Although Allegiance isn't an awful book, Timothy Zahn has certainly done better. The plot is interesting, but had trouble keeping my attention.I like how the main stormtrooper characters struggle with loyalty and principle, two of the main themes, but Karen Traviss has a better notion of dynamics within a squad, including each trooper's inner conflicts. The troopers here aren't nearly as fleshed out.I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first novel in which Mara Jade is introduced at the beginning of her career. At the age of eighteen, her Force abilities are impressive, especially if she'd been training since childhood. More background on her would have been welcome. What makes her interesting is the combination of her abilities and her naivete.Meh. That's about it.
Whenever a new SW book comes out, of course I'm going to buy it and read it, but when it's written by a first-time SW author, I'm always hesitant. Death Troopers is Joe Schreiber's first. It starts out great with a nice pace then quickly deteriorates into a story that contains stereotypical horror genre monsters. I really liked the characters and the beginning held so much promise, but then Schreiber introduces well-established SW characters, so it ruins the story's ending long before it ends. This sci-fi/horror (stereotypical horror, remember) cross genre is incredibly LAME. Big disappointment.
originally written September 12, 2007James Luceno's Cloak of Deception is the first novel in the Star Wars canon that takes place during Supreme Chancellor Finis Valorum's reign. As the title implies, the story is filled with intrigue, mainly political, and the author includes descriptions of the characters' cloaks and whether or not they are the deceptive type among other things, which is a nice touch. Indeed, unless the reader is familiar with the characters in The Phantom Menace (novel or movie), s/he may have a difficult time keeping track of everyone involved in the story, as there are many central characters, some more so than others.Although it has its share of Jedi wisdom; blaster and lightsaber fights; and other staples of Star Wars lore, Cloak of Deception is mainly a political novel, and in that, will appeal to those who aren't necessarily Star Wars fans through and through, so long as they are able to follow who's who: there are, after all, 1,024 senatorial delegates representing at least that number of planets in the Old Republic rather than a mere 100 senators representing 50 states. :)
Somewhat brain candy, especially compared to Cloak of Deception, and kind of predictable, but the story is a lot of fun. What really impressed me is the way James Luceno structures the plot by writing both ends of the story (trying not to give spoilers) simultaneously with each end moving towards each other and coming to a head.
In issue #s 5-6: "Princess... Warrior," I was so happy to see a female character in a comic book (Princess Leia) portrayed without two flotation devices attached to her chest! The other female character, however, disappoints. The story itself was OK, but really sets the stage for this series.The highlight of this collection is the one-shot, "A Valentine Story: Breaking the Ice." It sounds cheesy and was originally published in the month of February but the cheesiness is overcome by the story. Leia learns more about Han through his relationship with Chewie. I'm avoiding spoilers here. Anyway, it's a great lead-in to Empire Strikes Back. And who can resist a Hutt cupid?