In honor of Star Wars day (May the 4th), I decided to read another novel inspired by the popular science fiction universe. I have always been a fan of the franchise, so ready stories about the characters I grew up with always brings back good memories; running around the backyard with water-pistols, pretending to be Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The “Star Wars, the new Jedi Order” series was inspired by the Star Wars mythos, and though the storyline takes place after the events of episode VI, it was written way before “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” was even conceived. Therefore the events that take place in this literary series do not line up the storyline from the latest movie. This was a bit jarring for me, especially after seeing the episode VII, but this book was a great read nonetheless.
In this book, an alien menace known as the Yuuzhan Vong are presented as a growing threat, as they continue to advance toward the heart of the New Republic; Corusant. The story sees the classic protagonists (Luke, Leia and Han) dealing with this scenario from three different approaches. The book however focuses on Han Solo who, after suffering the loss of Chewbacca, goes out on his own. Shortly thereafter, Han runs into an old ally of his, who hires him for a retrieval mission. However, Han soon finds himself in deadly danger, as this job has him tangled up in a Yuuzhan Vong plot.
Back of the book:
“Merciless attacks by an invincible alien force have left the New Republic reeling. Dozens of worlds have succumbed to occupation or annihilation, and even the Jedi Knights have tasted defeat. In these darkest of times, the noble Chewbacca is laid to rest, having died as heroically as he lived--and a grief-stricken Han Solo is left to fit the pieces of his shattered soul back together before he loses everything: friends, family, and faith.
Refusing help from Leia or Luke, Han becomes the loner he once was, seeking to escape the pain of his partner's death in adventure . . . and revenge. When he learns that an old friend from his smuggling days is operating as a mercenary for the enemy, he sets out to expose the traitor. But Han's investigation uncovers an even greater evil: a sinister conspiracy aimed at the very heart of the New Republic's will and ability to fight--the Jedi.
Now Han must face down his inner demons and, with the help of a new and unexpected ally, honor Chewbacca's sacrifice in the only way that matters--by being worthy of it.”
What I learned
- Source material: James Luceno must have watched Star Wars episodes IV to VI until his eyes bled. He has grasped the character of Han Solo so well, that he could have substituted for Harrison Ford in the movie. The author masterfully brought out every aspect of the character, from the way Han talks, to his particular facial expressions. Luceno has shown an excellent talent for observation and how to translate that observation into writing.
- Background knowledge: An important difference I noticed between this novel and the other Star Wars book I read, Hard Contact, is that the author does not assume his readers are hardcore connoisseurs of the franchise. Despite writing about alien races that have been established in the franchise for years, Luceno still takes the time to physically describe these characters, allowing new readers the opportunity to visualize them. This is really important, as my previous experience with a Star Wars book had me looking up Wookipedia on more than one occasion to figure out what they were talking about.
- Continuity: As I previously mentioned, as entertaining as this series is, it follows the franchise only to a certain point. An author must keep the source material in mind, because if it gets updated, then their work risks becoming outdated in the eyes of the fans. As a writer, I find this lesson particularly important, as I would want my work to endure and not become obsolete.
James Luceno is a is a New York Times bestselling science fiction author who has written content for several novels and a dictionary about the Star Wars universe. He has also written other novels, film adaptations, web series and television cartoon series. For those interested in learning more about the author, James Luceno, please check out his websites here:
For those of you who might be interested, here are links to the websites of the cover artist, Rick Berry:
In closing, I would like to thank my step-son Shawn for lending me this book. I would also like to thank my wife, family and followers for all the encouragement and support you keep giving me during my journey.
Until next time!