I have embarked on a quest to read through the Star Wars Expanded Universe once more. Be sure to check the linked text there to see other posts in this series. There will be SPOILERS in what follows for the novel discussed as well as (possibly) earlier books in the same series.
The Mandalorian Armor by K.W. Jeter
I first read this book around when it came out. It has been the source of many an argument with Star Wars fans for me–something I normally avoid–because it serves as non-canon story for Boba Fett surviving. For some reason, Boba Fett struck me very strongly in the movies–his silent, armored visage demanded to know why–why did he do what he did?
I was kind of devastated in the second movie when Fett’s canonical backstory was revealed. I don’t want to get into a debate over the prequel trilogy, but my point is that my vision of Boba Fett was shaped much more by the non-canonical than by the canonical, and this book and those following it were a huge part of that.
The best part of this book is that it establishes Boba Fett as more than his eponymous armor. Is he invulnerable? No, but no one is foolish enough to mess with him. Correction: only the foolish mess with him. And they don’t seem to win. He begins the book badly injured and somewhat vulnerable–certainly more vulnerable than anyone would expect from him as a character.
The plot here has layers of intrigue on top of each other, with Prince Xizor leading the way in corruption, vying for power with Vader and others as he manipulates the bounty hunters to his own ends. I have a strong dislike for Xizor as a character, having read Shadows of the Empire at a point where his vile manipulation of Leia and others truly impacted me in a deep way. So yeah, having him here was tough; I don’t know that I’ve experienced such a visceral dislike of a fictional character before or since.
The book ties in extremely well to the movies, because it features so many side characters viewers may have wondered about while also taking place immediately following Return of the Jedi. It’s a great tie-in for the Expanded Universe.
One part of the book that undermined its feel within the Star Wars universe was the technology featured in it. At times, this felt much more like a cyberpunk-type novel with many more gadgets than one would expect in the strange tech-magic universe of Star Wars. It threw off the feel once or twice for me, but suspension of disbelief was never fully destroyed. I think the biggest one was the use of radiation in the air by one of the droids to try to calm an irate character down.
The Mandalorian Armor is a fun read for those looking for more Star Wars. Its ties to the movies make it feel more relevant than some of the other books, while its main characters leap of the pages.
+Ties in well to the movies
+Good side characters
+The cover is beautiful
-More cyberpunk than Star Wars science fantasy
-Not a fan of Xizor, but I guess this could be a good thing
Best Droid Moment
Honestly, I most enjoyed the droids introductions as their names were contrasted and the silliness of the same was subtly mocked. The droids were great throughout, though. Snarky droids are my favorite.
Grade: B “It drags at points but provides an excellent jumping off point from the original trilogy while also exploring the mysteries of some of the most compelling side-characters from the films.”
J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!
Reading through Star Wars: Expanded Universe– Here you can read other posts in this series (reviews of other EU books) and make suggestions about what I should include in my reviews.
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