Allegiance

March 1, 2018 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

allegianceAllegiance by Timothy Zahn

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There are quite a few Timothy Zahn books back-to-back in the Expanded Universe chronology here. We go from Scoundrels to Allegiance, and then on to Choices of One, but the books aren’t part of a series that I can tell. I guess he was just interested in revisiting the time shortly after A New Hope, and wrote these three books in response. The good news is Allegiance is a solid read, with some interesting character development for the Imperial characters.

The premise of the novel is simple: Five stormtroopers believe they’re no longer working to protect the citizens of the Empire, and defect from the ranks. On their own, they choose to do what they vowed to do — protect those very citizens — and they start by targeting a band of pirates and a corrupt government. Unfortunately, they still see the Rebels as a threat to the Empire, and as Luke, Leia, and Han close in on the same planet the stormtroopers are targeting, the stakes get higher.

This is an intriguing plot. It’s not just about a group of stormtroopers who have defected; it’s also about how they’re perceived by the public. Stormtroopers have a reputation, and how the Empire views them is different from how the Rebellion views them, even if the goal toward which they’re working is closer to the latter’s ideals than the former’s. No one appears to trust them, and they use that perception to their advantage. It also makes for good character development within the ranks of the group.

Speaking of character development, this book also marks the first (chronologically speaking) appearance of Mara Jade, which is interesting, since she’s not yet the no-nonsense killer she was in the Thrawn trilogy. She’s still ruthless and cool, but she also shows compassion and empathy here. Given that she goes on to become Luke’s wife in the later books, it makes sense to show her with redeeming traits further back in the timeline, but it was strange, since I only know her as the must-kill-Luke-at-any-cost character from the later trilogy.

Zahn is a dependable writer for the EU, and Allegiance shows us why. He still feels like the writer who best gets the characters and universe of Star Wars, so I look forward to his books. He hasn’t hit the mark with every book, but Allegiance reminds me that I should be a little more excited when I see one of his books coming up in the timeline.

Started: December 14, 2017
Finished: December 24, 2017

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