Your basic Dwarf+Giant Overview is a comprehensive survey of an author or series. It is not an in-depth analysis, nor is it a summary. Think of it as a buying or reading guide, telling you what’s out there, what’s essential, what to avoid and so forth.
Editor’s intro: This is the fifth post in our Star Wars novels Overview. For brief introductory notes, please see Star Wars Overview: The Old Republic.
*** Indicates the Best.
** Indicates Good.
* Indicates not the best, but still Star Wars, so not bad either.
Shadow Games ***
This was a great book. Very Noir. The plot starts complicated and just gets more convoluted as the story goes, but it is rehashed enough times that I was able to keep everything straight in my head. The characters are all incredibly compelling, and the action is as exciting as the intrigue. My one gripe is that the settings were described in so much detail that it actually became overwhelming. But that was a very minor issue. Enjoy!
Star Wars – Winner Lose All ***
This is a short e-book that introduces you to a number of characters that you will be meeting in Scoundrels. The main lead is Lando, and this book is worth a read because it completely redeems him from the awful trilogy that is The Lando Calrissian Adventures. It also gives you a taste of what is to come in Scoundrels – fun and adventure.
If Star Wars and “Ocean’s Eleven” had a baby, and someone bound that baby into book form, this would be that book. Han Solo is Clooney, and yes, with him it does make a total of eleven people in the plot. Thankfully, the homage ends there The heist is incredibly clever and a great read. The Black Sun features prominently, and the reader gets a peek into their own brand of corruption and intrigue. Admittedly, the very beginning is just a bit slow as each character is introduced, but this book is a ton of fun. Enjoy.
I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t hold out much hope. The book sets itself up to be a series of accidental overlaps and encounters, and that always bothers me. Too convenient. Boy was I wrong. The intrigue in this book is so complex I found myself needing a few seconds to update my memory every time I picked up the book. Complex but wonderfully supported and compelling. The use of the main Star Wars characters adds to the book (rare, usually it’s crow-barred in) and the story gets more interesting the more the tale unravels. Doesn’t add much to the overall mythology, but a really great read.
Choices of One ***
This book takes all the characters from Allegiance, plus a few more, and all the things I loved about that book, and make them all even better. And unlike Allegiance (to which this is a loose sequel) this book enriches the Star Wars mythology and sets the stage for “Empire Strikes Back” beautifully. Read this one. But read Allegiance first. Then read this one. Yeah, do that.
Honor Among Thieves **
This book starts out great and then drops a bit at the end. For me, anyway. The book centers mainly around Han and Chewie, with some crucial appearances by Luke and Leia. The best thing about this book is the way it portrays the Rebellion during the gap between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back.” Training, funding, hiding from the Empire, it’s all great. My only complaint is that as the book approaches the climax and continues through the end, the plot got too grand, reminding me of the awful Adventures of Lando Calrissian. But I still enjoyed it overall, and would recommend giving it a read.
Galaxies: Ruins of Dantooine **
This book has a strong female presence, and the main character is NOT from the movies. She is the everyday person who by now you know I enjoy reading about. There is plenty of action, and because of the main character’s realm of expertise, a lot of fleshing out of the flora and fauna in the Star Wars universe. Overall a decent book, but I saw the ending coming from a mile away.
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye *
This book was released in 1978, and was the very first book in the Expanded Universe (aka Legends). It was actually released before Empire was even greenlit. Soooo, the characters of Luke and Leia resemble nothing like what we know from the Star Wars Universe, and WAY too much is made of the attraction Luke has for Leia. Finally, the plot line is so well worn as to be almost cliche. You can skip this book and never miss it.
All that said, this was the first book ever, so everyone else was likely copying it’s plot lines. If you read it, approach the story like an alternate universe Star Wars, the Star Wars that could have been (and thankfully wasn’t). That’s the only way to enjoy it.
Empire and Rebellion: Razor’s Edge ***
I loved this book. Lots of intrigue, and of course wondering who is going to betray whom. Women are the power brokers in this book, a very refreshing change from the scifi norm. And Leia is a badass, a conflicted badass, but a badass throughout. As in, “Should I kill this person because they’re in the way?” kind of badass.
I flew through this book, and though I totally called the eventual mole in the group, I still highly recommend this one. Doesn’t add much to the canon storyline, but it’s great nonetheless.
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire ***
This book was written before “Phantom Menace” the movie was a thing. It always takes me a while to get into these books, since it is literally an alternate timeline, which I thought was only a Star Trek thing. Once I got going with it though, I really liked this book. You may remember the Shadows of the Empire toys that came out in the late ‘90s. Well, this is the book that started all that.
There’s a really fun political chess match between Prince Xisor and Darth Vader, on top of the ongoing stratagem between Vader and Leia, Luke, Lando, and Chewie, who are desperately trying to track down a frozen Han before he is delivered to Jabba. Of course we all know how that works out, but this complex story kept my attention well, and I enjoyed the little “Return of the Jedi” setups in the book.
One note, there is a scene between Leia and Xisor, where we get to see a whole different side of Leia. It’s quite a sequence.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter Wars – Mandalorian Armor ***
My personal preference is for the books written after the prequel movies were released – something which I think anyone who has read my reviews has come to learn. However, this book (released 1998) is damn good. It surrounds Boba Fett and the people he touches before and after Return of the Jedi. There is some jumping around in time which can be difficult to keep track of as there is no real pattern to the alternation between flashbacks and present day, but this book is very entertaining. It fleshes out Boba Fett without intruding on existing lore (unlike some other books I have read). It’s the first of three, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the next two books are.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter Wars – Slave Ship **
This installment was less enjoyable than the first. It really feels like a bridge between Mandalorian Armor and what I am hoping will be a very exciting final book in Hard Merchandise. It focuses much more on flashbacks, as after the first 50 pages, nothing really happens in the present because of the journey Boba Fett, Neelah, and Dengar are traveling. There is some questionable storytelling as well, as Dengar becomes the mode of flashback storytelling. Which means he has knowledge of private conversations between he’s never met, which the character tries, and fails, to explain. Still enjoyable overall, but a definite step down from its predecessor.
*Note, after reading the final installment, the questionable storytelling mentioned above is explained and is actually a plot point, so my opinion of this book has gone up considerably.
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter Wars – Hard Merchandise **
This book had great action and intrigue, but the resolution was mixed. It tied up all the storylines from the previous two books, but with highly with varying success. Some of the storylines were incredibly satisfying, and some were just too damn neat for my taste. I also wasn’t crazy about how the author wrapped up Boba Fett’s storyline, but I think readers opinions will vary based on their view of Boba Fett himself.
Overall, I recommend reading this trilogy if you are a Boba Fett fan, but keep it firmly in the “Legends” category, not canon.
The Truce at Bakura ***
I am such a huge fan of this book, I think I read it in something like 3 days. Stays very true to canon, all while allowing Luke to change the direction he is taking the new Jedi away from the Old Republic era Jedi. The action and plot are excellent, with two minor exceptions. And the language is very vivid, almost poetic. In fact, my only complaint is that sometimes the language gets so caught up in the poetry that the meaning gets foggy. It’s not on the level of Darth Plagueis for contribution to overall mythology, but it’s the first truly excellent book post Return of the Jedi. The events here are referenced in later books, making this a crucial book too read for the Legends Universe.
Up Next: New Republic part I