Review: Bomber Command

It’s hardly surprising that Studio Fun, the same company that published Sabine’s Sketchbook, is also behind last month’s Bomber Command by Jason Fry with illustrations by Cyril Nouvel. This was the Paige Tico Appreciation Book that I’d hoped for since I first saw The Last Jedi as Fry and Nouvel take us through Paige’s journal in the weeks leading up to the Battle of D’Qar. Good news: they absolutely deliver.

In a way, Bomber Command serves as a companion book to Cobalt Squadron but I think it stands nicely on its own. From the very first page, this book had me and it made me love Paige even more than I did before. Immediately, it gets to the heart of who she is as a person: smart, capable as heck, and with her own dreams and fears. Many of these dreams and fears are tied to her younger sister Rose. Paige knows how much her sister looks up to her and how smart she is in her own right even if Rose doesn’t recognize it. It’s almost heartbreaking when you realize that even Paige seems to know that Rose won’t reach her full potential until she steps out of her shadow.

What really makes these Studio Fun journals stand out is the mix of writing styles, illustrations, and supplemental materials. The book offers a really neat view into a bomber with illustrations and pullout inserts of the schematics and instruction manuals that offer a “real” feel to this journal along with an even better sense for how these ships function. Bombers might be slow and lumbering but they’re crucial parts of the fleet that require multiple people to keep them operating smoothly. It’s far from an easy job and definitely not as glamorous as that of a starfighter pilot. Paige includes more than just bomber facts though. She also puts in things like one of Leia’s speeches to the Senate and First Order recruitment material, which help flesh out the galaxy even more. Two years after The Force Awakens, we still don’t really know everything about how the galaxy is and books like this helps us learn more. All of this helps make this journal (and others that Studio Fun has released) under appreciated Star Wars gems.

Above all though, this is a book that does right by Paige Tico. Bomber Command is the perfect book for both younger and older readers who want to know more about her. If you’re going to pick up one book about the Tico sisters, definitely make it this one.

Review: Cobalt Squadron

If you came out of The Last Jedi hoping to learn more about Paige or Rose Tico, Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein, is likely the book you’ll gravitate towards. While on a mission, Paige and Rose’s ship is boarded by a smaller one crewed by two people with a desperate mission. Their planet is ruled by and treated poorly by the First Order and they fear that their people might die if the New Republic doesn’t find a way to aide them. Knowing there’s little the Senate will do, General Organa tasks Cobalt Squadron with seeing while they can do… all while, elsewhere in the galaxy, Starkiller Base is rapidly approaching completion. Continue reading

Review: Canto Bight

Canto Bight… where everyone goes with their shiny dreams of making their fortune and perhaps finding a little excitement along the way… and where so few actually find what they’re hoping for. Canto Bight offers four novellas by three new-to-Star Wars authors and one fan favorite, which explore the lives of those within the city from various walks of life, bringing a little depth to the backdrop we’ve seen in the behind the scenes videos of The Last Jedi.

Each story offers a different angle although all four have little connections to each other and take place on the same night. Saladin Ahmed tells the story of a naïve salesman who’s won a trip to the fabled city and who also gets himself into a spot of trouble that make the trip the opposite of a dream vacation. Mira Grant’s novella is about a sommelier whose quest for a unique bottle of wine becomes difficult when another buyer forces her way into the mix. Rae Carson’s tale is one of a father who gets unwillingly pulled into the politics of the city when it’s the only way he can save his daughter. John Jackson Miller anchors the compilation with the story of a down-on-his-luck gambler who has to come up with an absurd amount of money in one evening thanks to three brothers whose luck just doesn’t make sense. Continue reading

Review: Barbary Station

When someone pitches a book to you as “lesbian pirates in space,” it’s hard not to be interested especially when you’re talking to someone who writes for Tosche Station. (We have a type here and we’re not sorry.) That’s how Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns was pitched to me: lesbian space pirates along with a side of Firefly. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? If only the book itself had caught me as fast as the premise.

Stearns’ debut novel, Barbary Station, is about two engineers who decide that their best way forward in life is to hijack a spaceship and join a pirate crew. One problem: they don’t know that the pirate crew is stuck on a space station that’s controlled completely by a rogue AI and won’t let anyone leave. That makes it a little tricky for a pirate group to successfully lead a life of crime and profit and it especially makes it hard when the Pirate Captain won’t accept you into as a part of their crew until after you beat the AI thereby freeing them from the station. What could possibly go wrong? (A lot. A lot of things are going to go wrong.) Continue reading

Review: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor

Reference books and visual guides aren’t usually the sort of Star Wars item that I consider my thing. They’re neat, of course, and fun to flip through at a friend’s but when there’s only so much money in your bank account, you can’t get everything. Not so here. Much like the Star Wars Propaganda book from last year, Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray is one of those books that caught my interest completely from the moment I started paging through it right up until I closed it. Continue reading

Review: From a Certain Point of View

What I told you was true… from a certain point of view.

It’s a phrase that all Star Wars fans know but one that takes a whole new meaning today with the release of From a Certain Point of View by, well, just about everyone. Del Rey assembled an all-star line up of 43 authors to write 40 different stories that cover the events of A New Hope for the film’s 40th anniversary. It’s an ambitious concept that benefits a good cause: all of the authors have forgone any compensation and all proceeds will be donated to First Book. The stories within the book run the complete gambit with every possible writing style, story tense, and narrator that you could imagine and yet it all comes together to make some magic.

Given what a unique book this is, we’re abandoning the traditional review format to give you the full range of our own certain points of view on this book. Continue reading

Go/No-Go: Leia: Princess of Alderaan

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Leia: Princess of Alderaan. This is author Claudia Gray’s third trip to a galaxy far, far away and her second with Leia Organa. What did we think of her take on a teenage princess? To mission control for the verdict! Continue reading

Go/No-Go: Phasma

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Phasma. It may be Delilah S. Dawson’s first Star Wars novel but we’ve definitely enjoyed her stories about other Star Wars ladies. What did we think about her take on the shiny and chrome captain? To mission control for the verdict! Continue reading

Review: Phasma

If someone were to explain Phasma as ‘Mad Max: Fury Road but in Star Wars,’ it would simultaneously be correct but also not quite encompass everything that this book is.

Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson tells two stories: the plight of a captured Resistance agent and also Phasma’s origin story from before she joined the First Order as the aforementioned Resistance fighter recounts it to someone who would see Phasma struck down from her lofty position within the First Order. In neither is Phasma someone to be underestimated. Continue reading

Review: Leia: Princess of Alderaan

Rebellions are built on lies.

These are words that ring opposite what Cassian told Jyn in Rogue One but are no less true. Rebellions are built on hope and on lies but perhaps not in the way that you might expect.

Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray takes us back to the princess’s earlier years on Alderaan before there was ever a Death Star in its orbit, poised to destroy the lives of millions of people. At age sixteen, Leia Organa must, by Alderaan custom, have her Day of Demand and then complete her Challenges of Body, Mind, and Heart before she is officially recognized as heir to the crown of Alderaan. While the challenges are worthy ones, they lead Leia down a path she didn’t entirely expect as she discovers the truth about her parents. (No, not that truth.) Continue reading