Throwback Thursday June 21st: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

21 Jun

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books! It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. Through Throwback Thursdays THCW and NTFB hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

This week’s Throwback Thursday book is Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

Summary from Amazon: It’s five years after Return of the Jedi: the Rebel Alliance has destroyed the Death Star, defeated Darth Vader and the Emperor, and driven out the remnants of the old Imperial Starfleet to a distant corner of the galaxy. Princess Leia and Han Solo are married and expecting Jedi Twins. And Luke Skywalker has become the first in a long-awaited line of Jedi Knights. But thousand of light-years away, the last of the emperor’s warlords has taken command of the shattered Imperial Fleet, readied it for war, and pointed it at the fragile heart of the new Republic. For this dark warrior has made two vital discoveries that could destroy everything the courageous men and women of the Rebel Alliance fought so hard to build. The explosive confrontation that results is a towering epic of action, invention, mystery, and spectacle on a galactic scale–in short, a story worthy of the name Star Wars.

Why You Should Read This Book:  This is Star Wars done better than George Lucas ever has. Zahn’s trilogy, which starts with this book, perfectly captures the feel of the movies, and expands upon them in very believable ways. The writing is brilliant, the characterization is on point, the worlds are fascinating and the villain is the best I’ve seen in a long time.

This book was my first foray into the Star Wars Extended universe and I could not have made a better choice. Timothy Zahn took the characters that I loved so very much and gave them an adventure on an even grander scale than the original trilogy. He created a story that was a perfect mix of beloved, familiar characters and new, original ones. The original characters he created, Mara Jade, Talon Karrde and Grand Admiral Thrawn, are among some of fandom’s most beloved characters.

If there is one thing Zahn does incredible well, it’s write strong females. Both Leia and Mara play important roles in this trilogy. When we first meet Mara she’s working as a smuggler for Talon Karrde, yet you get the impression that there is far more to her than she lets on. And while this trilogy does an excellent job at giving us her backstory and resolving some of the tension, there are more layers to Mara than Zahn would be able to unwrap here. Which just means you get to see a lot more of her in other books in the EU.

Grand Admiral Thrawn is perhaps one of my all time favorite villains. He’s smart, insanely so, and he’s an excellent strategist. I firmly believe that if the Emperor had put him in charge of his massive fleet, the rebel alliance would have been crushed before it even began. So, it’s a good thing he was left out there on the Outer Rim (although, remind me to tell you my theories on that some time!)

If you are a Star Wars fan and have not yet ventured into the Extended Universe, this is absolutely the place to start. If you aren’t a Star Wars fan and simply enjoy good science fiction with kicking dialogue and lots of action, this is a fantastic book as well. You’ll also immediately want to read the other books in the trilogy, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command.

Are there any other Star Wars EU fans that read this blog? I’d love to hear what your favorite books/comics may be. I could spend days discussing the EU and it’s characters, but I try to refrain as I know not everyone is as obsessed as I am!


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9 responses to “Throwback Thursday June 21st: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

  1. leeanna c (@leaflette)

    27 June, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I meant to reply to this … I’m so behind.

    But! I am a huge EU fan. Well, except for the New Jedi Order series and all that came after. Heir to the Empire was actually the book that got me into it. I can still remember seeing it on the shelf at K-mart and being so surprised that there were Star Wars books. I had to have been … 10 maybe? 12? I can’t remember that, of course. But Timothy Zahn, Mara Jade, and Thrawn started my love of EU.

  2. kellywiggains

    21 June, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Reading this post is causing a fuzzy memory to return to my brain. So one day in high school or junior high, I was at home and bored to tears. My brother had some paperbacks lying around, and I’m pretty sure this was the one I picked up. I read it in one day, and I loved it! However, he never had the other ones or I never noticed them. I’m not sure. I should have read the entire series though. I need to go back and read them. I definitely remember Mara. Thanks for reminding me! I love Star Wars so much, I used to teach my students about archetypes and the journey of a hero using Star Wars. Then, we’d watch Episode 4 in class.

    • Sarah @ Breaking the Binding

      22 June, 2012 at 7:59 am

      That’s so cool! It really is one of the best modern versions of the hero journey. I wrote a paper on that topic way back in college. I should probably go dig that out…

  3. akamaireader

    21 June, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    This book sounds fabulous! I love Star Wars. I haven’t read any of the Star Wars books but your post makes me want to run out and read this one right NOW!

  4. gautami tripathy

    21 June, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Some book that is!

    Here is my post!

  5. mandikaye

    21 June, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I haven’t read any of these books either – but WOW. Your post makes me want to drop everything and read this NOW.

    Thanks for sharing! Here’s my Throwback.

    • Sarah @ Breaking the Binding

      21 June, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      I’m a HUGE Star Wars nerd, and a unabashed Timothy Zahn fangirl. So I tend to get excited and rambly when I talk about his books 🙂

  6. Lauren@THCW

    21 June, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Oh my gosh. I totally need to read these books. I have to admit I haven’t read ANY of the Star Wars books (which is made even worse by the fact that I’ve read a number of the Star Trek books, which can’t possibly be as good), and I’m not sure why. I ♥ Star Wars so much.

    Great Throwback! Here’s mine!

    • Sarah @ Breaking the Binding

      21 June, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      If you’re gonna read a stars book then this trilogy is the one I would strongly suggest starting with! It’s the first official foray in the EU and Zahn does an incredible job.

      You should ream them and then let me know what you think! I kinda fangirl our over the Heir to the Force trilogy and Timothy Zahn. I’ve met him at DragonCon and he’s super awesome.


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