEY XD (not ABC, sorry!) on January 5th at 9PM!

Star Wars #1 hits shelves on January 14th. Pre-order at your local comic shop or here: http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Marvel-Comics-Pre-order/dp/B00OYLNYK4

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1 releases in February 2015. Pre-orders coming soon!

Star Wars: Princess leia #1 Releases in March 2015. Pre-orders coming soon!

Star Wars Celebration takes place from April 16-19! http://starwarscelebration.com

The official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens premieres on May 1st, 2015.

Check out disneyworld.com for Star Wars Weekends dates and tickets!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases on December 18th, 2015.

If you’re looking’ at that Bebop wall print, it’s part of a set, and I got it from my friends at POP —

Music: The Big Beat 80’s by Kevin MacLeod

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