Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Shield of Lies: The Review

The following review was submitted by amara z.  Thank you so much for the contribution!  I know it's not Sunday, but I'm sure you all won't mind. 

This is the second book of The Black Fleet Crisis. It's a little odd in it's setup since there are three sections to the book, one for each character of focus – Lando, Luke, and Leia. Since we are concerned mostly with Han and Leia goodness, I went through Leia's section in its entirety and through Luke's section to look for references to Leia or training her as a Jedi.

Leia's section opens with Nil Spaar returning to N’zoth as practically a god. Females are ready to breed with him and males are ready to die for him. Spaar certainly laps up all the attention. It's really warped and very cold blooded and I ended up looking him up on Wookiepedia. By the feel of this part of the book I almost expected someone reptilian and I wasn't far off in terms of look

We next switch to the Fifth Fleet arriving at the Koornacht Cluster. General A’baht is not sure what to expect and he’s prepared for the worst. But there is no sign of the Yethevan fleet and they end up sitting and waiting.

We finally get to Han and Leia and they are, of all things, on vacation. Yep, you read that right – on vacation. Han decided he needed to get Leia away from everything that's been going on and took her and the kids to Rathalay. Finally, someone with some sense!  They are enjoying time on a secluded beach. The kids are having a ball – Jacen wants to see the narkaa, Jaina loves floating in the water, and Anakin is fascinated by the waves. There's a cute scene between Jaina and Han when she asks if she and Jacen can go look for sea motes.

"Okay," he said. "But don't go out of sight. If you can't see me, I can't see you."

For a moment she gave him her impatient I-know-that-Dad look. But Jaina was learning not to throw away her victories, and said nothing more than a breezy "Thanks!" as she ran away to where Jacen waited.

I liked that and it's always been the rule in my house too. But what is Leia doing during all of this? Standing down the beach talking on her comlink with Admiral Ackbar. Ugh. She's apparently the only blemish on the whole thing. I’m beginning to wonder if the woman can ever relax. I guess I wouldn't either with everything that's been going on, but I really wish she'd catch a break or take one. But not to worry, Han notices and when Leia mentions she's expecting another call later, Han quickly rectifies the situation by throwing her comlink into the sea. Leia's, of course, not happy.

"Han!" Leia's tone carried both puzzlement and rebuke.

He turned back toward her. "I had to do it. It was trying to kill you."


"Look at us. We're on vacation, for the first time in who can remember," Han said, slowly returning to her. "We're walking on a beautiful beach, hand in hand, with no kids climbing all over us--and we're talking about politics."

He assures her there will be plenty of work for her to do when she gets back and continues on.

Han stopped and turned her toward him. "Leia, you've given them enough of you. Can't you give your-self--us--these few days? If this isn't where you want to be, or what you want to be doing with this time, tell me, and we'll do something about it. And if I have to take you farther from the castle to break the spell the Wizard of Duty laid on you--"

I love that and isn’t that what we’ve been saying? She admits “kind of new to this 'having fun' business” and we get a little glimpse into her past as she explains Bail’s idea of fun as she was growing up was rather stodgy and more about learning to which Han comments that she must have “taken family vacations at drill school." She also went to Coruscant as a senator at seventeen and tells him that she missed out on the fun, carefree time growing up. She then realizes how long she’s been on Coruscant, over half her life, and admits that she doesn’t like it that much. Han tells her she doesn’t really know Coruscant, at least not from outside a room or Imperial City. That’s a pretty sad state of affairs to me.

Leia and Han return to Coruscant and in a bold move, Leia approves a bunch of emergency petitions for membership in the Republic. She feels it is the right thing to do and it sets things up so that the Republic can help the planets the Yevetha are intent on invading.

Leia meets with her friend and ally Behn-kiln-nahm, also know to her as Bennie, to discuss how things are in the senate and how she is perceived by the senators. She still has some opposition and there is a possibility others will try to recall her presidency. Leia even suggests resigning, but he nixes that idea. They also talk about using the Fifth Fleet against the Yevetha, but Leia won’t do it without approval of the Defense Council. The senators in league with Nil Spaar fixed it so she feels she can’t just order it without it raising questions.

I wanted to include this next bit since it’s one of our favorite topics – the fact that Ackbar had a key to Han and Leia’s house. During what’s been going on, scattered through several scenes, Ackbar has been watching over the injured Plat Mallar from Polneye. Not sure why the interest in him, but he stays with him in the hospital, keeps an eye on him while he recovers, and even tries to help him join the Republic forces. But Plat is rejected because his planet is not a member of the Republic and Ackbar decides to get Leia to approve Polneye’s emergency request to join. On his way to see Leia, Ackbar thinks about how he used to be in Leia’s inner circle and had easy access to her before the escalation of the current crisis.

But Ackbar had been jarred by the discovery that he was locked out of the President's residence, his key disabled, his status as a member of the family suddenly withdrawn. So he had chosen to approach the President's suite on level fifteen through the front door, and tried to prepare himself for another rebuff.

Huh? Seems like he’s really upset that his access has been revoked. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t need to be entering their house at all hours. Just a thought. But Leia welcomes him easily and we come to find out that Ackbar’s access to the house has been reactivated.

“Then you haven't seen Han, either? I told him to tell you it was fixed. And here I thought it was me you were avoiding," Leia said, coming to where he stood and hugging him. "I can't stay angry at you for long. And besides-- you're one of the few people I've told myself I have to keep listening to, even when I am angry at you."

Oh, boy. It’s nice that she and Ackbar are playing nice again since they seem to like and trust each other and evidently Anakin misses Ackbar, but come on. He really doesn’t need access to her house. Just saying.

Ackbar does get her to approve the application from Polneye. He does it by quoting things she said at the beginning of the New Republic. There’s has also been some criticism that Alderaan really isn’t a planet any more and shouldn’t be a member of the senate because there’s only so many Alderaanians left. Ackbar uses that to his advantage as well. There is one interesting line when Leia asks if Plat has considered some of the offers to become a member of other planets.

"In the days after Alderaan was destroyed, how would you have looked on an invitation to become a citizen of Lafra or Ithor?"

I just thought that was interesting. There are some scenes of Plat training with Ackbar later, but I didn’t think they were too crucial to Han and Leia so won’t really mention those.

The next segments are mostly politics. We also get to see one of the spies that Nil Spaar has on Coruscant, Ourn, a counsel from Paqwepori. He tells Spaar about all of the applications that were approved and how people feel Leia has overstepped her bounds.

Engh and Bennie try to convince Leia to convene the cabinet so that she can give them a “go, team, go” speech.  She finally agrees and it seems to go well. But after the meeting, Engh tells her she might need to buff up her public image and that she might want to listen to the opinion from other worlds about what’s going on in the Republic. It’s not good and misinformation is going around after her approvals of the new applications. Engh tries to get her to understand it’s more about informing people about what’s going on and clearing up any misconceptions. We get a nice quote from Leia.

"Now you want me to give interviews? What next? Preside over spaceport openings? Endorse a line of little Leia dolls? Let myself be recorded dancing for Han in a Huttese slave-girl costume?"

I’m thinking Han would enjoy that dance a lot, except for the recording part.

Engh tells her to think about it and Leia is still fuming when she meets Han and the kids for lunch. Aww. Yes, they meet for lunch just like we like to imagine and hope they do. Leia fills Han in on her talk with Engh and it sets up a nice exchange.

She expected his sympathy, but Han's face acquired an uncomfortable expression as she talked.

"What? What is it?"

"Nothing. It's nothing--go on, I'm listening."

"No, I know that look," Leia insisted. "It's your 'I'm not going to say this because it'll just make things worse' trying-to-bite-your-tongue look. Except you always have to let me see how hard you're working to be nice. I don't know how you ever won a single hand of sabacc with that face."

"Just like I know that speech," Han said, his mouth twisting into a wry, crooked grin. "That's your 'I'm going to poke at him until he's just mad enough to blurt out what he's thinking' speech. And it doesn't work anymore."

Love the banter here and it fits with the fact that they understand and are comfortable with each other after being together for some time. Very funny about winning sabacc with that face.

Han tells her that an old smuggling buddy has been in touch with him. He sent Han a commentary and letters from a local newsgrid and it’s not very flattering to Leia and talks about her believing in the “divine right of monarchs.” Han isn’t forthcoming with what his friend said, but Leia finally wheedles it out of him.

"Well--he didn't have much to say, actually. After the last of the letters from the Banner, he just added a short note. 'Is there something in the water there on Coruscant? She seemed like such a nice girl."" Han shrugged. "It doesn't mean anything, except that now I have to kill him."

"No, you don't."

He nodded, deadpan. "Do. Insulted my girl. Have to kill all of them."

So cute Han wanting to defend his girl. Leia realizes the kids might hear people talking about her this way and after sampling some of the messages, she gets Engh to work on her image.

Leia eventually goes in front of the Defense Council. It doesn’t seem that exciting. Mostly Leia shows them an attack on Morning Bell (Doornik-319) and there’s a lot of arguing and politics about validity of the evidence and the urgency of taking action. But there is a description about her clothes I liked.

On the recommendation of Engh's image specialists, she had forgone the flowing robes of Alderaan's royal house in favor of what Han had called street-fighting clothes--a simple garment suggestive of a flight jumpsuit. But she wore just one of the medals and honors she was entitled to: the small blue-fire crystal talisman of House Organa.

I thought that was neat. It shows her in something different and I kind of like anything that hints at her previous life before the Rebellion, like the talisman of House Organa.

The Council agrees to deliver an ultimatum to the Yevetha and Leia sends out announcement on several channels for the Yevetha to desist and withdraw from the planets they have invaded. They don’t ever really get a response, but they soon receive video of the Yevethan fleet preparing to invade Doornik-319. In an effort to stop the invasion, Leia and the others decide to set up a blockade of the planet. The Fifth Fleet doesn’t find the invading force when they arrive and even though they held back some of the ships for later, it ends up a complete disaster and many lives are lost. It didn’t help that the Yevetha were broadcasting messages from hostages saying that they will be killed if the Republic attacks. And quite a few Republic fighters wouldn’t attack because of the broadcasted messages. Very cold blooded.

As a result, the Ruling Council is convened. Its sole purpose is to act as a check of the president and the council can recall a president or void a presidential election. The Council has rarely met and has never been used, but there is currently a call for a vote of no confidence against Leia. When you pair this with the questions about Alderaan’s legitimacy earlier, this just basically sucks. Leia’s just as much a hero of the Rebellion as Han or Luke. You would think that would earn her a certain level of respect or gratitude, but apparently not.

For once Fey’lya isn’t gunning for her, not yet, and the motion for a vote of no confidence fails. But Bennie warns her she’s not out of the woods yet in terms of challenges to her presidency and next time she might not survive.

After some discussions with others, including General A’baht, they set up concurrent recon missions of the entire Duskhan League and thirteen other planets the Yevetha may have attacked. This ends up as a debacle as well. They expected to lose about sixty percent of the twenty-four recon ships, but ended up losing all but four drones. All piloted ships are lost. Some ships scanned about three quarters of their targets and the news is not good. The Yevetha are out in force and they even spot the Super Star Destroyer Intimidator. They have a wall of screens set up in the War Hall on Coruscant to watch the missions and while they are waiting for things to start, Han gets on Leia’s nerves a little bit.

"It kind of reminds me of a tout board I saw at a million-credit betting parlor on Bragkis," Han said, "and everyone standing around waiting for the race to begin. 'Who's got a favorite?" 'What odds will you give me on Wakiza? "" Leia usually found Han's irreverence refreshing. But she had no patience for it just then and walked away after shooting him a hot sidewise glare.

I thought that was interesting and not sure it’s something we see all that often.

The next part is rather predictable given how the EU is. With all the data they amassed, they make plans to reinforce the Fifth Fleet finally. Two guesses who they are tapping to lead the combined force. Yep, Han. Don’t they have anyone else that can do this? But Fey’lya and the Defense Council are insisting they approve the choice and Han is the compromise.

"You can't begin to know how absurd it was at times," Ackbar said, turning away from the viewscreen and approaching the table. "Senator Cundertol actually supported you on the grounds of--and I quote the great man verbatim-- 'He's not doing anything else, is he?""

Wow. As Han says, what “a heart warming recommendation.” Han doesn’t sound happy about it, but eventually accepts the challenge.

"For a while there, Leia dear, I actually let myself think that we'd have a chance for that normal life you told Luke you wanted. I let myself believe that we were through with this sort of thing. And I have to tell you--leaving the uniform in the closet really agreed with me."

Leia and Han exchanged rueful smiles at that. "Well--seems like going all the way back to Yavin," he added, "I've made you coax, wheedle, guilt, and shame me into volunteering for dirty jobs. I won't make you do it this time. Fact is, the Yevetha disgust me--and they scare the stang out of me, too. If we don't control them now, the future could get very messy. So I'll take this job, because it needs to be done."

Of course, we know there is so much more to Han than just being a scoundrel, but it is nice to see him willing to pitch in and do the hard work. Maybe Leia’s been a bad influence that way. I love how he gives her a bit of a hard time about heading out again and his reference to their early days.

In a funny twist, they are going to make Han a commodore for the duration of the mission.

“Commodore, eh?" He tried a cheerful smile on Leia, but she was no more persuaded by it than he was. "Does that come with a hat?"

Unfortunately, Spaar’s spies are still active and Tig Peramis informs him about the mission and Han’s flight to join the Fifth. Han is captured and he’s brought in front of Spaar. I certainly don’t want him in Spaar’s hands, but it’s a pretty great scene.

"You are the mate of Leia."

"I guess that secret's out," said Han, deciding to try to take his captor's measure. "And you're Nil Spaar. I've heard a lot about you, all of it bad. You've moved right to the top of my least favorite people list. I had to drop Jabba the Hutt off to make room for you. It's only fair to tell you that my number one goal in life is to outlive everyone on the list. I was halfway there before you replaced Jabba."

The Yevethan ruler did not seem to take any notice of Han's goading.

"What sort of vermin are you?"

"I think the word you're looking for is 'scoundrel,' as in 'Corellian scoundrel,'" Han said. "I've also answered to 'rascal,' 'pirate,' 'smuggler,' 'wretched scum,' 'toad-licker,' and a few others. Not all of those are considered polite where I come from, though--so I don't always answer politely. Just so you'll know, 'vermin' probably counts as impolite."

Oh, man, is there any wonder why we think Han is so awesome? Definitely quotable. And even though he’s in danger, Han still defends his girl.

"You are stronger than she," Nil Spaar said, cocking his head. "Why do you follow her? Why do you not lead?"

Han answered with a contemptuous gaze and a shake of his head. "I was gonna tell you that grabbing me was the biggest mistake you ever made," he said. "Now I see it's the second biggest. You've misjudged Leia from the beginning. Day in and day out, she might just be the strongest person I know. And you're gonna find that out the hard way now."

The scene ends sadly though with Han getting beaten pretty severely.

As if Han being captured isn’t enough for Leia to deal with, Ackbar and Bennie come to see Leia while she’s trying to comfort Jaina. The Ruling Council is summoning her again. This time it’s Doman Beruss. He’s afraid that with Han’s capture, Leia might do something rash/precipitous.

"Oh, he knows me--I'd like nothing more than to send the Fifth in to burn the Yevetha off the face of N'zoth. But how can I? How can I do anything, Bennie?" she asked, her voice pleading for an answer. "The Yevetha have my husband. My children's father is in the hands of Nil Spaar."

This part really burns me. Beruss was a friend of her father’s. And he’s supposed to be an ally of Leia’s. For him to do this is just scummy, but that’s just me. This ends Leia’s section and the book.

Looking through the Luke section of the book, I didn’t find much. Nothing about training Leia or the children as Jedi. And it sounds like he has an alias which was odd to me because sometimes the book makes it sound like he’s two different people.

At one point he’s asked about the relationship between the Jedi and the New Republic and what the Jedi will do if called upon.

“That isn't the way it works," Luke said. "Leia doesn't give orders to the Jedi. She can ask us for help--one of us or all of us--but we can refuse. And sometimes do."

I don’t know. That came across as snotty to me. I get Luke’s point that they can refuse to help. But it’s too reminiscent of the previous book where he refused to help Leia with the kids. Kind of like he’ll help if he feels like it. Just didn’t sit right with me.

There are also a few moments where he does think that Leia might have been right about his search for their mother or at least understands her viewpoint.

You may have been right, Leia. If I do find the truth, I may not find it to my liking-

And there’s a discussion with Akanah.

"I think Leia's been afraid to look for our mother. Maybe if I were Leia, I would be, too."


Luke considered for a moment before answering "Her memories of our mother--few as they are, and little as they've told us--are very precious to her. They're a child's memories, innocent, idyllic. And she's protecting them."

\"Protecting them? From what?"

"Reality," Luke said. "There's nothing Leia could possibly learn about Mother that could improve on those memories--and a lot she could learn that could damage them. Leia's never had to consider our mother in her full complexity. What kind of relationship did she have with Vader? Why did she have his children? Why did she give us up? When you start letting yourself ask questions like those, you risk getting an answer you don't like."

On his adventures, Luke stumbles across a bar that seems very familiar called Jabba’s Throne Room.

The same fiction was carried through everywhere else—an Ortolan keyboardist leading a jizz-wailer trio on the bandstand, the roaring of the rancor underfoot, an annoying Kowakian monkey-lizard skittering around the room stealing food and cackling rudely, even a carbon-frozen Han Solo hanging in the display alcove.

Shortly after his meal arrived, Luke's consciousness was pricked by hearing a familiar name spoken at a nearby table: Leia's. He looked up, fearing that the evening's entertainment at Jabba's Throne Room would be a dance by a slave-girl-Leia look-alike. But the band was on a break and the transparisteel dance platform over the rancor pit deserted.

Thought that was pretty funny. There’s even a Bib Fortuna look-alike and a waitress named Oola. And what’s with the references to Leia in her slave girl bikini? That makes two different references. Did she save it and store it somewhere we don’t know about?

I’d probably give this a 3 or a 3.5. Only a third of the book, about 140 pages, is dedicated to Leia and not all of that section is about her and Han. All of the political fighting and back stabbing don’t sit right with me either. Leia is still having a hard time in this book because of it. But at least people like General A’baht and Han are showing some common sense and seems like Leia is pulling herself together a little or at least showing some of her strength. The moments that Han and Leia have together are nice and Han has some great lines. I am definitely interested in the next book to find out how they rescue Han and to see Nil Spaar get what’s coming to him.

Thanks so much for helping out with this!  We will take care of the next few reviews but we will let you all know if we need some more help.  Though as always, any contributions are welcome.


  1. Nice review, Amara.

    After really liking Before the Storm, I must say, I was very disappointed with this one. For a start it's set out in totally weird way which I found a struggle to read. Yes, reading a big chunk about Leia in one go is great, no complaints there. But when you get the same big chunks of Lando and Luke, ugh, it's just too much.

    Another complaint, we had like five scenes of them in bed in Before the Storm. Here? Absolutely none! Hey, what's up with that? Thought this writer was onto a good thing, clearly not!

    I do love that they're on vacation though, TOGETHER, for once. That was sweet. And I wanted to cheer when Han threw her comm in the sea. So funny!

    A while back I mentioned in another thread that I had a recollection that there was a novel that made reference to Leia keeping the metal bikini. I think now, that it was probably this book I was thinking of. I knew it said something about her dancing for Han. Obviously it doesn't confirm she kept the bikini, as I first thought, but I obviously remembered it wrong. But yeah, I'm sure Han would have no objections to a dance like that. :)

    I'll post another comment later....unfortunately I have to drag myself to work now.

  2. Very thorough review Amara, great job. I did think the layout of the book was strange. I have yet to come across another book laid out as this one was. However it did make reading it easier, as I only read the Leia section. I really enjoyed all the Han and Leia parts. It seemed to capture their crazy/busy lives at that time. Also I enjoyed reading the inner turmoil Leia is having trying to do all the right things and then coming up against internal political backstabbing and outside threats, all the while balancing being a mom and wife. No wonder she has a hard time relaxing. Han has his hands full and does a great job of keeping Leia grounded and reminding her of what is really important. I absolutely loved the beach scene. I've been working on a missing moment for that section since I read the book in April. I loved the line where Han says he has to kill his smuggler friend for "insulting his girl", makes me swoon. Nil Spaar creeps me out and things definitely get worse before they get better. I did not read any other the other parts of the book. I personally think the authors wrote Luke in a very unflattering manner. Overall, I really liked the Han and Leia parts. Great job on the review and thanks for writing it.

  3. Thanks for the review! Yes, the separating of the sections like that was quite weird and only seemed to reiterate that each plot had nothing to do with the other and made me just not want to read the other parts! And I was so torn because in some ways I was glad that once I got to Leia I wouldn't be bothered with anything else, but that was a lot of boring crap to get through before reading what I really wanted to read. I still have no idea what Lando was doing with Lobot.

    Anyway... I do love when Han drags Leia to the beach and that they are taking some time to be on vacation with their kids and with just a few little moments there you do get that feel that they are a nice little family unit, even if Mom is so preoccupied with work! I do like Han constantly trying to reign her in and show her what is really important.

    I love their banter and while they are discussing a lot of logistical stuff it still shows how well they know each other, knowing "the look" or whatever and knowing what to expect. Poor Leia, being constantly manipulated and frustrated throughout these books and Han being almost helpless to fix it. Of course then Han has to go and get captured and make things worse... and it gets even worse for him in the next book! Anyway, the few Han and Leia parts in this one are very in character to me, it's only too bad that they are in such a bad spot.

    Great review, Amara!

  4. Yeah, why did the Leia segment have to be last? Look at all the crap we have to read through to get to it. But I guess good things come to those who wait. I definitely don't like books written in this style though. I would have preferred it set out like Before the Storm. At least with everybody mixed up even if you get a character you aren't so keen on at least you know they'll be out the way soon and you don't have page after page of them.

    I agree, good characterisation of both Han and Leia.

    Did anyone else laugh when Han referred to himself as "toad licker"? Hmm, doesn't have quite the same ring to it as " scoundrel" though does it? Scoundrels are sexy. Toadlickers? Maybe not so much.

    Love the line about the commodore rank coming with a hat!

    What we do get in this book is pretty good, but as I said, the way the book is in character segments does kind of ruin it for me.

    1. Toadlicker must be quite the insult. Currently our backyard is overrun with frogs/toads whatever and they are quite poisonous, to lick them causes one to become paralyzed, just ask my dog. Scoundrels definitely sexy!!

    2. Aww, no! Hope your doggie is alright Seams? :(

  5. Thanks, ladies. I enjoyed doing it. Makes me think the EU isn't all bad.

    I loved Han's little spiel at the end of all the things he's been called. Was laughing out loud. And the part in Luke's section about Jabba's Throne Room was funny. Liked how Luke thought he was just about to see a Leia look alike dancing girl. Oh, my. But, otherwise, yes, Luke has been awful in this book and the previous. Just not in character to me.

    That comment about commodore title coming with a hat was so very Jack Sparrow to me. There's a bit in the first Pirates movies like that. Thought it was cute and definitely like Han to not take himself or authority seriously.

    I did peek at the next book and saw it got worse for Han. But to be expected with Spaar. At least I know he survives cause otherwise, no more EU after that.

    1. You're right, the EU isn't all bad. There is a lot of good stuff out there, but sadly, there's maybe slightly more of the bad stuff. And that's the stuff we tend to remember more, isn't it? But going through these books and comics again, makes you remember the good things you had forgotten.

    2. Oh, I agree with you guys. One really nice thing about going through these again and seeking out the good stuff is that it reminded me that there is actually a lot more good stuff than I remembered. It's just unfortunate that some of the bad stuff is SO bad that it sticks out way more than anything else and clouds these nice moments, like Han and Leia taking the kids to the beach. I had zero recollection of that!

    3. It has been fun doing this bookclub. I'm not sure if I would have taken the time to re-read the books based on my past (very poor) memories of the books and fear of the unknowns in the books I haven't read, like people telling me not to read the Fate of the Jedi series. Going through these books with a bit more "life experience" has given me a new appreciation for Han and Leia's relationship and character developments. Also reading people's missing moments makes the books so much better. Oh and you do have to love Captain Jack Sparrow, he is my favorite of the Pirate's movies.

    4. It has been fun. I'll have to admit I'm still remiss in reading some of the other books. Will have to go back and read some of the good Han/Leia books. My first EU book was COPL. So who can blame me for not wanting to read any more after that!

      Seams, I've been reading Outcast and have enjoyed it. Curious what people said about the series.

    5. Well, FOTJ as a series strictly speaking of Han and Leia, they really are pretty much exactly how I'd like to see them many, many years into their marriage... minus the constant threats to their lives and the two dead sons. As a series overall it just doesn't seem like it was well thought out. A lot of the books seem to have mostly filler and it's like they wanted a 9-book series but didn't actually bother to create 9 books worth of content. Some of the books are really short which is just irritating when they are making you pay like $27 for a hard cover that really should've been a cheap paperback. It makes no sense that Apocalypse, with it's hulking weight and intense plot should cost the same as one of the earlier books that was like 200 pages and where nothing happens.

      But, like I said, Han and Leia are great in those books. They still banter and seem to care deeply for one another, would still do anything for each other, seem completely content with one another and don't act 70 years old or whatever they are.

    6. Ah, gotcha. I'll be getting most of them in paperback. I was bad and bought a copy of Apocalypse already. Man, Han and Leia are getting old! Bummer.

    7. Those of you that read COPL first really did have a baptism of fire, didn't you? I understand your reluctance to delve deeper, Amara.

      You know I hate Han and Leia being old, really hate it. But I've now got all but the last 2 of Fate of the Jedi, and even I have to admit, they are really adorable as oldies. But that's the thing, you read it and you don't really think of them as old, because for the most part they don't act anything like the ages that they are. But they have loads of cute scenes.

      And Zyra, I had forgotten about the beach scene in Shield of Lies too. So that was a nice surprise.

    8. No kidding! And i don't necessarily want to read a bunch of Luke stuff either. I like sticking with the scoundrel and his princess. :) I'm still ready to read Scondrels when it comes out. Even hubby was asking for the newer books that aren't so bad. He stopped reading just before Star by Star.

      No they don't act their age. It's pretty cool. I still suspect they will go out in a blaze of glory in bed together. :)

    9. Oh, I forgot COPL was my first book. But I was only 16 when I read it so my standards were different. The fact that there was anything at all to read about aside from the movies was amazing to me. And there was kissing! And at the time it was only SLIGHTLY below my maturity level ;)

      Han and his granddaughter are super cute to read about. And Han and Leia too of course.

      That's too bad he stopped before Star by Star because that book was actually really, REALLY good. I haven't read it in years but I know it was one of the few Star Wars books that I just could not put down and was totally sucked into.

    10. COPL had some pretty impressive kisses, I thought. No, I'm not talking about Leia and Fabio either, but you knew that. The kisses near the end are very descriptive, well, as far as SW books go. Wow, I said something positive about THAT train wreck. I think I need to lie down.

      Oh, yes, Star by Star is a great read. Heartbreaking, gut wrenching, but very very good.

    11. I'll let him know about Star By Star. Thanks.

      Oh, yes, Claire, you probably do need to lay down! My daughter was wondering what I was laughing about so hard after I read that. =) I was still put off, even at the time, about how she acts like she doesn't love him and then suddenly loves him again after he didn't do anything. I was like what the...? What exactly did he do to win her back?

      Ok, getting off soapbox now...

      Thanks for adding the picture of the cover. I love Leia on it. But what is up with Han looking so old? I'm sure he is getting up there even by this book, but didn't think he'd look so much older than Leia.

    12. Yep, that was the other infuriating thing. If you're going to have her inexplicably hate his guts for most of the book, at least give us some sort of turning point where she falls in love with him again. I mentioned it in the review but it's more like Han is just the default option because Isolder started having eyes for Teneniel Djo. Oh, and running off to your "imminent death" is also a good way to make someone fall in love with you again. So he did have that going for him.

      "I hate you!"

      "But I love you!"

      "I don't care!"

      "Well, now the bad guys are going to kill me, so goodbye."

      "Wait, don't go, I love you now that I think you're going to die!"

      See how that goes?

    13. I love that we can just keep going on COPL. =) And that's a good summary of it, Zyra. To think the Solo kids might not be around if Han hadn't decided to go off to his death. Nice way to get someone to marry you.

      Ok, getting off soapbox again...

    14. We could slate COPL forever couldn't we? There's always something to moan about with that one. It's fun though. :) and Zyra, your summary is spot on!

      I was going to mention about how the review looked so much better with the cover pic added, didn't look right without it.

      Notice Leia has her Ewok hair on the cover? I don't think Han necessarily looks old, it's just a bad picture. He wouldn't be that old in this, let's see, he would be 45/46. Because it spans a year, according to the timeline.

    15. Don't know why I didn't think of including the cover. But glad Zyra did. Like Leia's look on it.

    16. I'm glad I did not re-read COPL, the only thing I really remember from it, when I read it when I was not sixteen :) is when Leia tells Han she likes the way his pants fit and exploding teeth. I was given the bad advice of don't bother with the older books (Fate,Legacy and NJO) by a younger generation. "They are so old" and sad things happen (like Jacen and Mara). Being out of the EU for so long it was awhile before I ignored that advice and check it out some of those books from the library. I will eventually try to own all the books, I keep looking at used book sales/garage sales. No luck yet. I have decided this weekend I am going to make my own timeline notes for Han and Leia's ages in the different stories, I hate having to do math while reading to figure out how old they are in the story. Has anybody seen a good age time-line? All I found online was the original trilogy.

    17. A timeline would be cool. All I've seen is a timeline of the order of the books.

    18. I will do a quick timeline if you want, geek that I am. I will post it here later today, won't be a problem.

    19. The timeline in the back of some of my old paperbacks from the mid 90s seems to have some of the years slightly different from what you "officially" see later. Like things need to be any more confusing. I wonder if anytime in the near future we'll get some more book news? Not much to look forward to.

    20. I thought I read there is supposed to be some book announcement at the San Diego Comic-Com in June. Claire, I look forward to your timeline.

    21. Just Zahn's book at the end of the year. Would they have several books come out around the same time?

    22. They have in the past had more than one book come out in the same time frame, but they would usually cover totally different parts or at least times in the Star Wars universe. Like, they might but out an Old Republic book at the same time as something like Scoundrels, or a prequel book at the same time as a FOTJ book. It's just that in recent memory we've known probably close to two years in advance that certain books were coming, and now we only know what we're looking at 6 months from now.

      Adding to the problem is that nobody is writing any fanfic right now!

    23. Seams is right, they are announcing something at Comic Con this month, which is supposedly something set after Fate of the Jedi. Plus there's always that possible Leia themed novel that was mentioned in another post.

      Ok heres a quick timeline of Han and Leia's ages in all the post ROTJ books, this was calculated using the timeline at the front of a random book that I picked up, plus my non mathematical brain.

      Truce at Bakura. Han is 33, Leia is 23

      Shadows of Mindor Han is 33/34, Leia is 23/24

      Courtship of Prince Fabio Han is 37, Leia is 27

      Tatooine Ghost. Han is 37, Leia is 27

      Thrawn Trilogy. Han is 38, Leia is 28

      Dark Empire. Han is 39, Leia is 29

      Jedi Academy Trilogy. Han is 40, Leia is 30

      Children of the Jedi. Han is 41, Leia is 31

      Darksaber. Han is 42, Leia is 32

      Planet of Twilight. Han is 43, Leia is 33

      Crystal Star. Han is 44, Leia is 34

      Black Fleet Crisis trilogy. Han is 45/46, Leia is 35/36

      New Rebellion. Han is 46, Leia is 36

      Corellian Trilogy. Han is 47, Leia is 37

      Hand of Thrawn Duology Han is 48, Leia is 38

      New Jedi Order Series. Han goes from 54 to 58, Leia goes from 44 to 48

      Dark Nest Trilogy Han is 64, Leia is 54

      Legacy of the Force Series Han is 69/70, Leia is 59/60

      Millennium Falcon. Han is 70, Leia is 60

      Fate of the Jedi. Han is 72/73, Leia is 62/63

      We have novels for virtually every year after ROTJ, except the huge gaps between NJO and Dark Nest, and the end of the Thrawn Duology and the start of NJO.

      Hope that is of at least some help to those who were wondering.

    24. Wow, you work fast. Great job with the timeline and thank you so much. It kinda hurts to see those older ages actually written. Thank you again.

    25. Agreed on the ages. They just don't come across that way. I was going to say Han had a kid, Anakin, at 39? But, geez, I know people who have their first at 40.

      I'm writing as fast as I can, Zyra. ;)

    26. I know what you mean, seeing their ages like that is really quite sad. They just seem to age so fast.

      I don't think 39 is unreasonable to have a child, and of course it wasn't their first. Luke and Mara didn't have Ben until they were both in their mid forties. And, the totally unbelievable one is of course Lando and his wife, they had their son when he was around 70 and she was in her 50s!!!

  6. On a side note...those of you hating google's latest clever idea of having us type in numbers as well as unfathomable words before we can post on's a tip, you don't have to bother with the number, just type the word. It works every time.

  7. I ended up just reading the Leia section of this book. I just couldn't handle two huge doses of Lando and Luke. I did enjoy Han tossing her comm into the ocean. "I had to do it, it was trying to kill you." Hah!

    You know, if Ackbar has access to the Solo household, it makes me wonder if anyone else does.

    It is strange seeing their ages keep going up and Claire. Courtship of Prince Fabio, nice.

  8. I kind of like Lando, but even his section was too much for me. I guess he's ok in small doses.

    Hmm, I wonder if Mon Mothma ever had a key?

    Maybe Ackbar originally had a key because he was....visiting Winter! Ok, um, so we won't go there.

  9. A kid at 70? Well, if you can, why not I guess.

    Nice one, Claire! Of course, now I have to erase that image out of my mind.

  10. Loved those quotes from Han in the middle there! It is no wonder we all adore him so much! Great review too! I think I'd read the Leia portion of this book...although I don't think I could handle giant portions of Luke and Lando....LOL.

    1. Thanks. I don't any of us could read through those sections or at least not again. Luke was being such a twerp.

    2. Once was enough for me when I read this the first time, over ten years ago. This time I just read the Leia bit. Tell me though, is it this one or Tyrants test when it's implied Luke slept with that what's-her-face, and Luke gets asked if he's ever had sex in hyperspace?

  11. "I had to do it. It was trying to kill you."

    "It's your 'I'm not going to say this because it'll just make things worse' trying-to-bite-your-tongue look. Except you always have to let me see how hard you're working to be nice. I don't know how you ever won a single hand of sabacc with that face."

    "It doesn't mean anything, except that now I have to kill him."

    'He's not doing anything else, is he?" -> what “a heart warming recommendation.

    :D :D :D :D

    Another very good review! <3
    But I still don't like Leia to be the President. ;)
    Why does she even bother? Those unthankful bastards don't deserve her. And she has a family to take care of. Two good reasons to resign herself! :D

  12. As I've lately been whining about Leia's job, I found something interesting from the F*** Yeah Han And Leia blog:

    “Han and Leia probably did get married. They settled down. She became a senator, and they got a nice little house with a white picket fence. Han Solo is out there cooking burgers on the grill.”
    — George Lucas on Han Solo and Princess Leia. I like his version better than some of the things I’ve read. (via majortrouble)

    I haven't agreed with George Lucas about anything for years but now I do! :D And I also agree with the person who likes George's version better than some others.

    And this is another EU-book I haven't read. I think I'd read the Leia section only, too. I like Luke very much, but not in EU. He's just whining about Leia's jedi training and refuses to understand that she HAS to be also a mother, wife and even work, too.