This week, I re-read the Servants of the Empire series! I read them ages ago, shortly after they all came out, and remembered liking them, but it had been a little while so I decided to give them another read to refresh myself. They're short reads suitable for younger readers, but the story itself and the characters were very compelling! They're definitely a fun read, and I appreciate how seamlessly they fit into the first two seasons of Star Wars Rebels, and explore characters we would hardly know otherwise.
Spoilers ahead for the Servants of the Empire books by Jason Fry!
Zare is by far the best part of the books. I love following his journey in these stories, from how he learns the truth of the Empire's evil and joins the Imperial Academy as a plot to try and rescue his sister from their imprisonment. He grows a lot through the book, and it's very nice to get to see him before his appearances in Star Wars Rebels as well as what happens after. He's a very admirable character, and one that I think would be well-suited to have further exploration and stories as he grows up.
Another favorite character of mine was Merei Spanjaf, Zare's girlfriend. She's a really fun, character who also goes through a lot of growth in realizing that the Empire isn't as good as she thought it was and becoming brave enough to face it head-on. I really loved her character, she was smart and very knowledgable about technology and also funny and caring when it came to her friends.
Finally, there's Dhara Leonis, Zare's older sister. Dhara doesn't make many appearances herself in the books, but her presence is everywhere. She goes missing, the Empire saying she was a cadet who deserted, but the truth is she was taken by the Inquisitor because she is Force-sensitive. She's likable, very funny and sweet, and protective of her younger brother. Dhara goes missing very early on in the series, and when we do find her again at the very end, it's incredibly sad to see how much the time in captivity and being hurt by the Inquisitor has scarred and broken her. However, she gets a very tearful, happy reunion with Zare and her parents.
I think one of the things I appreciate most about these books is how much they flesh out Lothal. We learn a lot of little details about Lothal, like that grav-ball is a very popular sport, and we get to see jogan farms before they're destroyed. It was learning the little details about how life works on Lothal that made me so happy to read, and it also makes the losses there and the subjugation under the Empire that we see it suffer under both in the books and in Star Wars Rebels so much more painful. I loved how much we learned about the regular people of Lothal and what their lives were like, it is that kind of attention to detail and worldbuilding that makes Star Wars so great.