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

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

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.

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!

New Star Wars Novels and Short Stories Announced at NYCC

booksIt’s New York Comic Con, which means it’s time for Star Wars literature announcements! At the big Star Wars stories panel at NYCC, the following stories were announced

  • New Republic: Bloodline by Claudia Gray. This novel will take place six years before The Force Awakens
  • Aftermath: Life Debt and Aftermath: Empire’s End by Chuck Wendig
  • A short story about the aliens in Maz Kanata’s castle will be penned by Alan Dean Foster and appear in Star Wars Inisder
  • The Perfect Weapon by Delilah Dawson will be an electronic short story
  • Tales From a Galaxy Far Far Away by Landry Walker will contain a series of short stories.

For dates and more information, be sure to visit the link above!

Review: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray

lost starsLost Stars, the young adult entry in the Journey to the Force Awakens, reads like fanfic.

For many people, the phrases “young adult” and “fanfic” give Lost Stars two strikes before even turning to the first page. There’s a big stigma out there against YA fiction, because, and let’s not be blunt here, teenage girls read it. That’s not to say YA is all great — it can be melodramatic and poorly written — but the same is true of adult books, is it not?

Then there’s the fanfic comparison. Many people like to criticize Expanded Universe books they dislike by calling them “glorified fanfiction.” To me, though, fanfic is not an insult. Fanfic represents a land of opportunities in Star Wars literature. You can write about whoever you want, doing whatever you want, whenever you want. You can stick to canon or split into an alternate timeline. There are no rules. So you could, for example, create your own original characters and have them live through key events of the Galactic Civil War.

Lost Stars takes that common fanfic premise to the extreme, and that’s a good thing. Continue reading