Death Troopers, which hits shelves everywhere tomorrow (and you can order for half-price on Amazon right now), was written by novelist Joe Schreiber and is the first horror novel set in the Star Wars universe.
Like so many things nowadays, this is a tale of the undead rising to bedevil the days of the living. The story is very paint-by-numbers survival horror. The setup is great: The prison barge Purge is transporting a boatload of inmates to a permanent prison facility, but their engines die in the middle of deep space. They find a derelict Star Destroyer and board it in hopes of salvaging parts so they can be on their way. Like so many zombie-stories, there’s a virus on board that kills people and turns them into the living dead and only 6 people aboard the cruiser were immune. Two of those survivors? Han Solo and his Wookiee first mate, Chewbacca.
The book plays out like standard survival horror fare from there. That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. The book was an incredibly quick and entertaining read. I found myself wondering what would happen next and not be able to put the book down. It’s certainly a book you need to read under a dim light (or even a flashlight) and alone in the dark. Also, you should put the Emperor’s Throne Room music from Return of the Jedi on the ‘ol mp3 player of choice and throw it on repeat.
The thing that impressed me the most about the book were some of the gut-wrenching visuals that Schreiber was able to implant into my brain. Some of the imagery was so viscerally impacting and surreal that it’s still sticking with me.
I’ve read that there was a lot of fan disgust by the idea that Han and Chewie would be battling undead Imperials in this book, and there’s something to be said about the fact that we know already that they get away and live to fight another day because this happens before the Battle of Yavin. But at the end of the day, I enjoyed them in the book. I like Han and Chewie and watching Chewie eviscerate undead Stormtroopers was fun to read about. So what if I knew they’d live? And so what if they screw around with the continuity a little to place these guys on the prison barge? As a self-contained piece of entertainment, Death Troopers was enjoyable and successful.
So, this is a great tradition for Lucas Books to start. A Star Wars horror novel or two during the Halloween season? It seems like a great idea. And if they run out of ideas? I’ve got a few.
Click the link to order the book on Amazon: Death Troopers.
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