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“THAT’S NO MOON.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destr “THAT’S NO MOON.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom? The near extermination of the Jedi order cleared the way for Palpatine–power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord–to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader enforcing Palpatine’s sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear–and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences–can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor’s terrifying dream come true. From inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star–and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy. Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil–all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown. And a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.


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“THAT’S NO MOON.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destr “THAT’S NO MOON.” –Obi-Wan Kenobi The Death Star’s name says it all, with bone-chilling accuracy. It is a virtual world unto itself–equipped with uncanny power for a singularly brutal purpose: to obliterate entire planets in the blink of an eye. Its annihilation of the planet Alderaan, at the merciless command of Grand Moff Tarkin, lives in infamy. And its own ultimate destruction, at the hands of Luke Skywalker, is the stuff of legend. But what is the whole story, and who are the players, behind the creation of this world-killing satellite of doom? The near extermination of the Jedi order cleared the way for Palpatine–power-hungry Senator and Sith Lord–to seize control of the Republic, declare himself Emperor, and usher in a fearsome, totalitarian regime. But even with the dreaded Darth Vader enforcing Palpatine’s sinister will, the threat of rebellion still looms. And the Emperor knows that only abject fear–and the ability to punish dissent with devastating consequences–can ensure his unchallenged control of the galaxy. Enter ambitious and ruthless government official Wilhuff Tarkin, architect of the Emperor’s terrifying dream come true. From inception to completion, construction of the unprecedented Death Star is awash in the intrigues, hidden agendas, unexpected revelations, and daring gambits of those involved on every level. The brightest minds and boldest egos, the most ambitious and corrupt, the desperate and the devious, all have a stake in the Death Star–and its potential to control the fate of the galaxy. Soldiers and slaves, loyalists and Rebels, spies and avengers, the innocent and the evil–all their paths and fates will cross and intertwine as the Death Star moves from its maiden voyage to its final showdown. And a shadowy chapter of Star Wars history is stunningly illuminated in a thrilling, unforgettable adventure.

30 review for Death Star

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dexcell

    This was a good read, I liked it. It wasn't amazing, certainly. But it was nice to see a slice of life story about Imperial citizens. Of course they all joined the Rebellion at the end. That's always how these Imperial centric books go, it's a shame, but at least it made sense in this one. I liked the bouncer and the force sensitive martial artist characters. It's a shame they both ended up dead. For a story about a bartender, a librarian, an imperial gunner, a guard, a doctor, and a smuggler, i This was a good read, I liked it. It wasn't amazing, certainly. But it was nice to see a slice of life story about Imperial citizens. Of course they all joined the Rebellion at the end. That's always how these Imperial centric books go, it's a shame, but at least it made sense in this one. I liked the bouncer and the force sensitive martial artist characters. It's a shame they both ended up dead. For a story about a bartender, a librarian, an imperial gunner, a guard, a doctor, and a smuggler, it wasn't bad. I liked the brief portions with Vader and Tarkin as well. Admiral Daala showing up to get laid was odd, but her having a head injury and amnesia explains why she's so nutty during the New Republic Era, at least. One weird spot in the book had a Lucrehulk battleship randomly show up and start attacking the Death Star with 500 X-Wings. It didn't even feel like it fit in with the rest of the book. 500 X-Wings? That's an absurd number of ships for the small Rebellion at this point and it was hinted there was more on board. Very strange scene overall. Still, a solid book from near the end of the Legends era.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Karpuk

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. There are problems with all licensed fiction. Then there are problems with Star Wars licensed fiction. My general complaint about licensed fiction is the hacky prose. I like direct writing. When I tried to reread the "Aliens" series of books as an adult I was struck by the sub-Dean Koontz clumsiness of the prose. It's all like that, even when there's a good story or even a good idea involved. My issues with Star Wars licensed fiction are multiple. The first I feel was best addressed by Gabe from Pe There are problems with all licensed fiction. Then there are problems with Star Wars licensed fiction. My general complaint about licensed fiction is the hacky prose. I like direct writing. When I tried to reread the "Aliens" series of books as an adult I was struck by the sub-Dean Koontz clumsiness of the prose. It's all like that, even when there's a good story or even a good idea involved. My issues with Star Wars licensed fiction are multiple. The first I feel was best addressed by Gabe from Penny Arcade when he said, "This jackass just said that something can go 'through a ferrocrete bunker like a neutrino through plasma.' I get it, man. It says 'Star Wars' on the cover. I know I'm reading about 'Star Wars'. It's like, do they not have butter in space? Or hot knives to cut it with?" Even the most basic metaphor has the nouns swapped out for some hokey space equivalent. My other issue in most extended universe stories is the constant, CONSTANT references to famous scenes from Star Wars movies. There's a high probability that you've already seen the movies at least once if you're braving the fiction, making it ridiculous for Luke Skywalker to spend multiple pages reminiscing about that time he totally hung out with that Yoda guy. Beyond that, there's the general issue of it all being humorless, a sad state of affairs common to sci fi and George Lucas, making it a double wammy when his hired nerd mercenaries write his prose. Death Star has a premise so good it almost bucks the trend. It's a story about the construction of the Death Star and the issues of people running various aspects of the operation. And for most of the book it actually works, clumsy prose, dorky metaphors, and humorlessness aside. Pointing out that the guy pulling the trigger on the giant cannon might feel conflicted with essentially being a genoicide gunner is compelling, as is observing that a million people got blown up by Luke Skywalker while Han Solo went, "Yee haw!" It made me realize there's probably a disgusting asteroid belt of junk and scorched bodies that someone might feel the need to clean up at some point. They really address the Star Wars universe in a morally ambiguous way that almost undermines the Star Wars mythos rather deviously. Until the last fifty pages of course, when half the characters we've grown to sympathize with make a daring escape from the Death Star at the last minute. As is Lucas' way, defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory. Damn it. Damn it to hell. My high school acting teacher once said that a traditional tragedy is where you know it's going to end badly from the beginning. What could be more tragic than the stories of people doing mundane do-nothing jobs on the Death Star? You're going to get blown up, and it wasn't even your fight. But why go for a dramatic and powerful ending when you can take the people-pleasing cowards way out by having them ride off into the sunset having a corny conversation about what their plans are for their new lives. It gets the one star primarily for the ending.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Phil Elmore

    Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry is not a Star Wars novel that just happens to be written by Reaves and Perry -- it's a novel by Reaves and Perry that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. That's an important distinction, and may explain why fans of Perry and Reaves collaborations (or of Steve Perry and Michael Reaves individually) will enjoy the novel immensely, but Star Wars fanboys may be dissatisfied. The book is, in fact, an absorbing character study of a handful of Death Star by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry is not a Star Wars novel that just happens to be written by Reaves and Perry -- it's a novel by Reaves and Perry that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. That's an important distinction, and may explain why fans of Perry and Reaves collaborations (or of Steve Perry and Michael Reaves individually) will enjoy the novel immensely, but Star Wars fanboys may be dissatisfied. The book is, in fact, an absorbing character study of a handful of ordinary people stationed on the Death Star just prior to its completion -- a TIE fighter pilot, a conscripted architect, a battle-weary surgeon (who is a character from a previous work by the same authors), a storm trooper who is also a martial arts expert, etcetera. We watch as each of these men and women (and several others) come to terms with their rationalizations for serving the Empire. As the Death Star begins taking millions of lives, each of these characters is forced to make a decision about the future. The Death Star is a setting, not a central plot point, and thus it is dealt with only in passing (though we do get a better picture of what such a large station would actually contain). There are a few interesting passages elaborating on the relationship between Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin, which is not quite as two-dimensional or as clear-cut in terms of authority as it might appear in Episode IV. Of particular interest to me was the subplot involving the chief gunner aboard the Death Star, a loyal Imperial trooper who, eager to fire "the big gun," realizes to his horror that he has become a killer of planets after the Death Star goes operational. A few of the other characters will seem eerily familiar -- particularly a cantina owner and her loyal security man -- to anyone who has read Steve Perry's work (starting with The Man Who Never Missed). The prison-planet setting in which the novel opens is particularly familiar ground for Reaves and Perry, who collaborated on the excellent The Omega Cage (which is about a prison break from a bleak, futuristic penitentiary on an inhospitable world). Towards the end of the novel, scenes are taken verbatim from Episode IV and woven into the tales of the various characters, in some cases amplified slightly as we hear the thoughts of those involved. Given that any fan of Star Wars knows how the novel must end, it's no mean trick that the reader will still be curious to see how this novel ends. I enjoyed Death Star immensely and would recommend it to both those who enjoy work in this genre, but to fans of Reaves and Perry especially.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Death Star or How I Learned to Fall Asleep and Leave the Empire Normally, I do not bother buying the hardcover editions. They are rather expensive and hard to carry around. But when I saw this one signed by both authors, I figured why not. Ever since the movie, The Empire Strikes Back, I have adored the Empire. So, I leapt into this one as soon as I had the opportunity. As Star Wars geeks know, the Death Star has been around in various stages since around the time of The Phantom Menace (as mention Death Star or How I Learned to Fall Asleep and Leave the Empire Normally, I do not bother buying the hardcover editions. They are rather expensive and hard to carry around. But when I saw this one signed by both authors, I figured why not. Ever since the movie, The Empire Strikes Back, I have adored the Empire. So, I leapt into this one as soon as I had the opportunity. As Star Wars geeks know, the Death Star has been around in various stages since around the time of The Phantom Menace (as mentioned in the book, Rogue Planet). But only after Revenge of the Sith has it been possible to start construction on this beast of a weapon. With construction underway, the Empire is having some difficulties. Labor problems, sabotage, and power struggles are only the tip of the iceberg, as we know that the ominous weapon is about to have an infamous encounter with a simple farm boy. What I Liked: From the moment I saw him in A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin has fascinated me. I will be bold and say that he is probably my favorite Imperial, but most certainly the epitome of an Imperial officer. I enjoyed reading about him in Rogue Planet and hearing about him in Jedi Academy Trilogy. But these appearances didn't cut it; he was much younger or a side-long character shown in flashback. Being able to see him just before his big screen debut is fun and enlightening. Not to mention that the authors actually do a pretty good job of maintaining his characterization, as seen in A New Hope. This leads to my next favorite attribute about the book: it is about the Empire. So many of the Star Wars Expanded Universe books have been set after the Empire is destroyed (post-Jedi) that characters like Tarkin and Darth Vader don't get a chance to be ominous (or alive). Even more recently, with the release of the prequels, much time is spent (understandably) with the Clone Wars. So now that the story line is mostly finished, it is great that authors get to have some reign in the twenty year (according to Star Wars continuity) Imperial reign. It is even cooler to see what the Imperials thought of the actions during the movie (but this is also a point that I have a problem with, see below). Furthermore, some important questions were answered. If the Jedi had only been extinct for a mere twenty years, why did no one seem to remember them? Well, the book explains that with "Because such talk is banned, adults shut up and don't tell their children". This is why Luke is not so knowledgeable about it (and also explains why Leia is). Even the midichlorian concept is somewhat explained. With all the floating pieces in the Star Wars continuity, it is nice to see books that attempt to fill in the gaps. What I Did Not Like: Well, this book was not nearly as enjoyable as I had hoped. I found many problems with it, which caused me to lack interest and thus take forever to finish it. 1.Too many characters. At first glance, the Dramatis Personae doesn't seem to be very imposing with a cast at about a dozen names. I mean, the Republic Commando novels had several characters, but most of those were very sidelong characters (which, by the way, I did not enjoy; in my opinion, the Dramatis Personae should be reserved for major characters). In Death Star, each name mentioned in the Dramatis Personae is given multiple point of views (pov). With about 360 pages and 13 characters, this gives approximately 27 pages per character. Let me repeat that: only 27 pages can be devoted to each of the equally important characters. How is a person supposed to develop any bond to characters if they, on average, have only 27 pages to talk about themselves? 2.Poor characterizations. Hand in hand with too many characters, comes poor characterization. Besides perhaps Tarkin, Darth Vader, and Celot Dil, the characters are as flat as an empty tortilla shell. Atour is not even introduced until about halfway through the book and even then, you keep wondering why the authors bothered to throw him in. Daala goes from being a strong female Imperial officer to a Mary Sue of an atrocious kind (I do not think this is anything like what Kevin J. Anderson had in mind). I forgot all about Kornell from the MedStar dulogy. Reading his "entries" made me realize why I had forgotten him (e.g., he made little impression). Memah and Rodo have a worthless backstory (who cares how they got onto the Death Star!). I could see Nova's "Jedi" potential coming from a mile away. Tenn, Motti, and Villan had potential but not enough time (Tenn grew more interesting towards the end with his conflict over firing the Death Star, but it was hard to feel it as I didn't really know him). And Teela...oh, don't get me started on her. Being able to "reject" Darth Vader's mind presence and being a super-architect (architects deal with drawings; engineers do the design work, the calculations, and the analysis)...let's just say, she wasn't my favorite character. All these people at the end meet in a very contrived fashion and decide all together that the Empire is bad and needs to be destroyed. For once, I would like to see someone in the Empire who wasn't power hungry or desiring to join the Rebel Alliance. Where are those dedicated to the Imperial cause? 3.Story starts too early. This one took me some time to notice, but when I did, I wondered how I missed it. The story starts with a (very brief) backstory of where the character is and how the character finds him/herself on the Death Star. This could work if the characters were better, but since the characters are so vague and uninteresting, reading about where they are pre-Death Star and how they get on the Death Star redefines the word "boring". 4.Little action. About the most exciting part of the first section of the book is when Celot Dil escapes Despayre and gets onto the Death Star. The second part, which covers the material in the movie, is much more action packed, but seriously, for a Star Wars book, this is one of the least action-packed books I have read. 5.Unknown timeline. How long does it take to go from the beginning of the book to the end? As an old professor used to say: "Yes". To me, it would make sense for a few years to pass, but how much time actually passes is never clearly stated. All we know is that the book does terminate at 0 BBY. Not very helpful. 6.Excessive detail. Ever wanted to know how the Death Star's guns worked? What sort of detail had to be placed into designing the Death Star? The details of a surgery? Well, this is the book for you. I know it wasn't for me. I nearly fell asleep when Tenn talked about how he didn't trust the engineers (what is it with this book and bashing engineers?) with the Death Star's guns or when Teela went to painful extents to talk about how difficult her job was. If I wanted this much detail, I would have gotten a non-fiction book about these things. 7.Romance. Gosh! Don't let these guys near romance! All three of the romance stories are completely bungled up. The Tarkin/Daala angle might have been interesting had Daala not been reduced to a play toy. Memah/Celot's romance made me gag. And seeing how Teela and Vil got together was nothing new at all. Please, please, please, Michael, Steve, never, ever, ever write a romance sub-plot again! 8.Unanswered questions. How do the Rebels get the Death Star plans? How do they sabotage the Death Star? How does Admiral Daala find out the information about the destruction of the Star Destroyer before people who were actually there? Why in the heck does the Death Star have a "fem" store when the Empire doesn't even approve of female officers? Well, if you wanted these questions answered in this book, just stop right now. They won't be. 9.Movie Overlap. This point is one of those gray areas. On one hand, I really enjoyed reading about the Imperials' perspectives, their feelings, thoughts, etc. On the other hand, I got tired of the word-for-word account of the movie (and how everyone gets to see Princess Leia, Han, Luke, and Chewie). A little goes a long way. Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Star Wars language is about as rough as it gets. Twi'lek females are described in a slightly sexualized manner. Tarkin calls Admiral Daala to the Death Star for a "personal" briefing. One scene includes him in bed and Daala coming out of the shower. He also talks about how on fire he is despite his age. Romantic sparks fly across the Death Star along with the innuendos attached to the romantic situations. Despayre is a prisoner planet, filled with violence and death. Nova Stihl is a martial artist. He and Rodo, the bouncer, end up in a few fights. Also, several big explosions (i.e. Alderaan) occur in the book. Overall: I was hoping for so much to happen in this book. I was looking forward to Tarkin, Darth Vader, and Admiral Motti. I was looking forward to seeing how the Death Star was constructed. I was looking forward to seeing how the Rebels stole the plans. I was looking forward to seeing the Empire in full bloom. Man, am I disappointed! Tarkin, Darth Vader, and Motti are here...in between almost 12 other characters. The Death Star is constructed...but it sure isn't the focus of this novel. The Rebels stole the Death Star plans? Golly, I would never have known from this book! At least the Empire is in full bloom...but no one is dedicated to it once they find out how "bad" the Empire is. Ultimately, I really don't think the long wait to find out what happened before young Luke's fateful adventure was worth it. The novel, written by authors who deftly created the MedStar duology (and outdid themselves, in my opinion) and their own individual accomplishments (remember the stunning Shadow Hunter by Reaves or the amazing Shadows of the Empire by Perry?), write the most boring, fluff novel that I have seen in the Star Wars universe. And they named it "Death Star"? Hm, I think a better title would be: "Bored Star". Even the second act, much more action packed than the first, could not save the book. Very poor entry into the Star Wars world. I would not recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    C.T. Phipps

    My opinion on this book is... not neutral. http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f35... It's weird because this book shouldn't matter to me since it was part of the Legends universe and a minor tie-in. However, the very premise of the book really just gets my gourd as an author. It's a book which is born from the conversation between Dante and Randal in Clerks. It's about the wrong Death Star but the premise is the same: "What about all the dudes on the Death Star who didn't deserve to be blown up whe My opinion on this book is... not neutral. http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f35... It's weird because this book shouldn't matter to me since it was part of the Legends universe and a minor tie-in. However, the very premise of the book really just gets my gourd as an author. It's a book which is born from the conversation between Dante and Randal in Clerks. It's about the wrong Death Star but the premise is the same: "What about all the dudes on the Death Star who didn't deserve to be blown up when Luke Skywalker dropped his torpedo down its thermal exhaust port?" The janitorial staff, baristas, and guys who ran the cafeteria, basically. Well, the answer to that question was IN Clerks as they had a guy talk about how your politics is going to influence your job anyway. If you're going to take a job working for the Empire on their doomsday weapon then maybe you should note it's dangerous. Both for you and the nameless billions who perished on Alderaan (and a planet called Despayre it turns out). Next, the fact this question is being asked is reducing Star Wars' conception of war to an even more childish level than a series made for children ages 4-400. Because, goodness knows, good people might get HURT in war when planets are on the line. Biggs, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Porkins, all those Rebels in the Tantive IV, Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, and Gold Leader being among the many people who died because of the Empire. This book is basically a story about a bunch of nice people on the Death Star who get caught up in the war. It's the ending, though, which bothers me. It's so tonally dissonant and completely wrong-headed I literally had to restrain myself from throwing the book. The only time I've ever had to do that was with Kevin J. Anderson's Dune prequels. What bothered me? What drove me to such anger? Warning - it's a spoiler for the book. You have been warned. > > > > > > They all live at the end but for the guy who blew up Alderaan. Yes, they all escape at the end during the Battle of Yavin. No, the Empire doesn't chase them down with TIE Fighters or shoot them during their escape. They, instead, reach the surface of Yavin IV and join the Rebellion against the Empire. What the Force? You mean to tell me, you wrote a book about humanizing all the nameless cogs in the Empire's ultimate death machine and then you had them NOT DIE during the climax? They did that as a JOKE during Phineas and Ferb's Star Wars special. I mean, what's the point of doing the book if you're going to do that? I mean, it negates everything! The writing isn't bad, I guess, and it has my favorite appearance of Admiral Daala in the franchise but I just don't understand what was going through the writers' heads. 4/10

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carl Alves

    Death Star was an enjoyable tale that was sort of prequel, but also ran concurrently to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The novel centers around the construction of the original Death Star. Grand Moff Tarkin shares the stage along with Darth Vader as the main villains in the novel. Vader is involved periferally at first before taking the main stage. The book starts with the introduction of an eclectic group of characters including the owner of a cantina, an escaped prisoner, and a fighter pilot Death Star was an enjoyable tale that was sort of prequel, but also ran concurrently to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The novel centers around the construction of the original Death Star. Grand Moff Tarkin shares the stage along with Darth Vader as the main villains in the novel. Vader is involved periferally at first before taking the main stage. The book starts with the introduction of an eclectic group of characters including the owner of a cantina, an escaped prisoner, and a fighter pilot. Their lives run concurrently, and for a time, it didn't readily appear how they were going to figure in the outcome, but eventually their story lines melded. I enjoyed the weaving in of these new characters and a new storyline into the existing plot of A New Hope. It was pretty seamless and the backstory added depth to the story. On top of that, I found the writing to be very professional and competent. If you enjoy sci-fi and Star Wars, then this is something that you will want to read. Carl Alves - author of Blood Street

  7. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    This book really exceeded my expectations. Being a Star Wars book, I was interested enough to pick it up, but given that it appeared to focus on the story of an inanimate battle station, and a story which has been covered before by A New Hope, I approached it with the expectation that it would not be up there with the best books of the Star Wars saga. In addition, critics had condemned it as boring, slow and too long. Assuredly, it did take a couple of chapters to get into. The protagonists, our This book really exceeded my expectations. Being a Star Wars book, I was interested enough to pick it up, but given that it appeared to focus on the story of an inanimate battle station, and a story which has been covered before by A New Hope, I approached it with the expectation that it would not be up there with the best books of the Star Wars saga. In addition, critics had condemned it as boring, slow and too long. Assuredly, it did take a couple of chapters to get into. The protagonists, our "ordinary beings", were new, so they needed to be introduced and given a little while for the reader to care about them. This took up the first six chapters, and it was a little disjointed, jumping from one new character to the next in order to get all the introductions done. However, once this part was over and done with, the plot starts to move along at a steady pace. Once you get to this stage, the book becomes a real page turner. Usually, each chapter deals with one of the characters, the next chapter jumping to another one, and so forth, but each chapter is just long enough to provide an extra titbit of meaty information or action for our characters, and just short enough that you’ll be eagerly turning the pages to find out what happens to them next, and whilst you’re doing that, you find out the next little bit of what happens to that character you read about three chapters ago, and so forth. The big names appear where appropriate, and oversee events throughout – Motti, Daala, Tarkin and Darth Vader – but they do not overshadow the book. The stars of this show are our nine ordinary guys – plus of course, the Death Star itself. That said, the brief scenes with our bigshots do reveal a bit more information about them, their motivations, and this period in the Star Wars galaxy, and in addition, some of most exciting scenes involve incidents where our ordinary guys come face to face with their formidable superiors – there’s a hilarious scene where one of them encounters Darth Vader coming the opposite direction down a corridor, I won’t say any more, but it was pure gold. Because we’re mostly sitting on the shoulders of the ordinary folk, these encounters with the higher ups, who will already be familiar characters to Star Wars readers, become thrilling, nerve-wracking and awe-struck – like an average joe running into a celebrity on the street. This speaks of the quality of this collaboration of authors, that they have made brief encounters with these highly familiar characters, exciting and new again. The ordinary characters do strike you as quintessentially ordinary, yet each of them has a unique backstory, finely tuned personality, and their own reasons for being on the Death Star. There wasn’t a massive amount on the backstory of these characters, but there didn’t need to be – these were totally new characters that the readers wouldn’t care for yet, an extensive backstory would have been unnecessary, and enough was given for the purposes of establishing their origins and the point from which they all begin. I sort of sensed that the individual strands would come together in the end, but despite that, the story was still engaging. Another criticism that was levelled at this book was that the ending was boring – a tiresome retelling of the original, Episode IV: A New Hope film, except from a different point of view. After reading it myself, I feel this is an unfair criticism. The reappearance of film scenes are few in number, and built up a steadily increasing pressure all the way to the end – will our protagonists make it off the Death Star before Luke drops a proton torpedo into its reactor core? In addition, I thought these scenes were great because it showed that new characters could interact with an established story and still get away with the whole thing being plausible as canon. Perhaps one criticism that can be made is that the book is a little lacking in action, and it was slightly conventional that the two couples survive, also there were hints that there might be a confrontation scene between Darth Vader and Kornell Divini who puts in an illegal request for medical information on midi-chlorians in response to a patient’s affliction, but (view spoiler)[disappointingly this promised scene never occurs and Divini is simply arrested (hide spoiler)] . Such a scene would have been fantastic. Nevertheless, the writing is high quality, the pacing perfect, and the characters detailed and realistic. 7 out of 10.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This book finally sheds some light on the discussion from "Clerks". What about all the innocents on the Death Star? This book follows a selection of people who all end up on the Death Star - civilian contractors, prisoners, conscripted staff, soldiers, etc. - and follows them from the start of building right up to the climactic (but well known) finale. It wasn't a bad book by any means but it was nothing illuminating either. It was interesting to see what was going on around scenes from "A New Ho This book finally sheds some light on the discussion from "Clerks". What about all the innocents on the Death Star? This book follows a selection of people who all end up on the Death Star - civilian contractors, prisoners, conscripted staff, soldiers, etc. - and follows them from the start of building right up to the climactic (but well known) finale. It wasn't a bad book by any means but it was nothing illuminating either. It was interesting to see what was going on around scenes from "A New Hope" but it needed something more. The quality of Star Wars novels has really dropped these last couple years.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Pretty slow build-up and not much happens for most of the book. I'm not sure what I expected from a book about the Death Star, but I appreciated that the authors try to tell a story about some of the 'normal people'/pawns of the Empire that just happened to be in the Death Star before/when it blew up. Clearly a battle station of that size would have required many, many people to operate, and the consideration of many people who were there who were 'innocent' or not there by choice was interestin Pretty slow build-up and not much happens for most of the book. I'm not sure what I expected from a book about the Death Star, but I appreciated that the authors try to tell a story about some of the 'normal people'/pawns of the Empire that just happened to be in the Death Star before/when it blew up. Clearly a battle station of that size would have required many, many people to operate, and the consideration of many people who were there who were 'innocent' or not there by choice was interesting. Ultimately though, I think there were way too many characters, and none of their stories were particularly compelling or interesting. Combined with the way it's written, with short snippets of scenes from each character's point of view, sometimes just for a few lines, and like 70+ chapters, with each break seemingly a bit arbitrary--the whole thing felt more like I was reading a screenplay or something rather than a novel, like a camera is cutting back and forth for each 'scene'. It was like, a book that's just a series of snapshots of different people's lives/internal monologues who all happened to be intertwined with the Death Star, and then on the side the main events of A New Hope are happening (which was interesting, to have it told from the empire's perspective). The fact that all these insignificant characters are mere ants in the Death Star but ultimately have some slight influence on the Rebel Alliance's success to destroy the station makes them a bit more interesting and consequential, but it comes too little, too late. They could have cut a lot of the build-up if it was just for that. I think I see what they were trying to do with this story, like telling the tales of the people who happened to be there, and how they reacted to the Death Star's power/purpose, but it wasn't particularly well done and read in a way that was too disjointed and not like a coherent novel. Oh also I did appreciate that they seemed to know their Star Wars EU lore and made multiple references to existing characters/events.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angel

    Finally finished it. It is a pretty quick read. It is also pretty well written. The book is basically the story of the construction of the Death Star. It is divided in two parts: the construction and then the shakedown cruise, which leads to the events in the first Star Wars film most people have seen by now. I usually dislike books where I know the ending beforehand, but this book was actually interesting and engaging. The first part where the station is constructed and the characters are intro Finally finished it. It is a pretty quick read. It is also pretty well written. The book is basically the story of the construction of the Death Star. It is divided in two parts: the construction and then the shakedown cruise, which leads to the events in the first Star Wars film most people have seen by now. I usually dislike books where I know the ending beforehand, but this book was actually interesting and engaging. The first part where the station is constructed and the characters are introduced is actually pretty good. Different people from diverse backgrounds come together in constructing the Death Star. In the second part, we see some cameos from characters we knew in the film, but we get a different point of view, and that makes the book a good read as well. The book features the character of Doctor Divini, which regular readers of Star Wars novels may recognize from the Medstar Duology (by the way, I read those two book, and they are on my list). Another character is a librarian, which for a librarian as me, was kind of cool too. Overall, this was a good and pleasant read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Moses

    This book was fresh and enjoyable, with interesting characters and a nail-biter ending. At the beginning, it was rather hard to follow. The book was written in short sections, generally no more than three pages long and usually less, following the story of one character. This jumping from character to character was rather daunting, but I stuck to it, and it was worth it. Of course, the good thing about an ensemble-cast setup is that you get to watch each particular story develop until they all c This book was fresh and enjoyable, with interesting characters and a nail-biter ending. At the beginning, it was rather hard to follow. The book was written in short sections, generally no more than three pages long and usually less, following the story of one character. This jumping from character to character was rather daunting, but I stuck to it, and it was worth it. Of course, the good thing about an ensemble-cast setup is that you get to watch each particular story develop until they all crash head on. I haven't read many books in that style, but I have to say I enjoy it. Of course, this was a Star Wars book, and I know that's not really a compliment in the world of fiction. Just a theory, but I think that when authors restrain themselves to a certain universe, as opposed to a genre, the creative juices flow more easily. And, geez, other genres don't feature Darth Vader as one of the star characters, and call me a 90s-holdover Sci-Fi nerd, but Darth Vader rocks! ;)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Donald

    Star Wars books have increasingly become more sci-fi than sci-fantasy, going into more detail about the technical aspects of the universe than focusing on the larger-than-life stories based on myths that they should have. Now we have a story about how a "technological terror" was constructed, which goes on an on about how big the Death Star is, how it was made, what parts weren't working, what needed to be changed, blah blah blah. There are some new characters that are introduced and whom we fol Star Wars books have increasingly become more sci-fi than sci-fantasy, going into more detail about the technical aspects of the universe than focusing on the larger-than-life stories based on myths that they should have. Now we have a story about how a "technological terror" was constructed, which goes on an on about how big the Death Star is, how it was made, what parts weren't working, what needed to be changed, blah blah blah. There are some new characters that are introduced and whom we follow to see if they make it off the station in time (since we know exactly how this turns out), but I wasn't all that interested in them by the time it was important. There are some interesting views of some classic scenes from the first Star Wars film, a lot of the time from someone else's viewpoint, that are sort of fun, but the last third-to-quarter of the book is almost a re-hash of the first film and since we've seen that movie, there's no mystery or suspense as to what's going to happen.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Groesbeck

    Did NOT live up to the hype that surrounded it. I was expecting...I don't know...to find out why the death star took 17 YEARS to build, maybe? Tales of sabotage and rebel-hunting, etc. No such luck, this one basically cuts straight to a few days (months? memory's hazy) before it goes live, covering the lives of a number of different inhabitants of the station. I would say the only coolness factor about this book was that it occasionally crops up in Episode IV in ways you hadn't thought of -- I r Did NOT live up to the hype that surrounded it. I was expecting...I don't know...to find out why the death star took 17 YEARS to build, maybe? Tales of sabotage and rebel-hunting, etc. No such luck, this one basically cuts straight to a few days (months? memory's hazy) before it goes live, covering the lives of a number of different inhabitants of the station. I would say the only coolness factor about this book was that it occasionally crops up in Episode IV in ways you hadn't thought of -- I remember watching it right after I read this and noticing things in the background from the book that I hadn't seen before. Otherwise, it was not particularly well-written.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Kibler

    One expects that any Star Wars novel is going to be complete crap, and this one doesn't disappoint. Yet, this is a book that I have wanted to exist since I was a kid. The scene in Star Wars where the Stormtroopers are standing around chatting gave us a glimpse into their everyday lives -- and I wanted more. This book delivers, as we delve into the lives of regular folk who work on the Death Star. These people have ancillary contact with the main characters as the events of the Star Wars movie unf One expects that any Star Wars novel is going to be complete crap, and this one doesn't disappoint. Yet, this is a book that I have wanted to exist since I was a kid. The scene in Star Wars where the Stormtroopers are standing around chatting gave us a glimpse into their everyday lives -- and I wanted more. This book delivers, as we delve into the lives of regular folk who work on the Death Star. These people have ancillary contact with the main characters as the events of the Star Wars movie unfolds.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jacen

    Here it is the nutshell: No real clear and tight plot until the last third. Far too much character set up for a one shot novel. I'd have understood this much character stuff if it were part of a series. It all came together in the last third. It's a fun, exiting and emotional ending actually but not worth the hard earned time getting there. There are so many better EU novels than this one. *waves hand* This isn't the book you're looking for. Move along.;) Here it is the nutshell: No real clear and tight plot until the last third. Far too much character set up for a one shot novel. I'd have understood this much character stuff if it were part of a series. It all came together in the last third. It's a fun, exiting and emotional ending actually but not worth the hard earned time getting there. There are so many better EU novels than this one. *waves hand* This isn't the book you're looking for. Move along.;)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elly

    This book has an insanely long introduction that unfortunately isn't very interesting to read. You'll read about the backstories of the people you see during the death star scenes in episode 4 and I will give the author that: those scenes are actually very interesting. There's an explanation given of how the death star could be destroyed and it's very compelling to read about the general opinions of the people living on the death star while the events are taking place. You'll also learn a few thin This book has an insanely long introduction that unfortunately isn't very interesting to read. You'll read about the backstories of the people you see during the death star scenes in episode 4 and I will give the author that: those scenes are actually very interesting. There's an explanation given of how the death star could be destroyed and it's very compelling to read about the general opinions of the people living on the death star while the events are taking place. You'll also learn a few things about how the death star is functioning, but that's honestly just a few paragraphs. Part 1 contains the backstories of these people before they're brought onto the death star. This makes up about 60% of the book and is not worth reading. Nothing happens, it's just like a slice-of-life kind of story with things happening to people. Part 2 contains the actual plot and starts just before princess Leia is imprisoned on the death star. This is the fun part as it contains both story and a bit of extra information what's happening on the death star while episode 4 is covering another area. The cast for this story is unfortunately not very interesting. I really liked the librarian, but he doesn't come in until half the book is done. Their characters aren't really well fleshed out and I had problems telling them apart to be honest. Usually the explanations in the front of the book help, but most characters just have 'imperial officer' written beside them. At least write TIE fighter pilot next to it, that would've helped a lot. There are a few cool scenes between Vader and Tarkin that are new. Tarkin for some reason gets a love interest and it feels completely out of character. Scenes are often very repetitive. On more than one occasion a character will enter the scene and we'll read about his experiences. And then in the next chapter another character enters that scene and has the exact same experience. So much stuff could've been cut from this (especially the entire part 1) and as a novella this would've worked perfectly. So, if you're interested in reading some additional info on what happens on the death star during episode 4 and want to be the person during a movie screening to tell the unfortunate human next to you what that background character is thinking right now this is for you, but skip the first 250 pages (part 1). Part 2 is essentially a self-contained story and provides you with enough information to get to know the characters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    I'll give you two guesses at this book's subject, and that's only if you even need the second one. On the one hand, the book has a dull title that evokes nothing other than its subject; on the other hand, at least it's not as riduculous as The Starcave of ThonBoka. Even the one-word titles -- Kenobi, Tarkin, and Thrawn -- suggest more than this book's title does. The book is better than its title suggests. Reaves and Perry create a wide, diverse cast of characters, all of whom are involved with t I'll give you two guesses at this book's subject, and that's only if you even need the second one. On the one hand, the book has a dull title that evokes nothing other than its subject; on the other hand, at least it's not as riduculous as The Starcave of ThonBoka. Even the one-word titles -- Kenobi, Tarkin, and Thrawn -- suggest more than this book's title does. The book is better than its title suggests. Reaves and Perry create a wide, diverse cast of characters, all of whom are involved with the construction of the Death Star. We begin a good way into its construction, and since the book was written after the end of Revenge of the Sith, the story follows from what was established in the prequels, while also tapping into the events from Star Wars. The authors do a good job of placing the story firmly in between, bridging the gap between the two stories. Because the story butts up against Star Wars, we have a few characters who are already familiar to us -- Darth Vader and Wilhuff Tarkin being the biggest. It's impossible to escape having them be a part of the story, and the authors do a good job of characterizing them appropriately (Tarkin comes across as even more ruthless), but there seemed to be a strong vein of fan service, too. I was all set to give the book four stars, because the book succeeds in telling a decent story while giving us additional background into the Expanded Universe, but then the authors had to go and make the ending melodramatic and pat at the same time. There were also moments in the story where you could have put money on who wasn't going to make it out alive. I've started to notice that when an author creates a character who has so much to lose, there's a good chance they're goners. Death Star is a good read. If the authors had handled the ending differently, I would recommend it as one of the stronger EU novels, but as it is, it merely rises to the top of the mediocre books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    I enjoyed it, but I'm a big Star Wars nerd. If you're not into Star Wars, it won't be that interesting for you. It expands on the universe and characters already in the Legends, as well as incorporating newer information from the prequels (although I could have done without the midi-chlorian bits). It was fun to see the construction and ultimate destruction of the ultimate weapon from the eyes of the "bad guys" and from the "little guys," and we get both perspectives nicely. There's a little poli I enjoyed it, but I'm a big Star Wars nerd. If you're not into Star Wars, it won't be that interesting for you. It expands on the universe and characters already in the Legends, as well as incorporating newer information from the prequels (although I could have done without the midi-chlorian bits). It was fun to see the construction and ultimate destruction of the ultimate weapon from the eyes of the "bad guys" and from the "little guys," and we get both perspectives nicely. There's a little political pondering, meaning-of-life musing, and some good old action sequences. Good fun. "The new rulers would start out full of promise and hope and good intentions, and gradually settle into mediocrity. A benevolent but inept king was as bad as a despot." 3.5/5

  19. 4 out of 5

    Olmy.007

    Loved it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christian Smith

    Overall: 9/10 “Now this is how you tie a book into the movie! I loved the characters they introduced but also loved the characters we already knew.”

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adam Bourke

    This is unusual for a Star Wars book, or any book really, in that all of the characters are on the bad guys side. This is a book about people who work for the empire, and it gives us a unique insight into "the other side of the story". For a start, nearly all of the main characters are pretty good guys. One or two do a couple of illegal things, but then so did Han Solo. But apart from Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, all of the viewpoint characters are likeable. None of them really want to kill This is unusual for a Star Wars book, or any book really, in that all of the characters are on the bad guys side. This is a book about people who work for the empire, and it gives us a unique insight into "the other side of the story". For a start, nearly all of the main characters are pretty good guys. One or two do a couple of illegal things, but then so did Han Solo. But apart from Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader, all of the viewpoint characters are likeable. None of them really want to kill anyone either. Even the one who pulled the trigger on the big gun. It does give a new perspective to the Star Wars films. Many of the people on board the Death Star when the Rebels destroyed it were actually Civilians - running the cantinas and shops on the station. Which was designed in order to end all war... Ok, so the Empire destroyed an inhabited planet. That's not so cool. But if the Rebels hadn't destroyed the Deathstar, then that war would probably have ended, amd the two future wars wouldn't have happened. The Empire would have brought peace to the Galaxy. While this book is on the side of "not killing people", it is perspective altering, and a truly unique book in the star wars saga. But this isn't an essay on who the good guys were during the Rebel Uprising, it's a review of a book. And as usual, I discuss the characters. At first I felt there was too many of them. As I continued reading, and got to know the characters a bit better, it felt better, but I still had to pause at the beginning of some chapters to remember who was who. But for the most part, they were all pretty well written. There narrative was pretty split between them, so there wasn't enough on each for them to become outstanding. Two characters stood out particularly to me. One was a new character "Ratua", who was a devious little guy, but one of my favourite characters. The other was Darth Vader. The way he was written was unlike any other book I've read about him in. He was in pain, and often recalled his lost wife or the horrorific event in which Obi-Wan Kenobi disfigured him. We see him having emotions, but he's still pretty intimidating. There's one particularly good scene where one of the characters considers not moving out of Vader's path. It's not a very eventful scene - they walk past each other, but it shows Vader in a clever way. As for the plot... it's fairly weak. There's a saboteur on board - but it's an unresolved plotline, and barely mentioned. Most of the story takes place during the construction phases of the Death Star, so there's no real combat. But it's not really what the book is about - it's more about the people on board, the good people on board, and the ultimate goal of the Death Star as a deterrent. One other unresolved plot was that of another new character: Teela, a prisoner Architect. We know what happens to her at the end of the book, but initially on the Death Star she is working under a Master Architect, who often gives her tests. One test he gives her she has to think about, and he gives her till the next day. But then we don't hear about him again. In fact, she doesn't really do much architecture after a while, her main role being "love interest". The last thing I want to say about this book is that it isn't afraid of talking about the more intimate aspects of relationships. It doesn't go into any detail, but it hints that more is happening behind the scenes - something that many Star Wars books tend to avoid, pretending instead that the most that happens in relationships is a kiss every now and again. It was refreshing to see it here, although it's also been occurring in some of the later Fate of the Jedi books. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't an incredible story, but the characters were good. I was a little disappointed with the ending, I felt it was too neat. But the thing I enjoyed most was the chance to see events from the point of view of "the enemy". Han, Leia, Luke etc are good guys, but this book managed to make me sympathize with the Empire.- a non trivial accomplishment when it against the pro-Rebel propaganda of the other books. It's definitely worth reading.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Csenge

    I really enjoyed the first half of the book, then it got a little too predictable for a while, then it got very exciting for the end. The characters were very likable (the ones that were supposed to be, anyway), and I loved the details behind the building of the Death Star, and all the various kinds of people that staffed it. It could have done with a little less re-telling of New Hope, but it had a new enough perspective to keep it interesting. Also, it was interesting to read it right after wa I really enjoyed the first half of the book, then it got a little too predictable for a while, then it got very exciting for the end. The characters were very likable (the ones that were supposed to be, anyway), and I loved the details behind the building of the Death Star, and all the various kinds of people that staffed it. It could have done with a little less re-telling of New Hope, but it had a new enough perspective to keep it interesting. Also, it was interesting to read it right after watching Rogue One. In many ways, I liked this story better (*ducks for cover*).

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darryl Dobbs

    I was starting to believe that I may never read a good Star Wars book again. The Clone Wars novels were so enjoyable that they are a tough act to follow. The Old Republic books were also very good. So do the books involving the original Star Wars characters all suck? Death Star brought me back on board. What an awesome novel. Just…fantastic. I loved this story. It describes everything in and around the Death Star in the final stages of its creation. Every question you ever had about the Death Star I was starting to believe that I may never read a good Star Wars book again. The Clone Wars novels were so enjoyable that they are a tough act to follow. The Old Republic books were also very good. So do the books involving the original Star Wars characters all suck? Death Star brought me back on board. What an awesome novel. Just…fantastic. I loved this story. It describes everything in and around the Death Star in the final stages of its creation. Every question you ever had about the Death Star is answered here. How did they build a space station the size of a moon? (Wookie slaves, 20+ years of effort) How does it have the power to destroy a planet? (yes, it describes that in detail) How do they get so many slaves? How does it get designed? How do they feed everyone on board? What do the inhabitants do for entertainment? Aren’t there any moral implications from pushing a button that destroys an entire planet and kills billions? Weren’t there any sabotage attempts before A New Hope? (Yes) Did nobody make the moral decision to leave such an evil project and if so, why didn’t the rebels get more information in advance? Michael Reaves and Steve Perry did a wonderful job of telling us all about this. And towards the end of the book, it tied directly into the movie – but from the perspective of others. Perspectives from: – Moff Tarkin – Darth Vader – A female cantina owner who runs a bar on the Death Star (one of many) – Her bouncer, a martial arts expert – An escapee from a nearby prison world who manages to live on the Death Star anonymously because it’s so big – A prison guard who also trains others in self defense (makes a formidable team with the aforementioned bouncer) – A librarian (who gets the blue prints of the Death Star out – the plans that the rebels eventually get) – A Surgeon ‘Uli Divini’, who was also in the Med-Star trilogy (with I-5 and Den Dhur, Bariss, etc) – An architect who was forced into service because she was in ‘prison’ (all she did was stir up protests, so the Empire arrested her of course) – A navy pilot – A gunner (the guy who flips the switch to destroy a planet) Think about the insight you’d get from these people! Just a high recommend from me. So much about the Star Wars canon is revealed here, and so much is tied together. A+

  24. 4 out of 5

    Peter Hale

    This book is one of those rarities where I like the book despite it being of two different worlds. Though this book was good, the book is completely two-faced, going from cringingly bad to ecstatically good. I am guessing these good parts were handled by Steve Perry and the bad parts were chucked out by Michael Reeves. The good is the Imperial side. Tarkin, Daala, Motti and some newbies like Vil Dance were great! Also, the details on the small things about the Death Star (apparently, they have R This book is one of those rarities where I like the book despite it being of two different worlds. Though this book was good, the book is completely two-faced, going from cringingly bad to ecstatically good. I am guessing these good parts were handled by Steve Perry and the bad parts were chucked out by Michael Reeves. The good is the Imperial side. Tarkin, Daala, Motti and some newbies like Vil Dance were great! Also, the details on the small things about the Death Star (apparently, they have Roddenberry's "replicators" in galaxies far, far away). The bad? Two words: other characters. The characters not Imperial were horribly put together, especially Ratua ("I am Groot!") and his lover Memah Roothes (an oversexualized Twi’lek stereotype (parentheses within parentheses: there are already those) who wears skin-showers and acts like a hooker all day). I can say alittle about Ratua, but A LOT about Memah. Here are some examples of her characterization: “The mental image of Memah wearing nothing but [the crimson silk] filled his thoughts, momentarily banishing that of Sargent Stihl. Oh, my.” “…most attractive Twi’lek woman with lovely teel [sic]-colored skin that showed wherever her short-sleeved coverall left her bare—places that added up to a satisfying large number.” And then there’s this part where she strips naked at a doctor’s office prematurely and says (paraphrase) “You were gonna ask me eventually.” Har-dee-har-har. Mostly likely Michael Reeves: please don’t confuse Twi’leks with Trek’s Orions. There is a difference between Trek and Wars, y’know? And this character Teela Kaarz. Not only is she mildly sexualized, but she is the only, ONLY creature in the entire universe that can block Vader’s mind probe. Her secret? Picture a blast door. I mean, she’s not even Force-sensitive and she did what countless others could never do. My Lord, it’s that SIMPLE! Other than that, the novel gets a pass. I think there were a lot of problems but there was a lot of good to trump it. Four stars.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    There's an extent to which I enjoyed the extended galaxy literature of Star Wars more when I was young. That was possibly because I just loved Star Wars, and wasn't as much concerned with a good story or good writing. Now older, and a bit more cynical, I entered this book with hesitation, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite my enjoyment of the book, there were two primary problems I found as I read it. At first as I was reading it, I wished there was more focus on Tarkin and Vader as they see There's an extent to which I enjoyed the extended galaxy literature of Star Wars more when I was young. That was possibly because I just loved Star Wars, and wasn't as much concerned with a good story or good writing. Now older, and a bit more cynical, I entered this book with hesitation, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite my enjoyment of the book, there were two primary problems I found as I read it. At first as I was reading it, I wished there was more focus on Tarkin and Vader as they seemed to be the most interesting characters of the book. As I approached the end, I realized that wasn't the problem. Instead, I wish the main characters had been fleshed out more and that Tarkin, Vader, Motti, and the canon Star Wars gang had been left out entirely. Tell more about the characters I'm actually supposed to care about and invest in, and less in the characters whose fates I already know. That brings me to problem number two: too many characters. By chapter 5, I'd been introduced to six characters already, and it took half the book to figure out who was who. Focusing on fewer characters, in my opinion, would've allowed more development of those characters and made me more invested in them. Some seemed to merely exist to continue the plot; that's not a problem, but then that character shouldn't get a few chapters all to themselves. Overall, it was fun to see another take or view on the events of Episode IV (and preceding), but I felt like it could have been tightened up a bit more than it was. If you like Star Wars, you'll probably enjoy this book. If you couldn't care less about Star Wars, you may just find yourself confused and frustrated halfway through.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Rooney

    This book answers the long running question of whether or not Luke murdered millions of innocents when he launched that proton torpedo... The novel follows the story lines of at least five different individuals, ranging from Imperial military staff to imprisoned criminals to regular citizens aboard the Death Star. The reader goes inside the minds of these characters, including the drive behind Grand Moff Tarkin's desire to make it the ultimate power in the universe. The characters are well develop This book answers the long running question of whether or not Luke murdered millions of innocents when he launched that proton torpedo... The novel follows the story lines of at least five different individuals, ranging from Imperial military staff to imprisoned criminals to regular citizens aboard the Death Star. The reader goes inside the minds of these characters, including the drive behind Grand Moff Tarkin's desire to make it the ultimate power in the universe. The characters are well developed, putting the bulk of the interest on their lives and not so much on the Death Star and it's place in A New Hope. Even though there are sub-plots that tie directly into familiar scenes from the movie, they run independent of the film and carry their own significance in the novel. Death Star is not overloaded with the typical Star Wars mumbo jumbo. Very little is mentioned of the Force or of lightsabers, and I don't think Artoo made an appearance at all. The reader does get to see some new points of view, such as what happened to Leia in the cell block, and even how Vader approached gunning down the fighters that made the first run at the Death Star. Overall this is an excellent novel; the chapters were more like short bursts of conversations and interaction among the characters rather than long drawn out scenes. It explores the architectural problems and solutions to such an enormous project, how it was staffed and created into a moving city with it's own self contained populace, and how the initial use of the super laser affected the lives of so many.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    I read and enjoyed most of Reaves' previous EU novels well enough that I might have read Death Star before, but remembered seeing fairly dim reactions at the time. But I'm getting close enough to the bottom of the barrel for stuff I haven't read that I have to take these chances. I was pleasantly surprised at first. After two absolutely skeletal Aaron Allston books, it was a relief just to get back to a writer who knows how to structure a scene from the perspective of a single character, create I read and enjoyed most of Reaves' previous EU novels well enough that I might have read Death Star before, but remembered seeing fairly dim reactions at the time. But I'm getting close enough to the bottom of the barrel for stuff I haven't read that I have to take these chances. I was pleasantly surprised at first. After two absolutely skeletal Aaron Allston books, it was a relief just to get back to a writer who knows how to structure a scene from the perspective of a single character, create interiority and voice, and hopefully, tell a story. Even better, it initially presents itself as the kind of story I'm always hoping to see in SW: grounded, circumscribed stories from across the spectrum of beings, with only personal motivations and stakes, and no grand destinies or hackneyed genre excitement. The very premise seems to guarantee such a scope. But that turned out to be a bit optimistic. It's true that there are a lot of POV characters, most of whom are random nobodies. And at first that seemed like it was actually going to stick with it and give me what I wanted. There's a lot of (for SW!) interesting stuff here, showing how people who lived in around the Empire without being particularly aware of the sweep galactic politics, from all different backgrounds, thought about what the institution was and how it affected their lives. This is a prized commodity for me since one of the most annoying, counter-immersive habits the EU has is to present characters as if everyone conceived of the Empire in the same way the audience does, with the only really important question being whether they'll have the moral fiber to take a stand. Which is boring. At first we get a decent amount of the alternative. A rich, educated political prisoner just happy to put her skills to use, even if it's on the Death Star. A bored thief making a living scavenging and trading, just hanging out and looking out for himself. A libertarian archivist taking the long view. None of it is especially interesting, but it's at least there. Until it isn't. The thing that becomes clear about halfway through the book is that this isn't an independent novel that happens to by tragically ended by events shown in ANH. It's an exercise in the same impulse that led to FACPOV. The least-worst part of that is just that we see all the scenes in the movie again, from Vader, Tarkin, and Motti's perspective, even though Reaves and Perry have absolutely nothing to add to how we understand them. There is no broader arc here that changes our perspective on how these characters think and feel--for better or worse. It's just a very narrow, literal transcription of what you would imagine those characters would be thinking and feeling when you watched the movie, with maybe a little context from the prequels and EU. It is utterly superfluous for the story the book tells otherwise. The part that bothers me far more is that most of the random nobodies who form the real core of this book end up being nothing more than extended FACPOV bits. One reprises the same asinine Skippy the Jedi Droid plot (view spoiler)[by having the stormtrooper who doesn't open the blast doors in time to catch Han in that first Death Star chase scene be Force sensitive (hide spoiler)] . That's the one that offends my sensibilities most in execution, but the others, which create explanations for characters who weren't even in ANH, is conceptually almost worse. We get to see what Princess Leia said to the doctor who treated her after she was tortured (nothing memorable!), and learn why Han Luke and Chewie were able to use the elevator, a question that never occurred to anyone, and find out what Darth Vader was doing between two scenes in ANH, explaining why he didn't show up until the climactic last moments of the trench run. It's just dumb, detestable shit. All of that wouldn't have ruined the novel, necessarily--they are, unlike FACPOV, only small moments in novel-length character arcs, not an unending barrage of such fragments. The problem is that those character arcs are not good either! Part of the problem is just that there are too many characters and not long enough scenes. So while in theory these are characters making choices that are difficult both in terms of personal risk and in terms of moral complicity, in practice neither of those things feel narratively relevant. The story just sweeps through them, relying on the biggest-picture context of our foreknowledge of the Death Star to give them some weight. Precisely undermining what I'd like to be the point of such an endeavor: keeping us firmly planted in the shoes of these characters. Instead of making tough choices, dealing with the moral stakes of their situation, finding fleeting moments of affection and peace, and ending up in a tragic but inevitable death, the book does exactly the thing I was excited to see it not do. It's like the progression of the plot is the passing of a strong magnet, which suddenly and arbitrarily aligns these specific characters (but not the randos around them!) to the obvious wrongness the audiences sees in the situation. They become a little RPG party, using their particular skills to complete an objective the DM has conveniently provided for them: (view spoiler)[an escape shuttle that will exempt them from being Luke's collateral damage and let them fulfill the new wish they've suddenly all acquired: to join the Rebel Alliance. That ending doesn't just ruin the arcs of these characters, it also defangs the tragedy of the plot (which every reader should have known to expect going in, like (as other reviewers have noted) the Titanic) and the more potently dark implication that whole book seems designed to elicit, that Luke's triumphant one-in-a-million victory shot for the Light Side of the Force, which brought a new Hope to the galaxy, was a mass murder only a few orders of magnitude smaller than the destruction of Alderaan. As the characters leave, one points out that while they can celebrate, they all know there were good people left on that ship. But that feels so pitifully hollow! If these people, who we'd been made to care about through their very non-evil struggles and intimacies, had been Luke's victims, how much harder would that point have hit home? (hide spoiler)] IDK it's just a letdown in a half-dozen ways at once.

  28. 5 out of 5

    William

    Like James Cameron's movie "Titanic", you know how this book is going to end even before you begin reading, but that doesn't completely ruin the story as it moves towards that inevitable climax. In fact, I liked learning what the triggerman on Alderaan's death thought as he edged closer to the secret Rebel base and another million deaths on top of his conscience. Then there is the stormtrooper who chases Solo and Chewbacca through the bowels of the Death Star and his "error" in letting them escap Like James Cameron's movie "Titanic", you know how this book is going to end even before you begin reading, but that doesn't completely ruin the story as it moves towards that inevitable climax. In fact, I liked learning what the triggerman on Alderaan's death thought as he edged closer to the secret Rebel base and another million deaths on top of his conscience. Then there is the stormtrooper who chases Solo and Chewbacca through the bowels of the Death Star and his "error" in letting them escape. Unfortunately, there are just a few too many characters here to get attached to all of them, and it leaves this novel feeling at times like it would have been better suited being written like "Tales from the Death Star" like other writers have done with Jabba's Palace and the Mos Eisley Cantina. I did however enjoy watching Vader squirm a bit as he foolishly made Kenobi "more powerful than [he could] possibly imagine". A decent read, nonetheless, for the fans who need that little extra "behind the scenes" feel of the destruction of the Empire's most powerful weapon.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Schoolfield

    Steve Perry wrote "Shadows of the Empire," the first Star Wars novel I ever read. It was so good, since then I've torn through about 60 SW-related books. If this had been the first SW novel I read, instead, I may never have picked up another one. It essentially answers the question from "Clerks": What about all those regular people on the Death Star. But it doesn't do so very well. Most of the time I wondered why I was even reading it, and that didn't change by the end. The best scenes are actual Steve Perry wrote "Shadows of the Empire," the first Star Wars novel I ever read. It was so good, since then I've torn through about 60 SW-related books. If this had been the first SW novel I read, instead, I may never have picked up another one. It essentially answers the question from "Clerks": What about all those regular people on the Death Star. But it doesn't do so very well. Most of the time I wondered why I was even reading it, and that didn't change by the end. The best scenes are actually just retellings of the stuff from "A New Hope." All the new characters/backstories aren't nearly as satisfying as I'd hoped. There's a little about why that fateful exhaust port was put in place, but that's about it. Oh, and some lame, sophomoric attempts at political "commentary" re: our use of the atom bomb in WWII. Don't waste your time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Luke Zwanziger

    Pretty mediocre characters. Lots of filler without any large conflict for the main characters, beside we all know the ending anyways. A behind the scenes of the construction and characters of the first death star. A few of the memorable moments from IV make it into the brief chapters which is fun, but nothing more. Not the worst Star Wars book I've read, but by no means the caliber of Zahn or Traviss. Pretty mediocre characters. Lots of filler without any large conflict for the main characters, beside we all know the ending anyways. A behind the scenes of the construction and characters of the first death star. A few of the memorable moments from IV make it into the brief chapters which is fun, but nothing more. Not the worst Star Wars book I've read, but by no means the caliber of Zahn or Traviss.

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