How can I even begin to write a single review without a cleverly placed Star Wars reference? If you missed it, keep looking.
Any who, greetings all, I’m Goody (Gryphinlord), newest Constant Collectible contributor. Our web sites illustrious creator, and manic blogger, recruited me with the temptation of spending the occasional long days/evenings with him huddled around a table playing X-Wing Miniatures. Oh, and of course with good Scotch! How could I refuse? So, with all that nonsense out of the way, let’s begin with my first review.
STAR WARS: TARKIN
I have to admit; when the new “canon” timeline Star Wars Book titles were released by Del Rey I was a little reluctant about this one. We’re being presented with a stand-alone book about a dude, a very lethal and scary dude at that, who due to his overconfidence gets himself blown up in the very first movie! But yet, the more I thought about it, the more curious I became. Grand Moff Tarkin really could have had a book written about how he rose in stature a long time ago. Let’s look at a couple of things we knew of Ole Skull Face from Star Wars: A New Hope. 1.) He had enough authority or maybe even massive Cojones to give Darth Vader orders, and Vader only reported to the Emperor. Vader appeared to respect him as an equal. 2.) He was granted command by the Emperor of the most powerful man made weapon in the universe and he had full authority to use it in any way or fashion he deemed necessary. The perfect example we all know of… The complete destruction of the planet Alderaan! What started out as a threat to destroy Princess Leia’s home planet if she didn’t reveal the Rebel Alliance’s main base. Turned into him making an example of her home planet to the entire universe by essentially illustrating “if you support the rebels, this is what you shall suffer”. This shows just how cold-hearted he was, but more importantly, it showed us that Tarkin valued Victory and stability for the Empire at whatever the cost.
Now, with just those two observations, I was hooked and primed to pick this one up when it was released.
The first page of the book sets up the “when”. Its five years after Darth Sidious has declared himself Emperor. Vader has already hunted down the Jedi who had survived Order 66. And finally, that the Emperor needs a military commander as merciless as him….. This implies, you guessed it… Tarkin.
I don’t wish to give too many plot details away because I believe that if you’re a fan, and you really want to read the new stories that you should buy the book and read it.
The book starts out with Tarkin in command of an outer rim base which oversees the construction of the dreaded Death Star. We learn early that the Emperor wants Vader and Tarkin to work together on uncovering not only who is responsible for some recent rebel attacks but in capturing them as well. He believes that they complement each other and they really do as the book points out as the story progresses.
The story starts out pretty slow, but it gains it’s momentum as it progresses along. It has some highs and lows throughout the book. The highs coming in the form of the space battles, Vader’s action sequences, the Tarkin family rites of passage that ole skull face was forced to endure and how that shaped him into the calculating S.O.B. that we see him as in the book and in the movie, and of course the ever growing relationship between he and Vader. They truly appeared to respect one another for their abilities. The lows for me were most of Tarkins past involvement with the “Outland Regions Security Force” or his rise and dealings in politics which were very bland. They were in some instances stated more matter-of-factly and there was no excitement or flair when there could have been. It gave me the feeling that the author just threw in the information without too much thought.
A really cool revealment in the story is how Tarkin was able to uncover through his awesome powers of deduction that Palpatine is a sith lord and that he believes Vader to be Anakin Skywalker. These little tid bits made for an interesting story.
The book could have gone two ways in my opinion. First, more time could have been spent in development to ensure a better and more exciting of a read. Or two, re-edit the book and make it shorter, lol! Like I stated earlier in my review, it gains momentum throughout, but ends far too quick like they ran out of ideas or creativity. It was a good ending but it could have been far much better.
Overall…… I liked it. There are some really cool other plot lines that I did not mention because I feel they need to be experienced in the reading of the book. My biggest issue with this book…… is trying to figure out how it will relate to the other new story lines coming out soon in the other books and especially if it will relate in any way to Episode 7: The Force Awakens. I have some doubts about its future relationships to the other story lines, but after some critical thinking I’ve come up with a possibility! There may be some further character use and development from this book to the new film Star Wars: Rogue One. I can only hope!