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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (Star Wars Universe)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  13,099 Ratings  ·  355 Reviews
Here is the untold story of the events that took place between the movies The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi: a novel in which Darth Vader still lives--and battles a villain as powerful and evil as himself.


It is a time of crisis. Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, is being taken to the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt. As Princess Leia mounts a res
ebook, 416 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Del Rey (first published May 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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David "proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party"
"Book, you have the right to a speedy trial" review


- Author does a great job portraying the battle between the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force - I just reread that sentence...I'm starting to think it's possible that I might be a... GEEK! :o

- Personalities of the classic Star Wars characters are captured very well...particularly Lando! - Me, a geek? I always thought I was as suave and sophisticated as Lando as I strut around in my dress shirt and Scooby-Doo tie!

- Fills
All the furore over the release of Episode III has made me go back and search out some of the Star Wars Extended Universe novels that I devoured so furiously when I was a kid, out of the hope that immersing myself in the Original Trilogy and the books based around it would help block out some of the pain caused by the prequels. They're essentially glorified, sanctioned fanfiction - though the ten-through-twelve-year-old version of me didn't know that. Shadows of the Empire was one of my favourit ...more
Venus Maneater
Apr 03, 2016 Venus Maneater rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, thijs
Rated by my SO, who likes it because Xizor makes a pretty awesome villain, and Dash Rendar is all kinds of awesome. It answers some questions, fills up some lost time between Empire and Return, and features most of the SW movie cast.
I lasted through 40 pages or so of this novel. The concept sounded interesting; a rival vs Darth Vader for the affections of the Emperor.

But the problem is that the concept wasn't fully mined nor not even partially enough to make it interesting enough. Furthermore, every other chapter jumped to the Star Wars characters in which they rehashed stuff from the movies just like the crime lord character who was opposed to Vader. I get that he hates Vader but do I have to hear it for pages and pages of
Crystal Starr Light
"Stand back. Let's see if it will stop a lightsaber."
Han Solo is locked in carbonite, in the possession of Boba Fett. Luke, Lando, Leia, and Chewie are desperately searching for the bounty hunter, in the hopes of rescuing Han. Meanwhile, Prince Xizor of the Black Sun is angling to destroy his rival and destroyer of his family, Darth Vader.
NOTE: Based on the audiobook and what I remember of the novel I read years ago.

I Liked:
Steve Perry is given a difficult task: bridge the gap between The Empire
Paul Darcy
by Steve Perry, published in 1996.

This Star Wars novel, ‘Shadows of the Empire’, fits exactly between the Star Wars movies ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’ and is even sanctioned by that Lucas guy. As you recall Han is kinda frozen, Luke is not quite done his training and Lando has possession of the Falcon and Leia is, well Leia and Chewie still snarls a lot.

What this novel does well is set a good fast pace of activities in the Star Wars universe and really fill in how Luke bui
Jul 04, 2014 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first foray into reading a genre book from a franchise. I've been watching the original Star Wars films with my daughter. We haven't watched Return of the Jedi yet and, somehow, during some Web meandering, I discovered this book was written in the '90s to fill some narrative gaps between the TESB & RotJ. I like to try things I wouldn't normally do and reading a Star Wars book is definitely one of them. The writing was all over the place in quality, in my opinion. There'd be passa ...more
Oct 25, 2015 Charles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book would make an excellent case study in poor writing. I would like to point out that many people who talk about good or bad writing in books are really just talking about single elements like plot or tone. The plot of this book had potential but it is utterly ruined and wasted with amateurish prose. I first read this book when it was new to the world, back during the cross-media event that was "Shadows of the Empire", the great 'what happened between movies 5 & 6' book. I enjoyed it ...more
I'd heard good things about SoTE, had fond memories of the game, and honestly thought the plot sounded pretty good in summary. Unfortunately, Steve Perry's execution of it was terrifically worthless. He includes not one but two Gary Stus - Dash Rendar and Prince Xizor. This is generally a bad way to design characters. However, the real problem with SoTE is that Perry never escapes the tropes of the SW universe. I realize there is a fine line between repetitious, predictable tropes and the archet ...more
Scott Rhee
I can easily guess why George Lucas never went on to make his planned third trilogy (Episodes 7-9) by perusing the sci-fi section of any bookstore: he didn't need to. There are a slew of other writers who have carried on the Star Wars mythos. Probably better than Lucas's movies would have been, in my opinion. I have read a small handful of the Star Wars novels, and some are better than others. Back in the mid-'90s, best-selling sci-fi author Steve Perry jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon with hi ...more
John Cress
Apr 11, 2011 John Cress rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the better Star Wars books that I read. I can easily see how there was a big marketing campaign with video game ties ins built around this big in the mid 90s. The thing I liked most about this book was that something happened on just about every page. There was very little down time and I could swear that I could hear the John Williams soundtrack in the background at times. Also, the main villain, Xizor, was very credible opponent to Luke, Lea, and even Vader. Both Xizor and Vade ...more
This one was okay, but ended up dragging a bit. It's set between the second and third movie and I thought it would be more about working on a plan to rescue Han, but it was mostly about an attempt on Luke's life and working to defeat that. And, okay, but I know how that turns out!

You do get to see into Darth Vader's thoughts, and it's fun to see Leia thinking, "Okay, I love Han, but I also feel connected to Luke!"

But I finished this a few days ago and can't tell you much about the actual plot.

Jan 03, 2009 Jeffrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Good solid airplane fun reading. The usual Star Wars cliches and weaknesses apply, but what were you expecting from a Star Wars novel, existential philosophy? It's fun seeing Luke, Leia et. al. during their original series prime, and Luke as a Jedi in training is more entertaining than his omnipotent later incarnations. The characters are a bit more vulnerable and human than in other books (this book has more "adult situations" than all the others combined, but that isn't saying much), so it's c ...more
Dustin Gaughran
Dec 29, 2012 Dustin Gaughran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was excellent. I know 'Shadows' is well known, and has been out quite a while. I'm late getting to a lot of Star Wars novels. I really enjoyed how this story bridged the gap between 'Empire' and 'Jedi', but still managed to be fresh, original, and add memorable characters like Dash Rendar and Xizor. Well worth my time.
Adds texture to the Star Wars universe between episodes Five and Six, but adds no essential knowledge
Feb 22, 2016 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, actually, but as that's not an option...


This was a reread of one of the very first Star Wars novels I ever read, way back when I was twelve years old. I worried about how it would hold up, wondered how much I'd forgotten, and was curious to see how it slotted into all the prequels and novels that have since come out.

It's hard to deny that there's something about Shadows that is just classic - it at least used to be one of the more well known EU titles, and it fills in wh
Amanda Thompson
I wasn't sure about this one because some reviews said it was 'a must for all Star Wars fans!' and others said 'only for the die-hard fan.' I would say it's somewhere in between. If you're into Star Wars fiction, it's worth a read, but I do think the quality is on the mediocre scale.

The story itself is fun, and they get enough content in there to make it its own story, not just a 'filler'. The villain, Prince Xizor, head of the Black Sun crime syndicate, is interesting, and I liked his rivalry w
Mark Oppenlander
Set in the time between Episode V and Episode VI, "Shadows of the Empire" has Leia, Luke, Lando, Chewie and the droids looking for Han Solo, who has been frozen in carbonite and taken away by the bounty hunter Boba Fett. The heroes of the Rebellion are aided in their quest by a few other characters, including a hotshot, smart-aleck pilot named Dash Rendar who in many ways fills in for Han Solo who, for obvious reasons, does not appear in this book.

Meanwhile, we are introduced to Prince Xizor, a
Jan 21, 2012 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The 3-stars on this review should be taken as 3-stars for a Star Wars book, not for just any book.
I don't think that it's fair to read these puffed up pieces of fan-fiction as actual books and the rating reflects this.

I have known about Shadows of the Empire since it was released in 1996. I was in middle school and I totally bought in to the marketing. I collected Star Wars figures at the time, and despite not having read the central piece in the media onslaught, I got figur
James Caterino
It seems inconceivable I somehow did not read this book back in the late '90s when I was devouring anything "Star Wars".

Part of it was the backlash "Shadows" was getting at the time in the genre magazines, especially "Sci-fi Universe", still the best science fiction mag of all time outside of the old "Cinefantastique". And part of it was there was so much Extended Universe stuff hitting the shelves, between the "Heir to Empire" trilogy and "The Jedi Academy" trilogy and the "X-Wing" series and
Dec 14, 2016 Kain rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To moja pierwsza książka z uniwersum Star Wars i było całkiem ciekawie. Może trochę nie do końca pasowało mi, że miała ograniczniki wynikające z części V i VI sagi, ale w miarę zgrabnie się wpasowała.
Nov 03, 2015 Kayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-unowned
This book, set in between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, finds Luke, Leia, Lando, and Chewie trying to find a way to rescue Han before he is delivered to Jabba the Hutt as a frozen block of carbonite. Of course, a wrench gets thrown into their preparations when a new villain is introduced: the cunning Prince Xizor, leader of the massive underground criminal organization, Black Sun. Xizor wants to kill Luke for a very simple reason: Vader wants Luke alive. Xizor figures that with Luk ...more
May 21, 2014 Grayce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shadows of the Empire tells the story between episodes V and VI. It follows the adventures of Lando, Chewie, Leia, Luke, and a character who first appears in this book- Dash Rendar. Much of the story focuses on a battle of wits and espionage between Darth Vader and Prince Xizor (head of the crime syndicate Black Sun). Shadows of the Empire gives much depth to Xizor's character. Many paragraph breaks within chapters make the pace seem faster and allow Perry to switch the perspective between sever ...more
Aug 30, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So far the best of the extended universe novels I have read..this is maybe due to the fact that as it is set between the empire strikes back an return of the Jedi it makes the most use of the characters from the film especially as Vadar and the Emperor are here.
Th only main character not about is Han Solo being trapped in Carbonite..certainly the character of Dash Rendar(kind of an intergalactic lord flasheart) Is introduced to plug this gap though I don't really know already have a So
Oct 23, 2015 Aya marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This book was hard to get into. It has several main characters resulting in lots of short scenes and POV shifts to go along with and even worse, no attempts at smoothing transitions. The writing style is uneven as well, filled with second person idioms and tense shifts. It's not egregiously bad as to be unreadable but annoying mistakes all the same. This book felt like it was written by and for people with ADD. The short scenes and POV shifts broke story momentum and there was nothing to entice ...more
A must read for the avid star wars fan, even in light of the nullification of the Expanded Universe's canon status. However, The book, though very well conceptualized, is a very dull read. The inner monologues and back-and-forth conversations are at times contrived and uninteresting, feeling much like glorified fan fiction. In spite of this, there are moments of great excitement for the true Star Wars geek and this makes it worth the read. I would recommend only to the diehards. Everyone else, j ...more
Kathryn De
Aug 06, 2015 Kathryn De rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
something i really enjoyed about this book was the fact that it sometimes spoke from Vaders point of view. in the movies, strictly episodes 4-6 you dont know a lot about him. if you can read this book strictly from the point of view of someone who hasnt seen episodes 1-3 or the end of the 6th episode, then its incredibly intriguing. otherwise the book it still very interesting. the best part for me was the insight on Darth Vader.
Jul 14, 2009 Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I garnered this book from my mother who was going to sell it in her garage sale next month. I saw it and decided to rescue it from the sale block. This entertaining read takes place between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I particularly enjoyed the villian Xizor who made a wonderful counterpoint to Lord Vader. Definitely a must read for the diehard Star Wars fan.
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
Oct 23, 2010 Michelle (In Libris Veritas) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Star Wars fans
This is pretty much a must for any fan of Star Wars. It fits in nicely between Empire and Return. I loved Xizor and was pretty sad that I won't be seeing him in anymore books but he was an awesome character.
One of the BEST Star Wars sequels ever written. A true classic and it would make an awesome film in its own right. Darth Vader is clearly the star here, but in this novel transcends his villian status. He's still nasty, but there's a depth to him.
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Steven Carl Perry has written over fifty novels and numerous short stories, which have appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Perry is perhaps best known for the Matador series. He has written books in the Star Wars, Alien and Conan universes. He was a collaborator on all of the Tom Clancy's Net Force series, seven of which have appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list. Two of his no ...more
More about Steve Perry...

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“He had never found a companion he could consider his equal, and if he ever did, well, how would he be able to trust someone that adept? An interesting conundrum.” 3 likes
“Cold allowed precision, heat threw caution aside and plunged in rampantly. Cold was the process of deliberation and planning, heat the result of unbridled passion. Passion was fine, but only when controlled and channeled properly.” 1 likes
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