My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
When I found out that there were books being published that fit into the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back I was thrilled. Then I noticed the author was female and all my happiness was put on hold. Let me explain myself here real quick. I have had very bad experiences with Star Wars novels written by female authors. I know there haven’t been too many written by women but those that I have read were just horrible. So I figured this would be added to the “Women can’t write Star Wars” Pile.
Luckily this was not the case.
While Leia, and to a slightly lesser extent Han, is the focus of this book there are still all the main players from A New Hope either playing roles or mentioned throughout the story. The events happen two years after the battle of Yavin. Echo Base is still being built and Leia is working on securing more supplies to help finish building it. I liked how we get this small glimpse into the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back because it’s obviously that many important things happen during that three years, such as Echo Base being built and the Rebel Forces being moved there, and yet not everyone knows exactly how, when, where or why those things happened.
As far as characters go I think Martha Wells did a great job of portraying the big three – Han, Luke and Leia, so that they reflected their already well established characters from the movie. Han was rough around the edges as he should be but his stubborn ways and resourcefulness came in handy and Leia was good at being diplomatic but also going with the flow as things changed for the better or the worse. The characters were also not perfect, something that I felt really made the book all the better. Bad decisions were bad by some of them and so plans went way off course, but in the end they managed to work with those changes and forge ahead – which is very similar to how things went in the movies. Luke was not as strong of a presence in the book so I couldn’t fully judge his character as much but he felt fairly accurate to me.
There was also the start of Han and Leia’s relationship beyond being acquaintances that are working together and have since become friends. There are moments where they have awkward interactions because of their feelings showing up but neither of them knows quite how to handle it. Some may not like these parts but I thought it was a great way to show that their love didn’t just suddenly appear one day, it had been growing even if they didn’t admit to it right away.
This book has a lot of the aspects to it that makes me long the Star Wars movies, as well as the books. There are space battles, betrayals, plans going awry, friendships tested and made, Jedi, and of course the Empire trying to stop the Rebels from gaining anymore strength. Of course the one other thing this book has are survivors from Alderaan. Obviously in a universe where space travel is not only possible but very commonly used, there would be Alderaanians who were not on the planet when ti was destroyed by the Death Star, yet until now I don’t really remember any mention of them. So having Alderaanian’s become involved in the plot was a nice twist.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Yes, there were some slower parts and a few places where I wanted to story to hurry up and get back to the main focus I thought this was a great novel. I had initially thought about giving this book four stars, however I gave it that extra half star because of two reason. One: While there are some books filling in the gaps between the movies I’ve always felt there needed to be so many more and this one, along with the rest in this trilogy, are helping to fill the gap. Two: Martha Wells finally showed me that there are women out there that can write great Star Wars novels. So I bumped my rating up because honestly there needs to be more books like this one and more books to fill in the time between the original trilogy movies. I would definitely recommend this book to Star Wars fans and I am looking forward to when the next book comes out.