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Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion: Honor Among Thieves Hardcover – 27 Mar 2014
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"Every Star Wars fan should own the book" (SciFi Now)
"The pacing of the novel is masterful and the authors have managed to combine action, drama and humour wonderfully. The style of writing is so descriptive, so vivid and so alive that you forget that you’re reading printed words on paper thanks to the images that are conjured in your mind. Han’s dialogue is particularly witty, and the writing mimics his tone perfectly." (Star Wars Aficiondado)
Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck--writing as
James S. A. Corey--make their Star Wars debut in this old school, action-packed,
Space Opera epic. This brand-new, classic adventure stars the irrepressible Han
Solo and his new friends, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia Organa, just after the
destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode VI A New Hope!
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It is set very early after a New Hope. Always being a rebel without a cause, Han has a difficult time adjusting to now having a cause and the responsibilities that go along with it especially orders, seemingly from everyone. Han is working with the rebels on a consultancy bases. This does not ingratiate him to the higher up in the Alliance. Who see his as a money grabbing scoundrel who is dirtying the Rebels reputation through association with him. However nobody can argue with results and when a dangerous mission comes up to extract a high level rebel spy from an Imperial core world, guess whose name come name comes up.
On planet side Han get to show off his own investigative skills, and that fact that Han is not bad in a fight not just with a blaster either. Han get a reminder of what the Rebels are fighting for when he see how "ordered" the core world is. If you are a Chewie fan you might be a bit disappointed as (probably to give Han more time on his own) Chewie spends a lot of time on the Falcon repairing stuff or hiding as Wookees are not all that common in the Core worlds.
Han also runs into some old associates and smugglers in general. Causing a recurring theme, of how he might have become if a crazy old man and a dumb farm boy did not come into his life. As this book is so soon after the New Hope Han does not have an unlimited budget for repairing the Falcon and has to do most of the repairs between him and Chewie themselves. The attraction angle between him and is hinted at and even called by Scarlet, but Han covers it with his usual bravado. Also Leia does not know Han as well as she does by the Empire Strikes Back, so she is surprised by Hans loyally to his friends and his philosophies. We also see another side of Leia as well which has not been shown as much, the leader making hard choices with soldiers’ lives.
A good book, which shows some of the seeds of transition Han went through from a smuggler to a commander to a prominent member of the Rebel Alliance. Also if James S. a. Corey have their way we might be seeing more of Scarlet Hark in other stories.
Following the destruction of the Death Star, Han Solo struggles to find the balance between his mercenary lifestyle and his increasing involvement in the Rebellion. At the behest of Princess Leia, he and Chewbacca set off to rescue Rebel spy Scarlet Hark, but they soon discover that Scarlet has a lead on a weapon which could change the course of the war, and the galaxy, forever.
This is an adventure story and those looking for a nice bit of Star Wars based adventure in the style of the original Marvel comics (or even the Saturday morning serials which inspired Star Wars in the first place) will probably find some of what they want here. For me, the best aspect of this book was that it was the first one to really tackle the idea that someone in Han's line of work would have no interest in restoring the Republic, which is the Rebellion's nominal goal, and how he overcomes that clash of ideologies.
The reviews I'd read for this book were overwhelmingly positive and I honestly can't understand why. I read this immediately after Timothy Zahn's 'Scoundrels' (another Solo-focused novel) and in comparison to that book's depth and complexity, this one is a perfectly transparent puddle. There is a vague plot about a new superweapon (there's always a superweapon, isn't there?) and hints about the villain of the piece being a bad guy, but there's never actually any weight given to either. Each of them is more or less summed up in a single piece of exposition that we're just supposed to take to heart and engage with. As well as those aspects, I was singularly unimpressed by the two major new characters; Baasen Rey and Scarlet Hark. Rey is a character completely lacking in believable (or even understandable) motivation, going from moustache-twirling hack-villain to (badly) bantering best buddy in the turn of a chapter (and don't forget that Han SHOOTS HIS HAND OFF between those two things). A bigger disappointment is Scarlet, who at times almost seems on the verge of becoming an engaging character before the moment tails off an is lost. I can't help but feel that the attractive young spy would've been a perfect opportunity to highlight Han's transition from easy lover to Leia's paramour, but again that opportunity slips by just as its about to develop. Ultimately this book's worst crime is that it turns Han into a buffoon. I'm not saying he doesn't have a degree of that at times in the films, but here he's shown as a blithering idiot, rather than a man whose been surviving (and thriving) in the criminal underworld since he was 19.
Before reading this I read 'Kenobi', 'Tarkin', 'A New Dawn' and 'Scoundrels' back to back. After reading this I wasn't in the mood for Star Wars anymore (I went on to a military history book instead).
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