Review: Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka (by a Luke fan)

Smugglers-Run_DBGI’m not the biggest fan of Han Solo.

It’s not that I don’t like Han. He’s a great character. As a viewer, I appreciate his humor and his cynicism. I appreciate his smuggler with a heart of gold characterization. I appreciate his relationship with Leia and, even more, his relationship with Luke. As an author, I like that he provides shades of gray and an excellent voice. But it’s no secret that Luke Skywalker captured my heart way before Han Solo could ever have a chance, and I never “grew up” to like Han, as many other people did.

So among the three “Journey to the Force Awakens” young reader novels, Smuggler’s Run was the one I was least looking forward to. I saved it for last, even though people said Moving Target would spoil the end. All that said, I still had good expectations for this book.

I was pleasantly surprised, because Smuggler’s Run is an amazing romp, super fun, and has absolutely fantastic characterizations.

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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

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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Review: Moving Target

There’s very little I love more in this world than a well-written Leia Organa story and Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry have definitely delivered with their contribution to the Journey to the Force Awakens: Moving Targets. It’s a middle grade book which means the writing style is a bit more simplistic but that certainly doesn’t take away from the impact of the story nor from how much I enjoyed reading it.

Worrying reports have reached the Rebel Alliance of the construction of a second Death Star… something that absolutely no one wants to see in the hands of the Emperor. The Rebel Alliance must strike back but they’ll need time. Princess Leia volunteers to lead a decoy mission and serve as a distraction… a moving target if you will.

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Review: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Nanci.

When Nanci was 11 years old, she saw Star Wars for the first time. And promptly fell in love with Luke Skywalker. She loved everything about him: his farm boy earnestness, his hot-shot piloting, his skills with a lightsaber. She loved that he was brash and courageous and kind and loyal and optimistic even in the face of certain death. She loved everything about him — yes, even the “Tosche Station” line.

(Yes, she did choose the name for this podcast and blog.)

People told her that one day, she’d grow up and stop loving Luke so much. That Luke was a character for kids to look up to, while Han is the character adults loved.

That never happened. Nanci stayed firmly on “Team Luke” despite all arguments to the contrary. (His relationship with Mara Jade helped solidify her lifelong devotion.)

But even so, things started going sour.

The Expanded Universe lost its luster. Luke stopped being the character Nanci believed him to be. Even amazing one-offs, like Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, weren’t enough to make Nanci happy.

She still loved Luke, even if he’d lost his way in the Expanded Universe.

Then the reboot happened.

(Spoilers for the book and some rumors about TFA under the cut.)

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Review: Aftermath

AftermathIt’s our first new taste of post-Return of the Jedi galaxy. Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig hit bookshelves and eagerly awaiting hands at midnight. No fear though: this review will be spoiler free.

It’s been several months since the Battle of Endor and now the Rebel Alliance is attempting to establish itself as the New Republic. Wedge Antilles goes on what should be a simple scouting mission but soon finds himself captured by the forces of Admiral Rae Sloane as he stumbles into the location of a high-level Imperial summit. The only person to hear his distress call is Norra Wexley who just wants to be reunited with her son but she can’t abandon one of her fellow Rebellion pilots no matter how dangerous this new rescue mission might be.

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New characters, plot details emerge for Shattered Empire

shatteredempire1Over on starwars.com, Greg Rucka discusses writing Shattered Empire, Marvel’s contribution to the Journey to The Force Awakens project. The first issue of the four-part miniseries will be out September 4, with the trade listed for release November 17.

The comic will span several months after the Battle of Endor and surrounds two new characters, Shara and Kes Bey. A married couple and part of the Rebel Alliance, Shara and Kes soon realize defeating the Empire is going to take much more than killing the Emperor.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our interview with Heather Antos from Marvel, going live today, as she talks some more about what to expect in the series.

Aftermath gets a Synopsis, YA Novels get Covers

AftermathThe Official Site dropped more information on Journey to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The big bombshell? We’ve finally got a synopsis for Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath: 

As the Empire reels from its critical defeats at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance — now a fledgling New Republic — presses its advantage by hunting down the enemy’s scattered forces before they can regroup and retaliate. But above the remote planet Akiva, an ominous show of the enemy’s strength is unfolding. Out on a lone reconnaissance mission, pilot Wedge Antilles watches Imperial Star Destroyers gather like birds of prey circling for a kill, but is taken captive before he can report back to the New Republic leaders.

Meanwhile, on the planet’s surface, former Rebel fighter Norra Wexley has returned to her native world — war weary, ready to reunite with her estranged son, and eager to build a new life in some distant place. But when Norra intercepts Wedge Antilles’s urgent distress call, she realizes her time as a freedom fighter is not yet over. What she doesn’t know is just how close the enemy is—or how decisive and dangerous her new mission will be.

Determined to preserve the Empire’s power, the surviving Imperial elite are converging on Akiva for a top-secret emergency summit — to consolidate their forces and rally for a counterstrike. But they haven’t reckoned on the Norra and her newfound allies — her technical genius son, a Zabrak bounty hunter, and a reprobate.

Wedge is the damsel in distress saved by a new female protagonist? Well this sounds incredible! Just when I thought I couldn’t get more excited about this book.

Additionally, covers for the three new YA novels were shown off. We also learned that Jason Fry co-wrote the Leia novel in addition to the Luke book. Check out the link above for more information and to see those fantastic covers.

Tosche Station Radio #106: Wild Mass Guessing II – The Guessening

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Rogue One and Journey to the Force Awakens? Mike Cooper joins us for WILD MASS GUESSING!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight What’s New on the Blog. Bria reviewed Star Wars #3. Brian wrote about Separating the Art from the Artist and why he’s worried about Lords of the Sith. Nanci explained the big problem with Heir to the Jedi. We’ll be discussing these topics in depth next week along with a sort of State of the EU.

Deak’s Dirt starts with comics news this week. Stuart Immonen will be the new artist on Star Wars starting with #8. Meanwhile on the lit side of things, Journey to The Force Awakens announced. In additional Marvel comics news,  the cover of Shattered Empire #1 by Phil Noto was shown off. Finally, we got official confirmation that Aftermath will be written by Chuck Wendig.

Over in Biggs Bull$^%*,  Rian Johnson officially confirmed for Episode VIII and the release date is set for May 26, 2017. Rogue One announced as the first standalone movie, will be released in December 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, written by Chris Weitz, and starring Felicity Jones. Alexandre Desplat will do the score. Stackpole had a  blog post on the subject. Meanwhile, Andrew Liptak posted a history of Rogue Squadron at B&N

There’s so much news this week, we’re just continuing it in Camie’s Concerns! Mike Cooper from Eleven Thirty Eight joins us to break things down and engage in wild mass guessing (our favorite passtime).

You can see Mike’s work here at Eleven-ThirtyEight and follow the blog here on Twitter.

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 Audible.com.

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