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Oct 31, 2016

James finally reads and reviews 'Heir to the Empire' by Timothy Zahn

Heir to the Empire book cover
I recently finished reading the first of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars trilogy, Heir to the Empire.

It's a fun read, well crafted with a plot that makes a more sense than  dross like The Truce at Bukara.

Timothy Zahn's trilogy is much revered among the Star Wars fandom and I've read that some consider Heir to the Empire to be the novel that kick started the grand age of the Star Wars fan resurgence and renewed popularity.

This lead to a slew of Expanded Universe story telling in the form of books, graphic novels and video games  (for this lad it was the PC game X-Wing) and quite incredibly, something about a moon falling on top of Chewbacca.

That's right, George OKed the death of Chewbacca by way of moon crushing.

There's probably some spoilers that follow but really, the books were released in the early 1990's so there should not be any room for complaints.

Let's get the Blue Guy Stuff out of the way first

One of the key elements of that success is a fellow known to many as Grand Admiral Thrawn.

In terms of having read only one of the three novels thus far, I can see what the big deal is.

There got to be a reason this blue coloured chap is so popular, and at this stage I think it's because he's arguably the smartest Star Wars bad guy that has been committed to the novel format.

The first thing I loved

Other than the crisp and clear writing and the introduction of Thrawn, there's a moment when Luke Skywalker is dead in the water so to speak.

It's just him and R2D2 stuck in a dead X-wing in the middle of space, totally against the odds.

It's a great piece of writing that sees Luke place his life in the hands AND programming of his faithful tin can robot.

Even though you know Luke will survive his current predicament, it's a nice challenge for him.

The first thing I hated

That there's a fucking tree dwelling lizard which nulls Force abilities. Oh for craps sake, can you not just write a better plot device?

The universe is apparently rid of Jedi (and Sith) and yet suddenly there's this magical freaking lizard which no one has heard of until a few years after the Battle of Yavin?

Give me strength, you would would have thought such a tree dweller would have been well used in the 1000s of years that the Force has been used and abused...

So what's with the plot?

Zahn has this in hand.

While it's not immediately clear what Grand Admiral Thrawn is up to, we are well aware that it's about Thrawn smashing one back down the throat of the Rebel Alliance.

The novel ends with a whimper, not with a bang.

It's just the first novel of course, Thrawn is set to take back what Emperor Palpatine lost.

Han and the good old boys still need to figure out what just happened to them.

That title, it's pretty clever

So is Thrawn the heir to the Empire?

Or is it Luke?

Is it Leia?

Is it the twins that Leia and Han are having?

Yes, we get it's most likely a reference to Thrawn but Vader's lineage looms large...

Mara Jade

I keep seeing her name everywhere around the interwebs as being Luke's wife and bad ass in her own right so her forth coming flirtatious entanglement with Luke seems like an interesting plot to read in the second story, Dark Force Rising.

Her character was handy enough in this novel, it being a little obvious.

Legends

I think this is the first Star Wars novel I've read since The Force Awaken was released.

It did not come to my mind for one minute that this story was no longer canon and should just be considered a alternate time line of sorts.

It's a well written story about Star Wars characters and can be read for the sake of it's own enjoyment.

Those people that run around on the internet abusing anyone who writes a novel that fits into the official canon timeline may wish to stop, have a breather and maybe go play out in the sunshine.

Verdict

This novel was unsurprisingly an enjoyable read.

Given it's considered one of the best Star Wars books out there, I'll be surprised if the sequel, Dark Force Rising is able to match it.

If you are a casual Star Wars fan who has never read this book but are interested in seeing what all the fuss is about, I happily recommend this to you.

You can purchase Heir to the Empire from Amazon at this link.

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