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Specter of the Past: An Intriguing Set-Up
Before I read this, my only background with the Star Wars EU books were the short novels written for kids. While they were okay, it was obvious they weren't anything special, a fact that turned me off when I received this book for Christmas. For lack of anything else new to read, I picked it up and tried it. Boy was I surprised. This was a great introduction to the universe for me, and a reminder that Star Wars can be great in many different mediums. While I did have a lot of trouble understanding what the characters were talking about when they referenced past events, the plot was always easy to follow, while still maintaining intelligence. Even without having ever seen Thrawn, I could understand just what kind of person he was, and how much of a threat. It also finally gave the Empire more character than just being completely evil. The Republic characters are great too, and Luke is actually more interesting here than he is in the movies. Why? Because unlike in the movies, he's not infallible (though this problem would diminish in the second and third part of the OT). He's making a lot of mistakes, and isn't sure about himself. Meanwhile, the political hotbed is a very smart topic, and it does make a lot of sense. And the villains are finally smart for once! That's a rare feat for Star Wars. So, in essence, the plot, and the characters were good, as was the action. Overall, it was an entertaining read, though it felt like it ended in an odd place.
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