Allegiance by Timothy Zahn

I almost didn’t read this book because there are stormtroopers on the cover and generally, I haven’t been a big fan of books focused on stormtroopers.  But it is by Timothy Zahn, also featured our intrepid OT heroes, and promised young Mara Jade, so I went for it.  It was a good book, though probably my least favorite Zahn book to date.

I liked Mara, though I kept remembering that she’s only 18 in this book and some of the stuff seems very mature for her age.  Though she does also make some rash decisions, so I guess that makes sense for an 18 year old.  I was confused by her Force powers.  If I remember correctly, in the Thrawn trilogy, Luke is teaching her to use the Force.  In this book, she’s younger and in complete control – moving things, influencing people, whatever needs to be done.  I think there might have been something in TT about her thinking her powers came from the Emperor and she lost them when he died?  idk.  It just seemed weird to me. I did really like her interactions with Darth Vader and felt he was well written.

I like the Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewy story lines.  Leia’s was especially interesting.  I feel like Zahn did a good job of capturing them in their post A New Hope places, especially Han wavering between staying with the Rebellion and leaving to pay off Jabba and working out his feelings towards Leia.

The stormtroopers weren’t as bad as I expected them to be, but I still wasn’t overly invested in their story.  It was just a little meh for me.  I did like them by the end of the book.

Iron Fist by Aaron Allston

Remember last X-wing book when I said I didn’t like the Wraiths as much as I liked the Rogues?  Forget that.  I still miss the Rogues, but this book did a lot to make me love the Wraiths.

I love Face so much.  I liked getting to know him better and am so glad that he was the focus of this book.  I loved his relationship with Phanan and how far he comes to overcome his past.

I really liked the new characters added to the squad.  I was a little wary at first, but I ended up liking the new kids, with the exception of Castin who totes got what he deserved.  And Lieutenant Kettch may be my favorite Star Wars character ever.  Yub, yub, indeed.

(Spoiler alert) Phanan.  OMG.  This may have been the first time I cried over a death in an X-wing book.  And then his letter to Face.  OMG.  I just couldn’t handle it.  I was so distraught by his death that I had a hard time reading the final battle sequence because I was sure something was going to happen to either Face or Dia.

The Last Command by Timothy Zahn

(I typed this up on the phone app and it said it posted but it disappeared.  I am so sad!)

I really liked this book!  I am sad to be done with the Thrawn trilogy, though I know that there are more Zahn books and a lot more Luke and Mara to come, but I really liked this storyline.  I was less bored with Thrawn sections than I usually am with Imperial sections of books.  I was never sad when the focus of the chapter was Leia or Han or Lando instead of Luke and Mara because their stories were so good too.  I loved Winter as a new to me character.

But as a fan of Luke, I loved him and Mara together.  I think I said in an earlier book that I wasn’t sure I would have liked Mara because she was trying to kill Luke, but I think if I read this one as a teenager, I would have LOVED her with Luke.  They’re adorable.  My cheesy romance loving heart would have eaten it all up.  Ha – my cheesy romance loving adult heart did eat it up.  I am excited to continue their journey.

I definitely realize that I like the post-ROTJ books more than I have liked the prequel books, I am going to skip a bunch of those books and be a little more choosy so I can move forward faster.

Wraith Squadron by Aaron Allston

Hmmmmm. I am not really sure how I feel about this book. The Star Wars fans I follow on twitter rave about the Wraiths, so I went into it with high hopes. Maybe too high?

Overall, I liked the book, but I didn’t love it. I missed the characters from Rogue Squadron. It was weird to still have Wedge but not have everyone else.

I did like most of the new characters, but I didn’t really like Kell much. He and Tyria are no Corran and Mirax. I wanted to like Janson, but didn’t feel like I got to know him well. I liked Face a lot by the end, which I didn’t expect originally.

Overall the book felt a little like a space road trip book. The battles were good, but it was slow at times. I am hopeful that as the books continue with these characters, I will learn to like them as much as I like the Rogues.

Jedi Twilight by Michael Reaves

I don’t really know what to say about this book. I started it in July and just finished it tonight. It was super easy to put down, though once I started reading again 5 months later, I finished it pretty quickly.

The characters in this aren’t too bad. I liked I-Five and Den and Jax was okay. I liked seeing Nick Rostu again. I either didn’t feel like I got to know the other characters (Laranth) or I just didn’t care (everyone else).

Plot-wise, this book was eh. There was enough going on to keep me reading, but overall, the story just barely makes sense.

There are three more books about Jax Pavan in my queue.  I am going to try to get through them, but if I get bogged down again, I’m moving on.

Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

Another awesome book by Mr. Zahn.  I was reading along with Thrawncast again, but this one actually took me a little while to get into it.  I decided to dive in over the weekend so I would have podcasts to listen to while driving home from my sister’s house and ended up finishing it today.  Character wise, I think I have pretty much the same feelings about everyone as I did in the first book, but in this one, I liked Mara more.  I can definitely see why people started to ship Luke and Mara even if it wasn’t what Zahn intended originally.  They have chemistry.

Plot wise, I liked Luke’s story and Han and Lando’s story, but was iffy on Leia and Chewie’s story.  I just seemed weird.  Hopefully the last book wraps it up nicely.

Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

A long time ago (the early 90s) in a galaxy far far way (Conyers), I read this book.  I really couldn’t tell you anything about it, but I remember the cover and remember owning it.  When I left for college, my mom gave most of my old books to my cousins and I lost track of which Star Wars books I read, though I know they were all prior to 1999.  So I went into reading this with pretty fresh eyes.

Honestly?  This was probably my favorite Star Wars book I’ve read in the last two years.  I definitely like the post ROTJ period and seeing what has become of our intrepid heroes.  I know these books are hugely popular, but I always assumed it was because they were the first EU books, but clearly it’s also because they’re awesome.  Tim Zahn is such a fantastic writer.

Going into this reading, I already know a decent amount about the EU, so some things already spoiled for me, but I still really enjoyed getting to know the new characters and seeing the continuation of the OT characters.  I loved the way Han, Luke, Leia, and Lando are portrayed.  They seem like themselves.  I like Mara Jade and Talon Karrde, though I kind of wonder if that is because I know other people like them.  Like did I like them the first time I read it?  Would I like them if I hadn’t know they are popular?  I don’t know.  I think I would have liked Karrde, but I am not sure I would have liked Mara based solely on this book.  I probably would have been mad at her for wanting to kill my beloved Luke.  But knowing what I know about her, I liked getting to know her and looking forward to seeing how she evolves.

I read this along with the Thrawncast, though I decided to finish it a couple weeks before they did. I’m looking forward to reading the next book along with them.

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

This book was really good. I really enjoyed reading about Obi-Wan on Tatooine. I also really liked that the book is about him, but doesn’t focus solely on him. Annileen was a fantastic character. At the end of the book, I was left with the feeling of “I hope she finds happiness.” While I realize she’s a fictional character, I was really invested in her!

Early in the book, I wanted Annie and Orrin to get together (I read for romance always), but obviously that went away halfway through the book. Then I was really hoping for some Annie and Ben action. 

The Tusken parts were really interesting. I am overall not sure how I feel about them because Tusken Raider = bad but the book showed that there’s more to them than just raiding. It was an interesting concept. 

In all, I was definitely sucked into this book and had a hard time putting it down. I really like the JJM books I’ve read so far. 

Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno

This was an interesting book. I can’t say I loved it, but it was an easy read and kept me engaged. I wasn’t super involved with the Jedi storyline, though it had an interesting ending. I liked Shryne, but Starstone was annoying. I liked getting to see young Chewbacca. 

The Vader parts were the most interesting parts. It’s nice to know that Anakin did not lose his whinypants attitude when he became Darth Vader. There were times when he was justifying his actions to himself that made me roll my eyes hard. I liked reading about him adjusting to his body and being frustrated by the machines and limitations. I also liked the tension between him and Palps. I liked that they weren’t immediately on the same page and that that relationship took time to grow.

I really liked the section on Alderaan, too. I liked seeing Bail and Breha as new parents protecting their daughter and Bail’s convos with Mon Mothma. I would have liked a lot more of that instead of the Shryne/Starstone story. 

So overall, it was a pretty good read. 

Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

Dang, this book is good! This is my favorite prequel movie and the book makes it even better. I love how Stover really digs into the psyche of the major players – Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padmé, and Palpatine. It was really enjoyable to read. The final section just about killed me. I had to stop a few times and not be sad for a few minutes. 

I think my favorite part was the very last “This is Anakin Skywalker” section, which I thought were cheesy at the beginning and heart wrenching at the end. Oh my heart. 

I’m really glad I enjoyed this book so much because I am excited to get back to reading and enjoying Star Wars books! I’m really ready to get to the post-ROTJ books, so I will probably be a little more choosy about which OT books I read. And I have to keep working on War and Peace. :)