Ahsoka – E.K. Johnston

When Ahsoka opened her hands, she was not surprised to find that two lightsabers, rough and unfinished, were waiting. They would need more work, but they were hers. When she turned them on, they shone the brightest white.

Ahsoka is a novel in the Star Wars universe, presenting a few episodes of Ashoka Tano’s life a few years after the birth of the Empire. We can see how she transforms from a hesitating young refugee to a responsible and cunning operative.

The story follows Ashoka running from the Imperials, from planet to planet, trying to keep her disguise. After a time, she realizes that running cannot continue anymore. There is evil that she cannot tolerate and must use her Jedi abilities to save people, meaning that her presence is known and she is hunted. This is a danger for both her and the people she tries to save.

The development of the protagonist is well constructed and the reader understands her struggle and decisions. The story is well constructed and compelling The phrases flow nicely and the events are well-paced. However, the vocabulary is rather poor and the storytelling could could have been more entertaining. The book is rather a story than a novel.

Nevertheless, it is an entertaining reading for the Star Wars fans and rather one of the better books from the universe.

Tarkin – James Luceno

His strategy of flying boldly into the face of adversity was studied and taught, and during the Clone Wars would come to be known as “the Tarkin Rush”.

The book, happening in the Star Wars universe, presents an important episode in the life of Wilhuff Tarkin, the Imperial general. His unique and advanced stealth ship is stolen and used against the Empire by a cunning crew. He is tasked, together with Darth Vader, to catch the thieves by the Emperor himself. The entire story is told by using flashbacks and memories, neatly arranged.

James Lucerno is a veteran of Star Wars novels, specializing in stories of the antagonists. In this book, the reader can gave a glimpse in the life and of personality of the famous Imperial Moff, later Grand Moff, Wilhuff Tarkin.

Tarkin is meant to represent the military power: ruthless, efficient, domineering. But his personal background is rather surprising, and seems unfit with the personage.

The plot is compelling and the characters are well developed, but I would not go so far to say they were memorable. The Star Wars universe is beautifully constructed, giving depth and engaging the reader.

However, I have found the vocabulary used rather poor, despite some good tries of the author. The background of the protagonist does not seem fit with his career and personality. It often feels that his inner motivations are not explored in depth. The plot is engaging, well-thought and unpredictable, but more could be drawn from it.

Overall, a solid piece of work from Lucerno, an enjoying book for the fans of the genre.


Shatterpoint – Matthew Woodring Stover

Jedi do not fight for peace. That’s only a slogan, and is as misleading as slogans always are. Jedi fight for civilization, because only civilization creates peace. We fight for justice because justice is the fundamental bedrock of civilization: an unjust civilization is built upon sand. It does not long survive a storm.

If there is one word to describe the book, that word is tense. The novel is situated in the Star Wars universe, during the Clones War, set after Attack of the Clones. It follows an adventure of the Jedi Master and senior member of the Jedi Council, Mace Windu.

Windu receives a troubling message from his former padawan, Depa Billaba, who is fighting to establish peace on Windu’s home planet of Haruun Kal.

Mace Windu, more than a fighter, a deep thinker caught in a web of darkness.

Windu comes to the planet and a series of adventures and troubles start for our hero. The book is tense, psychological, gradually the action picking up pace towards the end.

Matthew Stover is a good storyteller and adds depth and memorability to characters. There are many wisdom gems throughout the book, that makes the reader think of the role of the Jedi.

As a side note, shatterpoint is apparently a Force ability that can sense the importance of an event. An interesting idea.

Overall, I liked the book. It was a bit too tense for a relaxing reading, but enjoyable and with a fluid plot.

[Feature picture is a superb drawing by DarthTemoc called This is called Vaapad]

Revan (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Book 1) – Drew Karpyshyn

If they managed to kill you, then you weren’t worthy of serving me,” Nyriss explained. “If you killed them, then you proved that they were a waste of resources. Either way, I would be left with the most suitable candidate for the job.

The book comes from an exceptional writer, Drew Karpyshyn, the brain behind storylines such as Knights of the Old Republic, Darth Bain trilogy, Jade Empire, Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effects 2. He builds exceptional plots, creates memorable characters and has a beautiful story writing.

In Revan, Karpyshyn continues the story of the hero from Knights of the Old Republic, in the Star Wars universe. Revan, our protagonist, is now married, quietly settled on Coruscant, outside the Jedi Order. But he senses a menace coming and goes to prevent it. Meanwhile, a young Sith Lord is building his reputation as an efficient assassin with good political instincts. The Emperor patiently builds his web against the Republic. What will the outcome when their paths intersect?

The book is superbly written, with a great plot. While Revan does not do much, he inspires others. He is not the saviour, the perfect character, but a human with great will.

The Star Wars universe is brilliantly constructed, with just enough descriptions to give a vivid image, without being too long. The planets of Dromund Kaas, Nathema and others have strong individual features.

Compared with the personage in the legendary video game, Revan as a hero is disappointing. He is not the infallible warrior and great strategist anymore, but still holds great wisdom and willpower.

The book is the first a series, being continued by Annihilation, where the nephew of Revan is not a Jedi, but an intelligence operative of the Republic.

Overall, Revan is an excellent reading, less entertaining than Darth Bane, for example, but still recommended for the fans of the universe.


Darth Bane – Drew Karpyshyn

Two there should be; no more, no less. One to embody the power, the other to crave it. The Rule of Two.

The Darth Bane trilogy is part of the expanded Star Wars Universe and likely a nice read only for the fans. Darth Bane is the one that installed the rule that only two Sith Lords can exist, otherwise, they will always fight each other, instead of fighting the Jedi.

The trilogy is divided into three parts: Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, Darth Bane: Rule of Two and Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil.

A dark lord you don’t want to mess with.

The books present the story of an evil lord, which starts as a miner on a desolate colony. After an incident, he has to run and joins the Sith army, where he is noticed as Force-sensitive. Trained at the Sith Academy, he quickly climbs ranks and becomes powerful and convinced that only letting two Siths to live could ensure the victory over Jedi.

He manages to trick the other Siths to fall in his trap and kills them all, taking a little girl as apprentice, Darth Zannah. Numerous other adventures follow the two, which lead to their final duel, where Bane is defeated.

The book is imaginative and a real pleasure for the Star Wars fans, while a bit dull for others. The story expands the Star Wars universe and fills some gaps in the original story. The writing has many gems of wisdom, from an evil perspective. The writing style of Karpyshyn is engaging, but not fast-paced or bursting with action. The action scenes are controlled, violent and short.

The trilogy is ok, but not recommended unless for die hard fans.

Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Book 1) – Timothy Zahn

On his status board, a section of the Chimaera’s shield schematic went red. “Get that starboard shield back up,” he ordered, giving the sky in that direction a quick scan. There were half a dozen warships out there, all of them firing like mad, with a battle station in backstop position behind them.
If their sensors showed that the Chimaera’s starboard shields were starting to go—
“Starboard turbolasers: focus all fire on the Assault Frigate at thirty-two mark forty,” Thrawn spoke up calmly. “Concentrate on the starboard side of the ship only.”

The book is part of the Star Wars expanded universe and takes place after the Emperor and Darth Vader are defeated. Five years have passed since the Alliance destroyed the Death Star and killed the Emperor and Darth Vader. Han Solo and Leia Organa are now married with twins coming and Luke Skywalker is starting the new Jedi Order.

Under those premises, the author, Timothy Zahn, creates a new antagonist, Grand Admiral Thrawn, a military genious and great psychologist, leader of the reminding of the Empire’s fleet.

What is impressive of the plot and the narrative is that Zahn doesn’t rely on old cliches, but creates new personages. The plot is logical and tight, without the fantastic and illogical actions happening in the films. The new personages are solid, deep, credible and the reader is interested in their fate and actions. Their reasoning is sound and you, as a reader, would consider the same actions given their circumstances. There is little hocus-pocus, due to the Force. Logic and work are more important.

Admiral Thrawn, a brilliant mind, but on the wrong side.

Timothy Zahn credibly starts the plot. If you are an Admiral, in command of several fleets and planets, why would you surrender over some rebels in shambles, badly organised and with little resources?

The reader then follows the events and actions happening in the universe, which revolve around the plans of Admiral Thrawn to increase his power and weaken the Alliance. The Admiral has no other power than his mind and his keen understanding of things. As he notices as some point: ” When you understand a species’ art, you understand that species. ” Several other gems of wisdom are voiced by him.

However, Thrawn is not the only memorable character. Mara Jade, the strong and complex character with a secret past; Talon Karrde, the smuggler; Joruus C’baoth, the Dark Jedi clone; the Noghri, the skilled, but honorable assassins and others, they are all unforgettable.

The story sticks for serious readers because it involves no magic; it is all a battle of the minds, with the Force, the battleships, the armies, just tools to achieve an objective, not game-changers. The real change is made by the actions of people. This is the message of the author throughout the book.

A great book for the Star Wars fans.