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. :)

The Bacta War (X-Wing Bk 4) by Michael Stackpole

Warning: Spoilers below

I got so into The Krytos Trap that I decided not to wait for Rogue Podron to finish this arc of X-wing books.  It only took me a couple days to finish The Bacta War. I don’t usually post a lot of detail here, but I think my thoughts on the final book and the series as a whole warrant it.

Character wise – I still love Corran.  At the beginning of the series, his monologue-ing got old, but I really did like him.  I liked how he grew over the series and I’m really interested in seeing where he goes from here, especially as a Jedi.  I LOVE Mirax too.  I’m glad they got together.  I loved Wedge too.  I like that the books took a tertiary character from the movies and really built a world around him.  I loved whenever he was the focus.  I felt like this book did not have as good of a mix of secondary Rogues as the last one.  I liked what we got of Gavin, but definitely wanted more.  And more Tycho, Winter, Iella, and Ooryl.  Less Vorru and Isard.  I found myself missing Loor.  He was a better nemesis than Vorru.  I was a little meh on Booster and Talon Karrde.  I guess I need to get to know them better to really like them.

Plot wise – I liked the action in this book, though there were times when I just wanted stuff to be done, usually when we were focused on the bad guys.  I liked that there were a lot of surprises and stuff just worked out, but sometimes it was too easy.  Things just worked out perfectly in ways that almost don’t make sense if you think about it too much.  But that’s the joy of sci-fi books sometimes – you can just take them at face value and not worry too much about the actual logistics.  I did feel like this book lacked the high stakes the other books had.  Only 1 Rogue dies (and one is believed dead for a while) and that death doesn’t seem to have a big impact on the team.  No one dies in the final battle.  While I am happy about that, because I always hate when a beloved character is gone, it seemed weird when all the other books had more deaths after battles.

Also, there was a character (a droid) named Poe in one section of the book.  That was so weird to me.

X-Wing Series Books 2 and 3 by Michael Stackpole

Wedge’s Gamble and The Krytos Trap by Michael Stackpole

Taking the lazy way out to catch up and doing one review for both of these books.  I would probably say the same thing about them anyway! :)

I really like this series.  The characters are fun and interesting.  At first, I thought I was going to be more upset by the deaths of old characters and additions of new characters, but mostly I’ve been okay with them.  I don’t dislike Corran as much as other people.  I get why he can be annoying, but it doesn’t bother me that much.  I only occasionally have to roll my eyes.  I really like the ladies in these books, especially in Krytos Trap.  Iella and Mirax especially.  I liked both storylines a lot and am getting better at keeping up with what is happening in battles instead of just skimming over the action.

I think The Krytos Trap may be one of my favorite Legends books so far.  I really like the story overall and the balance between the various plots going on at a time.  I liked that many of the plot points started in the first and second book were resolved.  I can’t wait to read the 4th book.  I read ahead of Rogue Podron, so now I need to decide if I am going to keep reading ahead or wait for them.  I started War and Peace, so that should keep me busy waiting for them.

X-wing: Rogue Squadron by Michael A. Stackpole

(Yes, I skipped ahead.)

I’m still working on my chronological read through of the Legends books (mixed in with new canon and non Star Wars books), but a new podcast started that is reading the X-wing series and talking about it weekly, so I decided to follow along. It is taking forever because they only read 4 chapters a week, but it is fun to hear other people’s opinion, especially people who also haven’t read these books before. But this weekend, I finished way ahead of the podcast because I mentioned reading this to my Bookclub and they picked it for this month. I am curious to see what non Star Wars/sci-fi fans think of it. 

Anyway, the book: I really liked this! I loved the comraderie of the squadron. Wedge and Tycho are awesome and I can’t wait to read more about them. I was on the fence about Corran at first, but ended up really liking him. I grew to like Mirax a lot too. One thing I was not a fan of – people dying! I get that this is about war and battles where no one dies aren’t realistic, but the first squadron death in this book made me cry. I was able to handle later ones better, but I hate getting to know and like a character only to have them die. It just hurts my heart. 

But overall, I thought the book was great. Great characters, interesting plot, and feed space battles. I’m excited for the rest of the series. 

The Truce at Bakura by Karen Tyers

So, I skipped ahead in the timeline. I’m absolutely going to backtrack, at least for some of the books, but I decided to read the EU “what happened right after the Battle of Endor” book because Aftermath, the new canon version, comes out tonight! I’m actually sitting at Barnes and Noble where Chuck Wendig will be speaking/signing right now. But anyway, we’re not talking about that right now…

So Truce at Bakura. I liked it. It was an easier read than some of the other EU books I’ve dragged myself through this year. I definitely enjoyed being back with Han, Luke, and Leia. For the most part, I liked their characterizations in this book and felt like they flowed nicely from Return of the Jedi. I liked that Luke was recovering from the Force Lightning, though that dropped really quickly. I liked that Han and Leia still snipped at each other but also you could tell they loved and respected each other. For new characters, I liked Gaeri and would have liked to know Eppie more, but liked what we saw of her. 

There was one thing I wasn’t really sold on and that was Master Healer Luke. (Spoilers, FYI) He healed himself from the parasites. He healed Eppie’s brain damage. He removed the hypnosis whatever that Dev was under. It was just all really easy and I found it odd. 

So overall, I thought it was a fun adventure. I’m ready to move forward with post ROTJ stuff soon. 

Hm, I thought I added more to this, but don’t know what happened to it. So anyway, when Aftermath came out, people were making fun of this book, particularly the velociraptor aliens bent on taking over the universe. Somehow in my overall impression of this book, I completely forgot about that. I guess I just have selective memory and focused on Luke/Leia/Han and ignored Dev and “friends.” Oh well!