In the aftermath of The Battle of Yavin, Han Solo takes on a new mission for the Rebel Alliance: pick up a spy named Scarlet Hark on a planet in Imperial space. Since things are rarely simple, he finds a couple bounty hunters that want to take him back to Jabba the Hutt, Scarlet Hark, and the existence of an ancient device the Empire could use to control all of hyperspace travel. Can the legendary smuggler and his Wookie save the day?
There have been a couple periods in my life where I was convinced Star Wars was the best thing since sliced bread. The first time was when I was a very young lad and had 50-something Star Wars action figures. My relatives say I even slept with them when I was 4 but they are known liars. The second period I became enamored with Star Wars was when Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy came out. Between then and my second, much more successful, stint in college arount the year 2000, I read 40-something of the Star Wars novels. Then I lost interest around the time the prequel trilogy was in full swing.
Anyway, when this came up on Netgalley, I decided I'd put the trauma of the prequel trilogy aside and give Star Wars another chance. It was a fun read but I'm not going to dig my old Star Wars sheets and pillowcases out of storage.
Han Solo and Chewbacca rang pretty true to their screen incarnations, although I thought Han could have been a little more capable. The novel does a good job illustrating how the events of Star Wars changed him by having him encounter an old crony and contrasting the two of them. Bassen Ray reminded me of a broken down Han Solo with an English accent. Scarlet Hark felt like Princess Leia with a lick of paint, however.
The plot was a little overly complicated but it was still fun. There were double crosses, the Millenium Falcon malfunctions, and lots of gunplay. There were event a few fairly funny bits. But at the end of the day, it's still a Star Wars novel. You know nobody who has an action figure made in his or her likeness is going to get killed and because of this particular novel's place in the timeline, you know the likelihood of any recurring character getting introduced is pretty slim.
All gripes aside, I was fairly entertained by this book. I wasn't as crazy as a Bantha in heat over it like I was the Zahn Trilogy or I, Jedi, but it was a good bit of pulpy fun that reminded me why I liked Star Wars in the first place. Three out of five stars.