Waru Express: Scourge and Survivor’s Quest

The two books for today’s post probably could not have been more different if they’d tried.  On the one hand, we have the Luke/Mara go on an adventure in Chiss space book and on the other hand, we have a book about a Jedi trying to take down a Hutt spice ring.  The good news is that they were both fun reads.  The bad news is that I don’t get to be snarky in this post. Alas.

I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Scourge mostly because I hadn’t heard any buzz about it.  All I knew is that it involved Hutts.  I was, however, very pleasantly surprised and that is always a good thing.

Overall, Scourge was a solid book.  Personally, I always enjoy getting to see other aspects of the Star Wars universe besides the galaxy shaking problem of the week and the Solo/Skywalker clan regardless of how much I love them.  It’s nice to see a new member of Luke’s Jedi Order especially one who doesn’t fall into the stereotypical Jedi mold.  Mander Zuma is an archivist who is only a warrior when he absolutely has to be.  He can also be a very surprising person who doesn’t fit neatly into the a box.  Plus, he gets to go through a nice arc of character growth as the story progresses.  Reen Irana and Eddey Be’ray are the other two people helping investigate the death of Toro Irana, a Jedi Knight, and they both prove to be interesting characters in their own rights as is Angela Krin.  Heck, even the Hutts are all very distinctive characters who don’t all fall into the Jabba category.  In all honesty, I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters.  I don’t love them yet but they are certainly intriguing.

The plot itself was fairly expected for this sort of novel but that’s not a bad thing because if you’re expecting a book about a drug smuggling ring then you’d probably like to get one.  The story felt timeless though and that’s another good thing.  Although there were clearly references to the New Jedi Order and Yavin 4 and such that tied it to the post-RotJ era, the book could have easily been tweaked and set in the Old Republic era and I rather appreciated that.  Like I said above, not every plot line or story needs to be galaxy shattering to be enjoyed.

Oh!  And I actually love the series of twists at the end.  In retrospect, I probably should’ve figured it out a lot sooner than I did but the storyline certainly kept me guessing which in turn definitely kept me reading.

Bottom line is that I recommend it.  It should probably be distributed to certain characters in certain books to reinforce the message of Don’t Do Spice.

Survivor’s Quest
I’m on a roll with admissions this post so I will also admit that reading this book was a bit bittersweet for me because it meant that I have no more Zahn books to look forward to on this wild ride.

I belatedly realized after I published the previous post that I’d barely talked about the Luke/Mara aspects of the Hand of Thrawn books but a lot of what I love about that can be touched upon here.  Clearly, Survivor’s Quest is clearly a Luke/Mara book.  Actually, the book perfectly illustrates why I really like Luke and Mara as a couple: they are a team.  Obviously they are in love and all that jazz but they also work really well together.  No wonder the Vong are going to give her some weird illness to try and halt the dream team in its tracks.  I don’t know how anyone could not like these two together.  The secondary plot line where Mara seriously considers taking Parck up on his offer and joining the Empire of the Hand is written quite well and I love that Luke was willing to go with her if that’s what she decided was best.  I think it also highlights that the Empire didn’t necessarily have to be bad because law and order aren’t evil.  It was the leadership that made it an evil government that had to be stopped.  All of this, of course, leads into the next point.

We also get a better look at the Chiss and the Empire of the Hand.  Actually, can we get more books about the Empire of the Hand?  How about a story about Baron Fel and how he ended up joining them?  Or anything else about them really.  I’m not picky.  Heck, I’ll happily read another story about Commander Chak Fel.  I liked him and his stormtroopers.  Actually, this seems to be a trend: I like reading stories about small teams of stormtroopers.  Given my strong Rebel Alliance loyalties, this is slightly disturbing. (Editor’s Note: Given what First Order Trash I now am… this is hilarious.)

The only thing I’m pondering now (since this was clearly a good book) is whether I would recommend reading this or Outbound Flight first.

Now I get to dive into the Young Jedi Knights books!  I am completely serious when I say that I have been looking forward to these for the past few months.  I’d wax poetic about how much I love those books and those kids but then you wouldn’t come back for the next post.

Originally posted to Tosche Station on March 11, 2013.

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