Friday, April 3, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves

This week I decided to review Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves by James S. A. Corey. When the story opens, the Rebel Alliance is seeking a site to build a new permanent headquarters, but the search does not go well, as the latest planned location is now being scouted by Imperial probe droids. Luke Skywalker is named second in command of a scouting force led by Wedge Antilles that is sent to Seymarti, a solar system avoided by most due to the number of ships that have vanished there. Then Han Solo is asked to extract the spy Scarlet from the planet Cerroban while Princess Leia prepares for a vital conference on Kiamurr to meet a number of potential new allies for the rebellion. Soon after Han and Chewbacca  arrive at Cerroban, they run into Baasen, an old smuggler friend of theirs who claims to be working for Scarlet. But Baasen has really turned bounty hunter and captures them. The pair manages to escape but Baasen, who managed to convince Jabba the Hutt to pay him part of the bounty on Han in advance, is left desperate and still on their tail. The two partners eventually find Scarlet, but she isn’t ready to leave yet. Rather she plans to infiltrate an Imperial base to steal data linked to some discovery, data which has been stolen by someone else and which the Empire wants contained no matter the amount of destruction required.  While fleeing the system after the raid, the Falcon runs into Baasen’s ship and, after taking a missile hit, manages to escape. Scarlet soon realizes that Hunter Maas, the thief who stole the data she is seeking, is heading for Kiamurr with an Imperial force, ordered to level any planet he is found on, closing in. They reach Kiamurr where Hunter reveals that the discovery he has stolen the location of is an ancient device capable of controlling hyperspace completely. While Leia carries on negotiations with Hunter as a cover, Scarlet steals the data, which reveals that the device is at Seymarti . But Baasen catches up with the group as the Imperial attack fleet arrives, and they manage to convince him to join them in a race to Seymarti. But an Imperial force is already there and the scout team led by Luke and Wedge must take eight fighters against a Star Destroyer while Solo’s group must either capture or destroy a device which could grant its wielder control of the galaxy…
The book also includes "Silver and Scarlet," a short story about Scarlet’s mission to obtain vital information from a disgruntled Imperial general.
I give the book a 7.5 out of 10. First, by keeping the entire main story from Han’s perspective, we miss the battle between the rebel scout force and the Imperial archaeological team’s accompanying Star Destroyer, only hearing the results after the fact and getting no real detail on what happened during the fight, and I think seeing that battle in detail alone would have been worth the cost of the book.  Also, the ancient super device, being, or species plot has been done to death in the Star Wars Legends material, and the ability to hinder hyperspace travel was one of the traits of one of the earliest such devices to appear in the setting. Still the negotiation scenes, adventure sequences, and Han’s hunt for Scarlet and the ensuing infiltration mission were well done, as were the accompanying short story told from Scarlet’s perspective.  

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