Author: James SA Corey
Publication Date: March 2014
Series: Empire & Rebellion (# 2)
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: Galley
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck—writing as James S. A. Corey—make their Star Wars debut in this brand-new epic adventure featuring Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia Organa. The action begins after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
When the Empire threatens the galaxy’s new hope, will Han, Luke, and Leia become its last chance? When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.
But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.
But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.
I am going to spare you from one of my movie trailer-like summaries, because the GoodReads blurb is excellent.
After writing my Thought Thursday post on books related to television and movies series, I have been wanting to read a Star Wars book. When I was in high school, I read Star Wars books all of the time. I mainly read books involving Han and Leia, because I shipped them hard back in the day. There weren't all of these great ships back when I was little, please don't judge. When I saw that James SA Corey wrote this Star Wars book, I knew that I had to read it. I trust James SA Corey to write a good action sequence, and any good Star Wars novel needs a good action sequence.
Before you get any further in this review, I should remind you that I haven't read a Star Wars in about 15 years. This review will reflect that. Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn wrote a great review about Honor Among Thieves. He is more recently familiar with the Star Wars novels, and in his review, he speaks to how this book fits into the Expanded Universe.
Okay, let's get to the business of reviewing Honor Among Thieves! This book was a lot of fun. After a few set-up chapters, Corey does what Corey does best: nonstop action. I found it hard to put this book down, because each chapter ended with the hint of more exciting action in the next chapter. I found myself looking for excuses as to why I needed to keep reading instead on doing chores around the house. I will admit that the plot itself wasn't anything too inventive. Han and the team are looking for secret files and then later the object to which the files refer. This book isn't trying to tell a complicated tale. This book is an opportunity to hang out with Han Solo and experience some fun action.
Speaking of Han Solo, let's talk about how Corey handled our favorite trio. I thought that the trio behaved fairly similarly to their characters in the movies. Luke acted like the young and idealistic kid that he was from Star Wars: A New Hope. He was just so excited to be a part of the Rebellion and to be a pilot. I thought Leia was written well. I liked seeing her in her element as a competent leader and politician. The movies only hint at her ability to lead even though they suggest that she is high up in the Rebellion leadership. I feel that Corey struggled a bit with writing Han in the beginning. I noticed multiple phrases and sentences that were straight out of the movies. As the book progressed, however, I feel that Corey became more comfortable with writing Han. Han was still the smug and playboy smuggler but without the stock movie language. There was one scene in which Han appeared to act out of character; however, I get the feeling that Corey wanted to give Han some layers. Han deserves layers, so I am cool with the scene even though the scene felt a bit out of place.
We should discuss Scarlet Hark, the Rebel agent Han Solo needs to "rescue." Like Nathan, I totally thought her name was Scarlet Hawk. It wasn't until his review that I realized that I had been calling her by the wrong name. Anyway, Scarlet was a fun and strong character who saves Han way more times than Han saves her. She did seem a bit too perfect, but she was still fun. I enjoyed watching her keep Han on his toes!
The one thing that I didn't like in this book was a weird turn that happened towards the end of the book. The story went from Star Wars to Indiana Jones. Maybe if I was more familiar with the books set prior to Star Wars: A New Hope, the later half of the book wouldn't have felt weird.
I should mention that folks shouldn't expect Honor Among Thieves to be Leviathan Wakes in the Star Wars universe. This book is much shorter (~200 fewer pages) and is sandwiched in between two movies. Corey doesn't have a lot of room to write an epic series similar to the Expanse series.
Overall, this was a fun, beach read. I enjoyed spending time with old friends in an action-packed setting. This is a great book for people who are interested in reading a Star Wars book and don't know where to start. I think that if I was reading this back in the day when I read tons of Star Wars books, it would have gotten a 4 out of 5. As I live and breathe right now, I have to rate it slightly lower.
I give this book a 3 out of 5.