I rarely read book samples, even when excerpts are available at the end of a book I purchased and read. Yet, I couldn’t resist to download and check the Star Wars 2014 Sampler out! Prior to reading it I was mostly interested in one or two of the four books included, but now I can’t wait for all of them!
Star Wars: A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller
I am so excited for the upcoming series Star Wars: Rebels! I already had a soft spot for Hera Syndulla but reading this chapter made me like her even more (if possible given how fangirling I am over her, including because of Vanessa Marshall voicing her!)
I also enjoyed the imperial side of things and Count Vidian is creepy and a potentially interesting villain. Captain Rae Sloane is a character I am looking forward to see more off. I find it great they add more female characters in the imperial ranks, and while there were others present prior to these new books, I can’t help feeling that the game Star Wars: The Old Republic might have helped to bring more women to the Empire in new projects.
Star Wars: Tarkin by James Luceno
Frankly, I didn’t expect to be very enthusiastic about this book, regardless of how I enjoy Luceno’s writing. I think that Tarkin is a worthy character in the Star Wars universe, but he doesn’t rank anywhere near my favorite.
I was pleasantly surprised by the excerpt and Tarkin is now on my to read list once it comes out. Luceno always gets the Star Wars universe so well. I like reading more about the Imperials, which might be slightly tied to how many I write with my role playing characters and how the Agent in Star Wars: The Old Republic was one of my favorite classes.
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
I am not a natural fan of novels written in the first person, but I can enjoy some from time to time. Heir to the Jedi seems to be on this list. I forgot the first person aspect almost right away, because of how well Hearn got into Luke’s head. And the mentions of Ben Kenobi also had me from the first lines. Any mention of Obi Wan’s death tends to have this effect on me since the first time I saw A New Hope when I was a child (and it still is one scene I can’t rewatch without being devastated, much like Mufasa’s death in The Lion King). I also liked when Luke reflected on Biggs’s death and his youth on Tatooine.
The way Luke didn’t suddenly become all grown up and making just right decisions because of becoming a hero of the Alliance and still needing to do things like everyone else, despite his reputation, was great. It made a lot of sense, especially in regards to The Empire Strikes Back and even Return of the Jedi.
I also liked Nakari Kelen, another interesting woman of color, and I was grateful that they didn’t set her up right away as a possible love interest for Luke. I hope it stays that way and that we see more of her.
Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp
This novel wasn’t very much on my radar until this book sampler. I got sucked into the chapter right away. Thank you Mr. Kemp for addressing Vader’s suit, injured body and how he has been dealing with the pain since he had to be put inside of it in order to survive. That was a very compelling (and important) scene about disability awareness in Star Wars, something that I had been hoping to see for a very long time. I hope that this sets the path for future scenes, in books, movies and TV shows in the franchise!
I found the Twi’lek characters interesting as well and can’t help wondering whether (and if so, how) Cham Syndulla is related to Hera Syndulla (Star Wars: Rebels). His interaction with his crew, including Isval, was solid and full of potential.
Seeing Vader fly his starfighter and get things done his way also made a lot of sense, especially given how he goes to chase Luke and other Rebel pilots himself a few years later in A New Hope.