Publisher: Del Rey
Author: Joe Schreiber
Release Date: 10/26/2010
Recommended Audience: Adult
It’s strange to see Star Wars go in a different direction than a typical galactic adventure full of Jedis, Sith Lords, and Wookies. Death Troopers mix Star Wars lore with a deadly biological virus that raises the dead. Instead of just a typical cheesy zombie mash-up Joe Schreiber actually gives a good reason for why the dead are rising on the prison barge Purge and the Star Destroyer. A biological virus that the Empire is creating breaks loose and starts making people ill and killing them off at rapid-fire. Without spoiling too much there are a lot of plot twists in the book, but Joe does it in such a way that he leads you on and on then suddenly the twist happens and your jaw drops in astonishment. Joe has guts for killing off people and taking the turns he does.
Of course, there are two Star Wars heroes that wind up in the book, but I won’t say because this is also a surprise. Joe does a good job describing feelings that the characters are feeling such as pain, agony, fear, and anxiety. He really makes your skin crawl with his descriptions of all this, and mainly because his writing is so raw and he’s not afraid to freak the reader out or possibly offend them. I love writers who do that because it makes the book that much better. The book is extremely gory with tons of completely off-the-wall descriptions of what’s going on. I really felt my stomach squirm a few times during certain parts of the book.
There are a few downsides that keep Death Troopers from really reaching gold status such as the super slow buildup to the zombie breakout. It’s not until over 10 chapters in that the book gets really interesting and starts to get that Star Wars to feel. Before that, it just feels like a generic sci-fi novel. The made-up characters are a little hard to like because of the short length of the book. Joe also kind of doesn’t want you to like any of the characters it seems because of his raw style of writing. He brings out all the flaws in every character constantly so you always wonder why you should like that character. I actually think this breaks the mold because most authors try too hard to make you love their characters and don’t show many flaws.
Other than that the book is gripping, gory, raw, and outright scary. The novel picks up that Star Wars feel closer towards the middle, but even non-Star Wars fans should read this just for its sci-fi appeal. With just a riveting climax the novel keeps you from putting it down just due to the fact that Joe isn’t afraid to put on paper what he wants you to read. My only other issue is that Joe has a hard time describing environments so I had a hard time picturing where the characters were. Death Troopers is a must-buy for Star Wars or sci-fi fans.