Death Star, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry

January 15, 2011 at 21:37 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Poorly Rated Books, Star Wars Saturday!) (, , , , )


A rather poor attempt at a Star Wars novel, and calculated to appeal to ardent fans, keenly slavering over every tidbit of information doled out to them. Death Star promises an awful lot, and delivers very little. The prospect of a novel told almost solely from an Imperial perspective certainly whets the appetite, and suggests a more balanced narrative than anything yet told. Unfortunately, we find out quickly that the Death Star is not actually populated by humans: only by automaton minions. Thank goodness Lucas Books don’t stump us with any moral ambiguity!

The technical geek hoping to find something interesting about the workings of the space station itself will also leave disappointed. Apparently, the interior of the Death Star contains nothing we didn’t see in the movie, except a cafeteria. For all the information the book gives, we might as well be on a planet. Or an ordinary space station. Or…anywhere.

The exceptions to the Death Star hive are, of course, the ersatz heroes of this book, and a more unlikely crew of misanthropic stock characters can hardly be imagined. The only interesting fellow among the whole sorry lot is the actual gunner, whose brilliant skills and keen eye make him a logical candidate for making sure the Death Star doesn’t miss the planets it shoots at. In him, we have the book’s only brief attempt at being clever, and he is admittedly a rather interesting character. As for the others; each has his or her own reason to hate the Empire, or to begin the slide out of darkness into the light, and none of them are at all complex. Plainly the Empire is an equal-opportunities employer with scanty background checks, but the final exodus from the doomed battlecruiser takes the book’s one element of tension (the knowledge that all characters are living out their final hours) and throws it in the reader’s face, with a miraculous and stupidly contrived escape. Good guys never die, kids. Fight the power.


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