New York Comic Con 2016 – Saturday, October 8

Inside Gotham with David Mazouz, Erin Richards and Robin Lord Taylor

David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), Erin Richards (Barbara Kean) and Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot) give a behind-the-scenes look at the seedy Gotham underworld, and what it’s like to be a part of the Bat-Mythos. Join Gotham’s goldenboy and a few sinister scoundrels as they share their Arkham adventures and talk about the latest TV installment in the Batman world.

My sister, myself and our friend Nikki got pretty good seats at the Gotham panel. Fourth row. Nikki wanted the aisle so she could be near the mic to ask a question.

Before the panel the warm up guy played a game with the audience. A cross between a scavenger hunt and musical chairs. Each round the players had to go out and find a specific item (all Batman themed) from the audience and bring it back to the chair up front. Every round a chair was taken away so that the last person back left with no chair was disqualified. The last two contestants were a grown man and girl in her tweens. It was her first comic-con.

The item was a Lego Batman keychain. A guy threw his keys to the male contestant. But they overshot and landing in Nikki’s hands. She wanted the girl to win, so she turned to the girl, made eye contact and threw them to her. The girl got a prize and Nikki got a t-shirt for her intercepting skills.

The t-shirt was from NYCC 2013. HA! Nikki was able to trade it in at the ReedPop store for a 2016 shirt.

The panel started with just David and Robin. Erin was stuck in traffic.

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New York Comic Con 2016 – Friday, October 7

The first thing my sister and I did that Friday morning was go to the Disney Booth. I had gotten an email that there would be a signing at 6:00pm with E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein for the new Ahsoka novel. I wanted to ask if we would need bracelets for the signing. No bracelets required. I was just told by a woman who worked there to be there 15-30 minutes before it started.

Yea right. This is Ashely and Ahsoka we are talking about. I planned to be there no less than an hour before. But when I got there before 5pm I just missed them selling their last copy of Ahsoka and capping the line. They said people had been lined up since about 3 or 4PM, after they heard about the signing at a Star Wars panel that morning.

I was heartbroken. I think the man there felt bad because before someone told him the line was capped he offered to sell me another book for them to sign. But that’s not the point. Why would I want them to sign a book they have no involvement with? He also said Ahsoka would be on sale in bookstores on Tuesday. But then it won’t be signed and that is the point.

Why didn’t the woman that morning tell me to BUY THE BOOK NOW? That that would be my “ticket” to the signing. I also kicked myself for not thinking of it, but honestly, she made it seem like it would be a give away. And let’s be honest, Disney can afford to give a few out for free at NYCC.

I got over it and ended up downloading the audiobook instead. I really wanted to hear Ashley narrate it anyway.

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Star Wars: Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston, Narrated by Ashley Eckstein

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Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins

Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars and before she reappeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally her story will begin to be told.

Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa – and the Rebel Alliance.

Ahsoka is a well written YA novel that gives us some insight into the missing pieces of Ahsoka’s life between the end of The Clone Wars series and her appearance on Rebels.

It begins about a year after the birth of the Empire. Ahsoka is learning to adjust to a new life and new situations without her fellow Jedi and Clone comrades. She is understandably cautious about making new friends, but then learns who she can trust. She is moving from place to place without a goal or mission, just laying low and making a living as a mechanic. This is the story where she finds a new mission.

The pacing is steady and the story has a bit of everything for the fans. Battles, Jedi meditation, friendships, strong characters, cameos from old favorites, and some flashbacks to fill in the gaps of Ahsoka’s life. There was no romance, but I didn’t miss one. I did have the sense that Kaeden had a crush on Ahsoka, but that’s all. These characters have a lot a problems with the Empire at the moment and a romance would have clogged the story.

My one critique was the Lightsaber crystals lore when it came to the red sabers. It’s not the explanation I like.

Ashley did a good good narrating her first audiobook. Sometimes I feel like the editing was a bit off, like her tone was different from sentence to sentence and I guess they were editing a few different takes together. Hearing the book in her voice was perfect though. No one else could ever narrate an Ahsoka story.

I never heard a Star Wars audiobook before, but I loved the addition of sound effects and John Williams’ music.

I really hope there are more novels, or comic books, about Ahsoka’s life between leaving the Jedi Order and being introduced on Rebels. There is so much to tell.

4.5 out of 5 Rebel spies

New York Comic Con 2016 – Thursday, October 6:

Thursday my sister, Victoria, and I got to the Javits Center around noon.

We didn’t go to any of the panels we  wanted to see. Some were at Book Con @ NYCC over at 500 W 36th St and 10th Ave: A World Unlike Any Other: The Importance of Setting in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and Villain Squad: Villains and Anti-Heroes in Literature.

Luckily I can catch up on some the panels I missed here at the Unbound Worlds NYCC wrap-up.

Instead we went around the Exhibit Hall picking up books, looking at Artist’s Alley and taking photos.

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The One Man, by Andrew Gross

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1944. Physics professor Alfred Mendl is separated from his family and sent to the men’s camp, where all of his belongings are tossed on a roaring fire. His books, his papers, his life’s work. The Nazis have no idea what they have just destroyed. And without that physical record, Alfred is one of only two people in the world with his particular knowledge. Knowledge that could start a war, or end it.
Nathan Blum works behind a desk at an intelligence office in Washington, DC, but he longs to contribute to the war effort in a more meaningful way, and he has a particular skill set the U.S. suddenly needs. Nathan is fluent in German and Polish, he is Semitic looking, and he proved his scrappiness at a young age when he escaped from the Polish ghetto. Now, the government wants him to take on the most dangerous assignment of his life: Nathan must sneak into Auschwitz, on a mission to find and escape with one man.

The One Man, a historical thriller from New York Times bestseller Andrew Gross, is a deeply affecting, unputdownable series of twists and turns through a landscape at times horrifyingly familiar but still completely compelling.

This novel is near to perfection. The characters were well developed and their emotions are expressed in an intense and compelling way. I certainly felt their grief, fear, guilt, and hope too. By the end I was a crying, and on public transportation.

There were moments of suspense and for the last 100 pages, or so, impossible to put down. I also loved the hope the story brought, even in such a dark story. There was a line Alfred said about “where there is hope, there is life. And where there is life… there is more to learn.”

I did get a little bit lost when Alfred was teaching Leo the formulas and other mathematical equations, and I’ll admit that I did skim those parts. But the story is not bogged down by it. There’s just enough mentioned to get the point across.

There is much more I want to say, but sometimes when I love a story so much I have trouble articulating my thoughts and feeling. Especially while trying to remain spoiler free. My sister actually won a Goodreads giveaway and after she read it gave it to me to read. We discussed some big moments in the book.

I also liked the Author’s Note at the end. Gross explained his inspirations for the book and the small historical liberties he took to tell this story. Which are very, very minute, and were interesting to learn. It may seem like breaking into and out of Auschwitz is far fetched but Gross explains that, in fact, there were two men who escaped (they appear in the story); and there was a man who wrote a memoir about how he broke into Auschwitz for a single night, then broke out. The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz, by Dennis Avery. Once I have recovered from the sadness of this book perhaps I will read the memoir.

The One Man has become one of my favorite WWII historical fiction novels and I recommend it to anyone who is also a reader of that genre.

5 out 5 rooks.