Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Crystal Star - The Review

The Crystal Star
Before I begin this late (sorry) book review, I have to make a note here about quotations.  When we first starting doing these reviews (when was that?  Like 3 years ago?), whenever I wanted to quote something from a book I had to type the whole thing myself.  Well, it might not sound like much, but it was very time consuming.  So a couple of reviews ago, I was lamenting to Zyra that the worst part of the reviews was the retyping and she says, “Oh, I have most of the books electronically and I just cut and paste.  Do you want me to send you a copy of the ones you have to review?”  I’m sure you can guess what I said!  So anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is because I probably now quote more, even though the books are not any better or anything – it’s just easier to add quotes.  So, this book has a lot of quotes, probably more than it deserves, but that’s the reason.  Okay?  Let’s move on.

The book starts off with a bang.  The very first line is:  The children had been kidnapped.  We then learn that Leia is on a planet called Munto Codru with her three children and Chewbacca (no Han – big surprise).  And while Leia is doing whatever she does diplomatically, the children are kidnapped and Chewbacca is seriously injured.  The Munto Codru bigwigs swear that the kidnapping is all part of their tradition and stall Leia into going into any great lengths to find her children.  Although, despite her host’s warnings, Leia does insist on some measures being taken (like locking down the planet). 

At least Leia does seem to really struggle with the position she is put in and puts her foot down to a degree.  The way that she is often written, you might expect her to say: “Oh, this is normal for my children to be taken and my husband’s best friend to be nearly mortally wounded and I would offend you if I didn’t play along?  Alright, just wake me up when it’s over and I’ll sit around and do nothing as instructed.”  But she doesn’t do that, thank the gods.

Okay, so like in so many other books, we’re going to have a few different storylines break out here and (spoiler alert) they will all merge together at the end in a nice little package.  Basically we’ll have Leia looking for the children, we find out that Han is off with Luke looking for some Jedi Master on some awful planet and then we’ll have the children’s storyline as we find out what happens to them while they are kidnapped.  I kinda liked reading about the children’s “adventures” and I think this is the first opportunity that we are seeing them develop some personalities.  I will say that parts of this book have the flavor of having been written by a fanfic writer (no offense to us).  I just didn’t get a ‘professional’ feel from this author’s writing style.  She seems to write in small, simple sentences.  IDK, I found it…different.  It almost made it difficult for me to read, I know that sounds strange.  But it was, so….whatever. 

Anyhoo (how do you spell that?).  I know in the last review I did, I mentioned how I liked the little bit of Han/Luke bonding time that we got.  Well, in this book, it kinda got on my nerves and in parts got kinda creepy.  I know, right?  You just can’t please me.  I guess I just wonder why Han gets to take a ‘vacation’ with Luke and is never allowed to do that with Leia.  And although I think Han would have concern for his brother-in-law, at points in the story, Han’s obsession with Luke’s lovelife (or lack of it), just seems over-the-top, IMO.  And I guess I just gave you a fairly good synopsis of where Han and Luke are at the beginning of the book.  But I’ll elaborate.

Han and Luke are on Crseih Station (really, how do you say that?).  Luke’s all focused on finding some Force user and Han is looking to blow off some steam and drink and gamble and get Luke laid.  Oh, and they have Threepio with them.  While talking to Luke, Han does have a little memory of Leia though, that is pretty nice:

An image came to him, unbidden, of the last time he and Leia had danced. Some reception somewhere, he could not remember when or even what planet the event had been on. Only that there had been a few minutes free of diplomacy, toasts, and salutations, and he and Leia had held each other close in the mirror-fractured light on the sparkling dance floor. A sharp pang of desire and loneliness touched his heart. 

Okay, on a totally random, weird note that has nothing to do with plot:  when Han checks into their hotel, he gets three rooms.  Seriously?  Goldenrod needs his own room?  I just don’t get that.

There is a little scary part where Han kinda allows this ‘ghostling’ thing to flirt with him and the book says that their species ‘always fascinated him’ as if he might contemplate a little roll in the hay.  Apparently if a ghostling ‘does the mattress mambo’ with humans they die or something bizarre like that.  But Han cuts her off very early and remains true to Leia and even though he’s been having feelings of letting loose we see that he does have his limits.  In the end, it was probably very in character – that teeny bit of contemplation/flirting - I mean, he is a bit of a bad boy, right?  On another note, as the ghostling tries to recruit him into her ‘religion’, Han uses the word “proselytize”, which I just can’t see him using so he goes directly from very in character to immediately jumping right out-of-character for me.

Moving on.  I guess I’ll check in on the children.  They have been kidnapped by a man named Hethrir, who is telling them all the normal Kidnapping 101 type things, like:  “Your parents are dead and they want me to take care of you now.”  The author does try to capture the children’s voices and, as I said earlier, overall I enjoyed “getting to know” the Solo children as their own little people.  The children’s story is told solely in Jaina’s POV.  She is very resourceful and mechanically inclined and reminded me of a little Han Solo.  Jacen has a ‘oneness’ with animals and I don’t think I’ve ever quite puzzled out what brooding Anakin is/was really supposed to be.  Maybe a duplicate of his namesake grandfather?  No, wait a minute, that’s Jacen’s job.

So it is a scary thing for children to get kidnapped (no matter how often it happens).  There’s a part where Hethrir is separating Anakin from Jacen and Jaina.  As Anakin struggles to get free, they ‘yank’ his hair.  I really didn’t enjoy reading about things happening to Leia’s children and the saying “If they so much as harm a hair on their head” came to me several times over while reading this story.  During the struggle Jaina bites Hethrir and loses a tooth that has been loose.  IDK, I know how my kids are about losing teeth and the milestone that represents and I did think the author captured that as Jaina (in the midst of all that was going on) really wanted that tooth! 

So, it’s revealed that this Hethrir must have some kind of Force sense when the children release some Force power (Jacen and Jaina try to form a shield of protection and Anakin’s ability just kinda flares out) and Hethrir is able to repress their powers.  Jaina describes it as being smothered in a cold, wet blanket.  Feeling responsible because she is the oldest, she pleads for Hethrir to allow them all to stay together.  She also asks for that tooth (which is currently lying on the ground), but they won’t let her have it and they take Anakin away.  Jaina then thinks this:

Jaina felt hurt and embarrassed, scared and mad. Even when she was little, no one had ever treated her like this. She always tried to use her abilities properly. To be responsible. As soon as she had understood what the Force meant, she had known it would be important in her life.

She wished she had Mama to talk to. She was never, never, never allowed to use her abilities to hurt someone. But what about if she had to, what if it was to keep somebody from hurting her or Jacen, what if it was to defend her little brother? She was as responsible for Anakin as she was for the right use of what she could do.  

I do think that we really get to know little Jaina in this book and I did enjoy that.  The twins are placed in some cold, dark holding cells far apart from one another so the only way they could communicate would be through the Force which they are scared to do since Hethrir senses it and stops them every time they try.  While alone in her little room, Jaina thinks this:

Jaina's eyes filled with tears and her vision blurred. She had never before had to think about sneaking just so she could hold her brother's hand. She never had to think about sneaking before at all! And she could not remember the time before she could think at Jacen. She felt so cold and tired and hungry and lonely that she almost burst into tears again. She only kept from crying because she knew that pretty soon she could talk to Jacen and they could figure out what to do.

I really hate kidnappers (or anybody that hurts kids).

Back on Munto Codru, it takes a little ingenuity and nudging from Artoo Detoo (seriously, what would the Solo/Skywalker families do without those droids?), but he proves to Leia that a ship did leave the system after the kidnapping and then leads her to the spaceport.  I actually liked some of that part about her ship:

The third was Alderaan, Leia's pride and joy. Alderaan was a sleek little ship with hyperdrive capabilities. Luke had chided her for spending the time to learn to fly it that she could have used to study the ways of the Jedi. But the truth was, it was much easier and faster to learn to fly Alderaan than to learn to be a Jedi Knight. And a great deal more fun. Maybe that was why she loved the little starcraft so much. Her responsibility to the Republic kept her from having much fun.
First, I’m already (as I think I’ve mentioned before) sick of hearing about – in EVERY book – how Leia is neglecting her Jedi training.  Blah!  But I like here that she’s just like, “Hey, this is easier and more fun and I deserve some fun!”  Because she does.  Then she goes on to think about how Luke and Han probably work just as hard as she does and deserve some relaxing, too.  And then she thinks this:
Once he (Han) fell asleep in his bath. Leia was convinced that if she had come in five minutes later, he would have drowned.
That was why he and Luke had gone on a quest together. They were both burning out. They needed time off.

She doubted Luke would find any other Jedi Knights on his quest, but she hoped he would find some rest. And she hoped Han would let loose, like in the old days.
Awwww.  First, what a visual coming home to a shriveled up Han Solo in the tub, huh?  Wait a minute, didn’t somebody write a fanfic about Leia coming home to find Han in the tub?  (wink, wink)  And then I like that she wants her husband and her brother to have a good time.
Okay, a couple of other quick things here.  I liked this as Leia was thinking about her little ship:
It was registered to a person who did not exist, a second identity Leia had established so that someday, sometime, somehow, she would be able to take a few days off and fly away to a pleasant place without being recognized.
So at least she WANTS to take it easy, even if she’s never able to.  And then this between her and Artoo, I thought was cute:
Artoo-Detoo broadcast a loud electronic raspberry and shut down the transmission.

"Got that one from Han, did you?" Leia said.
I told you I was having quote overload here, but here was another thing Leia thought of as she recalled her Force training with Luke:
"Every time you reach a new stage," he had said, "you realize that you really don't understand anything, you have to go back to the beginning, to the most basic practice, and learn what you didn't see the last time through."

"That's very encouraging," Leia had said in a dry tone that Luke chose not to acknowledge.
For some reason I like the little visual I get there of serious Luke with his super, duper important Jedi teachings and then smart-mouthed Leia’s response…

Anway, all of that got Leia and Artoo off the planet in her little ship and using her limited Force abilities, they are following a ‘trail’ into hyperspace to find the children.  Oh and even though he was really, really injured and Leia was trying to leave without him, Chewie manages to sneak aboard before she leaves.

Hethrir continues to manipulate the children for several days. He leads an organization called the Empire Reborn.  I think the name is self-explanatory so don’t ask me to explain exactly what their plans are other than the usual taking over the galaxy and appointing some crazy man as “Emperor”, namely Hethrir himself.  The kids are fed gruel and they make some friends and cause some havoc.  One older boy carries Anakin while Anakin sleeps throughout almost the entire book.  It’s never said if Hethrir is making him sleepy or drugging him, unless I missed it, but you get that feeling since, literally, that’s all the youngest Solo does the entire time.

Back to Leia.  The hyperspace trail that she was following lead her to a graveyard of slave ships full of stolen people trapped in some kind of stasis.  She meets a woman that comes from a planet that had had their entire population obliterated by the Empire.  And in fact, there is an entire ship full of these people that were thought not to exist any longer and Leia thinks this:
Leia wished she could find a shipful of people from Alderaan.
Whenever Leia thinks about Alderaan, I feel sorry for her. 
She and Chewie rescue this woman and offer to help everyone else escape.  And I really didn’t get this part, but there was this guy and he refused Leia’s help and said everyone would just rather float around in space unaware of time and stuff and Leia lets him go.  As she is leaving the slave graveyard, she sends an anonymous SOS to General Han Solo to help all the people she is leaving:
She sent an unsigned message, an SOS from the stolen ships, to General Han Solo. Lelila the bounty hunter could not afford to think of asking the famous freedom fighter to come to her aid; she could not afford to think of the touch of his hand, the warmth of his body in the night, his grief and rage when he learned all that had happened.  (And that you hadn’t told him…)
Warning, RANT approaching.  What is the deal with communications in the SW universe?  I mean, even we can talk to each other on airplanes and cruise ships, why does it seem so hard for Han and Leia to communicate with each other unless they are in the same room?  All of these books are the same on this note.  Even when on the same planet, they never ‘call’ each other and let each other know what’s going on.  It’s always either to protect the other one by keeping them ignorant (which may have happened when they were younger, but I just can’t see them functioning that way as a married couple and parents) or there’s jamming or they just don’t think about it.  It’s a GIANT pet peeve of mine!  END OF RANT.
Regardless, Leia sends Han a note about these slave people but not about his own children. Okay, moving on.
So, Jaina is still trying to puzzle her way out of her predicament.  She was able to figure out that the kidnappers were lying about her parents being dead.  Her and Jacen lied and said that Jacen was the oldest and when Hethrir didn’t know the truth, they decided that he didn’t know their parents at all and that he was lying about everything.  While she is plotting what to do, Jaina thinks this:
I have to let Mama know about the Empire Reborn, Jaina thought. Somehow. I have to let her know about Hethrir. He sounds like one of the evil tyrants Mama fought against, before I was even alive.

Jaina wondered if the fight would have to happen all over again.

Well, you know what poor little Jaina?  Yes, the answer to your question is sadly yes.  And not just once but a million times over – you and your family will have to fight this same battle again and again.  Sad, isn’t it?  What’s sadder?  I pay lots of money to read about it…

Meanwhile, Han, Luke and Threepio are tracking down some mysterious message which leads them to none other than Xaverri (Han’s old magician girlfriend, remember her?).  I actually liked her and Salla and anyway Xaverri shows Han and Luke some big blob thing that heals people and tells them how dangerous it is.  Han immediately tries to dissect the scam, even though Xaverri ensures him that it is not a scam as she was one of the biggest scam artists of all time.  Han is still very skeptical and Luke is…intrigued – I guess would be the word.  As Han is talking to Xaverri and arguing that Waru (that’s the big blob’s name) is a fake, he and Xaverri have this conversation:
"Do you think I have completely lost my mind?" she asked, her tone cold.

Her contempt goaded him.

"Yeah, that would about cover it," he said.

"I, Xaverri, the best creator of deceptions in the old Empire?"

"We all change," he said. "Look, if somebody had a really fine scam, one even you couldn't figure out--then you'd be easy to fool. You're so good, it's hard to imagine anyone better."

There were several examples of Han’s flippant mouth and attitude that I actually enjoyed during this book.  For some reason, I liked this exchange with Threepio and Han:

"Our resources are severely depleted. If you plan to gamble--and I certainly do not wish to imply that I believe you should not gamble, or that I believe there is anything wrong with gambling, or that there is any possibility that you might lose--but if you plan to gamble... don't you think it would be for the best, merely as insurance of course, for you to leave some of your previous winnings in my care? That way I could pay our outstanding bill at the lodge. I noticed the lodge-keeper toting up our accounts as we left today, and he fixed me with a positively poisonous glare!"
Han pulled a wad of credits out of his pocket and thrust it into Threepio's fingers.
"When you want some money, all you have to do is say, "Can I have some money?"'" Han said. He laughed, thinking about the gaming table, the cards that he trusted to go his way. "Plenty more where that came from."
He strode away.
I forgot to mention that that guy who wished to keep floating around in space had actually recognized Leia.  This prompted Leia to work on her and Chewbacca’s disguise which lead to some cute moments between Wookiee and Princess:
She took Chewbacca to her cabin and pulled out all the cosmetics in the dressing-table drawer. Chewbacca looked at them quizzically.

"You didn't think my eyelids were this color naturally, did you?" she asked. "Didn't you notice the color changes sometimes?"

He snorted.

"No, my skin doesn't camouflage itself!" Leia said.

As she spoke, she pulled the pins from her hair and unbraided the long plait. Chewbacca watched with astonishment.

I so seldom take my hair down, she thought. Hardly anyone has seen me with my hair down in years... except Han.

She had thought, over the years, of cutting her hair, but the idea was too radical. On Alderaan, adults grew their hair long and usually kept it bound.

Feeling reckless, Leia brushed her hair loose and free over her shoulders. She stood up. Her hair spilled almost to her knees. She kept brushing it, till it parted down the center and hung on either side of her face and draped down over her breasts. It tended to fall across her eyes, so she looked out through a curtain.
All the better, she thought. All the better to hide me with.

She rummaged through the bottles and packets. Some she had bought on a whim and never even tried. She kept them on her ship because her ship was her place for whims and fancies.

Leia remembered the first time she had taken Han out on Alderaan. She shook the stirring memory away. Now was no time for such memories.
Yes, yes it is the time for such memories!  Okay, missing moment alert, girlies…
Leia then uses these things to color Chewie’s hair:
Amused, the Wookiee let the color-crawlers have their way with his fur.  (That’s just not the way I would word that sentence…)
"Soon you'll just be one more brindled Wookiee," Leia said. "Now. What about me?"

Chewbacca chose several different greens and handed them to her.

"I look terrible in green," Leia said. "I can't imagine why I bought those." She chose, instead, several shades of ordinary brown and let them loose in her hair.

I can't imagine why I bought these colors, either, she thought. I gave Chewbacca the best shades. Oh, well.

She chose one package of very dark green and opened it into her hair.

Chewbacca whuffled with approval.

I'm going to look so boring, Leia thought.

Is it just me, or is this really cute?

She envied Han his beard. Such an easy way to hide one's face. She considered disguising herself as a man, but only for a moment.

In stories, she said to herself, princesses always disguise themselves as princes. But princesses in stories never have any hips. They never have any breasts. No. I'd look like a woman in disguise; I'd only draw more attention.

Better to be invisible.

Leia then proceeds to take on a persona of a bounty hunter named: Lelila.  She actually uses the disguise to shore up her emotions and gather her strength to find her children, knowing that they need her to be strong and resourceful and not a blithering mess.  Oh, one more thing with Chewbacca, though as they are done with their disguises (a sad thing):

Chewbacca gazed at his changing fur with every evidence of fascination. But then he sighed, deeply, woefully. His sigh echoed in the empty space in Leia's heart where she could not find any perception of her children.
I really, really don’t like missing children!  I mean, it is every parent’s worst nightmare.
This is just a little bit of Leia trying to slip into her protective persona of tough bounty hunter:

Unwillingly, Lelila sat on the edge of the chair. Her nerves tingled as if they extended beyond her skin. They made her restless and sensitive. If she tried to use the sensitivity, she slipped off into the despair that had gripped her previous identity. As soon as she had reached this wilderness of drifting, dying ships, her sensitivity had not only failed but punished her.

Lelila the bounty hunter craved action, any action, that would keep her from remembering.

Okay, now this has happened in other books as well, and I’m going to point it out here.  Leia sometimes seems absolutely clueless and naïve sometimes.  Like when she discovered the slave ships, she says this on slavery:

"But that would have stopped!" Lelila cried. "It would have stopped when the Empire fell. Wouldn't it?"

Seriously?  Is this woman really the Chief of State of an entire galaxy?  Come on.  Does she really think that slavery still didn’t exist ANYWERE in the ENTIRE galaxy?  I don’t buy it.

Back to Han.  Goldenrod is still on his case about not having money and he is now very worried since there isn’t any food in the kitchen for him to cook.  There’s a small sub-story about Han gambling, but let’s just say they their finances were fluctuating this entire trip.  Aggravated with Threepio’s nagging, Han says this:

"We're on vacation! Half the fun of being on vacation is eating in restaurants!"
There’s a lot of Han being tired and hungover and Luke showing up in his room and turning his lightsaber on and off in a strange way like that chick on Fatal Attraction with the floor lamp.  As the story continues, Luke gets more and more…brooding and whiny.  I know, right?  You didn’t think that was possible, did you?  There was also a cute part when Han was running to find Xaverri at Waru’s dome and I guess he realizes he’s a little out-of-shape:
Han was badly winded by the time he reached Waru's dome, even taking the shorter public route.

Too much generaling, Han thought, and not enough work.

Although, Han hasn’t been a general since like COPL, right?

I realize I’m really not weaving much of a plot here, but I don’t think I had much to work with anyway. 
So, Han witnesses the Waru kill a little boy that he was supposed to try and heal.  And not just kill him accidentally but murder him and enjoy it in the process.  This REALLY affected Han.
Sorrow swept over him, and terror. In his mind, the memory of the Ithorian family transmuted itself to his own family. Though he knew it would never happen, he could not wipe away the image of him and Leia, Jaina and Jacen, begging Waru for help and placing Anakin on that altar. Though the oppressive heat made him sweat, he shuddered.

He had risked his own life a thousand times. He had never felt vulnerable, as he felt vulnerable now.
The kids are on Munto Codru, Han reminded himself. Jaina is dismantling some chrono; and Jacen is making friends with some critter that we'll find out later is maybe just a little bit venomous; and Anakin is watching everything, taking in everything, looking for mischief to get into. Leia is watching over them, and Chewbacca is keeping watch over them all. They're fine, they're safe.

But he could not stop shivering.

So, he ends up having a dream about what he had seen with that Waru guy and wakes himself up in a panic:
"It was just a dream!" Han said again. The knowledge of his complete vulnerability swept over him, even stronger than the night before. He imagined what it would be like never to hold Leia in his arms again, never to hug his children again, never hear them giggle, feel them cover his face with wet childish kisses.
I’ll say again that he was REALLY affected by what he saw.  So much so that he couldn’t fall asleep again until Xaverri held him in her arms and he was able to drift off to sleep.  This was after Han asked Luke to leave the two of them (Han and Xaverri) alone.  WELL, the next morning Luke is NONE TOO HAPPY that Han spent the night with another woman (even though nothing happened).  IDK, I kinda gotta give Luke some props here for sticking up for his sister.  He even pulls his lightsaber on Han:
"What the hell's the matter with you?" Han asked, poised halfway between laughing and losing his temper. "What are you going to do? Chop me into little pieces because I spent a few hours alone with an old friend?"

He had not intended to sound defensive, but that was the way it came out. It offended him that Luke felt the need to chastise him for his behavior. It insulted him that Luke felt the need to remind Han of his vows to Leia.

Han has some thoughts about his feelings for Xaverri:

Han still had feelings for Xaverri; he could not deny them. He would not. But he did not believe he should be chastised for them.

Am I supposed to forget that I ever loved Xaverri? Han thought. I chose Leia, and she chose me. Because we loved each other. None of that has changed. I love her. I love her now. What I felt for Xaverri was... a long time ago.

He wondered if he should find Xaverri and ask her to stay away from Luke for the next little while. Or find Xaverri, then go find Luke and both tell him about last night. But that felt too much as if Han had something to apologize for.

I thought this was handled appropriately.  I don’t think Han would ignore anyone he really cared about just because she was a woman and he was married now.  I think he would expect Leia to trust him and I think she would.  Now, I’m not saying she would probably want a really good explanation for the events as Luke would present them to her, but I think she would believe and trust Han’s word and faithfulness.

So, back to Leia (or Lelila) and that woman, who are still trying to find the missing children.  Apparently, the woman has a little boy that is missing, too.  There is one point where Leia is impatient at having to wait for one of this woman’s contacts to greet them and she thinks this:

Why don't they welcome us? Lelila asked herself. Then she thought, Who do you think you are, some princess who's welcome anywhere she cares to go?

Haha.  Yep, actually, that about sums it up.  Well, Leia and that woman (I kept forgetting her name, but I finally looked it up – Rillao).  Leia and Rillao visit some planet and talk to a fountain of water or something and then eventually find the children on some man-made planet that they are being kept on.  Except Hethrir has taken Anakin and the little boy Tigris (turns out to be Rillao’s son), so Anakin is not there when they arrive.

While all of that was going on, Jaina and Jacen led most of the children on a daring escape that included dragons and thorn bushes and swampy marshes.  And when Jaina and Jacen finally rushed into Leia’s arms, she thought this:

Lelila the bounty hunter vanished as if she had never been.

Awwww.  She’s got her kids back (most of them, anyway).

Leia and Rillao free all the children and then free the cook (who has been a slave).  Leia then finds that she has to cook for all the hungry children but the now-freed cook offers to even though she doesn’t ‘have to’ anymore and Leia thinks this:

"Thank you, then," Leia said. She smiled ruefully. "I've never had occasion to learn to be a good cook."

So you see?  It’s not just us that make Leia clueless in the kitchen.  And really, if you think about it, she probably hasn’t had the occasion to learn to be a good cook.

Now, Leia, Chewie, Raillao and the twins are off to Crseih station to find Anakin (yes, that is the same planet that Han and Luke are on).  Isn’t that nice how that always happens?  The planet full of kids is sent to Munto Cudro where apparently kidnapping is a national pastime, so that makes perfect sense, right?

Back on Crseih station, Luke is just dying to jump into Waru’s blob.  I mean, really?  THIS is the last hope of the Jedi?  What a lost cause.  I’m totally convinced that Han is the real hero of that universe and I’m sure I’m not alone here.  Anyway, as Luke is practically tongue kissing the Waru thing, Han is apologizing and pulling Luke away and he thinks this:

Wait a minute! Han thought. I'm trying to be diplomatic--while I'm dragging Luke out of here?

Just a little bit of Leia rubbing off of him, I’m sure.  This is between he and Luke:

"I am! Something's happening to me, Han, something terrible. Can't you see--?"

"I see you're behaving like a jerk," Han said. "Why'd you tell Waru who you are?"

Luke proceeds to continue to give Han a hard time about Xaverri.  He is nothing if not persistent when it comes to protecting his sister.  If only he worried about falling victim to the Dark Side in the same vein…  Meanwhile, Han is thinking this:

"I loved Xaverri," Han said. "I loved her. I won't deny it. I can't. If she hadn't left me--I don't know. It doesn't matter, Luke. Can't you see that? I promise you, brother--what Xaverri and I were to each other years ago has nothing to do with what Leia and I are to each other now."

At the end of the story everyone ends up on Crseih station.  Hethrir is presenting the grandchild of Darth Vader (aka: Anakin Solo) to Waru in exchanged for galactic domination.  Rallao’s little boy, Tigris, saves Anakin even though he has cowered under Hethrir for five years.  Leia shows up with her crew.  Han is there and Luke and well, everybody.  When Leia sees Han she runs to him:

Leia ran to meet him. She pushed her hair back from her face; it flew behind her in the wind of her speed. Han slid to a stop in a small avalanche of gravel and dust. Astonished, he enfolded her in his arms.

"Leia--what--?" He touched her hair, her painted eyebrow, her cheek.
Everybody is brought up to speed and Luke finally succumbs to his weakness and jumps into the blob that is Waru.  Leia proceeds to jump in after him but eventually she starts to get sucked in so deep she doesn’t think she’ll be able to save Luke.  Dun, dun, dun, as Han is looking on he turns to Chewbacca and says:
"Take care of the kids," he said.

Jaina had never heard Papa's voice sound like that before. He looked at Jaina, and at Jacen, just a quick look that did not even last a second.

"I love you," he said. "I'll always love you."

He turned around and ran away and leaped up at a huge quivering gold sphere.
Han swims down to find Luke and Leia.  (Oh, and I don't like that the kids call Han:  Papa.  Just doesn't sound right)
"Han--!" Leia's warm fingers wrapped around his. He melded into a circle with his love and his friend. They swam, back to back, kicking, twisting, fighting.

The whirlpool swept them around and pulled them inward, toward the point of utter darkness.

"Swim!" Han yelled. He knew--How do you know? he asked himself, and answered, I don't know, I only know what I know-- if they touched the darkness, they were doomed forever.

(There was a point earlier in the book where Han argued with Luke that he knew what he knew because he knew it and I guess this ties in with that…)

"Swim!" Han shouted. "Please, Leia, I love you, swim!"

But she was captured by Waru's promises, by Luke's fascination. Her fingers slipped from his hand. Her beautiful hair waving around her, hiding her like a cape, she dove and descended into the golden light.

"Leia!" He dove after her, toward the cold darkness.

Leia basked in the siren song of Waru's promises. The melody distracted her from the voice calling behind her. She followed Luke toward—

And just when it seems as if they will all succumb to the blob’s darkness, the voices of the Solo children snap Leia out of it and they all end up swimming free before the blog sucks Hethrir inside of itself and blows up or something along those lines.

Then, of course, Luke sees the error of his ways (again) and thanks the children for saving them:

"Thank you, young Jedi Knights, for calling me back."

"You're welcome, Uncle Luke," they said.

"Hey," Han protested. "Don't Leia and I get any credit?"

Raillao is reunited with her son, even though he is a bit brainwashed (oh, and it turns out that Tigris was not only Raillao’s son, but Raillao and Hethrir’s son together and that his birth was orchestrated by none other than Darth Vader in hopes of creating a child strong in the Force).  Eh, that was all kind of convoluted and I forgot to mention it earlier.  It was a little creepy for Leia to hear that story, I think for obvious reasons.

Here’s a little Solo reunion time:

Han sat behind Leia.

"Are you okay?"

She nodded, too tired to speak.

Jaina nestled in her lap next to Jacen. Anakin ran over and cuddled with his brother and sister. Leia hugged them. Han put one arm around them all, and stroked Leia's hair. Leia leaned gratefully into Han's warmth and strength.

Artoo tweets that he’s figured something out and Han says this:

"I'm not sure we can stand another ominous discovery," Han said indulgently. "Can it wait till after supper?"
Then Han turns to Leia to leave and says this:
"Let's go, love," Han said to Leia. They held hands and walked toward the hillside trail. Rillao and Luke and the twins followed.
I don’t think Han would call Leia “love”.  Doesn’t sound right to me.  And they really didn’t seem like they were in a really big hurry to escape an exploding planet.  They stop and try to convince Tigris to go with his mom, and Tigris is really bummed about not having the Force and Han tells him this:
"Wait a minute!" Han said. "Kid, you saved my son's life. Maybe you can't use the Force. So what? Neither can I, and it hasn't held me back."

"Who are you?" Tigris said.

Han laughed, surprised. "Maybe my disguise is better than I thought. I'm Han Solo."

Artoo finally tells them that the big star of Crseih station is going to explode and Han and Leia have this conversation:

"What about Crseih?" he said to Leia.

"What about it?" she replied.
"When the star goes--the station will get blown to dust."

"Subatomic particles, more likely," Leia said with some satisfaction.

"Leia!" Han protested.

"She is right," Rillao said. "This place is best destroyed."

"People live here," Han said. "A friend of mine lives here."

"Warn her," Rillao said.

"If I can find her," Han said.

"If Xaverri does not survive," Rillao said, "it will be a shame."

Leia relented. "We'll warn everyone. Of course. But surely they keep watch on their own star. Surely they know they have to evacuate! This is supposed to be a research station, after all." (Sure, but you didn’t know slavery sill existed in the galaxy, after all)

"Whatever was done here," Han said, "you can hardly call it research."

Leia slipped her hand into his.

"How could I not know about the trade?" she said. "I thought everything was going so well, and all along the Empire still terrorized people, in secret--!"

"You sent Winter to investigate--"

"I never talked to people who might have been affected. Back on Munto Codru, I spent a whole day talking to officials and ambassadors, and when I asked about the people still waiting to talk to me, I let myself be told they didn't have anything important to say."

"Sweetheart," Han said. He put his arm around her shoulders and drew her close. She leaned against him and embraced him, and they walked close together. "You've been working yourself half to death--you expect too much of yourself."

"I could say the same of you," Leia said fondly.

Oooh, fondly.  What a steamy scene...for this book anyway.  We get a little more, as follows:

They walked up the hill in silence, and passed into the airlink.

Han leaned toward Leia and whispered, "Did I tell you how much I like your hair that way?" He twined his fingers in the long, smooth strands.

Her free hand flew to her head.

"I forgot it was down!" she said.

She decided to leave it that way.

And then they did the nasty in the elevator.  Not really.

Then, Leia is flying Alderaan with the kids and Han is going to the Falcon.  As Xaverri escapes in her ship, Leia thinks this:  

In the distance, Xaverri's ship vanished into hyperspace. Leia was curious about her. She wanted to talk to her, to learn more about the times in Han's life that he usually avoided discussing. Strangely enough, she did not feel jealous of Xaverri.

I always believed, if I met her, I'd think she wasn't good enough for Han, Leia thought. But she was. And I'm glad.

I, like Leia, would much rather find Han’s old girlfriends to be people of substance than, well, BRIA.

Artoo disappeared and Han refused to leave without him (you see he does love those droids).  There is a moment of tension when we aren’t sure if Han will make it out in time:

She watched intently for the Millennium Falcon.

Where are you? she cried in her mind.

But he does and Artoo found a way to save Crseih station by moving it to revolve around another star or something.  And that’s basically the end of the story.  As for the Han and Leia Factor, I think we are going to go with a 2.5+.  It was difficult to rate this book.  They (H/L) seem to be in character, yet the story/plot is something not worth rating very high.  Really, if you read everything I've posted here, you've read everything worth reading...  I'm just saying.

I wanted to comment on the cover of this book.  I find it ironic how they make Luke look so macho and Jedi-awesome, when really he is a complete idiot in the story.  LMAO.


  1. Oh Crystal Star, how you confuse me.
    When I first read this book, ages ago, I LOVED it simply because it gave a voice (and in my opinion – still – a very accurate voice) to my second favourite character; Jaina. I liked that she was given a chance to actually become a character, instead of always just mentioned in passing at the beginning and end of a book. But, apart from that, this book really does nothing for me. Luke irritates me more than usual. Leia is portrayed as rather stupid, the plot, well, what plot? At least Han stays close to character, for the most part – so that’s good. And I actually enjoyed the whole Xaverri thing, I liked her from the beginning and i think Leia’s thoughts regarding her relationship with Han at the end hit a good note.
    Why does Luke get to go on vacation with Han and Leia never does???
    Why wouldn’t Leia freaking TELL Han that his children have been taken?????
    Can you imagine if the tables were turned, and Han had the kids, they were kidnapped and he didn’t bother to tell Leia about it? Wow would he ever be in trouble!

  2. I read this book when I was like 16 and even then I just remember finishing and thinking, WTF? There are a lot of elements to it that are just so weird. Aside from the kidnapping in general, the stuff that goes on there. The fact that the kids are kidnapped along with some big dog that they're all friends with, Jacen "talking" to the dragon that sits outside where the kids are being held captive and getting her to fly the children to safety, Jaina making friends with a freaking centaur child who was also kidnapped, Waru, Luke going crazy... did I leave any weirdness out?

    All right, some details. First, it was very unsettling reading about the kids while they were kidnapped. I can't imagine the turmoil going through a 5-year old's head when they have not only been kidnapped, but are told that their parents are dead. I was so relieved that Jaina quickly realized that wasn't true. Then with them being locked away alone in rooms, eating gruel or not eating at all and being mistreated... it was just not a good thing to be reading about and definietly made me wish that Leia would hurry up!

    Right in the beginning Leia is mad at Chewie because he "let" them get kidnapped. I guess I'm torn on that because on one hand it's like, he's seriously injured and of course he would've done anything to save the kids if he could've. But I've never been a mom whose kids were in trouble, and I'd imagine that might lead to some irrational anger (along with lots of rational anger) so I'll let it go. I was glad that Leia very quickly decided to go and try to find them, though.

    Jaina's sections were all told in their own special little way almost as though she was writing it. She is awfully smart for a 5-year old. I'm sure Han and Leia are pretty proud. She holds it together pretty amazingly for such a young kid in that situation. The whole time Anakin is being kept elsewhere irritated me greatly because it reminded me that for so long they were foreshadowing how strong in the Force he was, as though somewhere in the future he was going to be an amazing Jedi... and then they freaking killed him when he was 15! Ugh.

    I did enjoy Han doing his best to just have fun while Luke was being annoying. Han is the only one who holds it all together while everyone else seems to be going crazy. To be fair, early in the book they did give some reason why Leia actually COULDN'T get in touch with Han. I forget what it is. But yes, given their technology it seems odd that this is so difficult. But let's cut Leia some slack because she would've told him if she could've. The Xaverri thing wasn't my favorite, but like Push, I do have to give Luke some credit for being all brotherly when Xaverri had been in Han's bedroom the night before. I think no matter how much you want to trust someone that is not something you want to see. But of course Han didn't do anything, nor was Xaverri pushing for anything, which was also good.

    It was also weird how they all just sort of coincidentally wind up in the same place at the end. How convenient. Poor Han thinking that everyone was fine only to discover that his kids had been missing. Leia has some sweet moments with the kids once she randomly finds them in a swamp or something, once they go to sleep in her bunk on her ship.

  3. I loved this little part once Anakin was back with his parents, first being held by Leia, and then: "Anakin scrambled over Leia's shoulder and flung his arms around his father's neck. Han held him gently, radiant with relief and joy." I just love the visual of Anakin wanting to hug his daddy. Speaking of Daddy, for some reason it also grated me that throughout the book the kids refer to Han and Leia as Mama and Papa. I don't know why, it was just irritating. Why not Mommy and Daddy? Papa is what you call a grandfather!

    Anyway, they do at least get a nice reunion even though you're still left feeling all creepy about their captivity and wondering what in the universe Waru was and how exactly they were "swimming" in him. But at least like usual Han was the rational one who had to dive in and save everyone.

    Definitely a weird book but it wasn't as painful to read the second time around, amazingly enough. I'm just glad none of the others are really like this.

  4. Someone once described this book as SW "on an acid trip", and yeah, that's essentially what it is. I mean Waru is possibly THE weirdest SW character ever. What the hell is he?

    I believe the writer of this is a veteran of the Star Trek novels, so clearly she must have a better grip on that than SW, because I just feel she never quiet "got it".

    Yeah, why why why can Han never take a holiday with Leia, you know, his WIFE. In Dark Apprentice he was on vacation with Kyp, and now he's off again, this time with Luke. And Threepio. You know, whoever you go on a holiday with you just don't want Threepio tagging along, do you? That's not a break, that's just torture.

    Han likes having these "pangs" doesn't he? In Planet of Twilight he had a pang over the white rug, and now he's having one over the memory of him and Leia dancing. Hmmm, maybe if they were together for more than five minutes he wouldn't keep having them. But that was a cute memory.

    I agree, the children are well written here. This is the first time they really have something to do, and they come across nicely. Did anyone else find it weird how they call Han and Leia "Mama" and "Papa"?

    Yeah, why the hell does Threepio need his own room? Is he going to be inviting girls round or something?

    Why is Han so tired all the time? There's several references to him wanting to sleep, and then Leia remembers him asleep in the bath, and at his desk. I suppose it figures though, because as we all know, there isn't a great deal of sleep going on in Han and Leia's bedroom!

    I like that Leia has her own ship. But what the hell happened to it? I don't remember it being mentioned elsewhere. And yes, I wonder what DID happen that first time she took Han out on the Alderaan? Hmmm, it's obviously very memorable..... :)

    I actually got a bit annoyed that Luke was basically accusing Han of cheating on Leia. I would like to think Luke knows Han better than to think that. But yeah, Xaverri is cool, as ex girlfriends go. Don't have an issue with any of them, other than she who will not be named. Please don't let me say the "B" word.

    I agree, Han would NEVER call Leia "love". Here in England people call their other halves that all the time, I've always thought it was a British thing, and I just cannot hear Harrison's voice in my head saying that, it just doesn't work at all.

    I agree pretty much with the 2.5 for this.

  5. Very thorough review for a really crappy book. I had a very hard time reading this book, it felt very much like a bad mind trip of some sort. Wouldn't you think the Chief of State of the galaxy would have some sort of secret service personnel traveling with her. The fact that she didn't take charge immediately after her kids were kidnapped just rubbed me the wrong way. I would envision Leia saying "to hell with your kidnapping protocal this is a full fledge galaxy wide "Amber Alert" and if you stand in my way the gates of hell will be nothing compared to my wrath. And by the way, get my husband on the comm link, because if you think I'm pissed, wait til he gets here."
    The book pretty much went downhill for me after the first chapter. I actually stopped reading once we got to Han's X. I just couldn't take it anymore. I agree with Claire, Han keeps having sudden "pangs", well if he traveled with his wife a little more, maybe they could do something about that.
    I would also think that the kids would have had some sort of "kidnap" training, given who they are and the fact that they have been sought after since before they were born. I agree with you Push, harming children really upsets me too, really, really makes the "mama grizzly" in me rise up. My blood pressure is starting to rise just writing about this. I researched the author just to figure out what she was thinking. I don't think I got any further clarification for my sanity. This book left me more angry than confused. I really wished I never read it.

  6. Really good review, Push. I get a really good feel for the book. Thanks.

    Wow does this sound like an odd book with some scattered nice moments. I do like Jaina getting her own personality and voice. I bet that is cute.

    I can’t believe Han was off with Luke to get Luke laid. Really? Ok, so I wouldn’t put it past Han to actually do it. But yikes. Not sure I need to know about that.

    I get so tired of the pressure on Leia to become a Jedi. Ack! Leia needs to tell brother dear to take a flying leap already.

    I didn't like the bit about Xaverri spending the night or whatever. I’m sure Leia would be understanding and I'm sure nothing happened. Luke probably did go a little overboard. But shouldn't Han know better? Do you really want to give your spouse a reason to doubt you?

    I really like the description of Leia’s ship. Very cool she gets her own. But you mean Han won’t loan her the Falcon when she needs it? =) I would love to read that missing moment too of the first time she took him out on her ship. Wouldn’t he have to follow captain’s orders? Or heck, I’d even like something about the memory of them dancing together. I’m sure that lead to more later in the evening.

    Oh, and you are so wicked, Push, saying they did it in the elevator. Good one.

    1. Yeah, I'm sick of all this Leia has to be a Jedi crap, and Luke keep harping on about it. Give the girl a break, she's got enough on her plate trying to be a wife and a mother plus the small matter of trying to run a government!!

  7. Hi Push (and Zyra). This is the first time I've commented on your blog, even though I've read it for quite some time now. I just could not get my Google account to work, but I finally got it up and running again.

    I read The Crystal Star online, since I couldn't find it in any bookstores or in my local library. I may have to search further afield. I loved the interaction between Luke and Han in most of their scenes - brother-to-brother bonding.

    Han's memories of Leia are well timed, and do show the depth of his love for her. In my mind, he would never betray her, even with a former girlfriend like Xaverri. If Bria showed up right now, he wouldn't get off with her - he'd stay true to Leia. I wish Luke would see that instead of making comments with absolutely no substance.

    Leia taking off to find the kids without telling Han does seem a little unreasonable, and not like her. For one thing, he's her husband, as well as the father of those kids. Surely she knows he would want to know about it, for the sake of all that "protecting your family" crap.

    Overall, this book was pretty good, but I have to agree with Push's original rating of 2.5.

    I hope my first comment on this blog was actually believable!

    1. Hi Jaina!! :). Welcome!!

      Oh I agree, Han's memories of Leia show he loves her and misses her a lot. He does normally think about her quite a bit when they are apart, which is sweet. Of course I'd rather he was with her.

      I also strongly believe Han would never cheat on Leia, I don't think he would even be tempted for a second. And if Br*a did show up then I'd like to think he would shoot her on site, like he promised to do in Rebel Dawn. But she's already dead, terrible shame that! Hypothetically though, if she did reappear, then he still wouldn't cheat on Leia.

    2. Hi Jaina, welcome to the blog.

    3. Welcome to the blog! So glad you were able to get your account working so you could comment and I hope you continue to do so.

    4. Welcome, Jaina!

      I've no doubt that Han would stay true to Leia. But don't like that he put himself in that position.

      If B**a shows up, yes, pull trigger please.

    5. Thank you for the welcomes! I'm Skywalker__Solo over at the Jedi Council Forums, and 1977 on the Nerfherder's Playground. Working on that Children of the Jedi missing moment ...

      Yes, if Bria shows up, please pull the trigger!!

    6. Welcome, Jaina. Sorry I'm late!

  8. Hey, well this is my first time commenting, and while I love your blog. I hate this book. Probably more then almost any other Star Wars I've read. It seriously rivals COPL in my book. The Han/Xaverri relationship and the carelessness with which the Han/Leia relationship was treated really bother me. But your review is great, I just like to argue a little too much.
    So I'm sorry this became a bit of a rant.

    Your totally right the whole 'Leia should be a Jedi' thing is so worn out and pretty much insulting, but I'd say the same for 'tired old Han who needs a vacation.' It's a obvious plot
    device and I just don't care anymore, especially in a book where Han is hungover or tired all the time, until he conveniently can't sleep so that Xaverri can console him.

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that she's not Bria, but she still came off like an author's insert who got to sleep with Han Solo. The whole Xaverri/Han plot line bothers me in this book. I don't think Han would ever cheat on Leia, but that's what the author implies. 'Sleeping with' someone means 'sex'. And I think that tension why Xaverri works for some people. The woman who couldn't have Han Solo is a character that we want to related to and can sympathies with. But the way it was handed is awful.

    Han, who is classically stoic, and completely not infallible, suddenly becomes a blubbering idiot for whom, the comfort of years of memories of his wife, and children, and all the
    bonding they've done, is suddenly not enough for him, so he seeks comfort in the arms of another women. And somehow that's okay? It's okay that no one bother's to inform Leia?
    It's okay that the author implies adultery?
    It's not okay.
    That scene only works if you assume Han is infallible, which is the exact opposite of his character throughout the star wars arc. I think that's a big part of the reason I hate this book so much. This book does to Han what COPL did to Leia. Not in the marring someone else sense but in the loving someone else sense (also known as having an affair). And Leia doesn't even get to take an active role in defending, or fighting for her man. And yet it's all magically okay in the end despite the fact that She's passive, in their ENTIRE relationship in this book.

    And the whole thing about Han still having "feelings" for Xaverri is SO out of character. The 'Scoundrel' has harbored feelings for an ex, despite saving the galaxy, with the
    Princess he married?!

    He's not supposed to forget Ex's, anymore then he supposed to suddenly become a super forgiving guy who magically disregards how they broke up.

    Caring about someone and symbolically screwing them are not the same. So no, I don't think it has handled appropriately. But then Star wars books rarely are, that's why I stopped reading them.

    I mean, we get one tiny little line about how Leia means more to Han then Xaverri ever did, but their entire book runs counter to that. Han only tells us this after showing us something that begs too many quetions. The Waru thing, it's too weird, and too last minuet. Despite that it's the first time in the whole book that Han seems in-character, not just in-role.

    So I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I enjoyed your review, but I definitely didn't enjoy as much of 'Crystal Star'.

    1. Hi Novahawk, and welcome!

      I had no idea that some people have issues with this book beyond the fact that it's basically a load of crap. But you raise some interesting points.

      However, I don't see how the author implies in any way that Han was, or contemplated being unfaithful to Leia or ever would be. Infact I came away with the totally opposite impression from his reunion with Xaverri. That being that even though his old girlfriend showed up and they spent considerable time alone, nothing happened, and Han is very offended that Luke would even think that something did.

      Han is certainly not infallible in a lot of respects, no. But when it comes to his commitment and his love for Leia, then I do think he is a man who can be trusted. He has given himself to Leia 100%. So I think this book only helps enforce just how deeply he is committed to Leia and proves the strength of their relationship.

      That's just my take on things.

    2. Welcome, novahawk! I hear what you're saying. I think I fall somewhere between you and Claire on this one.

    3. Welcome, Novahawk and thanks for the insights on this book. Really, with my review, I didn't get into all that I thought was wrong with it more than pointing out what I liked about it. A bad habit I've fallen into with this books, I know. But I guess it's all too easy to remember how horrible they are and I like to find things that I liked!

      I didn't ever feel when I read this book that the author was trying to make us feel as if Han would cheat with Xaverri. I DID feel like she walked a little close to that line in that one small paragraph about that ghostling woman, which is funny since it was just a small little snippet, but I did feel uncomfortable reading about it.

      I didn't agree with how 'affected' Han was by seeing the little boy murdered by Waru which then lead to him sleeping in Xaverri's arms. But in the end, I wonder if it's worth the trouble getting upset over how Han and Leia are written when it happens so blatantly and so often that I've become numb to it.

      Oh, the EU...what an odious mess!

  9. Thanks for the post, Novahawk! I have mixed feelings on how the Han/Xaverri thing was handled. But I wasn't under the impression that he was tempted in any way. I have no doubt that Han would remain faithful to Leia. He didn't HAVE to get married. It offered him no advantage aside from spending the rest of his life with that one woman. If he didn't want her and only her, I don't think he would've bothered. And as for Han "putting himself in that position" that's a tough one because as Push said, Han was very emotionally affected by what he had seen earlier and probably would've taken comfort from just about anyone at that point, and she just happened to be there. I don't know, I don't love the idea of him having all of these fond memories of his old girlfriend but at the same time he never really had any thoughts that would lead me to believe he was thinking about cheating.

    And to comment on something else totally random from the reivew, I don't think anyone ever wrote a story about Leia finding Han in the tub. Nope, none of that out there. Sounds stupid.

    1. I agree, at the point in the story that this scene occurs Han is quite shaken up and would have accepted a hug off of anyone.

      Seeing an old girlfriend after so many years is sure to stir up fond memories of the time you spent together, but it doesn't mean you'll want a roll in the hay for old times sake. Han has clearly moved on and is more than happy in his marriage. During the time he's alone with Xaverri, Han thinks about how he may never hold Leia in his arms again, or kiss his children, so his thoughts are very much with them.

      Hmm, I like the thought of Han in the bath very much!! Maybe Leia should get in there with him?

    2. But don't you have a bath story, Zyra? :)

    3. I have no idea what you're talking about...

    4. Remember "You Coild Use Some Relaxing"?

    5. Nope, you must be imagining this silly story.

    6. What story is this? Have I missed something good?

    7. Ok, I think I've missed something here. I'm going to check because it sounds like Zyra has written a story featuring Han in bath that I clearly don't remember, I'm assuming it will be featured over there???

      If you have written such a thing, how the hell can it NOT be good?

    8. I don't know, there is something similar to what you describe over there with not one, but four glowing reviews. Might be what you're referring to but I reserve the right to deny involvement.

    9. You're sure that's not five reviews? Yes, I'm evil and quite incorrigible. :)

    10. Actually, make that six reviews.


  10. Your right Zyra, I don't think He would ever cheat on Leia. But I think the Author was trying very hard, too hard to set the audience up with doubt about it. At least the audience for whom Han and Leia might not necessarily be their #1 favorites, like Push said just look at the cover.

    I think my issue with that sequence of events stems from how Han was portrayed to end up in that situation.
    Han being THAT upset about it didn't work for me. He wasn't even that upset with Leia in COPL, and even then he was proactive. Irrational, and somewhat drunk, but still proactive, not passive. Han's never passive, and yet he was passive here. That just didn't work for me.

    And that Han/Leia didn't talk about it, only made it worse.

  11. rereading this book reminded me how much I hated it. I didn't know what fanfiction was back then but if I did I would have said it read like very bad fan fiction. the writing is very stilted and you come away with the impression that the author does not have a high opinion of the audience. or else, that she has a very limited vocabulary. or imagines herself as Hemmingway.

    my personal pet peeve was how many times Leia "forgot" that she'd changed her hair. I wanted to shove a mirror in front of her. hello, you don't notice the green striped hair hanging in your face?

    and don't get me started on the ghostling and Xavierri and why the hell Han is taking a vacation with whiny old Luke in the first place and not his wife and/or kids.

    I seem to remember taking the whole Xaveierri thing as since Luke sure as heck wasn't offering any useful help or sympathy, who could blame Han for dumping it on her? but never did it occur to me that Han had any thoughts of cheating on Leia at all, or that the author meant us to think he did. I took it as Luke overreacting and Han getting pissed at him for it.

    honestly, having forced myself to reread it I now remember why I never bought the thing in the first place, and why I never reread it till now. aside from a few random bits where Han is headed off gambling and seems like himself, it's almost as bad as COPL.

    Excuse me, I'm going to go wash my mind out with Tatooine Ghost now.

    1. Ahh, yes, the good old Tatooine Ghost therapy. It really is a life saver that book. Whenever the EU throws something bad at us, it's always there to remind us that when Han and Leia are written by someone that actually appreciates them, then the EU isn't such a bad place to be.

      Where would we be without Troy Denning?

  12. Probably nobody is paying attention here anymore but I just remembered something that totally made me laugh when I read this book. Han has somewhat of an omage to Charlie Sheen and his "winning":

    Han strolled happily along the quiet path. What a great evening. No one bothering him, the razor edge of his concentration sharpened rather than dulled by the excellent ale, nothing to worry about, nothing to think about, playing cards on instinct and nerve. Winning.

    Hah. Good thing Han isn't at all like Charlie Sheen.

    1. I'll second that. Sounds like a pretty good night though.

    2. Couldn't have been THAT good. He didn't get to sleep with Leia.

    3. True, but for a guy's night out...