I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A galactic-wide disaster within the hyperspace lanes lead a group of Jedi travelers to lead their companions to an abandoned space station, but soon find themselves at the center of a dangerous mystery in author Claudia Gray’s novel, “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark”.
Padawan Reath Silas is being sent from the cosmopolitan galactic capital of Coruscant to the undeveloped frontier—and he couldn’t be less happy about it. He’d rather stay at the Jedi Temple, studying the archives. But when the ship he’s traveling on is knocked out of hyperspace in a galactic-wide disaster, Reath finds himself at the center of the action. The Jedi and their traveling companions find refuge on what appears to be an abandoned space station. But then strange things start happening, leading the Jedi to investigate the truth behind the mysterious station, a truth that could end in tragedy….
What a fantastic new canon to explore within the greater Star Wars universe. As a longtime fan of the franchise, I have devoured anything related to the series, and getting to explore an entirely new era set before the events of the main films was a real treat.
The author’s true power shines best through the amazing character development that occurs here. From new heroes like Reath to dangerous threats like the plant-creatures known as the Drengir and the powerful criminal organization looking to halt the Republic’s expansion into the Outer Rim, the Nihil, the story takes readers into some amazing corners of the galaxy while also establishing connected and engaging new characters.
The twists and turns this story takes are fantastic to see unfold. The already established Nihil is unique to me, as their character development is reminiscent of both real-life pirates and Vikings, who utilize violence and ruthless battle while also clinging to ideals of freedom through taking whatever they like. Yet their backstory is complex and shows promise as the High Republic continues to grow. The introduction of new aspects of the Force and Jedi Order, from the Wayseeker who operates outside of the Jedi Council’s purview to the Drengir and the connection to the Force itself, will surprise fans and make for a new and powerful foe.
A masterful, entertaining, and action-packed blockbuster of a read, author Claudia Gray’s “Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark” is a must-read for all Star Wars fans. This new initiative into the High Republic excels in this novel, and the author’s brilliant dive into the Star Wars mythos highlights the endless possibilities this galactic series has for storytellers around the world. I cannot wait to read more about this era of the Star Wars universe, and hope everyone will grab their copy of this fantastic read today!
Thank Disney Publishing and Netgalley enough for this review copy.
About the Author
Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn’t choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn’t), because I’d always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven’t) or even because I’m hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.
I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I’ve been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.
A brand-new era begins here! Comics legends Scott Snyder and Jim Cheung launch the Justice League into a cosmos-shaking mystery that will draw out their most terrible foes…in ways our heroes couldn’t possibly imagine!
The League was forced to make an impossible decision…and now its time to face the consequences! The returning Martian Manhunter struggles to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it, while a familiar face strikes out on a dark path…
Spinning out of the cataclysmic events of Dark Nights: Metal and the universe-defining No Justice, the core members of the Justice League–Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and more–are finally reunited for an adventure for the ages!
One of the most critically acclaimed authors of his generation finally scribes DC’s flagship title in Justice League Vol. 1! Collects Justice League #1-7.
A fantastic new era in Justice League comics, fans are going to love the return of Martian Manhunter, and the more chaotic, darker and visceral storytelling thanks to the return of the new Legion of Doom. Pushing the heroes to the limit, fans are in for a treat with breathtaking artwork, a large cast of characters, and new teammates that will bring new chemistry to the team overall. The writers do an excellent job of pushing the ever-growing mythology of the DC Multiverse as the Totality leans into an ever darker history that the heroes never realized existed before. A must-read!
Half-man, half-machine and longtime member of the Justice League, Cyborg faces his faces a fatal systems crash over his latest indentity crisis: Is he truly more dead than alive?
Vic Stone is about to get a real-life 404 error when his father doesn’t recognize him and cybernetic implants that saved his life seem to be stripping away the last bits of his humanity. Will Cyborg’s human side win out? Or will he find out he’s really just a machine who thinks he’s a man?
From John Semper Jr., one of the minds behind the hit ’90s TV show Spider-Man: The Animated Series, comes Cyborg’s next adventure in his very own solo series!
Collecting: Cyborg 1-6, Rebirth
A well written narrative that explores a character often reserved for team-up storylines, Cyborg shines brightly as the reluctant hero who must embrace his powers, his changed life and the role he must play in his home of Detroit. With a fantastic plot growing between a long held secret of his father’s and the complex relationship Cyborg and his father have make this a one of a kind read that fans of the Rebirth era will love.
All-New Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1: Communication Breakdown
A new era of cosmic adventure begins! The Guardians of the Galaxy have taken off into space once more on their biggest and weirdest misadventures yet! Kicking things off with the boldest heist they’ve ever pulled, Star-Lord, Rocket and company blast their way through the galaxy -with the peacekeepers of the Nova Corps hot on their tail! And soon enough, they find themselves caught in a war between the Collector and the Grandmaster! Will there be any room to explain why Groot can’t grow any bigger, what Gamora is searching for, or why Drax has sworn off violence?! You bet there will – the all-new Guardians of the Galaxy has space for all your Marvel Cosmic needs!
COLLECTING: ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2017) 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 10, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 1
Fun, adventurous and a great example of team building mixing with character development for the team that has become Marvel’s favorite group of A-Holes, (yes I included an MCU reference. You know you were thinking it too). Exploring the ramifications of Secret Wars on the new Marvel universe, the humor and unique artwork of this series brings the original chemistry of the Guardians into the ever-growing landscape of the universe as a whole. A great read for Marvel fans.
After revolutionizing superhero storytelling in such classic titles as Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil and New Avengers, acclaimed comics author Brian Michael Bendis brings that same magic to the DC Universe with this explosive new Superman saga. Featuring the work of artists including Jos Luis Garca-Lpez, Ivan Reis, Jason Fabok, Evan “Doc” Shaner, Steve Rude, Ryan Sook, Kevin Maguire and Adam Hughes–The Man of Steel marks the beginning of an amazing new era for Superman!
A remorseless killer called Rogol Zaar has arrived on Earth, bringing wide-scale death and destruction in his wake. Only Superman and his cousin, Supergirl, stand between Zaar and the completion of his mission–the utter annihilation of the Kryptonian race.
But even as Kal-El and Kara struggle to contain this new existential threat, the world’s greatest superhero faces a completely different challenge in his adopted home city of Metropolis, where Clark Kent still lives and works–but without his wife and son.
The stage is set for a reckoning like nothing Superman has ever faced, and everything that matters to the Man of Steel hangs in the balance!
Collects The Man of Steel #1-6 and stories from DC Nation #0 and Action Comics #1000
A great new chapter in the world’s most iconic superhero’s story ever told. Superman’s life as a father and husband changes greatly, and not only do fans get a chance to explore what happened to change that, but they witness the emergence of a deadly new foe for Superman, Rogol Zaar. Exploring a new take on the destruction of Krypton brings about a new level of change personally for the Man of Steel, and his place in the DC Universe takes on a whole new meaning in this amazing story.
Raised on hate, fear and anger…steeped in the ways of darkness…and trained to kill! Darth Maul’s time as apprentice to Darth Sidious has long been cloaked in shadows – now at last his tale of revenge is revealed! It’s a story of rage unleashed as Darth Maul prepares for his first encounter with the hated Jedi. But when a Jedi Padawan is captured by sinister forces, why is Maul so determined to fi nd her? And what role will a band of bounty hunters, including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing, play? Get to know the galaxy’s deadliest Zabrak like never before!
COLLECTING: DARTH MAUL (2017) #1-5
One of the Star Wars universe’s greatest threats and a truly fan favorite character/villain, Darth Maul’s story and evolution as a character went from a one-film villain to an integral figure in the shaping of the entire modern day Star Wars universe. Getting to explore his growth into the villainous Sith he was in the Phantom Menace film to the deep seated hatred he grew to have for the Jedi overall helps showcase his character’s mindset and arc overall in the films, televisions shows and comics overall. A must read for all Maul fans.
Weapon X, Vol. 1: Weapons of Mutant Destruction Prelude
Decades ago, the Weapon X Program produced the deadliest mutant killers on the planet. Now, with more research, more funding and more Adamantium at its disposal, the all-new Weapon X Program isn’t just experimenting on mutants anymore…it’s eradicating them – all of them -using killer cyborgs that can hide in plain sight. Now it’s up to the uneasiest of all alliances -between Old Man Logan and his once bitter enemy Sabretooth – to hunt down the revived Weapon X program and stomp it out before it gets any stronger. They’ll need a whole lot of luck and maybe that’s where Domino comes in? But what could make Weapon X and its mysterious new director turn their sights on the Totally Awesome Hulk? The Weapons of Mutant Destruction are coming – and there will be blood! COLLECTING: WEAPON X 1-4, TOTALLY AWESOME HULK 19
A great story bringing together some of the best X-Men characters out of the infamous Weapon X program, fans are treated to a look at one of the toughest, most brutal fighters in the Marvel Universe. Fantastic artwork showcases the harsh reality of the team’s missions, and the dark humor that some of the team infuses into their dialogue that keeps the character interactions flowing smoothly. A great read in the modern Marvel era.
Speak softly – and carry a huge gun! Cable, everyone’s favorite time-traveling, cyborg-armed walking mutant arsenal, is embarking on a brand-new mission…with all of time in the balance! When Cable picks up the trail of a threat in the timestream, he sets off on a high speed, history-spanning chase to save reality as we know it. From prehistory to the modern day, whether it’s a six-gun duel at high noon or a sword fight high above the kingdom, Cable is the only man who can keep history from unraveling! The fate of all reality rests on his massive shoulder pads…and that’s exactly the way he likes it!
COLLECTING: CABLE 1-6
Time travel is one of the oldest traditions in the X-Men portion of the Marvel Universe, and no one does it better than Cable. Getting the first adventure in this comic series to focus on Cable taking on a powerful new foe who is disrupting the time stream is a fun way of getting readers back into the complex world of Cable as a hero. The artwork is amazing and the story does a marvelous job of combing the past and the future into a seamless storyline, making for a fun read.
Charles Soule and a stellar roster of superstar artists unite to put the Astonishing back in the X-Men! An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-Men discovers the truth behind the threat, but is there any time left for Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex, Rogue and Gambit? In an action-packed X-epic, they must head to the astral plane in pursuit of…the Shadow King! But in this brain-bending mindscape, not everything is as it seems, and reality is a relative concept. Will this impromptu squad of X-Men be able to contain the chaos from spilling out into the world?
COLLECTING: ASTONISHING X-MEN 1-6
One of the most dangerous villains in the Marvel Universe makes a play for the Marvel Universe in this first outing of the Astonishing X-Men in the modern Marvel era. A unique collection of mutant heroes come together to face the powerful Shadow King, with the British government hot on their heels after a powerful attack in London. The rise of one of the most iconic and powerful X-Men comes full circle in this story, and introduces a new era of the X-Men universe as well. A must read.
Everybody’s favorite X-couple is reunited! And boy, are they not happy about that… Kitty Pryde must send Rogue and Gambit on an undercover mission to find a group of kidnapped mutants. What they discover on this mission will shock them. But will it also bring them closer together…? It’s a high-stakes adventure caper that only the two hottest X-Men can deliver!
COLLECTING: ROGUE & GAMBIT 1-5
A fantastic character study of one of the X-Men’s most popular relationships, this series does an excellent job of delving into the history and power of the romance between Rogue and Gambit. From their first moment together and beyond, the two struggle as Rogue feels the relationship is broken beyond repair, while Gambit remains hopeful their love is stronger than the past. In the midst of this character dive comes a new mystery of disappearing mutants, a creepy retreat in paradise and experimentation gone wrong. A great mix of old school and new school artwork brings this story full circle. A must-read X-Men series!
Bonded to the Blue Beetle Scarab, teenager Jamie Reyes has no idea what he’s doing with one of the most powerful weapons in the universe. But he’s in luck, because his predecessor–Ted Kord–is back in the DC Universe and here to serve as the young hero’s mentor! Alongside fellow teen hero Doctor Fate, this duo will have to learn how to be heroes on the fly!
Written by the legendary Keith Giffen (Legion of Super-Heroes) and illustrated by Scott Kolins (The Flash), Blue Beetle is back for a new generation as a part of DC Universe: Rebirth!
Collecting: Blue Beetle 1-6, Rebirth
A great blending of generations of heroes, the story explores the Rebirth era origins of the mysterious Scarab that turns teen Jamie Reyes into a powerful force of nature known as the Blue Beetle, and the mentoring done by longtime hero and Justice League adjacent hero Ted Kord, aka the Blue Beetle. The contentious relationship between mentor and mentee brings the fight with the Scarab to the forefront, and the inclusion of longtime DC powerhouse Dr. Fate makes this comic filled with magic. A great DC Rebirth era series.
The Birds of Prey prowl the street of Gotham once again! The sisterly, crime-fighting trio–Batgirl, Black Canary, and Huntress–get the band back together in the aftermath of DC Universe: Rebirth, but they’re not reconnecting for nostalgia’s sake. A mysterious new criminal operative called Oracle has declared war on Gotham. Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl, and a.k.a. cyber-superhero Oracle in a previous guise, takes exception to someone smearing her legacy.
Writing duo and sisters Julie and Shawna Benson, along with breakout artist Claire Roe, reunite the femme fatale crew in Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Volume 1: Who Is Oracle?!
Collecting: Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 1-6, Rebirth
A fantastic new entry in the infamous Birds of Prey team history. The introduction of Huntress onto the Rebirth era team while the mystery of who the new “Oracle” is will keep fans invested from the very beginning. The team’s dynamic and the impact each has on the city of Gotham and beyond make this a relatable story as well, as powerful female heroes are finally becoming more prevalent and showcase the power of teamwork as the streets of Gotham become more and more dangerous. A must read for the DC Rebirth era, as well as the perfect read to prepare for the upcoming Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey film.
When Princess Leia Organa was captured by the Empire, she never betrayed her convictions – even after the complete destruction of her home world, Alderaan. When her rescue came, Leia grabbed a blaster and joined the fight, escaping back to the Rebel Alliance and helping strike the biggest blow against the Empire – the destruction of the Death Star! But in the aftermath of that victory, the question remains…what is a princess without a world? As Leia comes to grips with her loss, a new mission leads her to the underground world of Sullust. The Empire is rounding up fugitive Alderaanians, and that doesn’t sit well with their Princess! But what can one woman do against the Galactic Empire? They’re about to find out! Join the galaxy’s toughest Princess on a quest to save her people and rebuild her life!
COLLECTING: PRINCESS LEIA #1-5
A fantastic way to keep the legacy of Princess Leia going, this miniseries did a marvelous job of showcasing the strength and courage and overall hope that Leia embodied in the franchise, and why she was one of the strongest heroes of the Star Wars series. Exploring the aftermath of her homeworld’s destruction and getting to see the history and culture of her people play out was fantastic to see, and the artwork was beautifully done and used a warmth that spoke to the tone of the character herself. A must read Star Wars series.
Jason Todd, a.k.a. Redd Hood, has been many things–a Robin, dead, the Red Hood–now he’s back and he’s embracing his bad side!
With his new status as a villain, Red Hood plans to take down Gotham’s underworld from the inside. Joined by a fallen Amazon named Artemis and a half-baked Superman clone named Bizarro, this dark trinity will soon discover that the line between hero and villain is harder to discern than they might think.
Collecting: Red Hood & the Outlaws 1-6
Red Hood has always been a fascinating character, but seeing his character growth in this DC Rebirth era is great to see. The conflict of proving himself to Bruce by not killing and his desire to end crime for good play out well here, as does his new relationship with fellow outlaws Artemis and Bizarro. Each brings a unique perspective to the story while also showcasing that heroes don’t always follow a black or white moral code, but that doesn’t mean they’re not heroes. A great read with a fantastic opening villain in the narrative and a brilliant origin story to the team and Bizarro himself.
The silent king of the Inhumans stars in his first-ever solo series! But it begins with Black Bolt…imprisoned?! Where exactly is he? Why has he been jailed? And who could be powerful enough to hold the uncanny Black Bolt? The answers to both will shock you -and Black Bolt as well! For if he is to learn the truth, he must first win a fight to the death with a fellow inmate -the Absorbing Man! Award-winning science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed (Throne of the Crescent Moon) crafts a story as trippy as it is action-packed, with truly mind-bending art from the one-and-only Christian Ward (ODY-C)!
COLLECTING: BLACK BOLT 1-6
Definitely one of the most complex members of not only the Marvel Universe but the Inhuman Royal Family is the king, Black Bolt. Now a fallen king, Black Bolt gets a much needed spotlight as fans are treated to an exploration of the all powerful Inhuman in an all-new light. The King finds himself a prisoner, and making allies with criminals in the process, as he faces one of the most terrifying foes in the Marvel Universe, and must find his place in the universe when he can’t rely on his own powers. A fantastic read that Marvel fans will love.
Not even The Amazing Spider-Man is safe from Secret Wars! In this new Marvel Universe, Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson and their daughter Annie have to scrape by to make ends meet, but they have each other…However, who is Regent and what is his nefarious plan that has already claimed Daredevil and Moon Knight? It’s a brand new world full of brand new challenges for Peter Parker, The Amazing Spider-Man!
Collecting: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows 1-5 & materiel from Spider-Verse 2
Getting the chance to explore the Marvel multiverse is always a fun time. Fans of the Marvel Comics universe know Peter Parker’s story well by now, so getting to see a world where he and Mary Jane not only married, but started a family together and became their own little super-family is a refreshing change of pace. The evolution of their daughter Annie, as well as Mary Jane becoming her own hero as well, makes the blend of family dynamics and heroics a fun journey to go on. Blend this with the evolution of a new generation of Osborn and the X-Men, and fans are given a brilliant new path to explore in the Marvel Multiverse.
THE WAR OF THE REALMS is upon us! Malekith, king of the Dark Elves, has been conquering the Ten Realms and now has his sights set on the last one: Earth. And with armies of Frost Giants, Fire Goblins, trolls, angel warriors, Roxxon corporate soldiers, the Enchantress and the prince of lies himself, Loki, at his side, Malekith may just succeed. Asgardia is no more, Old Asgard is in ruins, and the majority of Asgardians are refugees on Earth. Now Thor and Earth’s heroes — including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, and even such unlikely allies as Venom and Punisher — are all that stand in Malekith’s way! It’s an event five years in the making as the MIGHTY THOR creative team of writer Jason Aaron, artist Russell Dauterman and colorist Matthew Wilson reunite to save the Ten Realms!
COLLECTING: WAR OF THE REALMS 1-6, WAR OF THE REALMS: OMEGA
One of Marvel’s most explosive and brutal storylines in recent years, the crossover event sees the heroes of the Marvel Universe fighting for their lives and the lives of every realm in the universe as Malekith the King of the Dark Elves has led an army to invade and conquer all realms, and leaves Earth, or Midgard, for last. A great way to see the heroes push themselves to the limit and see many heroes grow and evolve in the face of Armageddon, not least of all Thor, who becomes something far more powerful than he could have ever thought possible. A magnificent read.
Hello there citizens! It’s the end of 2015, and that means that as the year closes, we are all reflecting on what this year brought us. For me, there were a lot of great things in the world of entertainment, my career and personally that made 2015 a great year, so I am going to share with you all now some of my favorite things from 2015!
Jurassic World: 2015 was the year big blockbusters returned from their long slumbers in limbo and gave audiences the world over a new, fresh adventure into the massive worlds they created. The first one was this past summer’s Jurassic World, an incredible thrill ride in which we found out what would happen if the park were to actually be opened to the public. Years after the Jurassic Park incident, the island has become a tourist destination that mirrors a lot of similarities to the real world antics of places such as Sea World. With shareholders seeking a rise in sales, the park’s scientists have created a genetically altered, gene spliced Dino that has a desire to kill anything and everything. When it get’s loose, it’s up to a few survivors to get off the island and prevent the creature from escaping.
Star Wars The Force Awakens: The long awaited seventh episode of the most popular space saga in cinema history arrived at the close of 2015. The film beautifully captured the magic of the first film, while bringing about some incredible new characters, great special effects, and brought the original cast into the new story in a logical and fun way. In all honesty, I thought this film deserves to be included as a nominee in some awards this year, and not just for special effects and costume stuff, but for musical score, supporting actor, best actress and best film. It is the best film I saw in all of 2015!
Marvel and Netflix=Awesomeness: 2015 was the year television got even better, and eclipsed the movie theater industry overall. Netflix was a pioneer for television, having introduced some great shows that defied the standards set by network television. Yet two series stood out this year, and those were Marvel’s Daredevil and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Both shows introduced the dark, gritty side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and gave us two richly complex, badass heroes. With these new heroes came some great supporting characters the gave depth and heart to the universe, and two villains that redefined what evil can look like. Bloody, action-packed and an emotional roller-coaster, not since Breaking Bad have I been so obsessed and captivated by a television show. If you haven’t yet, watch these shows and be prepared to be amazed!
A Breathtaking Year in Horror: Horror took a predominant step in shows like The Walking Dead, it’s companion series Fear The Walking Dead, and the final chapter of NBC’s Hannibal. The performances of the actors in these shows was emotional, chilling and rich to devour, marking a breakout year for horror television. As an author/writer who loves the horror genre, this year inspired me and my writing with the groundbreaking character development and plots introduced in the horror genre.
PMJ Brings Retro Back: One of the great things about music for me this year was the way the group Postmodern Jukebox brought a sense of retro style music back to the modern age. Singers such as Casey Abrams, Haley Reinhart, Maiya Sykes and more brought some flare to current hits with 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and more amazing retro styles. Personally, I (and everyone else who loves PMJ) loved Haley Reinhart’s “Creep” and “Seven Nation Army” covers. These songs were eloquent, theatrical and powerful, and brought some of the style and iconic music of past generations back into the spotlight.
Ten Second Songs: Another great artist from YouTube, rocker and singer Anthony Vincent brought his incredible range and style to an original idea for a channel called Ten Second Songs, in which he takes a popular song, and sings in 10-20 different styles of singers, from Frank Sinatra to Skrillex. The creative force of each performance really inspired me to take risks and go for my own creative niche, and I’m excited to see where he takes the channel in 2016!
Fallout 4: Welcome to Post Apocalyptia today! That’s right, I along with the rest of the world found myself back into the fabled world of Fallout, with the epic release of Fallout 4. Taking us into the shoes of another Vault dweller who must go on a journey into the wasteland, there were some great improvements to the new engine and system. I love the customization factor, whether it’s the facial features, the fact that people address you by your custom name in the game, that your character talks finally, and that you can create settlements and strongholds in the game. There are multiple radio stations, and the seamless integration of systems like VATS and dialogue choices is easy to use. It’s a strong game I cannot wait to play more of.
Star Wars Battlefront: After nearly a decade, it was time to travel to a galaxy far, far away…
That’s right guys. Star Wars gained even more attention with the highly anticipate release of Star Wars Battlefront. The fun of taking part in famous Star Wars battles was felt as it was in the original two games, yet the graphics and FPS aspect of the game made for welcome improvements, and of course who could pass up an opportunity to fight Darth Vader as Luke in a game? That spells fun right there. Actually, it doesn’t, but anyways…
Assassins Creed Syndicate: I’m a history buff, so I’ve always enjoyed the historical aspect of the Assassin’s Creed series, even though a lot of historical figures and events were altered for the games story. I love the setting and being able to see the ways people lived throughout human history. So when AC Syndicate was released, I fell in love with the industrial, Victorian era London that was brought to life before my eyes. Getting to see the start of technological advancements, as well as getting a sense of wonder and excitement that surely helped inspire a lot of steam-punk style projects over the years. It’s such a fun game that I cannot wait to delve into more in 2016.
Batman Arkham Knight: The most fun I’ve had playing the Batman games so far, Batman Arkham Knight was super dark, creepy and realistic. The gameplay was enhanced by the addition of the Batmobile, plus the incredible voice cast of legends Kevin Conroy, John Noble, Jonathan Banks and more made this one of the best experiences I’ve had stepping into the shoes of Batman. After the story that was told and the finality of the game, it makes me excited to see what kind of games the studios develop with the Batman brand in the future. I hope to see some more interaction with the broader DC universe since most of Batman’s story has been explored and told in these last few games. It’d be interesting to see Batman take on Justice League level issues in an open world environment. This is a must play game from 2015 for sure!
Saint Odd: The final chapter of the incredible Odd Thomas series came this year. Everyone’s favorite fry cook and heroic medium returns to the town he left behind, Pico Mundo. The evil cultists he helped stopped time and time again are ready to unleash a catastrophe that’ll eclipse the one that claimed someone he loves years earlier, and after all his adventures, Odd is ready to face one final challenge, hoping to stop the unspeakable evil at any cost, even his own life. I’m half way through this book right now, and the fast paced action of the story is rich and compelling, and I cannot wait to see how this final story unfolds for one of my favorite Dean Koontz characters of all time. Let’s hope 2016 brings some new info from Mr. Koontz on the third book in the Moonlight Bay/Christopher Snow books!
YouTube Memoirs: So many great memoirs came out from our favorite YouTube stars this year. I read quite a few, from Joey Graceffa’s “In Real Life” to Shane Dawson’s I Hate Myselfie, (as well as Justine Ezarik’s I, Justine: An Analog Memoir, Joe Sugg’s Username: Evie and more). These were amazing reads and not only great to get to see the personal journey of each of these stars, but I thought it was great to see these stars use their connection with their young fans to encourage more reading and introduce them to the power of literature. I hope to read the hilarious books Selp-Helf from Miranda Sings and Binge from Tyler Oakley in 2016, and look forward to more YouTuber books in the future!
The Year of Coming Out: It was a great year for the rights of LGBT members everywhere. As a supporter of equality for all, I was happy to see things like marriage for everyone legalized, and it also warmed my heart to see stars taking a brave step forward to come out to their fans and use their platform not only to take a personal step forward in their life, but to help encourage and inspire others to be themselves. Stars like Joey Graceffa, Shane Dawson, Ingrid Nilsen and many more took that pivotal step, and I am so glad to see people able to be themselves in what I hope is an evolving, caring and loving world.
Savvy Sexy Social: One of my favorite YouTube channels I began watching in 2015 was Amy Schmittauer’s Savvy Sexy Social. This channel has given me hope and inspiration in 2015 to help me go for my dreams and helped me gain some ideas and insight into what goes into marketing in the social media age. I’ve watched several videos of hers this year, learning about so many different aspects of marketing that I hope to put into practice in 2016, and her podcast was also a huge help this year as well. If you are serious about not just YouTube, but any business or image you want to convey and you want to know how to best market yourself or your business, go watch her channel and look for some great advice from her.
Vloggers Take Over: I have to say, I noticed a huge rise in popularity with vlogs. For a long time I enjoyed more scripted or structured videos such as sketches or music videos, but this year I saw the official take over of the vlogger. Family vloggers, travel vloggers, young disabled authors in their second year of daily vlogging (shameless self promotion, youtube.com/GunslingerPimp or Avina Vlogs!), 2015 was a great year for viewers to connect with people who shared their lives, making for a more personal, intimate viewing experience.
The 500 Sub Club: Thanks to you guys, I passed 500 subscribers on my YouTube channel, Avina Vlogs. I finally got a set schedule with my videos, got my official podcast started and got more interactive with you guys, and now we’ve gotten to about 530 subscribers at the end of 2015. I hope to continue with my progress and get to 1000 subs soon, and more by the end of 2016. You guys are great and have made me feel like I’m doing something great with this channel, so thank you for all your support this year.
Local News: I put myself out there finally for my writing, and did a phone interview with my local paper, and was featured on the front page of the paper itself. The article was written about my biggest release in 2015, VOID, my drama/contemporary romance novella available in paperback and eBook formats now, (shameless self promotion #2). Not only that, but the news caught onto the local Spanish Newspaper as well, and I was on the front page of that one as well. It was a great confidence boost that is inspiring me to go for my dreams more in 2016!
Reviews A Plenty: I had a lot of positive reviews come out this year, both for my short stories and my novella VOID. The positivity in my reviews is showing me that my writing is improving and getting better as the years go on, and is giving me the confidence I need to go forward with my work in 2016!
Thank you guys for reading this post. It was a breakout year for me in 2015, but I think it was but a stepping stone for 2016. So many great projects inspired my own personal stuff, but I think we are on the precipice of a truly stellar year of creativity, personal growth and amazing projects that will launch us into a whole new platform. What were your favorite things about 2015? Leave your comments below and also tell me what you hope to see happen in the coming year.