A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Empire returns

While the next round of Star Wars films probably won't adapt Timothy Zahn's pretty well regarded Grand Admiral Thrawn trilogy of years past, they may make a few nods to some of the occurrences in the books (like the twins born to Han Solo and Princess Leia a few years after the events in Return of the Jedi, for example). For that reason,  I thought I'd finally give the first of the books, Heir to the Empire, a whirl after it's been available for so many years.

My thoughts? I enjoyed it, but maybe not as wildly as others. I missed the kind of swashbuckling action, dark drama, and sweeping romance of the original trilogy of films, finding the book a little heavy on nitty-gritty political intrigue and technical jargon. Make no mistake, the book had Star Wars-style action and drama, but it was often diluted by that other stuff. I mean, what's supposed to be an exciting escape scene in space doesn't necessarily benefit from pages and pages of description about how a tractor beam works.

I also found it strange that the Empire was now being run by an admiral (Thrawn) aboard a star destroyer. Shouldn't there be some kind of seat of government somewhere from which the admirals get their orders? That's kind of nit-picky, I admit, but it bothered me.

It was also weird to see iconic characters like Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia being given all kinds of new character traits and opinions about things. It's almost liked Timothy Zahn worked too hard on them, to the point where they didn't feel like good old Han, Luke, and Leia anymore. Again, another strange criticism, I know.

I'll probably continue on with the rest of Zahn's trilogy, as I got enough mild enjoyment out of the first book, I guess. I certainly didn't find it boring, which is the worse sin a story can commit.  And many people loved these novels when they first appeared in the 90's, after years of no new Star Wars stories after Return of the Jedi in 1983. I think the problem for me is that, in the end, the whole thing will probably turn out to be a very good science-fiction adventure, but not necessarily a very good Star Wars science-fiction adventure. We'll see.

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