Friday, December 13, 2013

Star Wars: Scoundrels Review

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn. The book opens not long after the end of Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Han Solo has a problem. The reward for his heroics in the movie, which he was going to use to pay off Jabba the Hutt, was stolen by a space pirate. He and Chewbacca fend off an attack by a bounty hunter in a cantina. He is approached by a man, who is impressed by his skills. The man lost his father, and was maimed during an attack by a crime lord on the father’s business and wishes for Han to put together a team to steal back 163 million in credit tabs, the full amount only available to the father or his agents though a  good slicer could get 800,000 to 900,000. Han begins putting together a team, notably excluding Lando Calrissian, whom he fears still hates him due to the events at Ylesia (See A. C. Crispin’s Han Solo Trilogy: Rebel Dawn for details.) Despite this Lando ends up being invited to the team, and he has realized Han wasn’t responsible for what happened. They are also joined by another face familiar to fans of the setting’s novels, and many others. They begin gathering information on the mansion of their target but soon things begin to go wrong. They stumble into an Imperial Intelligence operation aimed at stealing blackmail data from the man they are seeking to rob, and discover that he’s a high ranking member of Black Sun, one of the most powerful criminal groups in the galaxy. Despite this they press on first leading to a daring rescue of Lando, and Zerba, the team’s sleight of hand expert. In the end their plans lead to a heist, where much goes wrong.
I give the book an 8 out of 10. It’s a very well done story, and as much as I love space combat in Star Wars stories I know there are cases where including it wouldn’t help a story and in my opinion this is one of them. I love the detail put in to setting up the final heist, and the number of new characters, which means we didn’t know if they would survive the job, on Solo’s team keeps tensions high whenever something goes wrong. Even knowing Star Wars as well as I do the final plot twist aught me off guard. I knew something had to happen but never saw what did occur coming. There are a few points I’m still confused by in the plot but not enough to ruin the story.

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