Review: Last Shot is fast, fun, and a little bit silly (as it should be)

I think they’re getting the hang of this new Expanded Universe.

We’re several years into the new canon now, but it’s been curious to watch how the books (and comics) have changed from our first tentative steps with A New Dawn. It might be no less a balancing act, but it feels like everything is both settling into a rhythm and not afraid to try something new.

Last Shot is the latest example of how the novels are able to both enhance the films (in this case, Solo, mostly) and stand on their own as complete stories.

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Solo book lineup features novels from Daniel José Older, Rae Carson

The Solo book lineup is here, and it’s extensive. All the usual suspects are here: Novels from Del Rey and Disney Lucasfilm Press, comics from Marvel and IDW, the standard non-fiction… And a whole lot of kids stuff, because Star Wars. It’s all over at Entertainment Weekly, but here are my highlights.

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Is there a Padme Amidala YA novel in the pipeline?

It appears that there may be a Padme Amidala YA novel in the works – at least per the franchise’s German publisher, Panini. There’s not much info – no author, no details on where it might be set in the prequel era – so there’s still a lot to wait for in an official announcement. Still, this does seem a natural followup to the recent Leia and Ahsoka novels, so I can’t see any real reason to doubt it’s happening.

UPDATE: Panini asked Jedi Bibliothek to remove the listing. Curious.

Also dropping today – officially – is a preview of the Thrawn comic, which adapts Timothy Zahn’s canon novel from earlier this year. The series will kick off with #1 in February, and it brings back long-haired Thrawn to boot.

And one from last week- an excerpt of Canto Bight, The Last Jedi novella tie-in that’s out on December 5. The excerpt is from John Jackson Miller, but the collection also includes works from Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson and Mira Grant.

Canto Bight short story collection announced; Luke, Leia, Phasma novels detailed

Entertainment Weekly has details for several Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi books. The new addition: A collection of short stories focusing on inhabitants of Canto Bight, the ritzy casino planet. The authors are Star Wars vet John Jackson Miller and franchise newcomers Saladin Ahmed, Rae Carson, and Mira Grant. It will be on shelves December 5.

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Post-Rogue One novel Inferno Squad coming in July from Christie Golden

The Star Wars book schedule is rounding out with a new post-Rogue One/A New Hope novel from Christie Golden. Inferno Squad features an elite Imperial squad that’s tasked to take on what remains of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Here’s the blurb:

The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad. After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire — no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire?

The book will be out in hardcover and eBook on July 25. I can’t say this one appeals to me, and Golden seems like an odd choice for it – we last heard from her with 2015’s Dark Disciple – but seems like this is a continuation of the new EU’s tendency to focus on brand-new characters.

EUbits: Del Rey’s interactive Star Wars timeline, Thrawn primer, Han Solo mini has a VIP fan

del-rey-timeline

Del Rey revealed their complete timeline of Star Wars books this week, featuring their new canon novels (and a short story.) It doesn’t include books from the other publishers (like Marvel’s comics or Disney Lucasfilm Press’ Lost Stars or the upcoming Ahsoka) but it’s a good starting place for anyone who needs it.

thrawn-novel700→ Speaking of starting places, StarWars.com has a nice primer on Grand Admiral Thrawn from Linda Hansen-Raj for anyone who wants to do some reading before he returns on Rebels. (Or just to learn what all that fuss was about.) On that note, Zahn’s Thrawn is now available for pre-order.

→ It turns out that George Lucas is a really big fan of Marvel’s Han Solo mini-series – he wants to buy all of Mark Brooks’ original pages from the first two issues.

→ Celebration Europe gave us a glimpse of what the Lucasfilm Story Group does – and it’s so much more than just maintaining continuity. This article is Pablo approved!

Review: Claudia Gray’s Bloodline is required reading for Star Wars fans, but you won’t mind

BloodlineIt’s rather refreshing to finally be getting some of the gaps filled in.

Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline, out today, isn’t the first to give us a look at the galaxy beyond Return of the Jedi in the new canon. (It isn’t even Gray’s first, technically.) But it the closest to The Force Awakens so far, set less than a decade before the film. It’s also the first to feature a major character in anything beyond a glorified cameo. This is, by far, the canon novel with the most mass appeal to Expanded Universe fans new and old.

And yes, it’s good. I admit, I am worried that those of us who got and talked (vaguely) about the book early may be overselling the novel. After all, that’s what happened to me with Gray’s previous Star Wars book, Lost Stars. There was no early copy for me there, and it was the last of the Journey to The Force Awakens books I read. And it was fine! But I suspect the unrelenting hype damaged it a bit for me. (I may also be extremely a tiny bit burnt out on YA-style romance.)

Bloodline, on the other hand, was a blistering fast read for me. The minute I got it, I couldn’t put it down. As anyone who was following me on Twitter may have noticed, I read it in three hours. I honestly can’t recall the last time I read a Star Wars novel at that speed. It might have been back in the ’90s?

Some minor spoilers beyond the cut.

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Review: Battlefront: Twilight Company puts the war into Star Wars

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On sale today, Battlefront: Twilight Company is a good, solid novel for the military sci-fi reader. The world of Star Wars is no stranger to video game tie-in fiction, and has done so quite well with the X-Wing series and Republic Commando series, both now Legends. First time novelist Alexander Freed hits the mark by pulling the reader in for a trip with the men and women of Twilight Company, formally the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, one of the Rebel Alliance’s toughest units, during the original trilogy era.

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