Review: Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston

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Bria: Ever since Ahsoka Tano showed up as Fulcrum on Star Wars Rebels, fans have wanted to know what she’s been up to since she left the Jedi Order.  Thanks to a brand new young adult novel by E.K. Johnston, we finally get our answer.  Well, some of it.  Ahsoka picks up a year after Order 66 with the former Jedi in hiding on a backwater planet but always on alert for the Empire.  

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Tosche Station Ranks the SWEU

A few weeks ago, Cooper from Eleven-ThirtyEight got most of Star Wars Twitter to rank their favorite new canon novels. Then people started creating their own lists, because why not? I love lists, so I couldn’t help but be drawn into the fun. Then I asked some of the other staff writers from Tosche Station to rank their SWEU favorites.

So here you are, without further ado or explanation: a ranking of our Top 5 Favorite Legends Novels, Legends Characters, Canon Novels, Canon Literature Characters, Canon Film/TV Characters, and Bit Film Characters Who Get Fleshed Out in Legends.

To the cut!

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Review: Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka

Before the Awakening is a successor to the young reader Journey to the Force Awakens trilogy of books. Illustrated by Phil Noto (who also illustrated The Weapon of a Jedi, Moving Target, and Smuggler’s Run) and written by Greg Rucka (who also wrote Smuggler’s Run and Shattered Empire), the novel explains what Finn, Rey, and Poe were up to prior to the events of The Force Awakens. It’s divided into three sections, one for each character, and elaborates on their backstories and provides some insight into where each of them are at the start of the film.

(Slight spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead.)

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Go/No-Go – Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire book series

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: the Star Wars Rebels: Servants of the Empire book series by Jason C. Fry. This four-book tie-in to Star Wars Rebels is made up of Edge of the Galaxy, Rebel in the Ranks, Imperial Justice, and The Secret Academy, each of which Nanci has discussed individually. But now that the last book is out, how do we feel about the series as a whole? To mission control for the verdict! Continue reading

Tosche Station Radio #129: Trope City

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This week on Tosche Station Radio, we’re joined by Saf to break down the middle grade and young adult novels in the Journey to The Force Awakens!

Kicking off the show, the hosts highlight what’s New on the Blog. Bria reviewed Star Wars #10, Lando #5, Darth Vader #10. Bria also attended Baltimore Comic Con a few weekends ago and had the chance to interview Mark Waid and Charles Soule. We did a Go/No-Go for Rise of the Empire, Nanci, a Luke fan, reviewed Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka (the Han book). New mom Emily wrote about Walmart’s new Star Wars commercials challenging antiquated gender norms.  Bria regaled us of the happenings in Star Wars Uprising. Nanci reviewed Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy.

From there it’s the geeky things we’ve been up to in Fixer’s Flash followed by a whole bunch of Rebels news in Deak’s Dirt. There’s the usual TFA mass speculation in Biggs’ Bull$&!@

This week on Camie’s Concerns, we take a look at the middle grade and YA books that were a part of the Journey to The Force Awakens. What did we enjoy? Are they worth your time? What links to the upcoming film are in these books? Tune in to find out!

You can find Saf here on Twitter and be sure to check out a new podcast she’s a part of, Rogue Podron: the book club revisiting the wonderful X-Wing novels.

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!

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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

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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Tosche Station on Location: Dragon Con 2015 – Star Wars Mythos

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From Dragon Con Day One is the Star Wars Mythos panel featuring Expanded Universe authors Mike Stackpole, Timothy Zahn, Kevin J. Anderson, and Rebecca Moesta. Moderating was Bryan Young.

The Expanded Universe Should Only Expand, Not Change

I love the Expanded Universe. I love that it exists. I love that there are books and comics and even video games to fill up my Star Wars obsessiveness in the absence of film and TV shows. I love that Heir to the Empire jump-started the fandom way back in 1991. I love that the barrage of books and comics kept the fandom going strong during the 1990s. I love that the EU always drove the Star Wars story forward, no matter what was happening onscreen. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: without the EU I would not have become a Star Wars fan.

I don’t always like the way people treat the Expanded Universe. I hate that people look down upon it. But I also dislike when fans treat it as just as important as what’s onscreen. This might seem odd, coming from an EU fan like me, but it’s true. I hate when people take something that happened in a book and assume it will have huge consequences for the Sequel Trilogy. Yes, everything is canon now, but that doesn’t mean every story holds the same weight.

Nor should they.

(spoilers for Star Wars #6 and #8 under the cut)

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