Thursday, June 7, 2007

STAR WARS Dark Force Rising by Timothy Zahn

First off, I don't know if you all have noticed but we tend to post reviews on Thursdays and Sundays, but also sometimes on Tuesdays. This gives each book at least two days at the top of the blog. All right, that's business out of the way!

Actually, these Star Wars book reviews seem more commentary that review. I'm reading them as a writer, as well as a reader. I've learned two big things about Timothy Zahn this time around.

One, he really knows how to keep a handle on a really big story! DARK FORCE RISING is the second in the Thrawn Trilogy. More often than not, the second book in any trilogy is a lame duck. The EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is one of the huge exceptions. That movie is my favorite Star Wars movie of all time! Dark Force Rising succeeds too. There's Han and Leia doing their thing, then Luke doing his thing, and Lando. And then Han and Lando. And then Leia and Chewie. Whew! How Mr. Zahn keeps it all going and untangled and rivoting is beyond my capabilities at this time.

Two, a male writer can write believable female characters. Remember Linnea Sinclair's review when I was talking about the gender issue in creating characters? In may be sacrilige to say so, but I think Mr. Zahn does a better Princess Leia than the movies did. Mara Jade is great in this one too.

In a nutshell, Thrawn and his accomplices are still plotting away, determined to re-establish the Empire while our heroes are getting a handle on how the New Republic is being undermined. My husband thinks Thrawn is one of the best villains ever, super-intelligent, super-cool. But, Thrawn underestimates Leia big time. She's figured out the Empire's after her unborn Jedi babies and there's no stopping a protective mother, you know. It doesn't seem to even occur to him that she can turn the situation over on him.

I know I'm all about Leia in the Expanded Star Wars universe, but that's just me. The other guys are doing a bang-up job too. Therein lies another great thing about Timothy Zahn as a writer. He brings so many dimensions to a novel that I can read it several times and enjoy something new about it each time. Definitely a worthy example for any aspiring author, I think.

Book Three of this trilogy will be reviewed next Thursday and then it's on to TRUCE AT BAKURA and BALANCE POINT, two Star Wars novels by a female author. She's good too and I wanted to compare her style with Timothy Zahn.

Happy day, all. Tomorrow's Friday!


Kimber An said...

Oh, I thought I might add something before I run off to polish the HOLY BENNU. I love how Zahn handles the romance of Han and Leia. Too often if there is romance in a novel, it's new romance. Being a long-married woman with children, I'm more interested in marital romance. I know that the romance doesn't end with honeymoon. It changes, matures, and grows, but it remains. So, when Han is all worried about Leia and their unborn babies when she goes to meet the Noghri, I totally feel that. In fact, it has more emotional impact on me than the thrill of a new couple falling in love.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Sounds good, Kimber An... Urgh! I'm gonna have to stop reading this blog.

I agree with you about romances that look at married couples or even couples already in a relationship. I like romances that look at couples after the happily ever after... ones that show the love doesn't stop and shows that sometimes relationships take a little work...


Kimber An said...

No, no, don't stop reading my blog! You always contribute such good wisdom in the comments. I'll send you chocolate! ;)

I think you do a good job with enduring romance in your novels, Gwyneth. It's one of the reasons I love them so.