I've always been interested in reading Star Wars novels though I've never understood why. I like Luke and Obi Wan, and the whole Jedi idea is cool, but I've never been a fan of the other characters, particularly Leia. But I love epic and books keep on coming out and I thought, hey, why not. Two friends suggested the Thrawn trilogy first and I must say I'm not too impressed.
Written in '92, Heir to the Empire seems to still be riding the wave of Star Wars excitement from movies which were released, what, ten years previously? Many of the lines are even straight from the movie (does Han have an original line in the whole book? I doubt it...) and few of the scenes really delve further than the films into the universe (though those that do are fun). Also, the characters constantly think back to Endor, Hoth or Mos Eisley, as if nothing else happened to them in the five years since Vader and the Emporer died. Luke even once, while in a forest, looks around and comments "Now this reminds me of Endor." Have you never been in a forest since then? He grew up on a desert planet, I know, but still. This type of stuff got on my nerves.
The book was not, though, a complete blah. Thrawn was an interesting bad guy, Mara Jade was to to watch be angry at Luke, and some of the battle scenes were certainly cool. And I must say that the random Barnstock in Karrde's "throne room" was pretty sweet, though I can't tell if Zahn was intentionally going for the Norse tree (look up the Volsunga Saga if you're interested). The pace was fast even if the writing was somewhat uninteresting and I enjoyed myself while reading it. I'll pick up the next one, I think, but it's definitely not at the top of my list.
So, for me, the question remains: continue reading Star Wars novels or give them up? I think I'll keep going, though more for the hope of something better than because of Zahn's work.