Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, the Audiobook

I have to confess that I’m not a huge fan of audiobooks or Star Wars (I know, it’s shameful), but I still love this audiobook.

Recently I purchased Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn in audiobook format, to entertain two kids I work with on car rides. This book is slightly above their heads at times — they’re both under age 8 — but they’re Star Wars fanatics and appreciate it all the same.

Really, I would love to love Star Wars, but I’ve never been able to watch the films with any seriousness. I won’t get into details about what I do and do not like about the series, other than to say that I’m down with the stormtroopers and Ewan McGregor, but that’s mostly it.

That’s why I was so surprised to find that I really like Heir to the Empire. Maybe Star Wars works better for me without visuals: all the great conflicts, minus the overdone CGI, and with better writing. The book is a continuation of the Star Wars series, telling the story of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo after their triumph in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

Timothy Zahn leads the pack when it comes to Star Wars writers, and the narration by Marc Thompson in this 20th century unabridged edition is equally superb — clear, forceful and lively, but never over the top. The character voices are varied and realistic, and the book has music (soft in the background, never over-encumbering) at key times, as well as appropriate sound effects. Princess Leia sounds a little like a drag queen, but really almost every voice is spot-on. I appreciate that nothing is overdone.

As far as audiobooks go, I love it. And I’m crossing my fingers that it will make a Star Wars fan of me yet!

— Ashley

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