Friday, December 25, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: Death Star

In celebration of the recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I decided to review the re-release of Star Wars: Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry. 
The story begins by showing how many of the main characters of the tale come to be on board the novel’s namesake battle station. First is Villian Dance, an Imperial fighter pilot sent to intercept a shuttle commandeered by prisoners used as labor to construct the Death Star. Then Teela Kaarz, a political prisoner who had been a top tier architect before being sentenced to life imprisonment for treason is introduced, followed by Memah  Roothes and Rodo, a cantina owner and bouncer respectively, who are eventually sent to run a cantina on the Death Star.
Next are Tenn Graneet, who eventually becomes the Death Star’s chief gunner, and Kornell Divini, also known as Uli, a doctor who has been serving in the military since the Clone Wars. And, finally, Celot Ratua Dil, a convicted smuggler who manages to sneak aboard the station, and Nova Stihl, an unknowingly Force-sensitive trooper who had befriended Dil while posted to Despayre, the prison planet where the Death Star was constructed.
It also includes scenes showing Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader arriving at the station and some background on the history of the Death Star project in the Legends timeline. Most of the story focuses on life on the Death Star as the cast eventually meet and become friends, with Celot and Memah becoming a couple along with Teela and Villian. The story also covers an early incident of sabotage and an attack on the station by a rebel heavy carrier and its fighter wings. But after the destruction of Alderaan most of the group begins plotting to flee the station along with the station’s chief librarian who had secretly been aiding the rebellion while Graneet struggles with guilt after destroying a planet using a weapon he had believed would never be used on an inhabited world.
However, when a key component of the planned escape is confiscated by security, the plot becomes a mad scramble to escape the station even as the Battle of Yavin rages outside.
I give this book 9 out of 10. Getting a look at what life was like for the people on the Death Star who weren’t the high-ranking officers was fascinating, as was getting to peek into the mind of the station’s chief gunner both before and after he destroyed a world. It was also interesting how the cast tied into the scenes from A New Hope set aboard the station, and it explained a minor detail from the movie which I had wondered about for years before reading the book. However, I found the battle scene where the rebel carrier Fortressa and her fighters attack the station underwhelming and the tactics the fighters use seem contradictory at times and make little sense, though this might have been intentional on the part of the authors.

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