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The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

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REVIEW | Scoundrels (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

What's this? Me read a Star Wars novel? Well stranger things have certainly happened. The last time I got into a SW story it was The Force Unleashed, which I liked well enough, but the video game was better. Scoundrels though is a decidedly different style though and is part of the movement to diversify the stories told in the SW universe.

Scoundrels is the caper we've all wanted from the SW universe and what should be the type of story that Disney attempts next rather than jumping into Episode 7. They need to do a side story or something only loosely attached to get their feet wet and what better than something that plays off the fun side of the SW Universe?

The story takes place not long after the events of Episode 4, so those memories are fresh for the characters, especially the destruction of Alderaan. Scoundrels is above all things a caper/heists, which is pulled off quite well as Han is put on the trail of over 100 million credits in the hands of the Black Sun, which is basically an intergalactic Mafia outfit used in many of the SW novels. Han, not one to be too greedy, brings in a crew to share the wealth and danger.

There are a few too many characters to keep track of on the team of 11 that Han has assembled, but Zahn has done an admirable job giving each their own distinctive voice and not throwing the balance too much in favor of any. The story is at its best when Lando and Han get into the thick of it. Han in particular spends too much time behind the scenes giving Lando a lot of time to grab attention, but isn't that what Lando is best at? Chewie even through all the warbling is still somehow an endearing character, but it was those I just met such as the ghost burglar, Bink, that I keep hoping would get more page time.

The villains though are much more of a standout than the traditional SW villains showcasing a keen intelligence and understanding of the implications at hand as they try to thwart all comers. With a caper it is all in the planning and finally improvisation to really sell it, which Scoundrels does well.

All in all this is a big step away from the traditional SW novels focused on action with plenty more tension and planning, but there are still plenty of things that go boom. And that ending was a nice twist I didn't see coming.

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Neth said...

So, this is Ocean's 11 in space with a couple of SW characters?

Is the force involved at all?

Mad Hatter Review said...

It is exactly Ocean's 11 in space. In fact Zahn's original title was Solo's 11.

No force in this one. A light saber is involved though, but not in the way you'd think.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I too thought there were too many characters in that having to try to give them all fair due took time away from the characters I wanted to spend more time with: Han and Chewie. That said I thought this one was a rollicking good time. A ton of far too convenient coincidences and moments where one has to suspend disbelief but it is Star Wars and I expected that. I haven't read a SW novel forever and this one was too tempting to pass up. Glad I didn't. And the ending...whoa!!!