The Princess, The General, and the Story Group: in praise of old favorites in new canon

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me well that I’m not altogether fond of the way that the new post-ROTJ canon has treated Leia. By the time we see her in The Force Awakens, her career is shattered, her marriage is strained, and her only son has become a Vader-worshipping genocidal maniac. These are not the kinds of things that I ever would have said that I wanted for my favorite character. Half the time I go around sad for her fate and the rest of the time I go around scared for what the future of Star Wars storytelling has in store for her. But this is not an article about that. This is…well… the opposite.

One of my chief complaints about the (much beloved) Legends universe of storytelling was that Leia’s character seemed to be difficult for many writers to nail down, and even more difficult to keep consistent across multiple series and authors. As much as abuse as the new canon has heaped onto Leia, that particular violation is gladly absent from her current portrayal. One of the best things I have found about the new canon and the work of the Lucasfilm Story Group is the fantastic job they’ve done with the internal consistency of the universe- not only as it pertains to the events in the Galaxy as a whole, but also in the portrayals of the passions and the motivations of the individual characters. Continue reading

Tosche Station Book Club #3: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

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Welcome back to the Tosche Station Book Club! This month, host Nanci is joined by guests Bria and Nicole as well as audio engineer Brian to discuss Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray.

Tune in next month for a review of The Cold Between by Elizabeth Bonesteel!

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!  If you like what you hear, you can subscribe to the Tosche Station Book Club on iTunes or you can subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Megafeed for all of our great Star Wars and geek culture content. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Tosche Station Radio #147: Bloodline and Weave

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Tosche Station Radio is back from Hiatus! This week, Nanci’s busy reading and writing books, Brian’s playing tons of PC games, Celebration’s coming back to Orlando, and we dive in to Bloodline by Claudia Gray and how it weaves into the fabric of the Star Wars universe.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of Majestic Giraffe Productions. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Just a Legacy to Protect

general leia organaWarning: This column involves spoilers for Star Wars: Bloodline

While aptly named, Star Wars: Bloodline could have just as easily been titled Star Wars: Legacy because when it comes to both of those, Leia Organa has more than enough on her shoulders. One she embraces and one she tries to ignore. After all, if your father was Darth Vader, wouldn’t you try and forget that too? Unfortunately, nothing stays buried. As Leia and Ransolm team up to get to the bottom of the ever-deepening mystery of Rinnrivin’s cartel, Leia is forced to confront the legacies of her fathers whether she wants to or not. Continue reading

Western Reaches #5

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Megan and Saf are joined by Nanci this week to discuss the latest Star Wars and gaming news, the books they’ve been reading, and roundtable discuss Bloodline by Claudia Gray! If you want to be completely unspoiled, come back to this episode after you read the book.

You can find Megan on Twitter with the handle @blogfullofwords and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin. Be sure to subscribe to Western Reaches on iTunes and subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed for more great shows, discussion, and commentary.

This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

Review: Star Wars: Bloodline

SW_Bloodline_coverIt’s difficult and I mean reeeeeally difficult to impartially review a book that feels like it was written specifically for you. It’s hardly a secret that I’m the token politics nerd and Alderaan die hard around here. There are only two things that this book could have possibly done to make me love it even more. The first would have been bringing Winter back into canon and the other gets us into spoiler territory. (The third would be bringing Padmé Amidala back from the dead but that seems highly unlikely in any scenario. This is Star Wars, not comics.) All this is to say that Bloodline by Claudia Gray felt tailor made for me and the two and a half hours I spent reading it were one hell of an emotional roller coaster.

Set in the years before The Force Awakens, Bloodline tells the story of Leia before the galaxy comes crashing down around her a second time. The New Republic is well established at this point and two distinct political parties have formed in the Senate. Senator Leia Organa, however, is kind of over all of it. The time is starting to feel right for her to retire and go spend more time with her family but first… one last mission shouldn’t cause too much trouble, right?  Continue reading

Go/No-Go: Bloodline

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: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. It’s not only our first look at the years before The Force Awakens but also the political Leia book we’ve been clamoring for for years. But how did it go over with us? To mission control for the verdict!

Bria: Bloodline is the book that I’ve wanted desperately for years. As the resident political nerd and lover of all things Alderaan/Organa/Leia, this book sounded like it was going to be right in my wheel house. Spoiler Alert: It was. This is a book that literally begins with the New Republic having a dedication ceremony for a statue of Bail Organa and it only keeps getting better. Bloodline is the emotional love child of Razor’s Edge, The Force Awakens, and Kenobi and if you don’t think that’s a good thing, I don’t know what to tell you. Claudia Gray writes a pitch perfect Leia who feels like the logical progression of a character we last “saw” 20+ years ago. This Leia has decades of politics and rebelling under her belt but neither is she quite yet the Resistance General Organa that we saw in Episode VII. Everything is just perfect. Gray does an incredible job with fleshing out the galaxy in the years before The Force Awakens and answers some of our questions without making it feel like a checklist. The supporting cast is also fantastically written and I promise that you’ll never look at Korr Sella in those few moments on Hosnian Prime the same way again. However, the two standouts are most definitely Greer Sonnel and Ransolm Casterfo. Greer’s a former racing pilot turned Leia’s Chief of Staff and Ransolm is a Senator from the opposite party who also likes to collect Imperial artifacts. Both could have easily been archetypes but Gray does oh so much more with them that I can’t really go into without spoilers. And then there’s the Organa stuff. THE ORGANA STUFF. Bloodline gets one of the strongest GO recommendations from me in a very long time and I will definitely #VoteLeia for First Senator.

Nanci: Two days after finishing this book and I can’t stop thinking about it, which you know is the mark of a good book. There’s a few things I disliked — mainly the glossing over of certain scenes I really wanted to read — but mostly Bloodline left me wanting more in a really good way. For those of you worried that a political book would be boring, you have nothing to fear. Yes, it’s political, but it’s also fast-paced, easy to understand, and does a great job setting the stage for The Force Awakens. And then there’s the characters. Oh, the characters. There’s been so much good Leia stuff lately (Moving Target, Princess Leia), and Bloodline is definitely the pinnacle of that. Leia is the star of this book and unlike a lot of Legends content we’re not focusing on her marriage or her family. We’re focusing on her job as senator and how her family history plays into that. However, the character who surprised me the most in this book is without a doubt Ransolm Casterfo. I was shocked at how much I liked him. At times, his story moved me to tears. In general, this novel both had me turning pages but also dreading what would happen next. While I loved Aftermath (Sinjir is still my favorite character of the new canon), Bloodline gets the crown of best novel in the new canon so far. Definitely GO buy it.

Flight Director’s Ruling: Bloodline is a GO for launch!

Star Wars News from C2E2

Star Wars fans didn’t have to wait very long to get comics and books related announcements from C2E2 out in Chicago but it was all rather vague.  At a retailer breakfast this morning, it was announced that Marvel will be releasing a three issue comic plus a standalone issue in October that will be related to Rogue One.  No writer or artist has been announced yet.  We don’t know any other details but it’s likely filling a similar role to what Shattered Empire was for The Force Awakens.  The Star Wars Free Comic Book Day offerings will be $1 a pop copies of some of the previously released books, mostly #1s.

At the Star Wars books panel this afternoon, the big announcement was Star Wars: Catalyst.  Arriving on October 4th, the novel will be a prequel to Rogue One… and that’s all we know.  Author announcement is forthcoming.  Start the betting pool.

Outside of the Rogue One pattern, we did learn from Claudia Gray that a character from Lost Stars will make an appearance.  You may also start the betting pool on this one.  Claudia Gray also mentioned that the reason for the Bloodline’s delay was that she wanted to see The Force Awakens before finalizing her draft but also that this is a book about Leia herself  and not Leia defined by her roles as wife or mother.  For fans of Mark Waid’s run on the Leia comic, it sounds like Gray had the option to pull from the book but didn’t so don’t expect Queen Evaan to appear.

The Star Wars books panel featured Claudia Gray, John Jackson Miller, Jeffrey Brown, Adam Bray, and Elizabeth Schaefer.  You can read Newsarama’s liveblog here for some of the more fun tidbits that panelists mentioned throughout the hour.