on 5 August 2011
I've read all of Timothy Zahn's Star Wars novels and he is a brillant author but this simply isn't his best work. To get the most from this book you need to have all of his previous novels particularly Allegiance as Zahn seems to have written this book assuming you know all these characters. The new characters especially the villian are seriously underwritten. That said the return of characters like Thrawn and Mara Jade is excellent.
The plot takes a little time to get going but is perfectly good. However it lacks the level excitement or interest that most of his previous books achieve.
In conclusion if you're new to Timothy Zahn start with some of his earlier work before reading this one, if a seasoned fan I would wait till it comes out in paperback as it is one of his weaker novels.
on 14 June 2012
I'm biased, I love the Star Wars universe, mainly that created by the novels rather than the films, and for me Tim Zahns Thrawn Trilogy was where it all began. This novel revisits many of those same characters and this strength is one of it's weaknesses. The characters have evolved so much for me in the subsequent novels, births marriages and deaths taking place ofer decades, and because of where this book is set it is limited in how much it can do. The added depths it gives to some of the characters makes it worth it for me but there is only so much it can do and so it can't manage the full 5 stars.
Nic - Author of 'True Illusions'
on 15 March 2014
Timothy Zahn is a veteran of Star Wars fiction and in Choices Of One he presents us with an exciting and feature packed ride set between Episodes Four and Five. The rebellion is looking for a new base to stabilise their operations against the Empire so when an opportunity comes up they decide to take a look at an abandoned mining planet located near the Outer Rim. Unfortunately for our heroes, BBD (Big Bad Darth) and his cronies sniff out possible treason on their side so they hang around the system as well. The awesome Mara Jade is still the Emperor's Hand and she is used well by the author to enhance the story as well as extend the status of the Jedi in a brilliant chapter by Zahn.
Treachery, crossing and double crossing, potential for this there is, and a massive dose of goose bumps to follow with the appearance of BBD in a cameo role at book's end.
Overall this is a great addition to the Star Wars legend.
on 15 March 2013
Written by Timothy Zahn, a writer many consider to be not only the greatest writer of Star Wars Expanded Universe stuff, but also the most influential, this story picks up about 3 months after the first one, "Allegiance" finishes.
It has all the same major characters in it, from the Hand of Judgement, to Mara Jade and of course the Rebel Heroes we know from the films.
The story takes place a few months after the events of A New Hope and the Battle of Yavin, and is primarily about the Rebels looking for a new base to set up from, having been chased around the galaxy by the Empire.
As with all Zahn's books, the story is solid and intriguing, with you always wanting to know what's on the next page, the character development is as thorough as you'd xpect and the plot twists that happen every now and then will leave you guessing.
An interesting note, some of the characters who will have a dramatic impact on each other in the future (such as Mara and Luke's wedding) meet each other, however briefly, and it lends the book quite a nice feeling of connectiveness. It's almost cementing itself in the wall of Star Wars lore solely by saying it, you inevitably end up thinking "oh, so-and-so will do that at some point, wow", and feeling almost as if you're privy to some secret.
In all, it is a very good book, with a great name attached to it. If you enjoyed Allegiance, or Star Wars in general, I certainly recommend it.
on 11 August 2012
It's been quite a while since I read a Star Wars book. More than six years, actually. After reading Matthew Stover's lackluster adaptation of the lackluster Revenge of the Sith, I was in no hurry to give another Star Wars book a shot.
But when the ARC for Timothy Zahn's Star Wars: Choices of One showed up in my mailbox, something about it piqued my curiosity. Zahn brought me back to Star Wars during my senior year of high school when Heir to the Empire was first released. And though I haven't read Zahn's Star Wars novels since Vision of the Future came out, I've always had a sweet spot in my heart for the author's work set in the Star Wars universe.
And since the story occurs between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, I knew I could read and enjoy this one without having read the countless Star Wars offering that have flooded the market over the years.
Here's the blurb:
The fate of the Rebellion rests on Luke Skywalker's next move.
But have the rebels entered a safe harbor or a death trap?
Eight months after the Battle of Yavin, the Rebellion is in desperate need of a new base. So when Governor Ferrouz of Candoras Sector proposes an alliance, offering the Rebels sanctuary in return for protection against the alien warlord Nuso Esva, Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie are sent to evaluate the deal.
Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand, is also heading for Candoras, along with the five renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Judgment. Their mission: to punish Ferrouz's treason and smash the Rebels for good.
But in this treacherous game of betrayals within betrayals, a wild card is waiting to be played.
I've read a lot of Star Wars books over the years, yet I feel that no other author has ever been able to truly capture George Lucas' vision the way Timothy Zahn managed to do. A couple of pages into Choices of One, and I was immediately drawn back to my youth and enjoying every minute of it.
Though readers familiar with the Star Wars universe may get more out of this novel, fans of the movies will nonetheless be in for a pleasant reading experience. Sure, you might be unaware of the existence of Mara Jade and the renegade stormtroopers known as the Hand of Justice, but the story features enough familiarity to satisfy anyone. And it might even entice some to go back and read a few other Zahn Star Wars titles. I know that's the case with me. . .
Set a few months following the Battle of Yavin, although the action takes place in a number of unknown systems, readers both old and new to the Star Wars universe will feel comfortable with the various environments featured in Choices of One. The worldbuilding doesn't intrude on the tale and remains in the background. Zahn provides what information one needs to follow the story's progress, but little else is needed.
The characterization was my favorite aspect of the novel. Understandably, Zahn has it a bit easy, what with his working with beloved protagonists from both the films and the multitude of books set in Lucas' universe. An innocent and do-gooder Luke who remains a kind-hearted dumbass; Han and Leia, bent on antagonizing one another because they cannot come to terms with the fact that they are attracted to each other; Chewie, whose succint growls carry a lot of meaning; a younger Thrawn, rising star among Imperial officers; Mara Jade, the Emperor's Hand; LaRone and his stormtrooper crew. Put all these ingredients together and the recipe can't be anything but good. Yet add to that an array of secondary characters comprising a pleasantly surprising supporting cast, and you have yourself a nice Star Wars romp!
As fun and entertaining as Choices of One turned out to be at the beginning, it seemed to suffer from a decidedly linear plot which would be a bit predictable. But with a won-over crowd, who would care, right? Wrong. Timothy Zahn switches gears in the middle, unveiling a more convulated and hence more satisfying story arc which added another dimension to this book. Moreover, the ending sets the stage for The Empire Strikes Back.
Choices of One will not blow your mind. But if you are looking for a fun read featuring familiar faces you have grown to love; if you are looking to recapture the essence of what made you fall in love with the first movie trilogy in the first place; then Choice of One just might be the perfect summer read you've been craving!
on 20 July 2012
Although this offering is up to the usual standard from Timothy Zahn when it comes to quality of writing, dialogue and pacing of action the storyline itself falls a bit flat. It doesn't really add anything to the Star Wars universe and fails to arouse much interest.
This is probably because this novel seems a bit of an excuse to re-visit characters whose storylines within the series of Star Wars novels are basically done; ie Mara Jade, Thrawn and Pellaeon. Interesting though these characters have always been there really isn't much more to be made of them. There is also an effort to portray the above mentioned characters as 'good guys'. This seems a little out of place despite the roles of these characters in later chronological books in the Star Wars series. At the time of this novel all three are still willing followers of Palpatine and his Empire.
The major villain is perhaps the worst thing about the novel. He is predictible
and dull, not really doing much. He is almost incidental to following the activities of the characters we are familiar with.
Luke and Han are both portrayed excellently though by Zahn and the 'farm boy' version of Luke from A New Hope is captured perfectly.
A worthwhile read to kill some time but there are much better Star Wars books out there by Timothy Zahn.
on 18 March 2013
I always like reading Timothy Zahn's books. For me, the Thrawn Trilogy is where it all began and are still some of the best Star Wars books ever written in my humble opinion. So it's always nice to read more books by Zahn, set in a similar period of the timeline, with a lot of the same characters, in a story that is multi-dimensional and has plots, sub plots and a nice way of linking everything together at the end.
Seeing how Zahn intentionally gets Mara Jade and Luke so close together without ever actually meeting (which would of course make a rather obvious plot hole) is both entertaining and clever. Having said that, I don't think this is Zahn's best work and there were some parts of the book that I found quite hard going. That is not to say it is a bad book because it isn't. It is action-packed throughout and is well paced. It's probably advisable to read Allegiance first though.
on 27 November 2012
I enjoyed Allegiance. Many people didn't but I did.
With that in mind I happily bought this to fill the time before the Darth Plagueis book came out in paperback.
Short summary is that this book is rather good. It has a villain with a hidden identity that keeps you guessing and is a good reveal. It teases Mara Jade and Luke crossing paths in a clever way that doesn't feel contrived. It has just enough references to the films to keep it a part of the bigger stories and is quite well written.
The description on the back cover that says, 'a game of betrayals within betrayals' is a good tease that plays out nicely too.
I enjoyed it, it didn't take too long to read, it added to the 'bigger story' and developed a number of characters both new and familiar. Good stuff. Not exactly a brilliant book like the first Bane book, Darth Plagueis or Outbound Flight but well worth a quick read.
on 27 November 2012
A great book telling some of the story of Mara Jade during the time after "starwars - a new hope" and before "empire strikes back". Lots of solid story telling, filling in some early Thrawn and Palleon as well as a very novice Luke Skywalker. Definitely worth adding to the collection.
As a story it stands happily on its own, even though it will be more appreciated if you have read other books or seen the "original" film (episode IV)
Continuity comment: One wonders if the alien "refugees" which help out the storm-troopers are actually Nogri even though they are called a different species in the book.