Death Troopers is a Star Wars novel written by horror alum Joe Schreiber, some have billed it as the first Star Wars horror book, and it introduces zombies into the Star Wars Universe, though very few are Storm Troopers despite what the book’s title might lead you to hope for. This book was the first Star Wars book I’ve read in a few years, as I’ve been taking a break from that universe (at least in books). Sadly it didn’t prove to be as good a read as I was hoping for. The book started off decently enough, and it seemed to do a good job of setting a decent tone to the book, but eventually you get to a point where you’re waiting for the real story to start to take place. The settings of the book are described decently, and seem to be somewhat suitable to be stuck with in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, but they end up being used very poorly. I haven’t read any of Schreiber’s other work so I don’t know how his usual fare goes, but with this book he seems to fall short. It never really truly feels to be a part of the Star Wars universe even when you get a few established characters. A lot of the deaths happen arbitrarily and far too quickly, and while the deaths are described decently, the reactions of those around them seem poor, and in some cases, uncharacteristic.
The book is afforded plenty of opportunities to create the proper feeling of a zombie novel, but it never really follows through properly. Sadly anyone looking for a good zombie read would definitely desire to look elsewhere as this book does not deliver any suspense or fright, though it does occasionally give a decent description of gore so if you’re curious as to what an E-11 blaster rifle will do to a zombie head you will get your answer decently. Also the resolution of the novel feels cheap and comes suddenly, there were several other ways this story could have ended that would’ve felt much better, even if that difference were only in the final pages of the last chapter before the epilogue.
As a Star Wars novel the book also felt as if it fell a bit flat, despite the presence of a few storm troopers, a Star Destroyer, various Star Wars aliens, a few established characters, and other universe specific things, you never truly feel like you’re in the Star Wars universe, I’m sure a few tweaks here and there could have gone a long way to helping the story feel more in-line with the rest of the universe, but as it stands I felt that it fell a bit short.
Overall the book was a bit disappointing, but it wasn’t horrible. It was still a passable read. Not something I would go out of my way to recommend to zombie fans, but it might prove to be a unique read for Star Wars fans that haven’t delved into the world of zombies before. So if you’ve read a few zombie books in your day this one will feel a bit lackluster of a read, but if you haven’t read any before and enjoy a few of the Star Wars novels out there you may want to check this one out at some point. I personally hope that he is able to fix some of these problems in the upcoming prequel to this novel, called Red Harvest.