Star Wars and zombies!
It comes as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m a Star Wars fan.
While Timothy Zahn is still my favorite writer of the Star Wars books, I still read the occasional non-Zahn Star Wars book. And when I saw “Star Wars: Death Troopers” by Joe Schreiber, I knew I had to read it. Because this story blends two things you’d probably never expect — Star Wars and zombies.
Despite the odd amount of zombie books I’ve read (and reviewed for here), it may surprise you to know that I am NOT a zombie fan. I’ve had to leave the room during zombie movies. But I am a fan of sci-fi horror hybrids, where people are trapped somewhere from which they cannot easily escape (usually a space ship) and are getting picked off one by one by some kind of monster. And given that this is what the story essentially is, I was hooked immediately. And when you see something that you’d never expect to see combined, like Star Wars and horror (zombies), how could you NOT read that?
The story takes place a few years before “Star Wars: A New Hope” and starts off aboard The Purge, an Imperial prison barge. There, the reader is gradually introduced to the main characters: inmate brothers Trig and Kale, whose father just died aboard the ship two weeks ago; Zahara Cody, the ship’s chief medical officer and her surgical droid, Waste; and Jareth Sartoris, the sociopathic captain of the guard.
When the ship breaks down, they see a Star Destroyer also adrift with no signs of life aboard it. Sartoris and some of the other guards go aboard to look for parts and instead bring back some sort of respiratory sickness, even though scans showed no contagion. Almost as soon as they get back to the ship and triage, the virus is spreading amongst the group and then to the prisoners and other guards and is killing them before Zahara can do anything.
Luckily for the main characters, they all have a natural immunity. Zahara makes an anti-virus in case she comes upon any survivors and finds two smugglers locked up in solitary confinement and quickly gives them the injection. Which is lucky for the future of the series, because the two smugglers are, you guessed it, Chewbacca and Han Solo.
And then the dead begin to rise. And everyone tries to abandon the broken-down ship — but the only place to go is the place of the virus’ origin — the Star Destroyer and the horrors that wait there.
This is the best kind of escapist fiction — a fun, quick read with familiar faces and easily identifiable new ones that will leave you waiting to see how they survive their ordeal — if at all. And how fun is it to see Star Wars characters fight zombies?
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