Well friends, at last we have come to the end of our journey and what a long strange trip it’s been. A weird thing happened this morning. I woke up and for the first time in a very long time, there wasn’t a Star Wars book on my nightstand waiting for me. I love the Expanded Universe but I am so incredibly relieved. Over the past seven months, I’ve read 130 different books. If my math is correct, that averages out to about a book and a half a day. That’s a lot of Star Wars. Guess how happy I am to be done. Just guess.
So what have I learned from this experience? First, that if your editor ever challenges you to do a project like this? Run very far away. There is not enough alcohol in the galaxy. Second, you commenters and readers seem to respond more when I snark closely followed by when I gush. More importantly though, I learned and confirmed for myself that there are far more good books than there are horrifically bad ones. My sanity was hanging on by a thread and my liver was desperate for a reprieve at some points but I sincerely enjoyed reading so many of these books, even some of the cracktastic ones like Courtship of Princess Leia.
I’ve also learned that no matter how much everyone tries to peer pressure you, livestreaming yourself reading The Crystal Star with a six-pack of hard cider at the ready only leads to bad things. We will never again discuss my Han Solo voice.
I’ve reaffirmed for myself that Aaron Allston and Matthew Stover are my favorite Star Wars authors followed closely by Mike Stackpole and Timothy Zahn and I’ve gained an appreciation for James Luceno that I didn’t realize that I had before. I will also be sitting here impatiently awaiting the day that we get more X-Wing novels from both Allston and Stackpole, the story about how Mara and Mirax got arrested, a political Padme novel from Luceno, a short story about Mace Windu and Nick Rostu set after Shatterpoint, the We, Jedi book about the Horn siblings, some sort of closure about the Skiarta clan, and a new Revan book. Yeah, I know. Those last two are never going to happen. No but really, Del Rey: More X-Wing novels. Pleeeeeeeease?
Honestly though, I just want to reiterate that there are a ton of good and enjoyable books out there. The next time you’re wondering what to read, branch out and try a book out of your Star Wars comfort zone. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find. I might’ve snarked a lot along the way but I love Star Wars and I can honestly say that there are probably only a dozen or so books that I have an active dislike for and that’s a pretty good ratio!
As promised, I’m going to answer some of the questions that you asked me on Twitter!
@ryorin asks: “Which stops on the Waru Express were more enjoyable than expected and which were less?”
I’m going to just use books that aren’t obvious answers because I’m sure everyone knows by now that I was gleefully waiting for Shatterpoint and Starfighters of Adumar and dreading The Crystal Star and Dark Nest. The most pleasant surprises from the books that I’d never read were probably Annihilation and Darth Plageuis. The biggest disappointments were Revan and Shadow Games. For rereads, Cloak of Deception and Labyrinth of Evil were much more pleasant surprises than I remembered while Jedi Trial was very lacklustre despite having a Halcyon and Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was even more painful than I remembered.
@wakingthedead17 asks: Why is there no post for Black Fleet or New Rebellion. The Express missed a stop!
No. No, the Waru Express did not miss a stop. As I stated at the start, the only books I would be reading for this project were all of the ones that I personally own and ones that I was interested in either rereading or reading for the first time. And also Crystal Star. I specifically named Black Fleet as being one of those that wouldn’t be making the cut. I’m not Pablo Hidalgo and the Waru Express wasn’t the Essential Reader’s Companion. I might one day decide to reread those books and the Callista trilogy but it is not this day nor for this project.
@blogfullofwords asks: “I want to ask “how did you do it,” but that may be one of those unanswerable questions like “where do you get your ideas.””
I don’t know. No wait. That’s not true. I sort of do. At the end of the day, I at least enjoy if not love the vast majority of the Expanded Universe. If I’m entertained and I enjoy myself while I’m reading, I can be content. I also think it helped that I enjoy stories from all eras of the Star Wars universe. If I only liked post-RotJ, this would’ve gone very badly. Aside from that, having a very fast reading speed worked in my favor here because if I wasn’t enjoying a book, I could be done with it in a few hours and make the pain go away. I’ve never really timed myself officially but I think that I can average 100 pages in an hour or less. I’m also very competitive. I might’ve only been competing against myself and didn’t finish these books in my original goal of 6 months but I wasn’t going to let this be a project that I just failed at. So that helped.
Also alcohol. And the occasional giant mug of calming tea to sob into.
@clubjade asks: “Do you need an aspirin? Alcohol? Chocolate?”
Yes. God yes. YES PLEASE. Can you also please throw in some brain bleach?
@AwYeahMrB asks: “Does Waru love us?”
No. No no no no no. THE CHURCH OF WARU IS A LIE. HE ONLY WANTS TO EAT US ALL. RUN AWAY.
Nanci asks: How much do you want to kill Brian right now?
So much. SO MUCH. He owes me drinks at Dragon*Con this year.
And that’s it. That’s the show. Or at least it is until a few years from now when Tosche Station launches its new feature “Five Years Later: The Waru Rides Again.” No, stop that smiling. It’s not going to happen. I’ve learned my lesson.