Star Wars EU Novels: Recent bright spots in the sea of mediocrity

RD.II.bStar Wars Anon reminded me that today is Star Wars Reads Day!  My local library is having an event, so I will have to stop by later to check it out.  Star Wars and reading are two of my most favoritest things, so I figured it would be appropriate to post some reviews today.

I have been doing a lot of EU reading lately.  I discovered that I did not, in fact, own copies of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire trilogy, which I corrected immediately.  They are frequently held up as the best the EU has to offer, and I’m inclined to agree.  If you want to try a few Star Wars novels, start with these!

A few months ago I read, and loved, Zahn’s latest SW novel, Scoundrels.  It gave me hope that, despite the unfulfilled potential of the recent Fate of the Jedi series, the Star Wars EU is not dead on its feet quite yet.  Here are two more stand-alone books that continue to give me hope.

Choices of One by Timothy Zahn  4.5/5 stars

ChoicesofOne

Prereqs: None, but you may want to read Zahn’s Allegiance, which takes place a little before with the same characters

It’s hard to go wrong with Zahn.  This book takes place between ANH and ESB (just like Scoundrels), and features Luke, Han, and Leia as well as Mara Jade.  Few authors nail the original trio like Zahn does, and it is really beautiful to see how he has the characters grow in just this short book.  It’s always a treat to see Mara Jade in action, although I think she is slightly overpowered in these early books (for example, using the Force to throw, then switch on, her lightsaber, when she doesn’t feel able to do that later in the Thrawn trilogy).

The main plotline of the book is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but it manages to be interesting without being confusing.  I was concerned that the book would devolve into “How is Zahn going to keep Luke and Mara from meeting?” but it was so well done that once I got into the book I didn’t even think about it.

Overall it was a great read, better than Allegiance, and I would recommend it to fans of our fearless trio as well as my fellow Mara Jade fanatics.

X-wing: Mercy Kill by Aaron Allston  4.5/5 starsMercyKill

Prereqs: None, but you will enjoy it more if you have read Allston’s Wraith Squadron. Also makes references to the Yuuzhan Vong war and events during the Fate of the Jedi series

I was a somewhat unimpressed with his recent efforts for Fate of the Jedi, but Allston has redeemed himself with this awesome addition to the X-wing line.  The Wraiths are back in action following the events of Apocalyspe, led by some old familiar faces but also featuring a great line-up of new characters.  The group is tasked with investigating Stavin Thaal’s involvement in the Lecersen Conspiracy, but they end up getting a little more than they bargained for.

Is this as good as the original X-Wing series? Nope. The plot occasionally gets confusing, because there are several missions where we aren’t privy to the whole planning or strategy, we just see the Wraiths executing their parts, which left me feeling a little lost.  I’m still unsure about why they did some of the stuff they did around the 1/3 mark.

But the characters are witty, talented, and really grow into a team over the course of the book (although I wish the Dramatis Personae had included their call signs).  There’s a lot of humor to counterbalance the serious nature of their jobs.  And of course, we have some X-wing action thrown in for good measure.  Maybe we’ll see more books featuring the new Wraiths?  I feel like there is some real potential here.

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3 thoughts on “Star Wars EU Novels: Recent bright spots in the sea of mediocrity

  1. starwarsanon October 6, 2013 / 5:15 pm

    Were you able to check out the Star War Reads event?? I did not get to go any. And good for you for doing some EU reading lately! Dawn of the Jedi is the only EU book that looks interesting to me.

    If you ever want to Guest Post on my blog and write a more extensive review on any EU novel you’ve read, let me know! I’m always looking for people to write EU reviews since that is one area I do not follow closely.

    Like

    • Mei-Mei October 6, 2013 / 9:30 pm

      I went too late, although there were cute children with foam lightsabers still running around on the kids’ floor. 🙂
      I’ve never done a Guest Post thing before–that would be cool! I’ll let you know next time I’m reading some EU.

      Like

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