BOOK REVIEWS

Star Wars Guardians of the Whills (Star Wars: Rogue One) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-11 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:1484780817
LANGUAGE:English

"Rogue One was a thoroughly entertaining film that introduced a heap of fantastic new characters into our beloved Star Wars universe.

I was thrilled to learn that Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe were getting their own book written by Greg Rucka. My body craved more information on this dynamic duo.

The title of the book “Guardians of the Whills” piqued my interest further. Who were this mysterious religious order? More importantly, who were these ancient force beings known as the “Whills” that long predate the Jedi?

The book doesn’t really answer a lot of those questions but it’s still an enjoyable (albeit very quick) read.

Greg Rucka really nailed the dialogue between the two main characters in a way that seemed very natural and believable.

I enjoyed how the book highlights the differences (and parallels) in ideology between rebels and extremists.

The book is categorized at the young adult reading level and it’s short so you can bang it off in just a few hours of reading.

The tale was straightforward and focused on a rescue mission. It was nice to get some background on the motivations of these two characters and also any little bits of new information (such as the origins of Baze’s cool gun).

Rogue One: Catalyst is still my favourite Rogue One book but Guardians of the Whills now slides in at number two.

p.s. We still don't know if Baze and Chirrut are a "couple" though the book does indicate that they live together ;)
" said.

"Guardians of the Whills, starring Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe from Rogue One, stands as one of the best books in the new Star Wars canon and catapults Greg Rucka onto my list of favorite authors. I had admired some of his work before, including Wonder Woman and Before the Awakening, but was underwhelmed with some constructs in Shattered Empire. Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills gives his talents the chance to shine, giving us amazing interpretations of Baze and Chirrut while highlighting the stakes of the Rebellion immediately before Rogue One through exploring the devastation on Jedha.

From the official summary: Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple on Jedha and all those who worshiped there. Then the Empire came and took over the moon. The temple was sealed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what the can to resist the Empire and protect the people of the Holy City, but it never seems to be enough. When a man named Saw Gerrera arrives with grand plans to take down the Empire, it seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha. But will it come at too great a cost?

Even though the book is listed as a Disney Junior novel, there is plenty packed into these 234 pages for readers of all ages to relate too. At the beginning of the story, Baze and Chirrut do what they can to help the orphans of Jedha survive and adjust to their new life among growing hostilities from the Empire. As part of a deal to help keep the orphans and their caregivers safe and well supplied, the two men join forces with Saw Gerrera as he brings the rebellion to Jedha, despite their misgivings about his tactics. Things continue to escalate until we're at the cusp of the action of Rogue One, giving us greater insight into the political situation as the other heroes arrived. Along with a riveting story and moments that will definitely make you recall the characters from the film, the book also includes gorgeous illustrations and each chapter begins with a different teaching from writings on the Force. As far as world building goes into the new Star Wars canon, it doesn't get much better than this.

And because it is all the rage now, and there is so much to love about this book, I'm going to end this review with some of my favorite passages.

These were Imperials, who had taken that which was beautiful and made it profane, and it didn't matter if Baze Malbus still believed or nor; it mattered to him that others did, and he saw the pain the Imperials caused every single day. He saw it in friends and stranger. He saw it in hungry children in the streets, and hiding beneath the smile of Chirrut Imwe. - Pg 34

Baze had always thought she was pretty-insofar as he thought such things about anyone at all anymore - Pg 110

"I don't mean to offend you, but you're blind."
Chirrut put a hand up in front of his face, waved it back and forth, gasped.
"Baze Malbus," he said, "Why didn't you tell me?"
Baze laughed. Fortuna didn't.
- Pg 130

For a second, Chirrut found himself at an utter loss for words. He hadn't heard Baze's approach, and Baze was not, generally, a man who did things quietly. More, he hadn't sensed Baze's approach, nor even his presence, and if there was a presence that Chirrut Imwe knew in the Force more than any other-more, perhaps, than his own place in it- it was that of Baze Malbus. - Pg 175-176

"I'm going to miss you," Chirrut said to Baze.
Baze smiled, then realized what Chirrut was actually saying and said, "No, no. I am going to miss you."
"Don't be absurd. You must go with them." ...
"You cannot be left alone," Baze said. "You would walk into walls."
"I have not walked into a wall unintentionally in twenty years."
"Yes, because I am here to keep you from doing that."
- Pg 231-232
" said.

"

[Baze:] "Most believed they had come because of the temples. We thought, they have come to crush belief, because belief leads to hope, and hope can topple monsters. They will stay long enough to crush hope, but they do not understand that hope can be a very small thing. It doesn't need much to survive. An occasional breath of air. A flicker of warmth. Hope can live in a vacuum."

"You sound like your friend."

"Only when he is not around." Baze grinned.


SPACE MARRIEDS

This book gave me everything I wanted wrt fleshing out Chirrut and Baze, and their dynamic and history and relationship with each other. The Rogue One novelisation (which ftr is one of the best novelisations I have ever read) understandably didn't get to spend too much time with them, but this one dives deep even despite its short length. As a "Junior Novel", this is marketed as middle-grade -- but the language & sentence structure is sophisticated enough that I shelved it as young adult instead.

Each short chapter is bridged with touching, spiritual sayings & aphorisms from the records of the Guardians of the Whills, which fits so perfectly with Chirrut's quiet faith, and the general importance of belief (or lack thereof) for these two. Chirrut is wry and clever and thoughtful, and I loved seeing how his chapters were written, lacking visual description due to his blindness but piecing together details from sound, vibration, and a faint hint of the Force. Baze is bitter and damaged, but Chirrut always, without fail, knows how to make him laugh. They make for a wonderful, odd couple dynamic -- the muscle and the priest -- and this book puts them through their paces in Jedha, crossing paths with Saw Gerrera, and watching the extremists vs. Empire conflict escalate and get worse and worse as they attempt to save an orphanage.

Basically, it gave me a lot of feelings. 4.5 stars; rounded up because although it isn't as good as the Rogue One book, this is still exactly the sort of thing I want to read, and I just want more more more like this. God bless u, Greg Rucka.

(Also: They're not outright written as being in a romantic relationship, but for all intents and purposes, they're about as close as one could be and it doesn't refute #spacemarrieds at all. They know each other with a deep and wordless understanding, and their relationship & importance to each other is front-and-center in the novel.)

Other favourite quotes below, spoiler-cut:
(view spoiler)" said.

"I thought this would be more of a "mature YA" book than a "mature middle-grade" fiction book. Still, Greg Rucka's story is a quick, enjoyable, and (dare I say) thoughtful read, even for adults. The epigraphs for each chapter -- gathered from "Collected Poems, Prayers, and Meditations on the Force" -- are quite beautiful, especially "Where you see darkness, I see stars" (I had to catch my breath, I found this simple phrase so moving).

This book does not add much to the story of "Rogue One," but it allows us to spend time with two of the movie's most charming and interesting new characters, Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe. Rucka fleshes them out delightfully, even within such a limited space. Theme-wise, "Guardians of the Whills" delves into the tragedy of cyclical violence and the thin line between terrorism and resistance, while also probing at the distinction between piety and dogma. Take this fabulous paragraph:

[Chirrut] was angry at himself. But why, exactly? Because he felt guilty for what he had done, for his part in bringing about the violence, the reprisals of this day? No, the Empire needed to be fought. It had to be resisted. His faith held him to a moral code, but that morality was the same regardless of any faith in the Force. One did not need to believe in the Force to know right from wrong. Many who held no faith in the Force acted righteously, and he had known more than one sentient who had acted selfishly, even cruelly, and used belief to justify doing so.

These are nuanced lessons that children of this day and age should certainly be inclined to learn.

And of course, I began humming the "Guardians of the Whills" suite every time I opened up this book. It's gorgeous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqcXA...
" said.

" A Young Adult novel. It is filled with what I believe is many connection to The Last Jedi. Specifically, the balance of the force, an old book collection, and many other aspects that I'd bet were going to be featured in upcoming Rebels final episodes as that series moves to events of Rouge One. " said.

"Honestly, that was excellent. Smooth, readable, with a writing style that never felt like it talked down to the reader or fell into the clunkiness that often comes with writing adult stories for young readers. Could just easily been published for teens or adults. Much like Rogue One compared to the other films, it did a lovely job of both small moments and fleshing out backstory.

Admittedly, I would have loved some kissing. But other than actual PDA, this definitely sticks aligns with canon/fanon Baze-and-Chirrut, Ride or Die Space Marrieds Since Forever.
" said.

" Absolutely unreal how perfect the descriptions were of life under occupation. Helplessness of inaction versus pushing the enemy... just this book.... Also BAZE and Chirrut canon sharing a room. :) " said.

" It's a junior novel but provides some nice background on Jedha before Rogue One, and only makes me want more Baze and Chirrut, from before the Imperial occupation of Jedha. " said.

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