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Friday, July 29, 2011

Review:Star Wars: Choices of One by Timothy Zahn

"The choices of one shapes the future for all"
Author:Timothy Zahn
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Lucas Books (July 19th,2011)
Format: Hardcover and Ebook

             Reading a Star Wars novel is a bit like playing the lottery. Sometimes you hit the jackpot (Revenge of the Sith) but more often than not you end up wasting your time (Planet of Twilight). The most consistently good Star Wars author has been Timothy Zahn and his newest novel is no exception.

            The Choices of One takes place in between a New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back. The Rebel Alliance is in need of a new base after the Empire’s siege on their base on Yavin 4. To alleviate this situation, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Axlon, a Rebel Alliance ambassador, are sent to a small planet known as Poln Major to negotiate a deal for a new base. Of course the Empire has taken notice of the Rebel’s recent activities and sends in the assassin, Mara Jade. Mara Jade understands that she cannot complete this mission alone so she enlists the help of the renegade storm troopers, the Hand of Judgement. In the shadows, the alien warlord Nuso Esva pulls the strings of both the empire and the republic

            To truly appreciate the story, it would be best for somebody to have read some of Zahn’s other work. Choices of One is truly a fan novel because it contains some of the most loved Star War characters (Mara Jade, Thrawn, Pellion). Of course those who have not read Zahn’s other work will still be intrigued by the technology and action that occurs in the book. I urge everyone to stick with the book until the end because the last 100 or so pages greatly expand the plot.

            Like most of Zahn’s work, the characters are the true star of novel. Since this takes place prior to the Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is still very much the shy farm boy which is quite a relief because in later novels, he is a lightsaber wielding god. Zahn does a great job with Han Solo’s characterization because he shows why Han wants to be an official part of the Rebel Alliance. The most interesting character throughout the novel is the alien Thrawn who, despite imperial prejudices, enlists with the empire and is a superb tactician.

            Sadly there are quite a few issues with this novel. The first is that Zahn uses the same phrase a bit too often. For example, you would think that Han Solo was raised by wolves because he growls almost every other sentence he says. The second issue is that some of the characters do not act in accordance with their profession. Mara Jade is the best example of this because all though she is technically an assassin, she tends to do her job in a very loud way and relies on her lightsaber a bit to much. The granddaddy problem with this novel is the fact that some of the characters meet to often. Most of the characters in this novel are not suppose to meet for ten more years but there are quite a few scenes that are to close for comfort.

            Overall Choices of One is not a good place for a person to get into Star Wars novels, but fans of Zahn’s previous works will eat it up.

Choices of One review score: 35/50

World Building-7/10


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