So, I must admit that my first and foremost fictional love is not Mr. Darcy, or the Weasley twins, or even Gilbert Blythe.
It's Han Solo.
I'm a huge fan of the original movies (which I only watch sparingly, because I own them on VHS from before Lucas messed with them. I should probably upgrade the box set where the originals are part of the bonus features.) When I was in junior high, I read many of the sequels. Dan was rather taken aback when we went to see Revenge of the Sith and he asked me a question and my answer involved the spice mines of Kessel. Um, yeah...
The kids at work are also obsessed with Star Wars, but they have no idea who Han and Luke and Leia are! I once said something about Luke Skywalker to one of the kids and he said "Luke? Who? Do you mean Anakin?" I think I died a little inside that day.
That's why I was really happy when we got in the Rebel Force series by Alex Wheeler. Finally! A new series with my favorites on the covers! I wasn't going to read it, but I was in a funk the other day and decided that nothing would cheer me up more than reading a book with Han Solo on the cover. But, it's the third book in the series, so I decided to start at the beginning.
Overall, I really enjoyed the first three books. Action takes place in the three years between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The books assume at least a knowledge of the prequel movies and A New Hope. I highly recommend being familiar with the later movies as well because the books have some spoilers on the makeup of the Skywalker family tree. It's also overly obvious that Han and Leia have the hots for each other, not that they're admitting that to anyone, including themselves.
The Rebel Alliance may have just blown up the Death Star, but they still have many problems. The Emperor wants to know who fired the shot that blew up his battle station, and he wants that pilot dead. Rezi Shoresh lost his estranged wife and son in the explosion and wants to move up in the Emperor's esteem. He sends his assassin, X-7 to infiltrate the rebel forces, find the pilot who destroyed the station, and kill him. There's a twist though-- Shoresh wants X-7 to not get caught, so he can stay and report on rebel activities.
The Rebels know the Emperor is gunning for Luke, so the fact that he fired the shot is made a top secret. More pressing is the fact that most of their money and resources were on Alderaan-- the Alliance is broke. Han, Luke, and Leia are off to Muunilist, an Imperial stronghold where they have some secret bank accounts.
On their way, they meet a new friend, Tobin Elad. He's lost his entire family, like Leia. He respects Luke. He's a fellow badboy for Han. He's everything to everyone. He's also X-7.
Leia's on her way to the planet Delaya, Alderaan's sister planet. Anyone from Aderaan who wasn't on the planet when it was destroyed has gathered on Delaya. Leia's on her way to comfort her people, and to recruit them to the Rebel Alliance.
However, not all of the survivors are glad to see her. They blame her for Alderaan's destruction. She blames herself as well.
Tobin/X-7 knows how hard this is for her, and knows this is the perfect moment to find out who destroyed the Death Star. He has his suspicions, but needs confirmation.
The best part is the hidden currents of the Alderaan community. Leia's being shown a model resettlement, while most refugees are shoved in warehouses. There are different factions who don't agree on what the best course of action is, and far too many are willing to sell out our heroes to the Empire.
Now that Tobin/X-7 has confirmed Luke's status as the pilot who fired the decisive shot, he's going to kill him. But, the Force is with Luke and he survives (albeit barely) the first attempt. Han, however, is still blamed after being framed by Tobin. When Leia doesn't trust that Han would never hurt Luke, he's had enough. It's time for him to pack it in, repay Jabba, and get on with his life.
Luke knows Han didn't do it, but until they can discover who did, he and Leia has returned to Tatooine to gather with Luke's friends to say a final farewell to his childhood friend, Biggs, a member of Red Squadron who was lost trying to blow up the Death Star. (Officially, he was in the Imperial Navy and died when it exploded.)
Yoda and Obi-Wan have a plan to ensure Han will return to the Rebels, where he is desperately needed, not only as a pilot, but as a friend.
Jabba is impatient for Solo to pay for his past misdeeds. When he learns that Luke is on Tatooine, he sets a bounty hunter after him, to use Luke as a trap to catch Han...
And... that's when I discovered that this wasn't a trilogy and there's more to the story. None of my local libraries have the rest of the series (the 6th book comes out in May) so I've had to ILL them. Because I'm that sucked in. I know X-7 will never succeed at killing Luke, but I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!
What I most love about the series is how it fills in some of the gaps. We see a lot of character development, especially from Luke and Han. I never thought it was weird how soon Han returned to the Alliance until I read this series. It shows a lot of his inner conflict between the fact he likes these people and wants to help and the fact that he has debts to pay and Jabba has put a huge price on his head. There is some of this shown in Empire Strikes Back, but it gets much more exploration in these books.
It also shows how Luke grows, trying to train himself as a Jedi (because he hasn't met Yoda yet). Also, going from some hick kid to hero of the Alliance isn't the easiest thing in the world.
Overall, it's a really fun series that I hope gets kids into the best part of the Star Wars industry and universe.
Books Provided by... my local library
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