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Tag Archives: Genre: Science Fiction

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

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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Book Review: Across the Universe

Title: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Publication Date: Jan. 11, 2011

Genre: Sci-Fi/YA

Publisher: Razorbill

Rating: 4/5

*Purchased the book*

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

My Review: Before picking this up I heard nothing but GREAT, AMAZING things about the book and it’s début author. It made its way to Amazon’s Best Books of the Month list and all the blogs were gushing over their ARC copies, telling us we’d have to get our hands on it as soon as it released and not a second later.

I don’t always listen to others opinions of books, but in this case I am certainly  glad I did. This was a fast paced sci-fi adventure, which draws the reader in from the beginning. I did find myself taking some time to adjust to the back and forth both being told in first person (which I’m not always a fan of), but once I settled in I moved through the book rather rapidly. It’s interesting to watch Elder as he discovers a whole new world in Amy and to watch Amy as she discovers an entire new world in the ship.

I felt my heart breaking for Amy as she wakes up scared and alone on this ship that she didn’t want to be on to begin with. Not only is she far from home in terms of distance, but everyone she knew on earth is long past as it’s been over 300 years since she left. It’s easy to feel the suffocation Revis gives Amy as she goes for a run and finds herself at the wall of the ship, there’s no place to truly run here.

Elder is a harder character to discover, yet his awe and amazement at the stars and Amy’s brilliant red hair are fascinating to see. Revis does an incredible job of combining the traits of an innocent child with those of a more experienced adult within Elder. It’s easy to see Elder’s internal conflict and how he wrestles with what he’s known and been taught his whole life versus this whole new way of seeing things that he is learning Amy.

These are not your average teenagers and this is not your average YA read. While there is romance and intrigue, there is a much deeper plot that takes you on a wild ride through space.There were many elements of the book that provided interesting plot twists, most of which I didn’t see coming until they actually happened which is always a welcome surprise. However, I did feel like there were some points that went unresolved and left me feeling like I wasn’t quite finished at the end of the book. I’m hoping that this means that there is a sequel waiting in the wings so we get to see what becomes of Amy and Elder.

 

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