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

Waru Express: Lead Up to Yavin

When I first did the Waru Express, the library system was out to get me and took 2 weeks to get me my copy of Shadow Games which conveniently showed up the day after New Year’s.  Originally, it didn’t get included in this post but was in the next one.  It’s going in here now because I can!  But enough of that!  On with the show and three very very very different books.

Death Troopers
I really have no idea what I was expecting from this book but it probably should’ve been exactly what the book gave me.  It is definitely a horror story set in the Star Wars universe.  Surprisingly, I actually rather enjoyed it and I’m not necessarily a big horror fan.  This goes back to a comment I think I made a few posts ago about how there really is something for everyone in the Expanded Universe.  Schreiber introduces mostly new characters and I even found myself caring about some of them particularly the doctor, Zahara Cody. Continue reading

Waru Express: The Han Solo Trilogy

I don’t care what anyone else says but I love the Han Solo Trilogy and always have since I first read these when I was 9 or so.  I’ve said before that they’re my guilty pleasure books and that’s just fine with me.  It has, however, been reeeeeally long time since I’ve read these books and wow was it weird to keep reading about a ‘Bria’.  I don’t know how you folks with more commonly used names do it when you read books.  But let’s set my personal issues with that aside for now and get on with the reviews!

The Paradise Snare
Oh street rat Han.  You try, kiddo, you try.  Okay sure his background may be a little cliché but did we really expect Han to come from anything else?  Plus, it’s a nice set up for everyone to realize that Thracken Sal-Solo is indeed a-word-that-I-cannot-use-in-this-review. (Editor’s Note: Asshole? Bastard? Dick? I don’t remember what I was going for but they’re all apt.)

The book serves as a nice set up for both the trilogy and Han as a character.  For starters, both his relationship with Dewlanna and his experience with Ylesia make it a no brainer for him to save Chewie later on.  You get to see where he came from and how he made the natural progression to the person he is when he first meets Luke and Obi-Wan on Tatooine.  It’s also fun to see how Han seems to attract sidekicks no matter what although the idea of Han teaching Muuurgh proper Basic grammar is somewhat entertaining.  As far as Ylesia goes though?  Wow does Han have some bad luck when it comes to ending up on crappy mining planets. Continue reading

Waru Express: Coruscant Nights

I hope everyone got their fill of ‘Watch Bria have an emotional breakdown’ with the last post because we won’t be getting another one of those for awhile.  Now that the Clone Wars are over, we get to look in on what some characters were up to before the Battle of Yavin.  The Coruscant Nights books follow the adventures of Jax Pavan, a Jedi Knight who was lucky enough to survive the Purges and who, for some idiotic reason, is stupid enough to remain on Coruscant instead of fleeing for the stars. (Editor’s Note: Seriously. Was he on spice?)

Jedi Twilight
Hey guys.  Do you know who was alive and then died in this book?  Even Piell.  Want to know who I still don’t give a bantha’s butt about?  Yep.  You got it in one.  Literally all I know about him is that there was some continuity snafu and… nope.  Still no caring to be found.

As for the book itself, it’s a decent enough read, I guess?  I could’ve done without everything related to Black Sun because I really don’t care about Kaird or think it was a vital part of the book.  (I mean, out of all the characters to bring back from MedStar, you picked him, Reaves?  Really?)  A lot of things about the plot just felt really convenient.  I don’t get why Vader is so focused on getting Jax of all the Jedi who might have survive.  I also don’t get why Anakin apparently gave Jax a jewel as a gift a while ago?  Just… what?  Oh and the whole Grey Paladin thing is a bit weird too.  Basically, there are a lot of things I just don’t get but it’s an entertaining enough read to not be a waste of time.  However, I think I enjoyed it more when I first read it a year or two ago. (Editor’s Note: Scratch that ‘think’ because I distinctly recall liking this more the first time.)

Oh and when I said I wanted more Nick Rostu? I meant a short story where he and Mace work together to command some battle during the Clone Wars and have lots of humorous exchanges. Not this.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still nice to see him being used but it just doesn’t feel like the same Nick although the war can probably be partially blamed for that.  Poor Nick.  He deserves so much better. Continue reading

Waru Express: Revenge of the Sith

Here we are.  At last, we’ve arrived at the book I’ve been dreading because it is just that good.  (Thanks for that, Matt Stover.)  In 2005, Del Rey published the novelization of Revenge of the Sith and two novels that take place on either side of it, forming an unofficial trilogy.   I’m also including another book in this post just because it needed a place to go.  This is also the review where I finally did post some reaction pictures so I could properly express my anguish.  (Enjoy the spam of my face.)  However, if you’re going to take nothing else away from this and the past few posts, take away that I would positively love to see both Stover and Luceno write more books in this era.  Please.  (Editor’s Note: Del Rey sorta listened to me? A few years later, Luceno wrote Tarkin. Not that I actually think DR listens to me, haha.)

Labyrinth of Evil
This is by far the prequel lead-in book that has the most to do with its film.  (So, in retrospect, my decision to go to the bookstore and read through this hardcover I couldn’t afford the day before the movie was released was a good one but then again 15 year old me probably should’ve had the good sense to get it from the library weeks before.)   Because it goes directly into the film, it ends up being one of the most worthwhile of the lead-in books to read.  Even though it’s a lead up, the book still has its own story to tell and that tale never really drags.  Luceno’s action sequences are well done and he has an excellent grasp of all the characters.

Speaking of which, no one writes Palpatine like James Luceno and no one has the ability to make the Prequels make more sense like him either.  He drops in some references (like the one to Plagueis that apparently went right over my head when I originally read that book) but had me nodding and going “ohhhhh” as I read it this time.  He also references tons of things from the rest of the Prequel books without it being heavy handed.  What’s even more impressive to me is that he manages to write the best Palpatine in a book that was still under the ‘LOLZ DON’T TELL ANYONE THAT SIDIOUS IS PALPS’ gag order.  That writing accolade obviously extends to how he writes Sidious.  Luceno keeps up the ruse for those who live under a rock and weren’t aware of Palpatine’s secret identity but he doesn’t sacrifice characterization to do so.  Applause all around really. Continue reading