Author: Timothy Zahn
Category: Star Wars
Publication Date: April 1993
Although the majority of the characters in these stories were already established in the movie trilogy, some characterization/character development is still required to make this story a success. Zahn was faithful to the original characters but relies a little much on references and one-liners from the original material.
Han exclaiming “Never tell me the odds!” Just about everyone at some point or another says “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” So much so that it is actually one of the last lines in the book.
Grand Admiral Thrawn, who seemed like such a tactical genius in the first book, made a few miscalculations in this book that lead to the heroes slipping out of sticky situations. It was really looking like this was going to be the kind of rare bad guy that is truly a genius and does not make errors. Sure it gives the characters a leg up if the bad guy makes a mistake now and then and it could be said that the mistakes make the villain more human, but it would have been really nice to find that book where the villain makes no errors and good prevails anyway because they are simply that good.
Admittedly, writing such a story with such a villain is probably an immensely difficult task. Perhaps that’s why we want to see it so bad. Infinite love for the author that can pull this off!
The story itself was slow and seemed to meander its way to having a point. Leia travels to the Noghri homeworld and discovers that the Empire has been up to some sneaky shennanigans over the decades. The Katana fleet that was brought up in the first book becomes more of a thing here, but it is still unclear exactly what is so awesome about these ships. Other than both the dying Empire and the fledgling New Republic are in desperate need of ships and here are 200 ripe for the taking. The only thing that is really said about why they kick so much ass is that they can be manned by fewer people. Woopdy-doo.
If this series did not have the Star Wars franchise name all over it, if it was just an original sci-fi series trying to stand on its own, it is highly doubtful that it would be a series that people are talking about 20 years later.
I am actually not sure how to review this. It completely failed to generate a response from me, both in a negative and a positive way. I think most of the reason for this is the fact that it is Star Wars and I really want to like it. But it just doesn’t stand up that well.
The only thing that stood out to me about Thrawn in t his book was that I noticed that he is not sort of leader that is so insecure in his own intelligence and position that he freaks out when someone questions why he is making a certain decision. He is comfortable in his own intelligence and is happy to explain why he is doing something.
I said in the review for Heir to the Empire that Thrawn carried that story. That’s true. However, in Dark Force Rising he just is not the terrifying force that was portrayed in the first book. I expected great things from him and have so far been let down.
The review above says pretty much everything I was feeling. From the constant references to Thrawn not being as foreboding as the first book. The problem with books based on franchises are that you need to make a new story while you still start true to the source material. Here I think the author leaned too heavy on the original Star Wars movie.