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  • Authors: Michael Reaves and Steve Perry
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Pages: 382
  • Price: $25.95


“That’s no moon. It’s a space station” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

By Pat Ferrara     October 20, 2007

STAR WARS: DEATH STAR by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry
© Del Rey
With plenty of action, backstory, and evenhanded perspective, authors Michael Reaves and Steve Perry flesh out the Star Wars universe and realistically capture the zeitgeist of the Death Star era in Star Wars: Death Star.
At its core Death Star explores a cross-section of the battlestation’s crew, including members of the Empire, the Rebellion, and, most interestingly, of those caught in between. As the latter ponder “what a moral quagmire the galaxy had become,” all three camps are swept up into the vast, mind-boggling construction of the Emperor’s greatest weapon.
Ratua, a plant-like Zelosian male, has landed himself a front-row, “dirtside” seat to the Death Star’s construction on the prison planet Despayre. Trapped in the isolated Horuz system, the one-time smuggler doesn’t have much chance of staying alive on a world filled with thieves, traitors, and murderers. Nothing is worse than his current predicament, and sneaking onto a shuttle bound for the Empire’s new station doesn’t seem like such a bad idea (after all, it should theoretically be the safest place in the universe).
Memah and her bouncer Rodo lived pretty routine lives, until the teal-skinned Twi’lek’s pub burnt down and she signed on for work at the Imperial battlestation’s Hard Heart cantina. Their stories, among many others, are intertwined with those of guard sergeant Nova Stihl and Lieutenant Commander Vil Dance, which give very real faces to the station’s helmeted stormtroopers and TIE fighter pilots. And yes, this colorful cast also includes Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader. 
Death Star handles Vader well: his condescending views of the Death Star and insatiable lust for the Force are synced tightly with the Darth’s archetypal on-screen persona. Though you’re introduced to Vader’s pained life (and his infamous reputation as a fighter pilot through Vil’s POV), Reaves and Perry don’t overplay their hand with the Dark Lord of the Sith.
What the authors do best is add a sense of realism by separating the battlestation from its millions of occupants. The Death Star is not just a weapon, its inhabitants don’t all think in hard line black-and-white, and even its staunchest crew members aren’t completely ambiguous to the wanton destruction their vessel brings.   
I was worried that the novel’s plot momentum would be crippled by the fact that, essentially, we already know what happens; but unlike Lucas’ inability to put a new spin on Vader’s transformation in REVENGE OF THE SITH, Reaves and Perry offer a colossal amount of depth that’s sure to make you think twice the next time you watch the Death Star’s destruction in A NEW HOPE.
With graceful technicality Star Wars: Death Star covers the intricate details the first Star Wars trilogy never had time to divulge, and does something that’s quite difficult in such landmark shared-world fiction: credibly add new dimension to the original lore.


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metalwater 10/20/2007 4:26:28 AM
Sounds interesting, but as I have said in the past...I would rather learn about the future of Star Wars as well as other franchises, rather than learning about a past that fails to progress the story (stories) in any instrumental and dramatic ways.
ThemanG01 10/20/2007 5:06:22 PM
I'm glad Tolkien didn't share in that opinion.
kaybar 10/20/2007 6:07:22 PM
Hah agreed Necro. Though this novel didn't propel the main plot of the SW universe, it did an awesome job of fleshing it out.
gladatir 10/21/2007 2:41:30 PM
Kevin Smith was right. hehe
ponyboy76 10/22/2007 10:58:13 AM
I wonder if it covers whether the maintenance crew of the Death Star had a union?
MrKeith 10/22/2007 3:46:25 PM
Sounds good, but a prison planet called "Despayre"? (*despair*) Really? Isn't that a little on-the-nose, like a high schooler named it or something? Couldn't they just call it "Suxtubeeyu"?


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