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Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (AU Star Wars) Audio, Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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From Library Journal
For legal reasons, the previous installments in this best-selling series concentrated on the events following the three popular Lucasfilm movies. Now, thanks to an agreement between the parties, Perry's tale bridges the gap between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
s of the Empire illuminates the shadowy outlines of a criminal conspiracy that exists in the background of the events in the movies, ruled by a character new to us. Prince Xizor is a mastermind of evil who dares to oppose one of the best-known fictional villains of all time: Darth Vader. The story involves all the featured Star Wars movie characters, plus Emperor Palpatine and, of course, Lord Vader himself.
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Still, it was a wonderful performance by TV, movie actor Anthony Heald, (TV's Boston Public, "Silence of the Lambs") whom I've enjoyed as an actor for years. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of voices he uses in this for the different Star Wars characters, most notably Darth Vader, which was electronically modified and deepened, giving the listener a good mental image of the Sith Lord, though the voice is definitely not James Earl Jones, or even the late Brock Peters(voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars Radio Drama Trilogy), but it is sufficient.
Some of the other reviewers have noted that since this is an abridgement, a lot of material is removed from the performance. This is a fact, but in my humble opinion, it does not overly hurt the story. To my knowledge, there is not an unabridged version available.
But I'm glad to have this in my audio book collection. It's good listening while I'm in my car, working. Better that than most of the garbage on radio these days!
None of the new characters is particularly interesting. Xizor comes across as an overconfident playboy rather than a genuine villain. As another reviewer said, it would have been more interesting if we had seen Xizor actually succeed at something before he fails. As it stands, it looks like he's just playing out of his league with Vader and the Emperor. Dash Rendar is more interesting, but at the end of the day is just too much of a stand-in for Han Solo. His character takes a few interesting turns, but at the end it's hard to care too much about him. It would have been better to explore a completely new personality.
More tellingly, 15 years on, neither XIzor nor Black Sun have made much of an appearance in other Star Wars Expanded Universe works (Dash Rendar hasn't either, but he will feature in a book coming out later this year called Shadow Games). Rereading this novel really makes one wonder how Xizor and Black Sun were so powerful in Shadows of the Empire yet never mentioned elsewhere. In retrospect, this only highlights the lack of impact the Shadows of the Empire novel has had on the Star Wars universe.
This is a review of Shadow of the Empire which is available as a hard cover book of 340 (ISBN 0553574132) pages, a comic (isbn 1569711836), a novelization of 176 pages (isbn 044013036) and audio cassette (isbn 0553100890). This story tales places between ESB and ROTJ. I always felt it was one of the more important stories of the Expanded Universe given that Xizor became an action figure as did Dash Render and his ship (Outrider). The whole gang is in this one even Han, though is encased in carbonite. We get Vader, the emperor, Fett, Guri, Boosk, 4-Lom, Jabba, Zuckuss and Wedge along with the regular gang of heroes.
Apparently Dark horse did have available any pictures of Lando or Leia because the artists did a lousy job of drawing them. Most of the time Luke was OK, but sometimes he looked like Jessica Lynch. They did do a great job drawing Fett, Vader and dash however.
Everyone is searching for Han, but he has not be taken directly to Jabba. Xizor has risen to lead Black Sun which has thrived since Darth Maul wiped out the old leadership. His newest ambition is to replace Vader as #2 in the empire. Xizor orders Luke killed knowing that Vader wants him alive. Then Xizor captured Leia.
This is one of my favorite of all the EU stories. Steve Perry has created a new and exciting Journey. The novel is 4 stars and the comic is 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4. Considering that Dark horse released this in 1997 before some of their awesome new production techniques, this is a very well done comic. The abridged audio cassette is good quality, but at on 2 ½ hours to much is cut.