For the most part I have stayed away from Star Wars novels. It wasn’t that I found the expanded universe interesting, as a matter of fact it was quite the opposite, it was just that I found the books to be bad. Like poorly written bad. I have this thing where I have very low tolerance for poorly written books despite how much I’m into the material. A bunch of years back I read Death Troopers. It sounded like everything I could ever want from a Star Wars book. Zombies. Star Wars. Lets do this. But alas it was terrible. It took me forever to finish because I found the writing to be so bad. I was really disappointed, even the arrival of Han and Chewie couldn’t save that book for me, so I stayed away from the expanded universe ever since.
That was up until the release of the Force Awakens. I don’t know if you guys could tell but after Episode VII I was pretty hyped about Star Wars (I know this is clearly coming to a shock to most of you). I needed more. New stories. Just something to hang out with the gang, and I had Heir to the Empire just chillin on my kindle for a couple of years. I think it was a May the 4th be with you Amazon sale where I picked it up for a dollar. So with all the Star Wars excitement coursing through my veins I said what the hell.
I am perfectly aware with the new movies out now that the expanded universe (or the universe created within the novels for those of you not in the know) no longer counts. So these stories are exactly what they were meant to be. Fan fiction. Despite that I found myself really enjoying Heir to the Empire. For starters, and the most important part, it was pretty well written. Timothy Zahn did a terrific job of finding the voice of these characters, especially Han, and introduced some new characters that didn’t seem paper thin. Mara Jade and Thrawn stood out as legitimate contributions to the Star Wars universe and I can see why so many people are upset that they haven’t found their way into the movies…yet.
For me, I can fool myself into believing that this story still counts. The time line allows it. Once you take out the fact that Han and the princess didn’t have twins, sorry folks no baby Kylo, among some other things, it’s totally plausible to believe that something like this happened five years after Return of the Jedi. And who knows, maybe some where down the line these books will actually hold some weight in the Star Wars cinematic universe or at the very least, a cartoon series.
All in all I just found the book to be a lot of fun. Especially the last one hundred fifty pages or so. There are a lot of moving pieces that come together near the last quarter of the book that not only make it feel like a Star Wars movie, but helps you get lost in the story that’s swirling around you. Was it good enough to restore my faith in the EU… probably not. But was it good enough to make me want to at least finish this trilogy… yeah I think so. Just not right away. I’m sure at some point this year I will read the other two books, but right now I’m looking to fit in some other books.
If you’re still craving Star Wars after Episode VII then you got nothing to lose here. Just a really fun book that reminds you what you love about this universe in the first place. Plus there are a whole bunch of fun little easter eggs, like the Imperial guards and what was happening at Jabba’s palace besides Luke and the steel bikini. Oh and there are light saber battles. And who doesn’t love that?
Final Verdict: 7.2 out of 10
Next Up: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari