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: Tarkin


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: Tarkin by James Luceno. How does the second book in the new canon hold up as it takes readers to the other side of the war?  To mission control for the verdict!

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New Tarkin Excerpt Posted on the Official Site

tarkinWith only a few days before its official release, the official Star Wars site posted an exclusive excerpt of the upcoming novel Tarkin by James Luceno. You can read the excerpt here and check out Bria’s spoiler-free review of the book here.

Tarkin will be released in hardback, ebook, and audio formats this coming Tuesday, November 4.

Review: Tarkin

tarkinThe Star Wars universe turns to view the galaxy from the other side with its second book in the new canon. Veteran writer James Luceno makes his return to the galaxy and his debut in the new canon with Star Wars: Tarkin due out on November 4th. Set five years after Revenge of the Sith, Moff Wilhuff Tarkin finds himself stationed on the remote planet overseeing the construction of what all of us know will become the fearsome Death Star. The story, of course, leaves the fledgling battle station behind as the Emperor first summons and then sends both Tarkin and Darth Vader to Murkhana to investigate Separatist communications technology.

Without a doubt, Luceno is the master of weaving together all the pieces into one cohesive tale that makes sense of things you didn’t even realize you wanted clarity for. The time period between the trilogies has been deemed the Dark Times and rightly so as there have been relatively few stories placed in those years. Unlike Darth Plagueis, Tarkin doesn’t cover years and years of the protagonist’s life; instead covering perhaps a week supplemented with looks back into Tarkin’s formative years and moves seamlessly between the past and the present.

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New Tarkin Excerpts

tarkinYesterday Del Rey posted another Tarkin mini-excerpt to their Star Wars Books Facebook page. Check it out here.

And also according to the Star Wars Books Facebook page, Star Wars Insider issue 153 comes out on October 22 and will contain another excerpt from the novel. Read more about that here.

Tarkin, by James Luceno, will be released in hardback and ebook formats on November 4.