Waru Express: Jedi Academy Trilogy

I’ll go ahead and fess up before we even start this.  I like these books.  Actually, I love these books.  In fact, these books have a very special place in my heart because they are the reason why I tumbled head first into the Expanded Universe.  Dark Apprentice is the first Star Wars book I stumbled upon after my grandmother bought me two random Young Jedi Knights books.  The YJK had already made me fall in love with the Solo twins, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca and when nine-year-old Bria picked up Dark Apprentice for the first time, there was no turning back.  I do recognize that these books certainly have their faults but I could never hate them.  Instead, I am forever grateful to Kevin J. Anderson for writing books that were my gateway drug.  Therefore you have been warned of my nostalgia for this trilogy.  Onward!  (Editor’s Note: Sorry not sorry for liking these.)

Jedi Search
In retrospect, it’s possible that this trilogy is what started my “Han and Leia are the worst parents ever” way of thinking.  I do, however, make this comment with love for the Solo family to my friends.  But seriously: why would you ever let these two raise your daughter?  (I’m looking at you, Tenel Ka.)  Somewhere out there about ohhhh 30 years farther into the time line, Winter is shaking her head and saying “It’s not my fault” for what happened with the Solo children.

Okay, I shall stop ragging on the Solo’s questionable parenting skills.  For now. Continue reading

Waru Express: The Thrawn Trilogy

Ahhhh the Thrawn books.  Honestly, is there anything more classic than Zahn’s trilogy when it comes to the Expanded Universe?  If you’re here for the snark, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer because between these three books and another X-Wing novel?  I have nothing but praise this go-round.  (Shocking, I know.) (Editor’s Note: Can we all pause for a minute and appreciate that we’re getting Thrawn in Rebels in less than two weeks AND that we’re getting shiny new covers for this trilogy?  HOW COOL IS THAT?)

Heir to the Empire
One of the first things that occurred to me while I was reading this book is how much the Star Wars universe owes to Timothy Zahn.  There is so much about the universe that I just take for granted that I’m now realizing/remembering is all thanks to Zahn.  Coruscant?  Zahn.  Personalities for character who really only cameoed in the films but are integral parts of the EU?  Zahn.  Bringing Wedge Antilles to the forefront?  Zahn.  Introducing the best character ever, aka Winter?  Zahn.  I mean, I’m not saying that Zahn is god but the amount of canon he contributed is amazing.  (Editor’s Note: This is moderately entertaining to read now that I’ve met Tim multiple times over the past few years and have moderated panels with him etc.)

What I love about this book and the entire trilogy is that the story still clearly feels like Star Wars but still has its own tale to tell.  It’s not a rehashing of the Emperor or Vader because the villains have their own motivations and characterizations.  (I’ll save my ‘Why I love Pellaeon’ ramble for another post.)  Thrawn is most certainly his own character who takes a very different approach to winning the war than any other Imperial we’ve seen before.  It’s pretty cool that he can study art and figure out how someone will react.  And then you have C’boath who is just bonkers.  His original model wasn’t much of a charmer to begin with so this probably shouldn’t be surprising. Continue reading

Waru Express: The Han and Leia Love Boat

Welcome aboard the Han and Leia Solo looooooooove boat.   We provide music and history lessons at the low low cost of only two books.  And possibly your sanity unless you just roll with the ridiculousness.  Someone cue up the Bollywood soundtrack because here we go!

The Courtship of Princess Leia
Why yes.  This book is the Star Wars equivalent of a Bollywood musical.  You’ve probably heard us at Tosche Station repeat Dunc’s declaration a time or two.  Honestly though.  This book comes complete with a musical break where Threepio serenades the group with “Han Solo! What a man, Solo!” complete with orchestration and a tap dance routine.  You only think I’m making this up.  Of course, we can’t forget the opening number where the Hapans enter the grand audience chamber and make an elaborate presentation of gifts with women singing “Hapes Hapes Hapes” over and over again in the background.  If they were to film this, I would expect it to end much like Mirror, Mirror with a giant wedding Bollywood number.  Bonus points if they managed to get Sean Bean to play some role and just look miserable in the back ground.  But anyways.  Let’s be clear: this book is indeed ridiculous but it’s still entertaining and somewhat endearing in its own strange way. Continue reading

Waru Express: Wraith Squadron

Only books I adore get sticky-noted like this

I love Wraith Squadron.  There are not enough words in any of the languages I know to properly express how much I love the Wraiths and these three books.  Reading these has never been anything less than a joy and I have strong emotional attachments to these characters.  Heads up, there’s going to be a lot of gushing in this post.  There are also going to be a lot of rambling emotions in this post.  If you want proper reviews of the X-Wing books, go read the retrospectives the rest of the Tosche Station staff wrote last year.  Yes, there will be more flailing and emotions than in the Shatterpoint and Revenge of the Sith reviews.  Brace yourselves. Continue reading

Waru Express: Rogue Squadron

I’ve finally reached the first batch of X-Wing books and there was much rejoicing!  Obviously we here at Tosche Station are very pro-X-Wing books and I always enjoy getting to read them again.  So sit back and enjoy me gushing about the first four books focused on the flyboys and flygirls of Rogue Squadron as they do the impossible which is absolutely what they do best.

Rogue Squadron
I love these books.  I really do.  But WOW IS CORRAN HORN AN ARROGANT PAIN IN THE BUTT in this book.  I do like him as a character especially with some of the character development he’s gotten over the years but he is infuriating to read about in this book.  The arrogance and the monologuing do get a bit old after awhile.  At least I know he gets better.  Corran will always have some of that arrogance because that’s just who he is and I appreciate that but it’s at an all time high here.  (Editor’s Note: NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR DEAD DAD, CORRAN.)

I do enjoy reading this book though because it’s a solid read that offers both a good story and some great characters.  It simultaneously tells the story of the squadron’s reassembly and also sets up the overarching plot for the next three books.  (Editor’s Note: But it’s also the weakest of Stackpole’s initial Rogue run.)

With the exception of certain arrogant Corellian and a certain Bacta Queen-who-was-clearly-a-traitor-the-whole-time-in-retrospect, the characters are rather enjoyable!  (Okay, maybe I was a little harsh grouping Corran with Erisi there.  That was mean, I’m sorry, Corran.)  I always love getting a chance to look into Wedge Antilles’s head and Stackpole does such a good job of it.  I also enjoyed getting to meet such great characters like Tycho Celchu, Mirax Terrik, and Gavin Darklighter.  Poor Tycho though.  Like his backstory wasn’t already tragic enough without adding in the ‘he might be a traitor’ thing.  At least Mirax gets to balance it out by being sassy.  Continue reading

Waru Express: After Endor

The Waru Express is moving once more!  Did you miss my weekly descent into madness?  (Editor’s Note: Probably should’ve taken more than a week off but oh well.)  I return to my journey through the Star Wars universe with the two books that take place right after the Battle of Endor.  The Empire defeated just because the Death Star blew up again and some people tore down some statues?  Hardly!  (Editor’s Note: I’m amused that this has stayed true in the new canon.)

The Truce at Bakura
It may not make my Top Ten list but I definitely enjoy reading Truce at Bakura every time I pick it up.  It’s a fun read that could work quite well as a starting point for a new reader to the Expanded Universe.  Even though the Rebels and the Empire have a very tentative truce against a common enemy, it still has a very Star Wars feel to it.  It feels like the logical next part of our heroes’ adventures.  The more I think about it, the more I like that Kathy Tyers chose to write an immediate sequel but had them facing a different enemy while simultaneously having to keep an eye on the Empire.  Continue reading

Waru Express: Return of the Jedi

I’ve finally made it through the Battle of Endor.  The Emperor is dead, the Rebels have won, huzzah!  (Cue everyone who knows otherwise laughing hysterically.)  Cue me also laughing hysterically because even though I’ve read through thousands of chronological years in the Expanded Universe, I’ve still only read 45 out of 130 books on my list.  Send help.  Please?  Editor’s Note: The internet’s response was basically this:

 

Tales of the Bounty Hunters
“Bounty Hunters.  We don’t need that scum.”  WELL SAID ADMIRAL PIETT.

Okay, okay, I jest.  Mostly.  This book is actually something that I would like to see more of in the Expanded Universe albeit with different characters and I’m thrilled we’ll be getting it with the digital novellas.  It’s five stories of about 70 pages each and they are essentially character studies for each bounty hunter.  If we could get these about members of Rogue and Wraith Squadron, I’ll be happy.  (Have you figured out my preferred characters yet?  If you have, you’ve probably also figured out my cunning plan to talk about my desire for more Rogue/Wraith short stories until Del Rey notices.) Continue reading

Unboxing the Loot4Fangirls Box

I recently decided to treat myself and get the Loot4Fangirls box; my very first Loot Crate!  Due to moving, it’s been chilling on the kitchen table for the past week or so.  When I floated the silly (I thought) idea of doing an unboxing video, people on Twitter seemed receptive.  So here we are!  My very first unboxing video and my very first YouTube video ever.  Enjoy!

Strength from Wash-outs and Misfits

It’s been four years to the day since Star Wars fans were lucky enough to get not only a new X-Wing book but also a new book about Wraith Squadron. (Interestingly enough, if the first Wraith Squadron book were a person, it’d be preparing to go off to college right around now.) Star Wars: X-Wing: Mercy Kill was a wonderful book from the last years of the Legends universe that brought a lot of us back to the Star Wars fandom after we’d drifted away when our favorite characters were forced through some unfortunate plot lines. In fact, if you were to go aaaaaaall the way back, you’d see that a review of Mercy Kill was my very first contribution to Tosche Station and how I accidentally started writing for them. The X-Wing books have always been a lot more than that though. They were the basis of friendships, they were the foundation of many a sense of humor, and they brought of a heck of a lot of pure joy to people’s lives. The Wraiths though… well, let’s just say that the Wraiths have been so much more to me. Continue reading

Waru Express: The Empire Strikes Back

A Very Zahn New Year definitely helped make this project go much faster.  Except for the part where I drank my way through a certain book.  That’s right, folks, you get another spam of my face via reaction pictures.

Scoundrels

Please enjoy this picture of my Scoundrels cover Winter costume to make up for the lack of 2013 snark.
Please enjoy this picture of my Scoundrels cover Winter costume to make up for the lack of 2013 snark.

(Editor’s Note: Okay look.  I cheated when I did this the first time.  Or maybe I didn’t so much cheat as I didn’t reeeeally include Scoundrels in the Waru because I wrote a proper review for it.  Short version of the review is that I loved the hell out of Solo’s Eleven and not just because my girl Winter or because Kell Tainer was in it.  It kept me turning the page once I got it on my Nook at midnight until I was too tired to read anymore and I sat on the couch and did nothing but read until I finished the next morning.  If you’re wondering whether I think you should give this book a try, the answer is an emphatic yes.  Also stay spoiler free.  Trust me on this one.)

Allegiance
First things first.  Apparently I had completely managed to miss a piece of information the prior two times I read this book which is that Mara Jade is two years younger than Luke Skywalker.  Mind.  Blown.  I’d always assumed that she was older than him.  If it was anyone else but Zahn writing this book, I’d question it but since it is Zahn, I’ll have to stick with my surprise face. (Editor’s Note: Still don’t think it makes sense.)

I think that this might be one of my favorite Zahn books and it grows on me more and more every time I read it.  He does great work in the Original Trilogy era and I love his grasp on the characters in their early years.  Naïve Luke who doesn’t know when not to share information is adorable as is eye-rolling Han who just wants him to hush already.  (Editor’s Note: I think Fresh Off The Farmboy Luke is my favorite Luke.)  I especially love getting to read about a young Mara during her time as Emperor’s Hand.  Every conversation she has with Vader thrills me for some reason. Continue reading