Sunday, 31 July 2011

Death Star (Star Wars)

Death Star (Star Wars)Title: Death Star
Author: Michael Reaves & Steve Perry
Superseries: Star Wars
Preceded By: The Force Unleashed II
Succeeded By: A New Hope


Score: 8/10
Chart Entry Point: 9


This is unusual for a Star Wars book, or any book really, in that all of the characters are on the bad guys side. This is a book about people who work for the empire, and it gives us a unique insight into "the other side of the story".

For a start, nearly all of the main characters are pretty good guys. One or two do a couple of illegal things, but then so did Han Solo. But apart from Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, all of the viewpoint characters are likeable. None of them really want to kill anyone either. Even the one who pulled the trigger on the big gun. It does give a new perspective to the Star Wars films. Many of the people on board the Death Star when the Rebels destroyed it were actually Civilians - running the cantinas and shops on the station. Which was designed in order to end all war...

Ok, so the Empire destroyed an inhabited planet. That's not so cool. But if the Rebels hadn't destroyed the Deathstar, then that war would probably have ended, amd the two future wars wouldn't have happened. The Empire would have brought peace to the Galaxy. While this book is on the side of "not killing people", it is perspective altering, and a truly unique book in the star wars saga.

But this isn't an essay on who the good guys were during the Rebel Uprising, it's a review of a book. And as usual, I discuss the characters. At first I felt there was too many of them. As I continued reading, and got to know the characters a bit better, it felt better, but I still had to pause at the beginning of some chapters to remember who was who. But for the most part, they were all pretty well written. There narrative was pretty split between them, so there wasn't enough on each for them to become outstanding. Two characters stood out particularly to me. One was a new character "Ratua", who was a devious little guy, but one of my favourite characters. The other was Darth Vader. The way he was written was unlike any other book I've read about him in. He was in pain, and often recalled his lost wife or the horrorific event in which Obi-Wan Kenobi disfigured him. We see him having emotions, but he's still pretty intimidating. There's one particularly good scene where one of the characters considers not moving out of Vader's path. It's not a very eventful scene - they walk past each other, but it shows Vader in a clever way.

As for the plot... it's fairly weak. There's a saboteur on board - but it's an unresolved plotline, and barely mentioned. Most of the story takes place during the construction phases of the Death Star, so there's no real combat. But it's not really what the book is about - it's more about the people on board, the good people on board, and the ultimate goal of the Death Star as a deterrent. One other unresolved plot was that of another new character: Teela, a prisoner Architect. We know what happens to her at the end of the book, but initially on the Death Star she is working under a Master Architect, who often gives her tests. One test he gives her she has to think about, and he gives her till the next day. But then we don't hear about him again. In fact, she doesn't really do much architecture after a while, her main role being "love interest".

 The last thing I want to say about this book is that it isn't afraid of talking about the more intimate aspects of relationships. It doesn't go into any detail, but it hints that more is happening behind the scenes - something that many Star Wars books tend to avoid, pretending instead that the most that happens in relationships is a kiss every now and again. It was refreshing to see it here, although it's also been occurring in some of the later Fate of the Jedi books.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't an incredible story, but the characters were good. I was a little disappointed with the ending, I felt it was too neat. But the thing I enjoyed most was the chance to see events from the point of view of "the enemy". Han, Leia, Luke etc are good guys, but this book managed to make me sympathize with the Empire.- a non trivial accomplishment when it against the pro-Rebel propaganda of the other books. It's definitely worth reading.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): Several, Mixed Gender and species
Main Antagonist(s): The Rebel Alliance - mixed genders and species
Main Relationships: Heterosexual
Genre: Science Fiction
Brief Synopsis:

The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom?

The near extermination of the Jedi order cleared the way for Palpatine–power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord–to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader enforcing Palpatine’s sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear–and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences–can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor’s terrifying dream come true.

From inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star–and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy.

Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil–all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown. And a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.

 -Hardcover Edition

ISBN: 978-0099491989
Amazon Link: UK | US
Pages: 448
Published: 4 Dec 2008
Publisher: Arrow

No comments:

Post a Comment