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.
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:
From 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.)
Entertainment Weekly has the first excerpts from Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath, Del Rey’s entry in Journey to The Force Awakens.
It features a brief section set on Coruscant, Wedge Antilles (who we now know is one of the book’s main characters,) plus a character who first debuted in another of the new canon novels. (Now with a promotion.)
Much of the excerpt was up on Random House’s online catalog earlier today, but has since been removed.
Aftermath, along with the rest of the Journey books, goes on sale September 4.
It’s apparently Rebels week in releaseland, as we have the paperback edition of John Jackson Miller’s A New Dawn out on Tuesday. The hardcover dropped back before the show had even aired, so I expect the story of how Hera and Kanan met will find more of an audience now. James liked it! And hey, it’s John Jackson Miller, hard to go wrong there.
For those already all in on Rebels lit, Marvel launches their fourth Star Wars title Wednesday with Kanan: The Last Padawan #1. It’s also a Rebels prequel, and Marvel’s first foray into the prequel era. StarWars.com has a five-page preview.
Jedi Bibliothek spotted an extended blurb for Christie Golden’s Dark Disciple at Random House. The Asajj Ventress and Quinlan Vos story is based on unproduced scripts from The Clone Wars
The only way to bring down the dark side’s most dangerous warrior may be for Jedi and Sith to join forces.
In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.
But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.
Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.
Well, that’s an unexpected turn for this book. (…Or is it?) Hopefully Golden’s take romance here is less winceworthy here than what we saw in Fate of the Jedi…
Dark Disciple will be out in eBook and hardcover on July 7.
It’s not the first time Star Wars has featured LGBT characters, but an upcoming novel will be the first to introduce one into Star Wars canon as it now stands.
Paul S. Kemp’s Lords of the Sith, out in April, features Moff Mors, a lesbian and “Imperial who has made some very serious mistakes but is an incredibly capable leader and spends much of the book working hard to prevent absolute failure,” Bryan Young at Big Shiny Robot reports.
“There should be diversity in Star Wars,” Del Rey editor Shelly Shapiro told Young for Full of Sith. And what more is there to say than that?
Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi brings a lot of firsts, as far as Star Wars novels go. It’s the first of the new canon novels to feature one of the big three characters; the first Star Wars first-person novel* to feature an actual movie character, and the first canon novel to be set after A New Hope. It’s also the first of the new novels I actually had any interest in reading.
Now, I don’t expect a Star Wars novel to rock the very galaxy, particularly when set in a movie-limited era like this one is. I wasn’t expecting a game-changing book by any means. And generally, I don’t mind a quieter story, as long as it’s an engaging one that keeps me wanting to read.
Unfortunately, Heir to the Jedi delivers an unremarkable tale that fails to make much of an impression. From the first-person conceit to the title that seems deliberately reminiscent of Heir to the Empire, it seemed to me like the book was writing several checks that it completely failed to cash.