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Death Star: Star Wars    by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry Amazon.com order for
Death Star
by Michael Reaves
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2008 (2007)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

We all remember Obi-Wan Kenobi's words: 'That's no moon. It's a space station.' This Death Star is the creation of Grand Moff Tarkin. After years of pleading to begin its construction, Wilhuff Tarkin is granted permission by Emperor Palpatine. The Moff is in his glory. He hopes that The Tarkin Doctrine will be officially recognized 'throughout the known worlds', with Fear keeping the entire galaxy in order, in control, and at Peace. To haunt Tarkin are suspicious and mysterious episodes of sabotage and construction delays aplenty.

The story opens as the Scramble alarm awakens the crew aboard the Steel Talon Star Destroyer; it is not a practice drill. Lieutenant Commander Villian Dance leads his TIE pilots to down a shuttle of escapees from the prison planet Despayre before the Lambda class vehicle can jump into hyperspace. Readers go on to see the gathering of Death Star crew (both voluntary and involuntary). Expert minds will create the ultimate weapon a superpower laser. Then, for security, the construction of the Death Star is moved to the Horuz system. It is a floating spheroid that eventually will measure 160 kilometers in diameter, with twenty-four zones, twelve in each hemisphere. Each zone (aka sprawl) will include 'its own food replicators, hangar bays, hydroponics, detention blocks, medical centers, armories, command centers, and every other facility need to provide service for any mission deemed necessary.'

Among the development staff is Teela Kaarz, an architect and a convict - her crime: treason for a political stance. From the Corus Sector, Twi'lek Memah Roothes, owner of the Soft Heart Cantina, and her bouncer Rodo, a Ragithian accept an outstanding offer to establish a cantina on the Death Star. Imperial Navy commander Atour Ritten is hired as Chief Librarian, but can he be trusted after secret plans for the Death Star are discovered to be missing? With his service almost at an end, Imperial Surgical Corps captain Kornell 'Uli' Divini is assigned to oversee medical staff. A sneak-on-board cast member is convicted smuggler (serving his sentence on Despayre) Celot Ratua Dil, who expertly connives to board the 'world satellite'. And what would a Star Wars story be without the mention of Wookies, as the authors insert: 'who gave 100% if you want a job done right? - get a Wookie!'

Veteran authors Michael Reaves and Steve Perry join forces to tell the story of the Death Star from the point of view of the Imperials. Reaves is the author of Star Wars Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, and co-writer with Steve Perry of Star Wars: MedStar; Battle Surgeons and Jedi Healer. Perry is the author of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and of the bestselling novelization of Men in Black. From the perspective of character development and lineup, the authors have delivered, but the Death Star story itself is disappointing, considering the hype before and after publication. It is not until the middle to late pages that any notable action comes aboard, with martial arts sequences and various trials and tribulations. However I enjoyed ingenious phrases such as: 'thank-you-very-milking-much' or 'to-vac-with-tomorrow attitude'. Note that Death Star is a stand-alone read.

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