the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘Jedi

200px-HeirToTheEmpireHeir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn

published in 1991

where I got it: that bookshelf where my hubby’s favorite books are

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Taking place 5 years after Episode 6, Heir to the Empire follows Luke, Leia and Han while they try to pry themselves away from the developing government of the New Republic. Leia and Han have married, and Leia is expecting twins. As Luke works with Leia to train her Jedi powers, they learn the unborn twins are strong with the force as well. As much as the three of them would prefer to spend their time together, the demands of the New Republic often have them at opposite ends of the sector, with Leia handling diplomatic concerns, Han trying to get his old smuggling friends to do legit shipping for the New Republic and Luke investigating rumors of other Jedi.

Meanwhile, the dying Empire is pulling itself back together, mostly with the help of Grand Admiral Thrawn. He’s not a Sith, and he doesn’t really care about the Force. Grand Admiral Thrawn is cold, calculating, and intensely intimidating. He studies his enemies and his victims, waiting until he’s sure of their reaction before attacking. Thrawn puts two and two together to manipulate the ultimate stealth weapon against Luke Skywalker and the future of the New Republic. I’m not going to tell you what his weapon is, but it’s brilliant, and truly stealthy.

Another important plot line involves Mara Jade, a conflicted woman who was once close to the Emperor, and now works for a smuggler. She dabbles in the force and has a burning hatred for Luke Skywalker.  Thrawn may prefer to take Skywalker alive, but Jade would rather kill him. Why does she hate him so much? Luke has no recollection of ever meeting her ,what could have he possibly done to her?
While reading Heir to the Empire, I felt like I was reading the novelization of an unmade Star Wars movie. Characters say and do things that you’d expect from them. Han is snarky but sometimes nervous, Luke sees the good in everyone will little regard for his own personal safety, Leia is slow to trust but quick on her feet.  There are action sequences with the Millenium Falcon outrunning a Star Destroyer and Tie Fighters firing on X-Wings.  The action flies along at a fast clip and we never spend too much time, or too little, with any one character. There’s even the situational humor we’ve come to appreciate when no one but Han can understand Chewbacca or C3P-0 doesn’t understand some idiom. A few dialog lines are actually cribbed directly from the movies, and slyly referred to as inside jokes between the characters. The first in Timothy Zahn’s trilogy, Heir to the Empire is the book every Star Wars fan should read.

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Serenity/Firefly aside, I don’t tend to go for graphic novels based on movies. But come on, it’s Star Wars! Han Solo was my first crush! The universe of “Clone Wars” stuff runs the gamut: there’s the Cartoon Network show, which is pretty much for children, and the Clone Wars comics and graphic novels put out by Dark Horse, which I think are more for teens or grown ups.

The Clone Wars comics by Dark Horse take place immediately after “Attack of the Clones” (Clones Wars: Adventures is something a little bit different), and stars characters known and new. You’ll notice right away the stunning artwork. Probably some of the best I’ve seen, to the point where if I even saw Jan Duuresma’s name on something, I’d be tempted to buy it no matter what it was. If you’re a Star Wars uberfan, this graphic novel is worth purchasing just for the artwork.

So the artwork is a major plus. And the last chapter is wonderful (more on this in a bit). but. . . . other than that, the graphic novel was just so-so. Too many characters that I didn’t know and wasn’t interested in, little side stories that I just didn’t care about, and Count Dooku being turned into the most super villian ever (don’t even get me started on the whole what’s the point of having an unbeatable bad guy?). Although where there is Dooku, there is Ventress, and I do dig her.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.