This go out to one of Faceplant’s biggest fan, Zenestex.
I’d like to be able to come to you today and say, “Oh, don’t worry. The Paradise Snare just starts the series off on the wrong foot. The remaining two novels are fantastic.” But I can’t.
The Hutt Gambit and Rebel Dawn are certainly better, but in the sense that accidentally being sprayed with women’s cologne is better than being dunked in whatever that stuff is they sell at Bath and Body Works. You may be reminded of your girl all day, but so will all the guys at the office.
Perhaps you recall my two main qualms with the Snare. The beginning was dull and tedious due to the method of explaining Solo’s back story. Then, being written by one A.C. (read: Ann Carol Crispin, read: female) Crispin, the book dwells on Han’s interest in a particular girl and, more to the point, his feelings for her. In general I enjoy literature by women. I like Jan Austen novels and I enjoyed Sylvia Plath’s the Bell Jar. Enjoyed is probably not the right word there, but more on that before. My argument revolves around the fact that this isn’t Mr. Darcy we’re talking about here. This Han Masculine-adjective Solo.
For much of the Hutt Gambit the relationship subplots are easily ignorable. We are re-introduced to Chewie and Lando and plenty of exciting times are to be had. One of the most rewarding things about the Hutt Gambit is the methodical build up to Han’s acquisition of the Millennium Falcon and the introduction of the famed Kessel Run.
Han’s record-setting run builds up over the course of the two remaining books until we finally reach the climax. We know it’s coming and yet the fact it takes so long to get there makes the reward much sweeter. Like saving up for your first console or that dream ride you saw in the back lot owned by that shady car salesman on a side street downtown. Everyone thinks your crazy for wanting it but you see beyond the dust and the rust and see what she’s really capable of so you scrimp and save and pull a few extra jobs on the side until finally, one day, the keys just seem to fall into your lap and she’s all yours.
I’m not aware if Crispin is a gearhead (petrolhead for you Brits) or not but she is clearly familiar with a man’s love for a car and describes it to perfection.
These books really only have one purpose. To tell us more about three of our favorite Star Wars characters, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian. Here Crispin answers the question, how did these men get to where they were when we met them? Hon and Chewie fare pretty well in the whole thing. Their backstories are believable and meeting the characters of their past is exciting. My biggest beef was with the way Han’s love interest is swept out of the way in time for Leia to enter stage left. It works well enough but it seems highly implausible. All I’ll say is, it’s a big galaxy.
But, doing the voice of Chewie in my head every time he talks never gets old. Though the Hutts seem a little to eloquent for the noises they make. Not so much slow talking Godfathers, more like Marlon Brando meets Don Shakespeare. Lando for the most part works but there are a few times he seems to break character. My biggest beef with the low down dirty Calrissian is his reaction to “the stunt Han pulled.” I suppose it makes sense in the context of Episode V, but in the heat of the moment it didn’t work for me.
Regardless of these novels’ treatment of my childhood heroes, what makes them worth picking up at the library or a garage sale are the space battles. There was a very exciting and daring bit of action at the end of Snare, but in Hutt Gambit and to a lesser extent Rebel Dawn Crispin gives us a show worthy of the big screen. Not that that would ever happen. Let’s face it, Lucas won’t let anyone touch his baby. Besides, he’s too busy figuring out more ways to make money off of 3D and bluray.