I was somewhat hesitant about reading another Star Wars novel by this author after reading the boring-as-batshit Bloodline, but after watching a youtube video that mentioned it, I decided to give it a whirl. The fact that it was set mostly during the period covered by the original trilogy of movies was also a positive for me. It was also interesting in that it was told from the point of view of two people who were recruited from a backwater planet, and became members of the Imperial Navy.
So much of Star Wars is narrated to us from the point of view of the ‘good guys’ – i.e. the rebels, or the people who ultimately we want to win. Gray however, manages to build up a bunch of characters, and introduce them into the ranks of the Empire with an appropriate degree of enthusiasm for their prospects of the future. And it kind of made me think that the Empire was more than just the big bads at the top, there were every-day people all the way down the food chain, each with their own hopes and dreams, and friends and family.
The novel takes us through most of the major battles of the first three movies, from the Battles of Yavin, Hoth, the hunt for the Millenium Falcon, and so on. The action scenes are described really well, and the characters were very well fleshed out, and their ultimate motivations are pretty clear in the end.
I can highly recommend this novel for fans of Star Wars, and particularly those who were fans of the original trilogy, who are looking for a little bit extra on the side. I must give a nod to Eddie Izzard’s Death Star Canteen routine, which gave me some giggles… and I was reminded of while reading this book.
All in all, an excellent read.