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Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, #1)
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Holocronies Reading Room > HEIR TO THE EMPIRE - June 2013 Holocronies Book Club

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Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments All righty folks, here goes the grand experiment, the first novel of our little book club. Think of it as all of us in a virtual room, sipping coffee or tea, nibbling on those great Pepperidge Farm cookies, and exchanging thoughts and reactions on the book.

If there's a discussion format anyone wants to suggest, I'm all for it. Otherwise we can just throw thoughts out there and discuss away.

I jump started a little. Couldn't sleep last night so I read chapters 1 and 2.


Jonny Blaze | 30 comments Finally! An excuse to crack my hardcover 25th Anniversary Edition! ^_^


Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments Once I possess a few extra shekels in the account, I'm going to pick that up. For now I'm utilizing the copy I bought wayyyy back in '91.

Good lord to think that the last time I read this thing I DIDN'T have a wife n' five kids and a mortgage???

Life is weird....


message 4: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
In '91 my parents weren't even married yet and I wouldn't have been born for an additional 3 years.


Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments And from the "I'm going to make Jeff feel really old" department...it's Alli! :)

I'm kidding, of course. If anything I'm so thrilled to see the next generations enjoying this delightful thing called Star Wars.

Now you're REALLY gonna' think I'm a geezer...

I saw Star Wars at a Drive-In movie theater in 1977, double feature with a really bad movie called Orca the Killer Whale. What's worse is we had to suffer through Orca FIRST to get to Star Wars, which all my friends in the neighborhood were chattering about.

I was 7!!!

It's neat to see how Star Wars, and good sci-fi/writing/genre stuff in general bridges generations!

Hope my daughters get into it someday...I have a good chance, my oldest daughter (12) is a huge Manga/Anime head which, y'know, could be seen as a 'gateway drug' to Star Wars! :D


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
You're only a year (maybe?) older than my parents. So... you're not THAT old. :)

I saw A New Hope at Celebration III on the big screen... and I think I fell asleep. It had been a long day, alright... My first experience with Star Wars (that I knew was Star Wars, I had seen Phantom Menace before and we had it on VHS but I had NO idea it was Star Wars) was my parents telling me to watch this movie because it "had furry little bears". So I sat down and watched Empire Strikes Back, and I think they were already on Cloud City so I had missed a lot. I kept going to my parents (who were occupied at the time) and saying, "There aren't any little bears! There is a big one???"
I think my parents responded to me with: "That's Chewie!"
And I was so confused.

I think not LONG after that we went to visit my mom's parents in florida and I had already had my interested piqued and my grandma asked her friend if she could borrow her Star Wars VHS set, and I watched them all on vacation. That Christmas I got a LOOOOOT of Star Wars toys.

I kind of died off of Star Wars for a little while and with the excitement of the sequel trilogy I got interested again and thus the real collecting began. I have at least 100 books now, I had maybe 12 before Christmas.

For your daughter, I think there might be a manga version of A New Hope out there. I'm like 99.9% sure that there is. I just googled it, they have manga editions of the original trilogy and a few other things (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Star_W...). Just an idea! I don't know how good they are, I think I have digital copies somewhere, I might have to read them.

Alright that was a long post, I have around 120-150 pages left of Rogue Squadron that I need to finish because all I did yesterday was apply for jobs and play the sims. I shall be back when I am into Heir.


Brianna | 20 comments Those are some fun stories about first Star Wars experiences! I watched Empire Strikes Back with my mom when I was maybe 4 or 5, and I've been hooked ever since. I've never gotten into the comics or collecting. I usually do a full 6-film marathon twice a year.... My last one was in January so I'm sure I will have one again by the end of the summer. And aside from EU continuity conflicts, I did quite enjoy Clone Wars. Looking very much forward to Rebels and Episode VII. I do have most of the books and I'm well over halfway on reading them, I think. Sometimes after a new release I will go back and read an older title (but still new to me) just for balance. I try to keep up with the newest releases but sometimes they do get missed. After FOTJ I started purchasing only ebook versions, but now I think I'm starting to regret that because the OCD in me says that my bookshelves are incomplete. Perhaps when there is an opportunity to spend money on things less needed I will get solid copies of the more recent releases. I am working on I Jedi now, which is a first-person Corran Horn story, but it's making me want to pick up the Xwing series (some of the handful of books that I have yet to purchase). Really looking forward to rereading the Thrawn trilogy.... It's been a while!


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I was lucky enough to get all of the adult Bantam books for Christmas, so I have all of the uh... Classic? titles of the books.

Okay I swear I'm done talking, on to reading.


message 9: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Schultz | 18 comments Is there any kind of schedule for this read-through? Or is it just a free-flowing discussion of the book as a whole?


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Free flow discussion, I assume. :)


message 11: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments Yeah let's keep it loose for now...until someone comes up with something better of course! :D


Gabriel I've read the book before so I will not be bothered by it on this series. In '91 I was 8. I didn't read the series until I bought a Lot of books on eBay. I will see if I can pick up the book off my shelf to read next week.


Jonny Blaze | 30 comments I say we don't bother with the spoiler tags. It's a discussion group. If someone is concerned about spoilers, they should skim each post. When they see someone is mentioning something they haven't read yet, stop. Either skip ahead in the posts, or they should stop reading the thread 'til they get caught up.


message 14: by Jeff Diamond, Grand Moff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Diamond | 178 comments Mod
Jeff wrote: "And from the "I'm going to make Jeff feel really old" department..."

For a second, I thought you were talking about me...

Glad to see everybody going on this thread. Sorry it took so long for me to get it set up in its new home--the iPhone app doesn't let me do any moderatory stuff. :(

Alli wrote: "Free flow discussion, I assume. :)"

This would probably make the most sense given our current format--we're basically a discussion forum, so yeah...it makes the most sense to me. Besides, if it wasn't going to be a free-flow discussion, you'd probably need a moderator that can get on and...moderate.

Tim wrote: "Is there any kind of schedule for this read-through?"

Go at your own pace, man! The point is to enjoy the book!

And how freaking awesome is Thrawn as a character? Just...whoa.


message 15: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 100 comments Here is a question. Does the Captain Pelleon that is portrayed in the Thrawn trilogy seem anything like the Captain Pelleon in Clone Wars: Wild Space or the one in the later novels (NJO/LOTF)? In Thrawn, he seems like so much of a follower and not a very strong leader. It would seem that he could have grown into the leader he was as Admiral Pelleon, but in Clone Wars, he seems like a strong personalty as well. I wonder if the fall of the Empire made him feel weaker and less confident leading to his personalty in Thrawn. The characterizations didn't seem to be consistent.


message 16: by Jeff Diamond, Grand Moff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Diamond | 178 comments Mod
Or perhaps it could be that Pelleon is in the shadow of Grand Admiral Thrawn? That could be a humbling experience.


message 17: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Schultz | 18 comments I actually think Pelleon was used very effectively in this chapter. His morose observations about the Imperial military make it very clear that things have changed drastically since the Battle of Endor. It flips the balance of power in the movies on its head and sets up what is to come. From a character standpoint I think that this also comes at a very unique period in Pelleon's career. During the Clone Wars and during the NJO he is fighting vigorously against clearly defined enemies, and his success is in his own hands. In this first chapter of Heirs, however, Pelleon is on the verge of despair after five years of steady defeats, and it all started with complete disaster that he had no control of. Vader and the Emperor's follies doomed the Empire, and poor Captain Pelleon is left dealing with the remnants. I think that desperation also explains why he so fully embraces Thrawn as the salvation of the Empire.


message 18: by Jody (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jody | 19 comments I haven't read Clone Wars: Wild Space, but I have read all of the NJO and LOTF. Al though its been a long time since a read the Thrawn trilogy, I remember not being to impressed with Pellaeon in the Thrawn Trilogy and remembering being surprised at his leadership in the later novels. Like James said, he just seemed like a follower. I am interested to see if my impression of Zahn's initial portrayal of Pellaeon will change with this reread.


message 19: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I'm finally on to Heir. Wooooo!
I'll be taking notes and commenting in a little while.


message 20: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments Hey folks, sorry I've been kinda' M.I.A. around here the past two days, end of schoolyear stuff with the kids boggin' me down.

I'm about 50 pages in to Heir and I'll try and pop in here tomorrow and toss out some ideas and notions.

I can say that I'm enjoying it immensely, far more than I recall back in '91. Zahn is a hell of a writer. (course I'm coming off of Schreiber's Red Harvest which was rather mediocre)

Anyway, see ya'll tomorrow!


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I'm putting the audiobooks into my dinosaur of a ipod right now. Mind you it's 12:34 and I'm probably going to be up for another couple hours listening to this, but I'm about to start. Better late than never! :D

I had to finish Rogue Squadron first... which I'm surprised I enjoyed as much as I did.


message 22: by Jim (last edited Jun 05, 2013 07:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 100 comments If you are listening to the audiobook of Heir (unabridged), tell me if you think Talon Kardde sounds like Antonio Bandaras as Puss in Boots from Shrek and if Aves sounds like Jack Nicholson.


message 23: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Haven't come across Aves but yes Karrde does sound like Puss in Boots.


message 24: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
And Aves does sort sound like Jack Nicholson.


message 25: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 100 comments Just listening to the Thrawn trilogy on audio, the actor sounds like a dead ringer for several of the characters. He sounds just like Han Solo, Lando, and C3PO. He even has Mark Hamill's cadence down for Luke. His voices are so accurate, I wonder if they used some sort of sound mixer to modify his voice to get them to duplicate the movie actors or if he was actually doing it himself. Reading his interviews, it sounds like he is actually doing the voices himself and admits to mimicing actor's voices that he think embody the character (Puss-in-Boots = Talon Kardde??? Guess he was going to Antonio Bandaras).


message 26: by Jeff (last edited Jun 06, 2013 08:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments 50 pages down....

- I'm so impressed by this thing. I've read probably 15 EU novels in my life. Not a LOT by any measure (my reading tastes run the gamut...in a single month I'll do Garrison Keillor, Hard Case Crime, Dickens, Asimov, Elmore Leonard, with a SW book tossed in for good measure...) Either way, I do try and fit in at least 1 EU book a month. And I can say with confidence that Zahn, just in skillful writing alone, is leaps and bounds ahead of his contemporaries in the SW author universe. This is crystal prose, sharp dialog, an absolute pleasure to read.

- I love how this doesn't try and be a 'movie.' It is paced and layered in such a way and tells its story in a very novel-ish way. Zahn writes about the internal lives of our heroes and villains so eloquently, such as Leia's midnight consternations, Luke's pining for Ben, even C3PO's internal strifes. He takes these movie archetypes and turns them into very real flesh and blood characters and I love that.

- Palleaon and Thrawn. The ysalamari. Their initial meeting with C'Baoth. Complex and fascinating all the way. What a great setup.

So there we have it. Obviously I'm having a blast with this reread. Amazed how little of it I recall outside the broad strokes from 20 years ago. And, best of all, I don't think I've actually ever read books 2 and 3, I may have started Dark Force Rising but never finished it (I wasn't as committed a reader back then as I am now). So this is all playing into my grand schemes splendidly!!

I picked up the Dark Horse comic adaptation of this thing this week, just arrived in the mail yesterday, so I may read along in that as I take this in. Kinda' neat to compare the images in my head with the ones presented in comic form.

So there we are. I'll pop back in here when I reach p. 100, figure every 50 pages or so is a good way to check in. And, of course, I'll be reading your comments too!


message 27: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I'm really enjoying listening to the book. It just adds this extra layer and it makes me READ along rather than skim.

In other news. I got a job! Woooooooo.


message 28: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments A job?! Won't that take away from precious reading time? ;)

Congrats! What's the gig?

I wish I could do audiobooks, I really do, I'm envious of those who do. I could probably take in twice the amount of books...sadly I'm just not wired like that. I've tried numerous times and it never works for me. I get 'lost' for whatever reason, like, unless I read it and see it, the characters and situations don't register with me.


message 29: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I'm just a "courtesy clerk" aka a bagger at the local Kroger (and if you don't have Kroger it's a grocery store).
It's only part time (I think? I'm not really sure.) so it shouldn't cut in that much. Plus a job means money! And money means more books!


message 30: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments Nothing wrong with that, I worked at Walgreen's through college, good times. Remember....the eggs go on top of the bag, not the bottom!: :D

I was an EXTREME movie junkie back then and Walgreens funded my sick VHS movie collecting habit!


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Training starts after they get the drug test back. So sometime next week-ish.

I'm excited but nervous but moooonneeyyyyyy.

It's only for a couple months. Because I'll probably get a job on campus pretty soon. I'm waiting to hear back from him.


message 32: by Jeff (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jeff Messerman (jmesserman) | 42 comments Ah, you'll have a blast. Bagging's fun. It's like a constant mind teaser...pizza here, carrots fits there, two boxes of cookies to the right, eggs on top. Plus it's GREAT for people watching!


message 33: by Tim (last edited Jun 06, 2013 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Schultz | 18 comments Some thoughts on the first 10 chapters (roughly 100 pages) of Heir:
-I second Jeff's opinion of Timothy Zahn. He is definitely one of the best Star Wars novelists. The only Star Wars book of his that I didn't enjoy was Choices of One. Has anybody read any of his original fiction?
-One of the great successes of this trilogy is how well it lays the groundwork for the books that followed. One example is the character of Borsk Fey'la. The political tensions he lays out in the first part of this book are revisited time and again in later books and come to a dramatic conclusion years later during the NJO series.
-Another great theme: Luke Skywalker struggling with his insecurities. This plays out throughout this trilogy and in later books. His fears about his teaching abilities seem justified in light of how many of his early students eventually fall to the darks side.
-Also love the group dynamics here, both between Luke/Leia/Han and Thrawn/Pelleon/C'boath. Very different dynamics of course, but both are very well done.
Now on to more reading!
P.S
Don't be afraid to double bag heavy loads. I gotten written up once for failing to do that after a customer complained.


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
I'm nearly 100 pages into the book. Now that I have a pretty good idea of the sound of the book, which I didn't have before, it makes me want to slow down and really appreciate the book. I've been this far before and I haven't really enjoyed it. There is something about hearing the book as I read.

Not saying that Zahn isn't a good author, because I immensely enjoyed Allegiance and Choices of One when I read them. However I don't know, there's something about this audiobook that definitely enhances the experience.

Because it will take me longer to listen to this than to read it, I may be switching off and on. Not really sure yet.


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Hey guys! Just checking in to ask a question. Does C'baoth have Battle Meditation? Did Zahn come up with this term or...?


Jonny Blaze | 30 comments C'baoth comes up with the technique in Outbound Flight. :-)


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
But Bastila...?


message 38: by Stefan (last edited Jun 09, 2013 02:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stefan From Wookiepedia:

"The use and effect of battle meditation was first described in the Star Wars expanded universe by Timothy Zahn in Heir to the Empire, when Grand Admiral Thrawn explains to Joruus C'baoth and Gilad Pellaeon his own theory as to why the Battle of Endor was lost; he believed that Palpatine employed the power to an unwise degree, taking such close control of the Imperial forces as to make them puppets, almost incapable of fighting on their own when his influence was suddenly removed (the use of battle meditation at Endor was later attributed to Admiral Nial Declann instead of Palpatine).

The term "battle meditation" is first used in the video game Knights of the Old Republic ("KotOR") and the power is a plot element rather than an ability usable by any of the player characters. Because Bastila is one of the only Jedi in the galaxy who has mastered the ability, she is a vital weapon to be used by either the Republic or the Sith. "


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Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Yep! Thank you.
It's interesting because while KOTOR was my first exposure to battle meditation. I never really understood entirely how it worked. These scenes in Heir are helping quite a bit.


message 40: by Stefan (last edited Jun 09, 2013 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Stefan When in doubt, Check Wookiepedia! :)

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Battle...


message 41: by Alli, Fleet Commander (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alli (akwinot) | 148 comments Mod
Well, I did. But... I posted here first. ._.


message 42: by Tim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tim Schultz | 18 comments Stefan wrote: "From Wookiepedia:

"The use and effect of battle meditation was first described in the Star Wars expanded universe by Timothy Zahn in Heir to the Empire, when Grand Admiral Thrawn explains to Joruu..."


Completely arbitrary and nerdy point here, but I'm fairly sure that the term 'battle meditation' was used in the Dark Lords of the Sith Comic a number of years before KOTOR came out.


Jonny Blaze | 30 comments It also was addressed in Outbound Flight by C'baoth, which is earlier than Heir to the Empire. However, I can't recall the term "Battle Meditation" being used.


Stefan Tim wrote: "Stefan wrote: "From Wookiepedia:

"The use and effect of battle meditation was first described in the Star Wars expanded universe by Timothy Zahn in Heir to the Empire, when Grand Admiral Thrawn ex..."


Was it just the term or was it the effects as well? I have not read any of the comics (yet) so I have to take your word for it.


message 45: by Jeff Diamond, Grand Moff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Diamond | 178 comments Mod
Pretty sure it was referenced in the NJO, as well, but not by name.


message 46: by Jody (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jody | 19 comments James wrote: "If you are listening to the audiobook of Heir (unabridged), tell me if you think Talon Kardde sounds like Antonio Bandaras as Puss in Boots from Shrek and if Aves sounds like Jack Nicholson."

I think that Admiral Ackbar sounds like Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd). I keep expecting him to say, "Great Scott...It's a trap!"


message 47: by Jody (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jody | 19 comments So this is my third time reading this book, this time on audiobook though. The narrators portrayal of Mara Jade has raised a question in my mind of how I perceived her in my previous readings. In the audiobook, nearly every sentence that Mara Jade utters is said with an edge of anger. She snaps at most everyone including Karde and is in general belligerent. When I read the books previously I did not hear her like that in my head. I understand that she is angry with Skywalker, but I always read her as being angry but with it being controlled and under the surface.

I was just wondering how other people read her. Do you think that she has this fiery anger that comes out at everybody or is she more in control (just maybe not so much in the presence of Skywalker)?


message 48: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim | 100 comments On the audio, I do notice that Mara is very direct/abrasive in her tone, though usually less so with Kardde and his people. The dialogue even comments on Mara needing to make a conscious effort to not be so abrupt such as when she talks to Leia in Last Command.

I hadn't noticed Ackbar since he has been largely missing from the last two books but he should have some lines here at the end of last command as I'm finishing it.

I know the same actor does the LOTF books but I'm kinda not looking forward to his portrayl of Boba Fett. I tend to hear Breckin Meyer's (Robot Chicken) version of Boba. That would be awesome if Thompson mimiced him for the audiobooks.


message 49: by Jeff Diamond, Grand Moff (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeff Diamond | 178 comments Mod
Mara is a redhead, so that's probably means she's pretty much always angry. So it makes sense that everything has an edge of anger to it. This coming from a ginger.


Deeptanshu | 42 comments Surprising this trilogy turned out to be one of the last SW novels I got around to but I still really enjoyed it. Unfortunately i was once or less familiar with what happens thanks to my having read the later books and that kind of lessened my enthusiasm for it. But Zahn's excellent writing soon won me over and made me wish that I had read this a few years earlier.


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