Shadow Games by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff – Book Review [Bane of Kings]


Bane of Kings reviews Shadow Games, a Star Wars novel written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, published by Arrow Books.

“A fantastic Star Wars adventure, action-packed from start to finish.” ~The Founding Fields

Now and then, I like to read the occasional Star Wars novel. I’ve been interested in reading Shadow Games, one of Arrow’s newer Star Wars titles for quite some time now, and when I brought it a few days ago in Waterstones along with a couple of other books I cracked it open and began to read. And, I found the novel to be quite enjoyable. Really, I did – it was a fun, space-opera romp that allows me to continue saying that all the Star Wars novels that I’ve read are good, even if Shadow Games is only my third.

This particular novel follows the adventures of Dash Rendar and his crew who are stranded on Tatooine with a broken-down hyperdrive, when they at last find a way to raise credits in order to repair that hyperdrive. The saviour comes in the form of Javul Charn, a human holostar who has problems of her own, and is stalked by an over-zealous fan. Needing a bodyguard to protect her during the tour to the Corellian Run, she and Dash soon find themselves working together. That is, right up until things go wrong, very wrong – and when Han Solo, Dash’s rival, shows up to help – it seems unlikely that Dash, even with the help of Han, will be able to help Javul Charn.

After all, Dash couldn’t even protect his own family…

This is the first novel that I’ve read by both these authors, and right from the start I can see plot holes with Shadow Games. For example, unless I missed something – it’s unlikely that Javul Charn would hire a bunch of smugglers when you could hire several more bodyguards who actually know what they’re doing?

However, that’s not to say Shadow Games was bad though – far from it, I really enjoyed the collaboration by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff – you couldn’t tell if there was a change in writing/pace where one took over from the other (indeed, even if one did take over from the other), as the pace is consistently fast throughout this novel.

Although Shadow Games lacks lightsaber fights between Jedi and Sith, and big-scaled ground/air battles commonly seen in the movies and various other novels, this particular addition to the Expanded Universe doesn’t really need the addition of any lightsaber-boasting character to make the story better. After all, if something isn’t broke, why fix it?

Shadow Games itself is an appropriately named title, for reasons that I won’t delve into here due to verging onto the spoiler territory, but at least I’m glad that it’s not called Dash Rendar and the Shadow Games (See my review of Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor), or something else along those lines.

Although not a super-fast, whizzing through pages, staying up until 1am to see what will happen next read, Shadow Games is an enjoyable, evenly paced read and despite its flaws, is a well crafted read that will have me looking forward to reading anything by either Michael Reaves or Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff in the future, Star Wars or not.

Shadow Games, isn’t a game-changing story that will shape the future of the Star Wars universe, and indeed – it doesn’t pretend to be, after all, it’s set just before A New Hope, despite the fact that there are indeed a lot ‘hints’ towards George Lucas’ Episodes IV and V that left me smiling once I spotted them, and this novel could have almost been a prequel movie to Episode IV.

This novel is also one of those sort of novels that get better as it goes on, you start off not expecting much by it but as the story goes on, you start to get more intrigued by what Reaves and Bohnhoff have to offer, so don’t put it down if you struggle to get into it at first. You’ll like it – or at least, you should.

Verdict: 4/5

Previous Star Wars Novel: Han Solo and the Lost Legacy by Brian Daley

Next Star Wars Novel: Death Troopers by Joe Schreiber








Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and a prolific reviewer who can be found on many places on the internet usually under the same username – when he’s not trying to catch up on the many seasons of Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


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