Isard’s Revenge by Michael Stackpole

And we’re back to the Rogues, though a few of our Wraith friends are still around.  I like the Rogues, but I did miss the Wraiths.  I’m pretty sure I said the opposite back in the 4th book when it switched from Rogues to Wraiths initially.  I like them all, I guess, and just want more stories!  I liked that Corran and Mirax are a fun married couple.  I also like that Mirax and Iella are working with the Rogues but are independent women that get themselves in and out of trouble.  The story was fun and I really enjoyed it, though the premise is strange and convoluted.  But at least it was entertaining.

Also, I am going to need to hug Gavin for a really long time now.

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.

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Huh. Okay, where to start. I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and liked that even though Han was the main character, it was everyone’s story. I am glad I already knew who Kell was from the Wraith books and liked him more here than I did in Wraith Squadron. I really enjoyed the Ocean’s 11 vibe more than I thought I would. It was fun to see everything come together and unfold. There were times when it felt needlessly over complicated, but for the most part, it was enjoyable.

The ending, though. What the actual hell? I was surprised by that and a little annoyed.

A couple notes on my SWEU read through: I did give up on the Jedi Twilight books, including Shadow Games. I just wasn’t interested enough to follow that story line. I do however plan to go back and read the two Han Solo trilogies I skipped over eventually. I’m just trying to move forward at a slightly faster rate so I can catch up to the story around the X-wing books.

 

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.