Category Archives: books and comics

Review: Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath (finally!) breathes some life into the canon Star Wars novels

Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath is the first canon Star Wars novel to take place after Return of the Jedi since the old EU was declared Legends more than a year ago. I’ve only formally reviewed the lackluster Heir to the Jedi since then, but it’s no secret that the canon novels so far haven’t been to my tastes. My focus has never really been on books set during the film eras, and before Aftermath all the offerings were just that.

But I am pleased (and, yes, a little surprised) to report that I found Aftermath to be rather good. You’ll hear a lot about Wendig’s unusual style of prose – and I had some hesitation there as well – but I found that once I got into the rhythm of the book it was no trouble at all. In fact, this is the first canon novel I didn’t have to force myself through at all – it read speedily and offers a satisfying story with interesting characters.

But they are, for the most part, new characters. Wedge Antilles plays an important part, but you can’t call him a lead by any means. Rebel pilot Norra Wexley, her son Temmin, former Imperial loyalty officer Sinjir Rath Velus, bounty hunter Jax Emari and Imperial Admiral Rae Sloane (who originated in A New Dawn) carry most of the plot’s weight.

Only minor spoilers, if that, beyond the cut.

Continue reading

Journey to The Force Awakens begins


Force Friday is here, and that means Aftermath and the other Journey to The Force Awakens books are on shelves now. We don’t have a review (yet?) but you can check out some mostly spoiler-free takes on the book at Nerdist, Tosche Station, Big Shiny Robot and IGN. And there’s a new excerpt at USA Today as well.

There’s also an interview with author Chuck Wendig at EW, where they also talk about his introduction of a new gay character.

Video: Force Friday Countdown: Force Thursday

Baby Jawa, Yowie and Jawajames complete their series of countdown to Force Friday videos with this entry for Force Thursday. They get into some Star Wars Mac n Cheese, check out Jeffrey Brown’s Darth Vader and Friends, and preview Tom Angleberger’s retelling of Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side.

Video: Force Friday Countdown: Force Wednesday!

Jawajames, Yowie the Skunk and Baby Jawa are back at it again! They take unboxing Star Wars stuff very seriously in today’s video for Force Friday Countdown: Wednesday. This time, they review Star Wars fruit snacks; DK’s Ultimate Star Wars by Tricia Barr, Adam Bray, Dan Wallace, and Ryder Windham; and Adam Gidwitz’ retelling of The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to be a Jedi?. Need more info on Ultimate Star Wars? James has a Q&A with Tricia and Adam and a follow-up interview with Adam from this past May.

And if you missed it, check out their first video from Tuesday.

Video: Countdown to Force Friday

Jawajames is back with a new Star Wars unboxing video. Undeterred that he wasn’t selected to be one of the official unboxing hosts for Force Friday, he’s rounded up some recent and upcoming Star Wars products to review with his co-hosts, Yowie the Skunk and Baby Jawa. Reviews include Star Wars cereal, Dark Disciple by Christie Golden, and the upcoming retelling of A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken.

Star Wars out this week: Force Friday edition


We all know by now (hopefully) that this Friday, September 4th, is Force Friday, when a huge chunk of The Force Awakens merchandise is going to drop. And naturally, what we’re most excited about are the 5 novels in the Journey to The Force Awakens line.

But first, there are other things coming out this week. Tuesday brings season 1 of Rebels on Blu-ray and DVD. Shockingly, there are no comics coming on Wednesday. (Shattered Empire, Marvel’s entry into Journey, will be out later in the month.)

You’ll also be be seeing things like coloring and sticker books for Journey, but for our purposes, here are the standouts:

jtfa-aftermath-700From Del Rey, we have Star Wars newcomer Chuck Wendig tackling Aftermath, our first canon story set after Return of the Jedi. We know it stars Wedge Antilles and new character Norra Wexley, but not much more than that. First of a trilogy. An excerpt is available, though I wouldn’t be shocked to see another in the coming days.

Disney Lucasfilm Press has four novels total. Claudia Gray’s Lost Stars is a YA novel that follows two childhood friends, one who joins the Empire and one who becomes a Rebel. The last three are set during the original trilogy, one each for Luke, Leia and Han, though we’ve recently learned they all feature prologues (at least) set in The Force Awakens era. I’ve heard these described as both for young readers and as YA, but the presence of illustrations make me think it’s the former. Jason Fry’s The Weapon of a Jedi and Greg Rucka’s Smuggler’s Run are both set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, while Cecil Castellucci and Fry’s Moving Target is our first canon story to be set between Empire and Return of the Jedi.

A handful of reference books will also be out on Friday: Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know by Adam Bray, Cole Horton, Michael Kogge and Kerrie Dougherty and Benjamin Harper’s Ships of the Galaxy. Both are targeted to young readers, and we know that Ships, at least, has blueprints to TFA ships. We can also expect an assortment of things like sticker and coloring books, which may contain ‘new’ characters.

We’re expecting a lot of hints and small pieces in these books, but most of the heavy-hitting movie tie-ins will be out later. The Force Awakens novelization will be out on December 18 as an eBook, the same day as the film, with a hardcover edition to follow in January. We fully expect the traditional compliment of reference books – making of, concept art, etc – but those haven’t been formally announced yet. (Though are also expected in January at the very soonest.)

Battlefront: Twilight Company now has a cover

battlefront-twilight-company700Revealed today at, the cover for Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed. The game tie-in comes out November 3, 2015, in the long drought (ha) between Force Friday and The Force Awakens. As it happens, the novel’s blurb quietly went up a few weeks ago and I never got around to posting about it, so here you go:

The bravest soldiers. The toughest warriors. The ultimate survivors.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the sixty-first mobile infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the Rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

There’s also a patch for the company’s members. And don’t forget about Janine K. Spendlove’s short story in the October Insider!

Journey to The Force Awakens book previews give us a glimpse into the GFFA 30 years on

Jedi-Bibliothek spotted previews of the four Journey to The Force Awakens books for young readers on iTunes – and they reveal – or confirm – at least a few things about the film. Turns out, the prologues to Moving Target, Smuggler’s Run, and The Weapon of a Jedi are actually set in The Force Awakens era. In Moving Target we get a glimpse of Leia – and a confirmation of her title – and Han tells a story about the Millennium Falcon in Smuggler’s Run. Luke’s situation will have to wait for the movie, though – Weapon of a Jedi features a red-armed C-3PO and Jessika Pava, a pilot with Blue Squadron. (We’ve heard of her before, spoiler-lovers!)

I’ve cropped the Phil Noto art, above, but head to Jedi-Bibliothek for some screenshots and a bit of story. (Including Lost Stars, which, alas, has no such illustration.)

The Journey to the Force Awakens novels will all be out September 4.