Shadows of the Empire (Star Wars Universe) by Steve Perry
Here is the story of the events which occurred between the films The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, in which Darth Vader lives and fights a nemesis as capable as he is.
“He had never found a companion he could consider his equal, and if he ever did, well, how would he be able to trust someone that adept? An interesting conundrum.”
It is a time of emergency. Han Solo, solidified in carbonite, is taken to the despicable criminal Jabba the Hutt. As Princess Leia mounts a rescue mission that includes Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian, and a splendid youthful pilot, Darth Vader pits himself against the savages. All of a sudden, Luke finds himself the potential prize of the two most insidious elements in the cosmic system - one who needs him alive... and one who needs him dead.
Shadows of the Empire is a book that satisfies the need that underlies all fanfic - filling in the events which occur 'off-screen' is standard. The book itself is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and recounts the narrative of the main endeavor to save Han.
“Cold allowed precision, heat threw caution aside and plunged in rampantly. Cold was the process of deliberation and planning, heat the result of unbridled passion. Passion was fine, but only when controlled and channeled properly.”
The dialogue is a bit uneven, and frequently reads more like a screen play than a novel. It often seems constrained – something which appears to be particularly infuriating when you consider that the number of individuals reading this who don't have a genuinely thorough knowledge of the Star Wars universe must be low.
All in all, Shadows is a fun read, especially if you have an hour to spare and want to switch off your brain. If you think of the Star Wars films as popcorn movies, then this is popcorn book.
Bloodline (Star Wars Disney Canon Novel) by Claudia Gray
Claudia Gray solidifies her position as the best present-day Star Wars creator by lining up the phenomenal Lost Stars with the (potentially) surprisingly better Bloodline.
“She realized, then, something she had never fully understood before. She'd always wondered what had led her father to turn to the dark side, to become Darth Vader. She'd imagined it came from ambition, greed, or some other venal weakness. Never had she considered that the turn might begin in a better place, out of the desire to save someone or to avenge a great wrong. Even if it led to evil, that first impulse might be born out of loyalty, a sense of justice, or even love.”
In Bloodline, Gray at last finds the opportunity to show what she can do with prescribed characters and totally nails it. Leia's voice is great. Han's voice is extraordinary. All the more fascinating, however, is her capacity to present new characters as distinctive and genuine as any in the motion pictures. Both of her Star Wars books merit the same amount of consideration as the movies themselves.
Claudia Gray has been given a considerable measure of energy to create a universe with this one, and she doesn't squander a moment of it. Read this book on the off chance that you like Star Wars without qualification. Read this book, especially, if you grew up adoring Princess Leia the most.
“And friendship, and love.” Leia knew that Luke’s selflessness in coming for her on the Death Star, and Han’s unspoken devotion in saving her on Hoth, had not only kept her alive but also changed the entire course of the galaxy for the better. “Those things matter, too, maybe more than all the rest.”
Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn
Five full years have gone by since the explosion of the second Death Star and the fall of the Emperor. The New Republic is ascending from the fiery debris of the Galactic Empire. The old Imperial Starfleet is in confusion, and the best of the Emperor's closest warlords, the Grand Admirals, are altogether gone. With the exception of one. Furthermore, that solitary one will give the pioneers of the new government more to fear than all the others joined...
Timothy Zahn is a writer from a long time ago, and respected among devotees of the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Not only by writing some of the best Star Wars books out there, but also by creating probably the most adored characters in the establishment. One of them is Mitth'raw'nuruodo, often referred to all through the universe as Grand Admiral Thrawn. He's an ace strategist and a military virtuoso, and one of his most prominent qualities lies in his basic perception of enemies. Fixated on craftsmanship, he is fit for understanding whole categories of individuals basically by concentrating on their artistic heritage. What's more, after the downfall of Palpatine and the fall of his administration, Thrawn, an outsider who ascended through the ranks of the sovereign's military progressive system despite opposition, all of a sudden ends up as the benefactor of the realm.
“Do you know the difference between an error and a mistake, Ensign?”
The entire bridge had gone deathly still. Colclazure swallowed again, his face starting to go pale. “No, Sir.”
“Anyone can make an error, Ensign. But that error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.”
But Thrawn is really far from being the only intriguing character introduced by Zahn. He can build a whole new universe following the original Star Wars movie. While characters like Han, Luke, and Leia remain as the protagonists, much of the weight of the action is put on a new cast of characters: from smugglers to scheming senators, to a mysterious survivor of the time of the Old Republic.
“Mourning the loss of a friend and teacher was both fitting and honorable, but to dwell unnecessarily on that loss was to give the past too much power over the present.”