Thursday, December 30, 2010

Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn (GRADE: B)

I just finished Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn, a Hugo Award-Winner author.  This is the first book of a trilogy.  It was a fun read but I can't picture myself reading this book again.  I grade this book a B.  The story was good, the pacing was good and the writing was good.

Heir To The Empire is set about 5 years after return of the Jedi.  The Empire (the side the the Emperor and Darth Vader controlled) still exists and the Alliance (the side with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, etc) have gained much power and control of the galaxy after the Battle of Endor.

There were 12 Grand Admirals during the time of the Emperor in the Empire.  After the fall of the Emperor, all the Grand Admirals were thought to have been dealt with but one has escaped the notice of the Alliance, Grand Admiral Thrawn, a alien with blue skin and red eyes that is unusually intelligent.  With Thrawn leading, the Empire has started to gain victories over the Alliance.

In the midst of this, an insane Jedi is found, Master C'Baoth; a young lady, Mara Jade, who has joined the successor to Jabba the Hut, is determined to find and kill Luke Skywalker; and there is political strife in the newly established Alliance.

The writing is good (but on the simple side).  My guess is because the book's target demographic is high school aged boys.

The pacing is good.  Each scene is relatively short and no scene is over 20 pages long.  This is both a strength and a weakness.  It is a strength because it keeps the reader's attention but it is a weakness because it limits character development.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book.  It was only a part of a story--it is the first book in a trilogy (I am currently reading the second book in the series, Dark Force Rising)--so the actual judgment of the full story must wait until all three books are read.  The writing and the pacing were both good and the book definitely kept my interest.  So if you liked the Star Wars movies, I would highly recommend you check out this book (or the whole trilogy if they turn out to be good).  I would grade this book a B.

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