He Certainly Feels Very Highly of Himself

Welcome to our very first official book read through.  This is a special moment for us because it’s the first time we’re ever reading Star Wars:  Shadows of the Empire, and it’s our first time doing a read through.  We hope you enjoy following along with us and introduce another perspective. 

Without further ado let’s begin.

Summary:

The prologue of this book tells a scene from the movies as Darth Vader and the Emperor are discussing Anakin’s child (Luke Skywalker), his existence, and whether he should be destroyed or turned to the Dark Side.  Vader convinces the Emperor that he can turn Luke to the Dark Side and the conversation ends.  This isn’t new information for movie watchers, the interesting piece of information is that someone else was listening in.  Prince Xizor was, unknown to Vader, also present during this meeting.  It seems he was there at the request of the Emperor.  Xizor has an understanding that Vader’s name used to be Anakin, and he finds Luke’s discovery very interesting.

Chapter 1 opens up with a flashback to events from Empire Strikes Back.  The scene where Han Solo becomes frozen in carbonite unfolds as a nightmare for Leia Organa and she awakens drenched in sweat on Tatooine.

Luke is going through his own struggles with a self taught Jedi training session on a tight rope at a local Tatooine carnival.  With it being late at night he has this area completely to himself, excluding the guard outside he had used a Jedi Mind Trick on.  His objective:  become one with the Force and cross the tight rope without fail.  Memories from his meeting with Vader on Bespin and the cave on Dagobah enter his head, Luke can sense the Dark Side of the Force growing but he fights it.

Chapter 1 ends with Prince Xizor’s storyline.  We learn that Xizor is the leader of Black Sun, the strongest criminal organization in the Galaxy.  Xizor is of the Falleen, a species that is generally considered the most beautiful of all humaniod species.  We learn that he’s considered to be the 3rd most powerful being in the Galaxy, behind the Emperor and Vader, we also learn he has aspirations to become the 2nd most powerful being.  This must be his motivations for assembling a group of professional killers.  Currently he has Guri, a human replica droid programmed to be an assasin, the only one of her kind.  During the chapter he sends her off to enlist the Pike Sisters, twin sisters who are masters of teräs käsi.  He has a plan and his plans never fail.

At the end of the Chapter Xizor is prepping for a meeting with Vader, one that he would have face to face in a few minutes time.

Thoughts:

Xizor definitely seems like a man who is over confident in his abilities.  Right off the bat he underestimates Vader’s power, we’re not sure if he thinks it’ll be incredibly easy, but he does believe that he’d be able to over-throw Vader as the number 2 bad guy.  This makes us think he doesn’t know much about the Emperor or Vader and their history with the Force.  How, or what, Xizor is going to do for his plan is obviously unknown to us, but we are intrigued by his character already.  It’s not often a bad guy comes into a story and gives the feeling that he can back up all the talk, but something about Xizor makes us think he’s got what it takes. 

It’s also interesting that Xizor and Vader are in such close proximity to each other, as the chapter ends Xizor is minutes away from leaving his quarters to go meet with Vader.  Are they on the second Death Star, are they on a Star Destroyer?  We don’t know, but we’re interested in learning how and why these two are at the same location.

Luke and Leia seem like the natural storylines we’ll be following alongside Xizor.  We’re going to enjoy the inside track into their heads as they move throughout this book.  Luke, it seems, will be self training the Light Side while simultaneously battling the Dark Side.  We’re hoping Force Ghost Obi-Wan makes an appearance to provide words of wisdom.  Leia seems like she’ll battle with the need to save Han, save the Rebellion, and her own connection to Luke.  There’s a lot going on with these siblings, who don’t know they’re siblings yet.

As of right now, this book is taking place closely after the events of Empire Strikes Back, which is initially confusing for us.  For some reason, we thought this book took place after Return of the Jedi, but hey, this is only Chapter 1, we have an entire book left to go and there’s nothing keeping the story from jumping forward in the timeline. 

Questions:

We have many questions that remain to be answered.  As we read through the book we’ll keep track of the questions and if/when they get answered.  Here’s the highlights.

  • What is Xizor’s plan?
  • Why is he in such close proximity to Darth Vader?
  • Where are they?  On the Second Death Star?
  • What other assasins will Xizor recruit?
  • What are Luke and Leia’s next steps?  They’re on Tatooine, Han should be there too, so what’s their next move? 
  • Will the events of this book trickle into Return of the Jedi and beyond, or will this book be firmly placed in the timeline between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi?

Let us know your thoughts about Chapter 1, do you get that feeling that Xizor could actually accomplish his goal, do you think that we’ll see Luke battle the Dark Side more?  Let us know your thoughts and any other comments you might have in the comments below.

Thank you so much for your time and remember, deep roots are not reached by the frost.

– The Wandering One

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