This is the first of Zahn's novels I have read since the conclusion of the Thrawn Trilogy, and because it takes place somewhere between Episodes IV and V, it sort of makes sense that it involves only his core characters, plus a few new faces.
Allegiance follows the simultaneous adventures of a group of five Stormtrooper Deserters, the Emperor's Hand, and the crew of the Millenium Falcon as they take their own courses to a joint conclusion of a plot to use pirates to secede a whole sector from the Empire.
Things I liked:
- Interesting new characters with believable motivations. This is Zahn's strong suit; taking new characters, inserting them into the universe, and making sure they make sense doing it.
- Plot points that make sense, even in hindsight. This is something many current authors have trouble with. I often read books I like more than once, and there is nothing more irritating that antagonists who take actions early in the book that contradict their own, later revealed, goals.
- Stormtroopers that do not have the "Stormtrooper Effect." The Stormtroopers in this book are competent and effective, with potent weapons, good leadership, and armor that protects them from injury.
Things I didn't like:
- Zahn has a gift for unpronouncable names. Sure they sound alien and far, far away...well, I guess I don't know how they sound, because I can't say them. This is not too big of a problem, as I do not foresee myself reading this aloud anytime soon, but it makes some pages nearly unreadable.
If it looks like there is way more to like about this book than dislike, you are 100% correct. I had to stretch to even come up with anything negative. Any fan of Star Wars, and those who like Stormtroopers especially, will love this book. Also, since it primarily revolves around new characters, you will like this even if, like me, you have HanLukeLeiaChewie overload.