Waru Express: Lead Up to Yavin

When I first did the Waru Express, the library system was out to get me and took 2 weeks to get me my copy of Shadow Games which conveniently showed up the day after New Year’s.  Originally, it didn’t get included in this post but was in the next one.  It’s going in here now because I can!  But enough of that!  On with the show and three very very very different books.

Death Troopers
I really have no idea what I was expecting from this book but it probably should’ve been exactly what the book gave me.  It is definitely a horror story set in the Star Wars universe.  Surprisingly, I actually rather enjoyed it and I’m not necessarily a big horror fan.  This goes back to a comment I think I made a few posts ago about how there really is something for everyone in the Expanded Universe.  Schreiber introduces mostly new characters and I even found myself caring about some of them particularly the doctor, Zahara Cody.

I was not, however, expecting Han and Chewbacca to show up.  Wow do those two get around and attract a lot of danger in the process.  Maybe they should considering retiring to a nice quiet planet without any moons.  Joe Schreiber actually writes a pretty good Han and Chewbacca.  I especially liked how he wrote scenes from Chewbacca’s point of view instead of taking the easy way out and writing them from Han’s.  The only “criticism” I have isn’t actually a criticism but just a comment that there wasn’t much tension in regards to their fates since the book is set before A New Hope.

All in all, it’s a short (and I really do mean short at only 234 pages) read but definitely worth it especially if you’d like a change from the Expanded Universe status quo.  At the very least, it’s worth a try.  Zombies on a Star Destroyer, folks, zombies on a Star Destroyer.  What’s not to love?

Death Star
Gee I wonder what this book could possibly be about with a title like that?  In all seriousness though, I went into this book expecting it to be exactly what it says on the label: a story about the people on the Death Star who are clearly all going to die because of a well placed proton torpedo.  With this in mind, I told myself that I was not allowed to like anyone except for the no-longer-quite-so-young Dr. Divini who I already liked from the MedStar books.  And then Reaves and Perry did that thing where they make me care about a lot of the characters.  Well sithspit.

Well, the good news is that most of them got out in the nick of time.  The bad news is that a) not all of them make it and b) the reason they decide to go is that Alderaan is destroyed.  I don’t care that it happened in the very first film, I am still not over the destruction of Alderaan.  I shall forever despise Tarkin for ordering the shot.  Alderaan is peaceful.  We have no weapons you &$*&*(#&%!

I’ve said before that both Reaves and Perry are very talented at making you care about characters that likely won’t appear in any other books.  It was nice seeing Uli again although his continued military service really is unfortunate.  It’s a bit strange seeing him as an established doctor who’s probably somewhere around 40 instead of being a brilliant prodigy.  As far as new characters go, my favorites were probably Teela Kaarz the architect and political prisoner, Vil Dance the hotshot pilot (obviously), and Atour Riten because I love the idea of a deviously brilliant librarian.  Actually, they even write a pretty good Vader and despite my hatred of Tarkin, the bits with him and Daala felt more like they were painting a complete picture instead of being… oh shall we just say nauseating?

Can we also discus how Reaves and Perry have a character take on the alias of ‘The Roxxor’?  You sly dogs.  Oh and the commentary about how stupid and impractical the Death Star gunners’ helmets are.  I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE. (Editor’s Note: The Death Star gunners, on the other hand, cannot.)

I think both authors should really be commended for taking what could’ve been a book idea that wasn’t much more than a gimmick and really turning it into a good book.  The huge cast of characters can be a little tricky to keep track of, especially at the beginning, but they are almost all handled quite well.  If you skipped this book in the past, it’s another that I’ll recommend you giving a try.

Shadow Games
When I first picked up this book, I was relieved to find out that it wasn’t about Jax.  No offense, buddy, but I just didn’t want to read about you again this soon.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I really care about Dash Rendar either.  Seriously though: it’s been awhile since I’ve read the books in this era.  Am I supposed to care about him beyond this rivalry with Han Solo?  I’m sure I’m forgetting something about him besides a tragic history.

Allow me to sum up the plot of this book for you: Lies, lies, lies, “I ain’t in this for your revolution, sister”, “I expect to be well paid”, and “Well, you’re pretty.”  Okay, it’s not a bad book and once I finally got myself to sit down and read it, it was fairly entertaining.  (Editor’s Note: I suspect I was trying to be nice here.)  Unfortunately, it felt a little too much like I was reading an AU version of Han and Leia.  (Seriously though: I bet there’s a fanfic out there where Leia’s a popstar and Han is her bodyguard.)  Dash is going to be so offended when I call him a poor man’s Han Solo but oh well.  Like I said, the story was interesting enough but wow did all the levels of “Okay, so what I told you before was a lie” get to be a bit much at times.  Javul’s lucky she managed to stay alive with basically the entire galaxy after her.

I did like the droid though.  He was snarky and entertaining.  Leebo, you and your pet Mouse Droid can stay.

(In all fairness, my general exasperation with the book and with how much I’m looking forward to taking a break could be unfairly coloring my opinion here so take it with a grain of salt.)

A New Hope
Ayyyyy.  Yeah, this one you can skip.  Honestly.  Just go watch the movie instead.  I promise you that it is a much better use of your time.  Actually, just go rewatch the entire Original Trilogy.  This novelization is not one that really adds anything to the story except for maybe some deleted scenes and it feels the need to use really big words to show off and just… yeah.  The weirdest thing was how the X-Wing squadron is referred to as ‘Blue’ and the Y-Wings are ‘Red’.  I don’t get it.  Sorry, I wish I had some more snark here but there’s really nothing so instead I offer you my summary of this book:

On the other hand, it did give us this description of Tarkin: “The nearest to Tagge was a thin, hatchet-faced man with hair and form borrowed from an old broom and the expression of a quiescent piranha.”  I don’t even know what a quiescent piranha would look like but I’m still amused.  That was your only saving grace, book.  And I am not looking forward to reading the novelizations for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi now.  I’ll probably have to take my own advice and have an Original Trilogy marathon to make it all better.

Well.  I kind of did it.  Actually, I will insist that I did in fact win my race and the only thing that held me back was the library never getting me Shadow Games in a timely fashion.  I will take my small victories where I can get them because I still have almost 100 books left to read for this project.  BUT it’s A Very Zahn New Year for me today so yay!

Originally posted on Tosche Station on January 1, 2013.

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