Friday, October 2, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare

This week I decided to review the re-release of Star Wars: The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare by A. C. Crispin. 

The story opens with a young Han Solo, apparently orphaned, and having lived on the Trader’s Luck, a former troop transport converted to a mobile criminal base of operations and captained by Garris Shrike. But Han has grown tired of Shrike’s rules and cruelty and has hatched a daring plan to escape to Ylesia, a world which has put out an ad for pilots, especially Corellian ones. Han’s plan is to sneak aboard a droid-piloted transport destined for Ylesia, but when he steals a blaster pistol, his attempt to fool the ship’s security systems fail leading to a confrontation with Shrike’s forces where Dewlanna, the vessel’s Wookiee cook who served as a surrogate mother for Solo, is mortally wounded and tells Solo to flee before dying. 

Solo manages to escape and eventually reaches Ylesia, nearly crashing in the process due to the world’s treacherous winds, and needing to land in a rush due to a shortage of air. Han, operating under a false name, is hired and discovers that the droid craft he rode on is being converted to a crewed vessel which he will be flying due to a number of Ylesiain droid craft recently being seized by pirates. He is assigned a Togorian guard and gunner named Muuurgh. Han soon discovers that Ylesia is supposed to be a religious sanctuary but is, in fact, a major Hutt spice-refining center with the T'landa Til priests using a natural ability intended to attract mates to produce Exultation which would bring such pleasure to would-be religious pilgrims that they would become addicted to the experience and thus become eager slaves for the refineries. Han also begins to fall in love with a young Pilgrim named Bria Tharen and tries to make her understand the trap she has fallen into. 

Eventually Muuurgh comes to trust Han after the two escape a pirate attack and Han refuses to abandon him after he is wounded. Muuurgh had come to Ylesia seeking his fiancée Mrrov but he had been told that she had left the planet and, with no money to book passage offnworld, he had taken the guard job offered to him. Bria reveals that Mrrov is actually still on the planet and soon a plan to rescue Bria and Mrrov begins to form. But with the High Priest of Ylesia planning to marry Bria off to one of his allies the plan is forced into a rush mode, and even if the two couples can escape the security forces on the ground they must still face Ylesia’s windstorms and any ships in orbit. 

And there are older enemies of Han’s still out there. The story also includes a few flashbacks to earlier periods of Han’s life like his first meeting with his cousin Thrackan.

I give this book 7 out of 10. It is mostly well written, though some of the action sequences could have used more detail in my opinion. There are two big flaws in it, however. First is the complete and utter lack of Chewbacca, or any of the other characters established as being Han’s friends before the movies for that matter.  Second is the shear absurdity of why Han becomes a pilot for Ylesia. He wants to gain enough piloting experience to do well in the entrance exams for the Imperial Navy by working as a drug smuggler. I’m sorry, but this just makes absolutely no sense to me. Still, all in all, it was a decent book, though not the author’s best.

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