Timothy Zahn May Be the Best Star Wars Author – But He’s Not For Me

I read Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, early in 2018, and to be honest, and I wish I could’ve liked it better since it included aspects that I really love about the Star Wars universe!

As a child, I read Jude Watson’s Jedi Apprentice, Last of the Jedi, and Jedi Quest series and loved them! When I read other Star Wars books, however, especially ones that came after episode 6, The Return of the Jedi, I was always disappointed because the vital aspect that made Star Wars STAR WARS was lacking.

The original Star Wars films are presented as legends, as epic heroes, as characters who fight for each other, for what is right, and for something far about themselves. I love that! And it’s the part of the story that always sticks with me, that keeps me coming back to it over and over again. It’s what makes it magic.

But most of the expanded universe books (and the recent movies), disregard the Force-as-above-us aspect of the story, and try to make it more applicable to the common man. In a sense, they take the Force and bring it down to them, instead of trying to rise above themselves to meet it. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s the difference that has stayed with me since I was a child. Obi-Wan, in the Jedi Apprentice series, always knew he was striving for something above and beyond himself, for self-sacrifice, for achieving things greater than he himself was capable of achieving!

Timothy Zahn stays true to that approach. He writes an after-story to episodes 4, 5, and 6 that feels both relatable and extraordinary. His books present the Force as something unknowable and yet something we can be a part of. They explore relationships as both complex and loving. And they explore villainy for what it is – a choice, to embrace the worst parts of ourselves.

But, sadly, I am very picky about sentence structure and beautiful sentences, and Zahn is just not high literature. On top of that, I have a hard time reading things that are only about the story and don’t explore the deeper truths inherent in the story itself, or that only explore those relationships through the action of the story. I get bored with pure action – I desire a conscious exploration of characters that delves into their minds, and their motivations, and the deeper truths of reality.

So I am grateful to have siblings who love Timothy Zahn and are happy to fill me in on his world building! That way, I don’t have to read all the books, but I get a taste of a Star Wars world that I love! And someday, perhaps, an author will take all the scattered aspects of the Star Wars universe and gather them into a true collection of the legends that they are! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… it’ll be a long ago, futuristic King Arthur story!

As far as my recommendation goes, if you enjoy expanded Star Wars universe books, you’ll probably love this.

And for my siblings, I would give them a 4 🌟 for reading it. <– (what is this about?)


The Classic I Never Knew

Brave New World

In January at the beginning of the year, I was staying with a friend in New Hampshire for a couple weeks and browsing her bookshelves. I caught site of A Brave New World, and asked her if she thought I’d like it. As both of us were liberal arts students who had attended the same college together, she was in utter astonishment that I had never read it before.

“Will I like it?” I asked.

“You have to read it,” she said, thrusting it into my hands, and asking, “Haven’t you at least heard of it before?”

Thinking back on it now, I must have at some point. But it never registered in my mind. Somehow, it was a classic that slipped through the cracks. Maybe it was too recent – I tend to ignore recent books.

So I read it… and loved it! Maybe I could compare it to 1984, but it was so much better than that. I highly, highly recommend it! The references to Shakespeare are so inspiring, they make you want to read and study all of his plays! It’s sort of like reading A Series of Unfortunate Events for adults – feels like there’s secret code everywhere.

And of course, when I came home from my trip, while perusing my brothers shelves, I saw the same book. Apparently he had had it for some time, and I just never noticed!

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 (🌟)

I would rate this a 4 for difficulty level for middle schoolers, but grant a child a 5 for reading it, considering that it is a classic. However, I would not give it to a child under at least 15, due to mature subject matter.