Go/No-Go: Rise of the Empire

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: Rise of the Empire.  It’s a unique book we’re looking at today as its a compilation of A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Tarkin by James Luceno, and three brand new short stories by Miller, Melissa Scott, and Jason Fry to link them all together.  We’ve reviewed both books in the past but is this compilation worth your money? To mission control for the verdict!

Bria: First things first, this book is huge.  It’s about the size of Game of Thrones for reference but it’s absolutely worth every page.  One of the complaints I’ve seen about the new canon is that nothing really links together.  The three short stories in this book should remove that complaint as one could easily sit down and read Lords of the Sith, the entirety of Rise of the Empire, and then Aftermath and it would flow awesomely.  Can we discuss how rad it is that Rae Sloane has become the cohesive glue that ties together to many of these stories in addition to being a kickass character?  Reading about her at the Battle of Endor was just spectacular.  Melissa Scott does a great job of writing a younger Hera who’s not quite the confident rebel we know from A New Dawn and Rebels but definitely shows her leadership potential and doesn’t forget about her amazing pilot skills.  I even found John Jackson Miller’s story about Tarkin and Vidian to be delightful in its own way.  It’s like watching a chess match between two very confident chess masters from different schools of strategy.  The book is absolutely a must buy if you haven’t picked up one of the two novels yet but is it worth it if you already have? I say yes. Not only its it a nicely put together compilation but the three short stories are just so fun. It’s a strong GO from me.

Nanci: Disclaimer: I have not read Tarkin, nor do I have any plans of doing so soon. (There are way too many other books I haven’t read yet before I play catch up.) A New Dawn is excellent, though, enough to warrant picking up this bind-up if you don’t already have a copy. The short stories, though, are what make this book worth the price of admission. “Mercy Mission” by Melissa Scott ties more into Lords of the Sith (another book I haven’t read, oops), than either of the novels in this bind-up, but it features a young Hera learning the importance of working for the good of the galaxy. You can definitely see how she becomes the young revolutionary we see in A New Dawn and the awesome pilot we see in Rebels. “Bottleneck,” by John Jackson Miller, features characters from both novels forced to work together against their will. Miller does a great job with both Tarkin and Vidian; I found I liked the latter character a lot more in this story than I did in A New Dawn. (Also, the cameo from another A New Dawn character made me very happy.) Last but not least, “The Levers of Power” by Jason Fry makes this book an insta-buy. Rae Sloane at the Battle of Endor is everything you ever expected: bad-ass, in charge, and taking no shit from anybody. Definitely GO and get it, now.

Brian: Right from the start, let me say that if you don’t have either A New Dawn or Tarkin in your library, you should pick up this compilation. That said, I imagine most folks who are reading this review are far more interested in the all-new short stories that are appearing in the book. Mercy Mission is a solid look into a much younger Hera. While there were points where it felt like an incomplete short story that was taken from a larger work, it was still an engaging read. Bottleneck, however, was classic John Jackson Miller. It’s really the Tarkin and Vidian buddy cop story you never knew you needed in your life. The real winner though, and the reason this book is worth every penny, is Levers of Power. I’ve made no secret that I think that Jason Fry is one of the best talents creating Star Wars literature these days. Now, combine that with one of the greatest characters to appear in the new literature canon in Rae Sloane. This is an incredible short story, and it’s one you’re definitely going to want to read. The book would get a go from me just for that, but when everything else is factored in it’s a huge GO.

Flight Director’s Verdict: Rise of the Empire is GO for launch!

Go/No-Go: Aftermath

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: Aftermath.  It’s our first book set after Episode VI in the new canon and is the tentpole of the Journey to the Force Awakens. No, it’s not Heir to the Empire, but the start of something entirely new. Is it worth your time? Does it live up to the hype? Should we stick to Legends instead? To mission control for the verdict!

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Go/No-Go: Under the Empyrean Sky

nasa-mission-control-3I was super excited earlier this month to learn Chuck Wendig would be writing the entire Aftermath trilogy, and I hadn’t even read any of this books yet. Chuck is a delight on Twitter, and his blog is super informative for writers and always full of interesting stories and commentary on current events. I grew even more excited after reading the Aftermath excerpt. His prose seemed tight and catchy, and the present tense singled it out from all the other Expanded Universe books.

I wanted to check out some of Chuck’s fiction, to get a better sense of what he’d be bringing to the Star Wars Universe. The first two books of his young adult series were recently on sale, in anticipation of the release of Book Three. And since Chuck himself has suggested that series for people wanting to see how he’d handle Star Wars, that series became the logical choice.

Brian and I both finished the first book and are onto the second. What did we think? Our opinions after the break!

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Go/No-Go: Dark Disciple

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Welcome 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: Dark Disciple.  It’s our first book outside of the Episode III-V timeframe in the new canon and uses unproduced episodes from The Clone Wars show.  It’s Ventress and Vos versus Dooku.  But is the book worth your hard earned money?   To mission control for the verdict!

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Go/No-Go – Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire: Imperial Justice

nasa-mission-control-3Servants of the Empire: Imperial Justice, out July 7, is the third installment in the young reader tie-in series to Star Wars Rebels. The first book, Edge the Galaxy, introduced us to Zare Leonis, his sister Dhara, and soon-to-be girlfriend Merei Spanjak in the year before Zare entered the Imperial Academy on Lothal. Rebel in the Ranks picked up the story with Zare as a new Imperial cadet and followed him as he tried to learn the truth about what happened to his sister. In Imperial Justice, Zare has to contend with antagonistic fellow cadet and superior officer Roddance, who want to prove he’s a traitor. Meanwhile, Merei is in trouble of her own, working for a criminal boss on Lothal as payment for him helping her snoop into the Imperial network in Rebel in the Ranks. Not to mention, her security genius mother is the one assigned to investigate the breach.

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Go/No-Go: Lords of the Sith

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Welcome 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: Lords of the Sith.  It’s a book that features not just a happy road trip by two Sith Lords but also the first LGBT character in the new canon.  But is the book worth your hard earned money?   To mission control for the verdict!

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Go/No-Go – Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks

nasa-mission-control-3Servants of the Empire: Rebel in the Ranks is the second installment in the young reader tie-in series to Star Wars Rebels. The first book, Edge of the Galaxy, introduced us to Zare Leonis, his sister Dhara, and soon-to-be girlfriend Merei Spanjak in the year before Zare entered the Imperial Academy on Lothal. Rebel in the Ranks picks up the story with Zare as a new Imperial cadet and follows him as he tries to learn the truth about what happened to his sister. Along the way he meets another cadet who has no love for the Empire.

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Go/No-Go: Heir to the Jedi

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Welcome 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: Heir to the Jedi.  It’s the first novel written in first person since I, Jedi and stars the one and only Luke Skywalker.  To mission control for the verdict!

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Go/No-Go: Jupiter Ascending

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Welcome 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: Jupiter Ascending. It’s a film that cost a lot of money to make but has been struggling in the box office.  How does our launch crew feel despite the critics’ thoughts?  To mission control for the verdict!

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Go/No-go: The Jupiter Pirates: The Curse of the Iris

There are many things to love about Jason Fry’s middle grade science fiction series, The Jupiter Pirates. The story is fast-paced, it takes place in an intriguing world, and it features space pirates! What’s not to love? If I have one complaint, it’s that I have to wait a year between books. *stomps foot angrily*

The first novel in the series, Hunt for the Hydra, came out last December and I took to the characters right away. The second installment, The Curse of the Iris, catches up with the Hashoone family two years later as they search for the long-last cache of a pirate spaceship called Iris.

Did I like the second book as much as the first? Read on to find out! (Spoilers: I totally did.)

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