The Princess and the Scoundrel Book Review

A wedding is supposed to represent a new chapter in our lives. It is an opportunity to walk hand in hand with our new spouse for what hopefully will be the rest of our lives. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything will be sunshine and roses.

The new Star Wars novel, The Princess and the Scoundrel (not to be confused with the similarly named podcast), by Beth Revis, was published last month. It takes place just after the events of Return of the Jedi. There is obviously a reason to celebrate. The Empire has been destroyed and democracy is being returned to the galaxy.

After everything he has been through, Han Solo is ready for a fresh start. That fresh start includes settling down with Princess Leia Organa. When he proposes, she says yes. Though she knows that she wants to marry Han, Leia is still burdened by her experience during the war and her newly discovered bloodline.

After their vows are complete, they hope that their honeymoon on the Halcyon will be the break they both need. As usual “hope” is the keyword. Leia is still in work mode and Han stumbles upon a plan to kill his wife. With the remnants of the Empire still fighting for their cause, Han and Leia learn one thing: that they work best as a team.

I loved this book. It goes without saying that you have to know the characters and the narrative from the original trilogy to have a basic understanding of the story. That being said, there is more than enough (including plenty of easter eggs) to keep the fanbase happy.

It is a lovely extension of where their relationship, taking it in new directions while remaining true to the groundwork that has already been laid. In addition, knowing how their marriage ends, it’s nice to know that they had a few good years before everything fell apart.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Princess and the Scoundrel are available wherever books are sold.

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The Similarities Between the Violence Against the Rohingya and the Holocaust are Too Scary to Ignore

Since the beginning of our species, humanity has evolved in ways that our ancestors could have never dreamed of. But there is one aspect that is unchanged: hate.

In Myanmar, the official policy against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority has been discrimination and violence. On a recent episode of the WNYC show, The Takeaway, the subject was the brutal treatment of this specific group, which has escalated in the last five years.

The similarities to the Holocaust are too scary to not ignore.

  1. Spreading lies and slowly dehumanizing a specific minority.
  2. Enacting laws that strip them of their rights as citizens and human beings.
  3. Removing access to educational and professional opportunities for both children and adults.
  4. While the world looks away, those in power continue on their path, knowing that nothing and no one is standing in their way.
  5. Destroying homes and taking material possessions at will.
  6. Forcing many to become refugees and ramping up the persecution of those who stay.
  7. Outright murder.

While I was listening to this story, I could feel and hear the cries of the six million murdered. Their souls reach through time and space, asking why it is happening again. I wish I could answer them. But I cannot.

Maybe this time, the rest of the world will pick their head out of their asses and stop this madness. But knowing what has happened in the not too distant past, I highly doubt it will happen.

May the memories of everyone who has been killed by hate be a blessing. Z”L.

P.S. In the English city of Norwich, human remains were recently found in a well. Tests revealed that the victims (three of whom were young girls) were all murdered in a medieval pogrom simply because they were Jews.

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All Creatures Great and Small Character Review: Tristan Farnon

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television show All Creatures Great and Small. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When we are young, we are often young and stupid. We think that we know everything. Maturity and learning that you don’t know everything sometimes requires a few mess-ups along the way.

In the PBS/Masterpiece television series, All Creatures Great and Small (based on the book series of the same name) Tristan Farnon (Callum Woodhouse) is the much younger brother of local veterinarian Siegfried Farnon (Samuel West) in 1930s Yorkshire. Like many young men, he is foolhardy, does not always think through his decisions, and is more about the present than the future.

He is the yin to James Herriot‘s (Nicholas Ralph) yang. James is serious, quiet, and takes his duties seriously. They are a nice balance to one another. Tristan brings out the fun in James while James encourages Tristan to put a little more effort into his job.

As the calendar moves on, he starts to grow up and wants his brother’s approval. But Siegfried is very hard to please. He has no expectations that Tristan will be up to snuff. When Siegfried makes a mistake and blames his brother (and is eventually proven wrong), their relationship starts to change. Siegfried also smudges Tristan’s academic record, which does not go over well when he finds out. When they finally get to talking, the elder Farnon reveals that he was jealous of the easy relationship Tristan had with their late father.

What he does not know is that further change is around the corner. World War II may force Tristan to make decisions that he may never have considered before.

To sum it up: Being young, fearless, and carefree is great. But it doesn’t last forever. Growing up comes whether we like it or not. Like all of us at that age, Tristan makes a few mistakes. But he does eventually start to mature and become an adult.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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