Looking Back: Tarkin
Tarkin, by James Luceno, is an interesting read that allows readers to get to know one of the most influential villains in the Star Wars universe. I really only knew of Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin from Star Wars: A New Hope. I knew the type of person he was only based on the movie. To me, Tarkin was one of the key bad guys who seemed to be in control of Darth Vader. Vader came across as an enforcer in the movie. Even Princess Leia is quoted as implying Vader is just Tarkin’s tool, “Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.” Tarkin played a prominent role in the movie, but there wasn’t much of a back story.
Luceno gives the background I have been craving for this intriguing character. He dives into Tarkin’s history and explains his coming of age story in segments throughout the book. Luceno also allows the readers to peek into Tarkin’s relationship with Vader and Chancellor Palpatine. There are also parts of the story that are a throwback to the events of the original trilogy, specific Star Wars: A New Hope.
What Works In Tarkin?
I really was excited to see how Tarkin became a Grand Moff and I was not disappointed. The effectiveness that Luceno was able to use flashbacks really adds to the story. He wouldn’t divulge all of Tarkin’s backstory in a chapter or two. It was sprinkled throughout the main storyline connecting to different actions that would cause him to think back to the trials he endured, or to actually tell a story from his past. I was also pleasantly surprised by being able to witness the relationship Tarkin has with Vader. We get to see the dynamics of it from Tarkin’s point of view, and he struggles to try to read Vader at times, which is refreshing seeing that Vader has an expressionless mask on.
Luceno also allows us a glimpse into the inner workings of the High Counsel of the Empire. Growing up I always looked at the Emperor/Darth Sidious as solely evil. But we are able to see how he interacts with others in the Empire. He also
What Doesn’t Work In Tarkin?
Honestly, I don’t have much to add here. There is a good amount of politics in the book. If you’re not a fan of politics, you could find it dry. There were many flashbacks, most of which added to the story. There could have been a few less, but that is me nitpicking.
What’s The Verdict On Tarkin?
Overall I think this is one of the better books from the New Cannon. I wouldn’t put it as a top 3 book, but better half. Non-die hard fans who are interested in learning about the Empire and some of its most important players will enjoy the read.
I give it 4 Deathstars out of 5.