Friday, May 23, 2014

Booknote: Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars (Empire and Rebellion)

James S.A. Corey, Honor Among Thieves: Star Wars (Empire and Rebellion). New York: Del Rey/Lucas Books, 2014. ISBN: 9780345546852. 

As a fan of the "classic" Star Wars, this was a book that I really wanted to like. The book is part of a series, Empire and Rebellion, with books that focus on one of three major characters: Leia, Luke, and Han. Leia already got her volume in Razor's Edge. Honor Among Thieves is Han Solo's tale for the series. The story takes place between the events of Episodes IV, "A New Hope" and V, "The Empire Strikes Back." To give you a brief idea of the plot, here is the book's description:

"When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers."

Naturally, Han has to stay with Scarlet to make sure the mission goes through and make sure he gets her back to the Rebellion. The description above sounds great, but it is not very well executed. This was a book that I really struggled to maintain an interest.

For one, Scarlet's attitude in many ways is a mirror of Princess Leia. She ends up bantering with Han Solo that is practically a copy of how he banters with the princess. After a while, I had to remind myself he was not with Leia; he was with Scarlet. A little more character differentiation would have been nice. In addition, like many novels in the films' period of Star Wars, you pretty much know what is going to happen if you have seen the films, thus the story really has to be engaging and distinctive enough to keep on with it. This one did have some interesting spots and some good action points, but that was about it. I did find myself skimming, and once that happens, I could not care less for a book. The one good quality was the insights into the character of Han Solo. He is not quite  yet the dedicated rebel hero. He is still more on the materialist mercenary side of the fence, and he does want to be paid. But we get glimpses that he is slowly thinking things over.

Overall, this is the kind of book that you read once and you move. Very light popcorn kind of reading, and in this case, I think the ones who will enjoy it are the hardcore fans. More casual fans may or not find it entertaining enough. I don't always read Star Wars novels, but when I do, I try to pick out ones I think will interest me. This one will probably keep me from picking up another one for a while.

In the end, it gets 1.5 out of 5 stars as I did not like it very much. It was less than OK for me.

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