Just wrapped up reading Death Troopers a couple of hours ago, and for my first Star Wars Universe book, I really enjoyed it. It doesn’t quite get the full five out of five stars, or four out of four “books” according to the BookBanter rating scale, for a couple of reasons which I will get to after talking about what I liked about the book.
Death Troopers employs a perfect recipe for a great horror novel, with a multitude of key ingredients. When cooking the perfect horror dish, it is always important to have some necessary base ingredients (like your flour, butter, eggs), such as darkness, space, the unknown, a virus, zombies, vampires, etc. Sometimes multiples of these base ingredients can be combined to make a stronger dish, where the extra “minor” ingredients simply add to the already good story.
Death Troopers excels in combining a number of these base ingredients. You have:
1/2lb of outer space
3 tbs of the unknown
1 qt of zombies
6 oz of blood and gore
2 cups of virus
And what makes the dish especially tasty are the extra ingredients:
1/2 L of the “sitting on the edge of your seat fear that everyone just might die” feeling
1/2 cup of cool Star Wars spaceships
1/4 cup of cool Star Wars references
A pinch of some familiar characters who show up
Death Troopers is a fantastic thrill ride that starts out as seemingly ordinary, well, as ordinary as a prison barge in a galaxy far far away can be, with little going on, and then goes to hell and pandemonium real soon, ratcheting up the stress, fear and excitement with the turn of each page.
The only things not giving this book a perfect review are:
1) The book weighs in at around 230 pages, and I was left wanting another couple hundred;
2) If it were a longer book, Schreiber would’ve had more time to explore the interesting characters he created, and more of their back story;
3) Also he would’ve been able to explore the reasoning behind the virus and the zombies; he does a fine job of explaining them, but the ideas was so cool that I wanted more.
Still, Death Troopers served (pun intended!) to pique my interest in the Star Wars novels, and clearly this is Del Rey’s intention as the book features a couple of chapters from Aaron Allston’s Star Wars Fate of the Jedi, Book 1: Outcast. Plus there’s a handy timeline (as I’m sure there is in every Star Wars book) listing how each and every Star Wars book fits into the continuity of the six movies.
After finishing Death Troopers, one wonders if Schreiber may be returning to the Star Wars Universe, and possibly within his own horror storyline.
I’ll be sure to ask when I interview him on Tuesday.
Now on to his other book: No Doors, No Windows.