Friday, January 8, 2016

Showdown at Centerpoint - The Review


Ahem.  Well, yes – we are back with these things!  Sorry for the long delay and welcome to our new followers.  Our next book review on the list was the last book in the Corellian Trilogy:  Showdown at Centerpoint.  I hope I do this review justice, I apologize if I’m a little rusty.  The good news is, in revisiting the EU following The Force Awakens, the EU has become quite enjoyable to read.  Little did we know how good we had it when we thought we had it so bad.  So there’s that. 
A brief note to our new followers, or anyone else who hasn't enjoyed our previous reviews:  These aren't typical book reviews in that we don't usually Cliff's Notes the plot for you in a way that would enable you to pass a test about it.  We concentrate solely on what we call:  The Han and Leia factor.  We point out parts of the book that are relevant to Han and Leia, whether good or bad and we put excerpts of the good parts for you to enjoy.  If you've never read any of the EU or if it's been a long time, these reviews are a fantastic way to peruse through the lot of them and just glean any Han and Leia awesomeness out of them while skipping all of the rest.  For this reason alone, I do really hope and intend to finish this review series if only for the purely selfish reason that I like to go back and do just that.  You'll find a link to all the reviews completed thus far down on the right hand side of the menu or you can just acces them at this link here:  EU:  The Book Club.

And,without any further ado, here we go…

Well, if at the end of the last book we were treated to a Han and Leia reunion, it only goes without saying that this book starts off with them being separated.  If we will all recall, Han was trying to pilot a broken coneship down to Selonia when Mara Jade’s ship, the Jade’s Fire (with Leia inside) rescued them and docked together.  In order to land, however, the two ships (and crew, read: Han and Leia) would once again have to separate. 

The very first chapter has some cute bits with Han interacting with his cone ship co-pilots, the Selonians: Dracmus and Salculd and dealing with their language barrier:

Han slapped the answer switch and tried to stay focused on his work. "Keep your shirt on, Dracmus," he said, shouting just a bit. "The comm unit send-circuits needed work as well. Tell honored Pilot Salculd that I'm nearly done." Why did the universe require all shipboard repairs to be on the rush? What I wouldn't give to have Chewbacca here, Han thought.

"What shirt?" the voice asked worriedly, "Should shirts be worn? Is this for safety?"

Han sighed and pushed the answer button again. "It's an expression. It means 'be patient,'" he said, struggling to keep his own patience. Dracmus was a Selonian, and most Selonians did not like being in space. Understandable for a species that mostly lived underground, but having an agoraphobic being in command was enough to drive anyone crazy.

And then a little while later this:

"How does all go?" Han asked Salculd the pilot, speaking in his rather labored Selonian. Salculd did not speak Basic.

"All is well. Honored Solo," Salculd replied. "At least until the next subsystem flips out."

"Wonderful," Han said to himself. "Everything be well, Honored Dracmus?" he asked in Selonian.

"Fine, fine, all is fine, until we crash and die," Dracmus replied.

"Glad we have a consensus," Han muttered to himself.

"It is good to plan ahead like that," Salculd said. "Here I was just going to land the ship the regular way. Now I am knowing that I will fail and we will crash. It is most comforting."

"That is enough, Pilot Salculd," Dracmus snapped. "Concentrate all attention on your duties."

"Yes, Honored Dracmus," Salculd said at once, her tone of voice most apologetic.

 I really enjoyed reading about Han’s experience here; I thought it was fun and very Han.

Meanwhile, Han does lament his luck with being away from Leia and describes their current situation and reasoning better than I could:

Han did not like Leia being on one ship while he was on the other, but the arrangement made too much sense. Mara, not yet completely recovered from her leg injury, still needed some looking after, and she needed a copilot, at least until she recovered. Space knew the Selonians, Dracmus and Salculd, needed all the help they could get. Besides which, Leia spoke Selonian- spoke it better than Han, for that matter-and given recent events it made more than a little sense to have at least one speaker of the Selonian language aboard each ship, in case of difficulties at the landing field. The plan was for the two ships to fly toward Selonia in formation and land side by side.

But even if it all seemed perfectly reasonable and harmless for Leia to stay on Mara's ship while he flew in the coneship, Han didn't have to like it.

Awwww.  It’s alright, Han.  You just don’t realize how good you have it, either.

There’s a cute bit where, unable to communicate verbally, Han and Leia are typing back and forth to one another with something like morse code and Han misspells just about every other word.  Leia, to be cheeky, misspells the words right back:

BEADY FO COMMENCE EMNTRY MANEUVERZ, he signaled, managing to spot every mistake just after he made it. "Someday I gotta take the time to brush up on this stuff," he muttered to himself.


"Ha, ha, ha." Han said. "Glad I married such a humorist." He shifted back to Selonian. "Very well, Salculd, take us in. With much care."  

We move onto Chapter 2 with perhaps the longest landing I have every read. But it starts with a little Leia contemplation that I’d like to share:

Leia Organa Solo, Chief of State of the New Republic, sat at the navigator's station aboard the Jade's Fire, watching the coneship drift in toward the planet Selonia. She had been a fool to let Han stay aboard that bucket of bolts. But she knew perfectly well that there had been no chance at all to get him off that ship, once he had decided he owed something to the Selonians on board.

But what, exactly, was he getting them into? Leia was forced to think not just like a wife but like a politician. She could not see any way of avoiding it, but there was no question that Han was being drawn in by these Selonians-and that Leia was being drawn in as well. It would be easy, all too easy, for the New Republic to find itself on one side or another of a fight it had no business in. It would be even easier to get tempted into bargains with these Hunchuzucs, bargains that had a few too many hidden strings attached . . .

"He'll be all right, Leia," Mara said. "We'll stay right with them, all the way down. The Fire can offer them more protection than you think."

"Hmmm? What? Oh, yes," Leia said, pointlessly embarrassed. It was somewhat mortifying to be reassured by Mara Jade, of all people. Somehow to have Mara assume that Leia was worrying about her husband's safety when she was really thinking about the politics of the situation made it even worse. Was she so callous that calculation of political advantage even pushed aside worries about her husband? So calculating that even Mara Jade was capable of more concern for Han?

But Leia told herself, rather firmly, that she had more sense than that. She had no choice but to think on more than one level. What good would it do Han if she got so tied up in sentimental worrying that she failed to foresee the dangers ahead?

"Han will be all right," Leia said again, trying to convince herself as much as her companion. "If anyone can get that tub down to the surface, he can."

"If anyone can," Mara agreed, none too reassuringly.

I really liked that part, I think it describes Leia’s situation as a wife, mother and a Galactic figure/politician.  She has to think differently, but it doesn’t make her uncaring or heartless as some might betray or interpret her. 

Moving on:  Of course, the landing doesn’t go as smoothly as planned and they are attacked on their way down. 

The attack is actually a fun read.  There’s some exchange between Leia and Mara as the pair differ on how much they should put themselves and the Jade’s Fire at risk to protect the cone ship and Han.  Han, as usual, has a trick up his sleeve to try to use as defense for the virtually defenseless coneship which Mara comments on: 

"Let's hope Han's idea works better than it ought to," Mara said.

It wasn't the most tactful thing to say, even if Leia had been thinking the same thing herself. But there was no time.

There’s also mention of Leia’s ability as a gunner (surely due to her time on the Falcon):

Leia fed two new targets to the follow-fire system, and got busy herself with the manual guns, reading the detection screens for herself. But the rest of the LAFs were not going to be such easy pickings. They had their rear shields powered up to maximum, and did a better job of evasive maneuvers, good enough to completely bamboozle the follow-fire systems.

But not good enough to fool Leia.  

And then Han Solo uses that famous ingenuity to pull his trick, which apparently consisted of putting the coneship into a spin and releasing a whole cloud of debris out into the atmosphere.  Not knowing what he had planned to do, his trick is a little disconcerting to Leia at first glance:

Just then the coneship cut its engines, allowing it to drop straight for the planet's surface. It threw the LAFs off, if only for a moment or two.

Leia shook her head and sighed. Not much of an evasive maneuver, but probably the best Han could manage with that clunky piece of junk. But suddenly her detector displays showed a cloud of debris blooming out from the coneship in all directions.

Fear stabbed at her heart. That one hit on the cone-ship's hull couldn't have done that much damage, could it? Could the craft be breaking up before her eyes, with Han aboard? She had no desire to watch the death of her husband-but then something happened to one of the LAFs, and then another, and another. As they swooped in close to the coneship, they bounced and skittered and wobbled off course. Two of them lost power, and the third was rocked by a small explosion amidships. Leia got a target lock on one of the survivors and fired, catching a piece of him before he managed to get his shields up. Leia tried to track to a new target, but the LAFs had plainly decided to take the hint and accept the fact they weren't welcome. They scattered, hightailing out of there in all directions.

But how in the blazes had- Suddenly she understood. Of course. Of course. "Mara! His trick worked! Get us out from behind Han, fast! New course, five or six kilometers to one side of him, and try to overtake him if you can. It's not going to be so safe to be behind him for a while."

She smiled, relief flooding over her. She should have known Han wouldn't give up without a fight.

Whew!  Han’s trick worked.  But they weren’t on the ground yet:

The ship's ungainly spin slowed, and stopped-and then started up again in the opposite direction-and started to get faster.

"Salculd!" Han called out. "This is no time for the playing of games!"

"I am not doing so, Honored Solo. Failure in lateral attitude control system. I cannot shut it off!"

"Oh, for-" Han scrambled up out of his seat and dove for the main circuit breaker box. He yanked it open and tripped the lateral attitude control breaker by hand. That killed the thrusters that were producing the spin-but also killed the ones that fired in the opposite direction, and could bring it to it halt. He slapped the access door shut and returned to his seat.

"Hope everyone is liking to spin," Han announced in Selonian. "We are to do it for a while. Salculd! Restart to main sublight engines-and nice, slow throttle-up, please!"

"At once, Honored Solo," Salculd replied. She reached for the throttle controls and began adjusting them.

Nothing seemed to happen. "Not that slow, Salculd. We need to do some braking!"

Salculd looked at Han, and the panicked look that had seemed on the verge of fading away was there in full force, and no doubt. "No activation!" she announced. "Engine initiator not responding!"

"Horror!" cried Dracmus. "We incinerate for certain."

"Quiet, Dracmus, or I send you out the airlock. Salculd, try again!" Han said. "Firstly confirm you have power to all engine systems."

"Board shows all power systems fine and lovely," Salculd said. "Board says is working, but it not."

"Not helpful," Han said, jumping up. "Off I go again. Keep trying, and listen to the comm!"

Poor Han.  Can he ever take a ride on a ship that just works all fine and lovely?  Needless to say, if Han doesn’t figure something out, his ship is going to enter atmosphere and what’s left of its incinerated pieces will crash into Selonia.  So, no pressure there.

There’s a good bit of Han running around the small ship and trying to figure out how to save his life.  Meanwhile, Leia is watching from the Jade’s Fire: 

"Something's wrong," Leia said, watching her detector screens. "The spin has reversed instead of stopping, and they haven't restarted their main engines."

"Maybe they took some bad damage from that hit," Mara said.

"Can we dock with the ship and get them off?" Leia asked.

"Not before they hit atmosphere," Mara said. "There's nowhere near enough time. Besides, that cloud of debris they threw out is still traveling with them. We'd get hit the same way the LAFs were."

"A tractor beam, then," Leia said. "We could set that up and-

"And what? That ship isn't all that much smaller than this one. The tractor on this ship doesn't have a tenth the power to hold that ship. If we tried it, more than likely they'd pull us down instead. I'm sorry, Leia. There's nothing at all we can do."

Deep in her heart, Leia knew Mara was right. But it felt wrong to give up without a fight. They had to do something. "Stay close," Leia said. "Get as close as you can without getting into the debris cloud and take up station keeping."

"Leia, there is nothing we can-”

"Suppose they get temporary control, or slow just enough that they can abandon ship?" Leia asked. "We need to be close enough to get in and help."

Mara hesitated a moment. "All right. But we won't be able to hold station keeping long. We're about five minutes from atmosphere right now, and once we hit it-well, that will be the end of things."

Leia knew that. Without shielding, without braking from the engines, the coneship would turn into a meteorite, a streak of fire that burned across the sky before crashing in the planet.

"I'll stay close as long as I can," Mara said. "But it won't be long."

"Do it," Leia said. But even as she urged Mara onward, she wondered why. What good would it do to watch from closer in as her husband was incinerated?

I know, right?  All very tense and dramatic.  The first two chapters of this book, in my opinion, were very Star Wars, very Han and Leia-ish and just very fun to read overall.  We saw Han at his best: improvising.  And Leia getting some girl time with Mara, firing guns, worrying about Han and just being very badass Leia.

And so, I’ll steer you guys to though to the landing.  First we have Han improvising:

One chance, Han told himself. Exactly one chance. For a fleeting moment he thought of Leia, watching from the Jade's Fire and unable to do anything. He thought of his three children, off somewhere in the care of Chewbacca and Ebrihim the Drall. No. No. He could not die. Not when they all needed him. One chance. The ship bucked and shuddered as the atmospheric buffering shook it hard enough to get past the inertial dampers. One chance.

Well, of course his trick works and they land on Selonia in the middle of friendly territory.  Yay!  This last bit was cute:

The old Selonian looked at the ship and shook her head. "Coneships," she said, her tone derisive. "The Hunchuzuc are foolhardy. Selonians do not belong in space."

Han looked at the Selonian for a long moment.

"You know," he said, "I'd just about worked that out for myself." He turned his back on the coneship and staggered off toward the other side of the clearing, where the Jade's Fire was settling in for a nice, calm, sedate landing.

If you were expecting another nice reunion to read about, there wasn’t any – at least not that we got to read about (missing moment!) but I’m sure we can all imagine how it went down. 

The next six chapters dealt with two things:

First: with Lando, Luke, Kalenda and Gaeriel (and R2 and 3PO) landing on Centerpoint, some kind of ancient space station which has been deserted save for one scientist.  That scientist is giving everyone a guided tour.  There are some cute exchanges between 3PO and Lando.  Lando apparently loves 3PO just about as much as Han does.  And I actually like the patience that Luke shows with 3PO.  You know that guy that can be nice to the annoying friend/aunt/relative no one else wants to deal with?  That’s Luke.

Anyway, I thought the tour was pretty boring other than that and during the tour the entire station starts to go berserk and there’s a big rescue, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it as much as the Han and Leia suspense in the first two chapters.  Big surprise.

They all make it out in the end and figure out that Centerpoint is most probably the thing that has been causing stars to go super-nova. Now, to find out who or what is causing it to fire… 

Second: The Solo kids.  Anakin Solo has figured out how to turn on and work the ancient device buried beneath the surface of Drall, which gets the attention of the Human League (and their uncle Thracken Sal-Solo).  There is some suspense here and there’s Chewbacca flying the Falcon and protecting the children.  Again, I didn’t find them as fun or as interesting a read.  Anakin is being very Anakin and figuring out this machine with eerie ease.  I did mark a spot where Anakin and Jacen hug each other and admit how much they miss their parents.

Chapter 8 brings us back to Han and Leia.  They are the ‘guests’ of the Selonians they had landed on (almost literally) and Han is very tired of sitting around and waiting:

"I am tired of waiting. Dracmus," Han said.

"Patience, Honored Solo. Waiting is not yet tired of you."

"Whatever that means,' Han growled.”Have you ever given a straight answer in your life?"

"What, exactly are you meaning by straight answer?"

Han Solo turned to his wife, who was sitting placidly at the breakfast table. "You see what I've had to put up with?" he asked. Dracmus had come to pay her morning call, as she did every day. And as he did every day, Han found himself wondering what the point of the visit was. "Riddles. Incoherent riddles. That's all I ever got. It's all we ever get."

"Take it easy, Han," Leia said. "Patience is the hardest part of diplomacy."

"But mine has reached its limits," Han said.

Apparently the Selonian culture is very strange and they are ‘holding’ Han, Leia and Mara as guests/prisoners but they won’t really say why and keep trying to stall.  There’s a good bit a dialogue and exchanges/postulating between Han, Leia and Mara.  I really enjoyed Mara in this book and I liked watching the relationship between Mara and Leia develop in this trilogy.  I didn’t cut and paste any of their conversation, but I’d go back and read Chapter 8 just for their interactions. 

Um, I’m gonna confess here that I really didn’t follow what was going on with the Selonians and really a lot of what was going on with the politics during this entire trilogy, but suffice it to say there’s a big reveal at the end of this section that I guess might make sense to someone who followed the plot a little better than I did.  I’ll just paste it:

"And you think our noble Hunchuzuc allies have decided that they've lost," Han said. "You think they're dickering with the Overden and we're part of the deal?"

"Something like that. Maybe the Overden wants us as bargaining chips, maybe as hostages, maybe they want to negotiate directly with Leia. Of course we don't even know for sure that it's the Overden and not the Hunchuzuc who have the repulsor. Maybe our side won."

'It is most regrettable," said a new voice, "but I fear that is not the case. The inestimable Mara Jade has described the situation exactly."

Han looked behind himself in surprise. The newcomer had arrived in utter silence from inside the villa. She was an older-looking Selonian, tall, but a little stooped over, her fur shot through with gray, but her eyes bright. "I am Kleyvits," she said, "and I speak for the Overden. We have won our Hunehuzuc sisters over to our cause." She paused, and then smiled, displaying an unpleasantly impressive collection of teeth. "And that means that we have also won all of you."

Duhn, duhn, duhn.  Very dramatic…I guess. 

Let me not fail to mention that sprinkled throughout the book we are kept up-to-date on Lando’s girlfriend and love life.  I just had to laugh out loud while I typed that.  Seriously, I don’t know how Lando’s love life rated an entire thread throughout three books, but it did.  Anyway, just so this review is not remiss, let it be known that she’s out there, floating around in her ship, looking for love in all the wrong places…

Okay, so we get a little bit more with the kids fixing droids and some unknown ship coming to land near them.  And then Luke and Lando figuring out how the Corellian System was formed with each planet having one of these repulsor things to push it into the right orbit or whatever.  The jist of the plot is outlined in this one paragraph:

"Well, there's one thing we can do," Luke said. "Get the word out. Tell our people what we've found out. If we can find Han and Leia and Chewbacca, if we can find our allies on the worlds here, and let them know what we know, that's a start. If they can get to a planetary repulsor in time, and if they can figure out how to run it, and if they can jam that hyperspace tractor-repulsor beam, then maybe we can save some lives."

Thanks for that nice summary, Luke.

Another thank you to Luke as he closes his eyes and uses his Force thing to figure out exactly where Han, Leia, Chewie and the kids are and everyone disperses to rescue everyone else.  Luke is heading to Han and Leia and Lando is heading toward the children and Chewie (and the Falcon).

Back to Han and Leia:  apparently the group that has them wants complete freedom and autonomy from the New Republic and everyone else and wants Leia to give it to them.  Well, of course she can’t and they go round and round and negotiations end something like this:

"Recognize the freedom of Selonia under the guidance of the Overden or never leave this planet alive."

"You've got yourself a deal," Leia said.

Kleyvits looked toward her eagerly. "Then we have persuaded you?"

"Absolutely," said Leia. "We pick the second choice, the one about not leaving alive. Go ahead and kill us all right now."

Kleyvits sighed wearily, and extended her claws to drum them on the tabletop, making a rather unsettling clicking noise. It was hard to miss just how sharp those claws were. "I can see," said Kleyvits, "that we are going to be here for a while."  

Meanwhile, Han’s cousin: Thrackan Sal-Solo manages to capture the Solo kids and Chewie (he was the mysterious ship that was seen landing).  There’s one part where the kids react to seeing him for the first time (remember: he looks a great deal like Han):

"Hello," said Jaina, and Jacen muttered a hello as well. Anakin took one look at his father's cousin and burst into tears-and Jaina couldn't blame him. It was upsetting just to look at Thrackan. He looked so much like their father-just a little darker, a little heavier, the hair a different shade. The beard helped make him seem at least a little different from Dad, but somehow that only made the similarities more upsetting. It was like looking at a dark side version of her father, the way he could have been, if anger and resentment and suspicion had taken hold of him.

I liked this reaction and introspection.  Given the background that Han has he could’ve easily turned out differently.  Thank the gods he turned out the way he did! 

Thracken takes holos of the kids (and of the Drall repulsor) and broadcasts it across the airwaves.  Good guy, that Thracken.  Great fun at family reunions, I’m sure.

In between we volley back and forth between all the forces congealing in the Corellian System to partake in this final showdown (at Centerpoint).  The Bakurian Forces, the New Republic Forces, Luke, Lando and of course, Lando’s girlfriend.  Suffice it to say they are all doing something and they will all have their part to play.

Back to Han and Leia, they had been under planetary jamming but Thracken lifts it to send his message.  First he claims to have control of Drall’s planetary repulsor (which he does since he has the Solo kids and Anakin had gotten it to work).  Second he claims this:

"The second prize that we have won is of a more personal nature," Thrackan went on. "We have rescued the three children of Leia Organa Solo, Chief of State of that same New Republic."

Han felt the blood drain from his face, felt his heart turn to ice. He looked to Leia and saw the same horror there.

I don’t care if this is all imaginary or not (obviously) but it just gives me the chills when they mess with their children, doesn’t it?  It’s needless of me to say that Han and Leia are distraught, but I’ll paste a few more passages to drive home the point.

At first Han and Leia are skeptical about both Thracken having the repulsor and of him having the children.  But that is what he took the holos for, right?  Here’s Han and Leia’s reaction to the holo:

It was the children, held inside a force field containment, with Chewbacca, Ebrihim, and a Drall Leia did not know held in an adjacent containment. The cam moved from face to face, showed a close-up of each of them. Jacen, looking sad but determined; Jaina worried, her gaze straying to Anakin; Anakin glaring straight at the cam. His face was streaked with tears, and he looked snuffly, as if he had just calmed down after crying. The cam moved along to show Thrackan, smiling coldly.

Leia choked back a sob, and Han felt a lump in his own throat. Thrackan had them. Thrackan had stolen children, Han's children. Thrackan had kidnapped his own flesh and blood. But then Han felt his sickness at heart, his fear, his horror, turn to cold, hard anger, clear-sighted anger. Thrackan wanted them scared, and shocked. But already Han was determined not to give Thrackan what he wanted.

And then when the video is over:

"Han-Han-he's got our children. He's got our children, and we-we can't do what he says. We can't." Leia looked to her husband, her eyes full of tears.

"I know." said Han, the words tearing at his insides.

Ouch.  I hate when they kidnap the kids!

So, then Han gets really fired up as you can imagine and argues with the Selonians that are holding them captive.  We then have this little tidbit as Han presses his argument and all the captors abruptly leave the room:

"I don't understand," said Han, drastically understating the case. "1 had a hunch there had to be some ringers brought in. I figured it had to be outsiders who had researched its operation that were actually running the repulsor. I figured that would make Kleyvits look a little bad-but nothing like that. What happened?"

"I'll explain later," Mara said. "Right now, see to Leia."

Han turned toward his wife, who had sat back down in one of the splendid, luxurious chairs that filled this splendid, luxurious prison of a villa. She was sobbing quietly to herself, the tears falling quietly. "Oh, Han. Our children. That man has our children."

"I know," said Han. "I know. But he is not going to keep them. I promise you that we will get them-

But suddenly Leia was on her feet, looking up, an eager, faraway look in her eyes, the change in her demeanor bewilderingly fast. Han exchanged a glance with Mara, and it was plain they were both wondering, for a fleeting moment, if Leia had suddenly become unhinged. But Han should have known better. Leia was made of sterner stuff than that.

"It's Luke!" she said. "Luke is coming this way. I can feel him, reaching out with the Force to me. He's homing in on me."

"How soon is he coming?" Han asked. "How fast will he-

Han's question was answered even as it was drowned out by the roaring thunder of a fast, low-flying aircraft.

Yay!  Luke to the rescue.  Even I got the goosebumps when Luke arrived here!  Everyone greets each other and you just know things are going to start going right because the Big Three are together.  They say their hellos, exchange information and reassure each other that everything is going to be set straight.  Just the way it should be.

Now we go to perhaps one of my favorite moments with the Solo kids.  They are being held prisoner, remember?  Well, they wouldn’t be Han and Leia’s kids if they didn’t take some action, right?  Right.  They don’t sit around and wait to be rescued like some princess…oh, wait, nevermind.  Anyway, we have some more Anakin machine machinations and the kids escape from their prisons.  Unfortunately Chewbacca and all other adults are not and they cannot free them for reasons I can’t remember. 

This leaves the children and the Falcon free to take off.  What do you think they do?  Well, we have to wait a few more chapters to find out, but I’m sure you can guess.

We go back and forth between all those other forces gathering.  I apologize that I don’t really give a good synopsis on what they are all doing, but you know, go reread Luke’s synopsis up there and you can bet they are all doing something to accomplish that – especially Lando’s girlfriend.  Let’s not forget about her.

Long story short, they are all gathering together over this system to take this star burster thing down, to uh, have a Showdown at Centerpoint.

We get a little more of Han, Leia, Luke and Mara who apparently, in spite of Luke arriving all heroic like, are still captives of the Selonians.  It basically boils down to the fact that Selonians cannot separate what one family member does from another, so they blame Han for what Thrackan is doing.  Luke does comment that he and Leia are lucky that humans don’t do that…

But anyway, enough of all that.  Let’s get back to the kids and the Falcon.

The kids set off to fly the Falcon and get help.  There is a little bit of the kids having to get the Falcon up and running again.  But then we have this:

Jacen paused at the entrance to the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. He had been in the cockpit many times before, of course-but this was different, very different. No one was keeping an eye on him this time, or making sure he didn't press any buttons, or shooing him away. No. This time, he was here to fly the ship. Fly her. The very idea terrified him.

"Want to have a contest to see which one of us is more scared?" Jaina asked.

Jacen turned around and smiled. His twin sister and his little brother were behind him, all three of them standing right at the threshold of the cockpit. "I don't know," he said. "How close do you think it will be?"

"Not close at all. I bet I'm a zillion times more scared than you."

"Don't be so sure about that," said Jacen. "I bet it's a tie."

"I'm not scared," said Anakin. "I'll fly her, if you want."

"I might take you up on that one if you weren't too short to reach the controls properly," said Jacen.

"Might I remind all of you of the need for haste at this point?" asked Q9. "I believe I have gotten over my recent bout with paranoia, but let us not forget that there really is someone out to get us."

"He's got a point," Jacen said. He turned to Jaina. "Which seat do you want? Pilot or copilot?"

Jaina paused for a moment, and then smiled. "Like father, like son. You take Dad's seat at pilot. He'd like it that way. I bet Mom would too."

Jacen smiled back at her, then climbed in and took his place at the pilot's station, adjusting the seat up as high and as far forward as it would go. Jaina did the same.

I just love this entire exchange.  The twins reassuring one another and the little brother charging forward.  Jacen taking his father’s seat and adjusting it to fit.  I thought it was all so cute while the whole time I’m wondering how Han will react to his kids flying his baby.

The kids are able to talk to Chewie over a comm, so they are not entirely alone and they do develop a plan to try and free him.  Jaina has an idea to blow up the generators that are working the containment field.  Jacen doesn’t quite agree, but supports his sister warily.

Jaina quickly explains her plan to Chewie and the other prisoners and we get this:

"Chewie---get as close to the center of the containment as you can and shield your eyes, and tell the others to do the same.”

A howl of protest came over the intercom.

"Will you relax?" Jaina said. "This will work, trust me. You guys just get ready to run and hide as soon as the force field goes down. Here we go."

Poor Chewie.  How many times has he been told to ‘relax and trust me’ by some crazy human with the last name of Solo?

Sadly, her idea doesn’t work and the kids realize that they’ll have to fly off in the Falcon and try to find help to come back for Chewbacca as their plan has drawn unwanted attention from their captors and bad guys are closing in on them.

"Everyone hang on to something," said Jacen. "I've never done this before." He pulled back on the repulsor power control, and the Millennium Falcon lumbered up into the sky.

Thracken Sal-Solo is not far behind the children in another ship and in hot pursuit.  I enjoyed reading about the kids trying to handle the cantankerous Falcon, so I’ll paste a bunch of it here:

Jacen held the controls in a death grip as the Falcon rode her repulsors up into the early-morning sky. They came up out of the repulsor shaft, still moving straight up, but Jacen knew better than to try to fly too high and too long on repulsor power alone. He would have to make the transition to sublight engines--and make it quickly. The repulsors were not intended for indefinite boost in the first place-and Jacen knew just how much this ship had been through recently. He put his hand on the sublight engine throttles, and pulled back on them as slightly, and as gently, as he could.

The Millennium Falcon took off like a lightning bolt, streaking across the sky. Jacen pulled the Falcon's nose up, trying to gain some altitude-or at least trying to avoid diving into the ground. He swallowed hard and eased the sublights back just a trifle, and then shut off the repulsors. The Falcon shuddered for a moment, but then settled down to smooth flight-at least for a moment or two. Then she was suddenly diving in toward the ground far below. Jacen pulled back up on the stick, forcing her nose up, fighting to keep her from fishtailing all over the sky. At last she seemed to stabilize as he got the feel of the controls. But he kept his tight grip on the joystick and kept his eyes constantly flitting back and forth between the viewports and the controls.

"Well, we're out," Jaina asked. "Now where do we go?"

"I don't know," Jacen said. "We never talked about that part, but-

"Behind us!" Anakin shouted. "Look at the detector screen!"

Jacen had to look for a moment before he could even find the detector screen. But once he did, he had not the slightest trouble reading it.

There was cousin Thrackan's assault boat, hot on their heels. A blast of laser flared past the Falcon's starboard side, and Jacen flinched involuntarily-jerking the ship's controls, and heeling the Falcon up and flipping her over on her roll axis until the topside of the ship was pointed down. The Falcon was suddenly climbing at about a forty-five-degree angle of attack, but with the cockpit pointed down instead of up. The artificial gravity system held them in their seats, but Jacen could look up and back and see the ground where a piece of sky should have been.

The accidental maneuver seemed to have shaken Thrackan off their tail, at least for the moment, but he would be back, no doubt about it. And he'd start shooting at them again.

"Shields up!" Jacen shouted.

"Where-where are the shield controls?" Jaina asked.

"Chewie moved 'em when he rewired the cockpit," Anakin said from the observer seat. "Under your left hand, sort of. The panel with the big red buttons."

"Where? Where?" Jaina said. "I don't see it."

"I'll get it," Anakin said. He undid his seat restraint, hopped out of his seat, and wriggled in between the two pilot stations. He reached in and flicked the safeties off a row of red switches, stabbed his chubby finger down on a big red button, and twisted two dials. "All right, now shields up! Top, bottom, and forward shields at-um-twenty percent. Rear shields at full."

A dull crash and a shudder that ran through the whole ship told Jacen that Anakin had gotten the shields up just in time-and that cousin Thrackan's aim was getting better.

Was he trying to shoot them down? Were those warning shots? Or was he trying to disable them? So far, as best Jacen could tell, Thrackan had just used the assault boat's chin guns, low-caliber lasers intended more for antipersonnel work than ship-to-ship fighting. But what did it mean? Jacen knew his dad would have been able to interpret the shots, know just what Thrackan intended, and what to do about it. But his father was not here, however devoutly Jacen might wish that he were. Probably-probably-

Thrackan was trying to disable the Falcon, not kill them. The thought was not much comfort.

Thirty seconds before, he had been worrying about figuring out where to go. Suddenly he wasn't all that interested in getting to anyplace at all.

All he wanted to do was get away from here, right now.

I really enjoyed that entire sequence both because it was just fun to see the Falcon in the Solo kids’ hands and because it demonstrated just how much Han (and Chewie) do with quiet ease, even the part about how Han would know what the firing shots from the pursuing ship meant and what to do.  I thought that was all pretty cool to read/experience.

Lando and his crew are hovering over the same planet that the children are escaping from: remember he had left to get the kids when Luke had left to get Han and Leia?  Their Republic ship sees the two smaller ships escaping and chasing each other.  They don’t know who is who and it is commented that “one ship is being flown very badly”.  Instantly (of course), Lando recognizes the Falcon:

Kalenda worked the controls with lightning speed and brought up the imagery from the long-range visual scanner and the tactical. The images of two ships appeared. Both were clawing for altitude, the one in the lead flying erratically-and upside down. "That's the Falcon," Lando said. "That's the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo's personal ship. It's flying upside down, and I think the pilot must be drunk, but I'd know that ship anywhere."

"That's the assault boat behind it," Ossilege said eagerly. "And it looks to have taken some damage."

"Who the devil is flying the Falcon?" Kalenda asked.

"It's not Chewbacca, I can tell you that much," said Lando. "He could fly her better than that blindfolded and with one arm in a sling-and I'm not speaking poetically."

"Then who is it?"

"I have an idea, but none of you would believe me anyway," said Lando. "You didn't last time."

Ossilege looked at him sharply. "You're saying one of the children is flying that ship?"

"You said it, I didn't,” Lando replied.

The Republic crew assesses the situation and deduces that the children are flying the Falcon and Thrackan Sal-Solo is most likely the one chasing them.  They decide to capture both ships in their tractor beam, pulling the children to safety and capturing the bad guy in one fell swoop.

Meanwhile, back on the Falcon:

The Falcon lurched wildly to one side as the assault boat managed another hit. "Shields didn't like that one," Anakin said, watching the defense display.

"That's it," said Jaina. "I've had it. Let's give them some of their own back. Powering up ventral laser cannon and setting for aft-aim."

"What?!" Jacen cried. "Are you out of your mind?"

Quite understandably, Thrackan did not appreciate being shot at.

"Shoot at me?" Thrackan said. "Those miserable whelps have the gall to shoot at me? Activating main armament!"

"But you'll blow them out of the sky!" Thrag protested. "You need them alive!"

"But I want them dead," said Thrackan Sal-Solo. "Main armament powered up and ready to fire."

Jacen risked a peek at the detector screen. "Jaina, he's not backing off, he's bringing his main turret cannon to bear! We've got to get out of here. Hang on!"

Jacen pulled back up on the stick, pulling the nose of the Falcon up. The Falcon climbed over its nose, into an inside loop, up and over before pulling out of the loop, right on Thrackan's tail.

"Anakin! Forward shields to full!" Jacen shouted, and his little brother scrambled to reset the switches, just in time to deflect a near miss from the assault boat's turret gun. The Falcon bucked and shuddered, but her shields held.

"We're in behind their shields! I have a shot! Hang on!" Jaina called. She fired twice. The first caught the turret gun right at the join with the assault boat's upper hull, blowing the gun clean off the hull. The second caught the sublight engine array, smashing the sublight emitters down to nothing.

The assault boat was dead in space.

Jacen had to stop cheering long enough to keep from ramming the Falcon right into her stern.

And then a giant, invisible hand reached out and yanked the Millennium Falcon by the scruff of the neck.

"Assault boat has lost main propulsion. Tractor beam on!" Kalenda announced. "Positive lock on assault boat. Provisional lock on Falcon. Falcon attempting to break free. We can't hold Falcon for too long without damage to her."

Lando went to the flag deck com panel and punched in a comm access code he had not used in a while. "Let's hope Han didn't go and change codes on me," he muttered, then pushed the transmit key. "Lando Calrissian to Millennium Falcon. This is Lando Calrissian calling Millennium Falcon. Shut down your engines and do not resist the tractor beam. We are taking you aboard a Bakuran vessel, allied with the New Republic. Do you copy?"

"Lando?" came a young, eager voice over the com line. "Is that you? Is that you?"

"That you, Jaina?" Lando asked.

"No, I'm Jacen," came the rather irritated reply. "But Jaina and Anakin are here too. And so is Q9."

Another yay!  The children are hauled onboard the Republic frigate safely as is Thrackan Sal-Solo, but not before his toady pokes a little fun at him:

Captain Thrag sat in the smoky control cabin of his assault boat, and laughed, but there was little joy or happiness in the angry sound.

"How have the mighty fallen, O mighty Diktat," he said. "They have beaten you, beaten you completely. Shot down by children. Children so young they probably had trouble seeing over the control panel."

"Shut up, Thrag," said Thrackan. "Shut up or I'll kill you on the spot."

The children witness Thrackan being taken into custody and he glares at them menacingly:

Anakin stood between his brother and his sister, holding each of them by the hand. He stared, wide-eyed and solemn, as they led Thrackan Sal-Solo, Diktat of Corellia, away.  “Our cousin is a very bad man,” he said.

Neither of the other children could think of anything more to say.

Lando’s first order of business was to get word to Han and to describe a little more plot stuff much better than I could:

It was a full-length view of Lando, shown at about half life size. "Hello," he said in a very solemn voice. "I don't know exactly what your situation is, so I will send duplicate copies of this to all of you. A lot has happened. The bad news is that the real enemy has finally shown up. It's the fleet from the Sacorrian Triad. Luke knows about it. They are the real enemy. Everything else-all the rebellions-are not much more than diversions. The fleet has a total of about eighty ships of all sizes, and they are closing-very slowly-on Centerpoint. They seem to be timing it so they will get to Centerpoint just as the Bovo Yagen shot goes off. We haven't interfered with them-yet- and they haven't made any hostile gesture toward our ships. I doubt that's going to last long, though.

"That's the bad news, and it's bad." The image of Lando paused for a moment, and then broke into a broad smile. "The good news is very good indeed. Don't ask me how, because we haven't had time to sort it all out yet, but the children have escaped from Thrackan-and they did it aboard the Millennium Falcon. They flew the ship. And before you can turn blue, Han, the Falcon doesn't have so much as a scratch on her. But the punch line is-they captured Thrackan. Han, you should have seen it. The kids flew a classic inside loop and put two disabling shots right into Thrackan's stern. The Bakurans have taken Thrackan prisoner. Anyway, I know you won't believe it, but the kids did it all-

"I don't believe it," Han said.

"Sssh!" said Leia.

"-and they are all safe and sound aboard the Intruder. Chewbacca and two Drall who got mixed up in all this are being picked up from the repulsor right now. They're okay too, as best we can tell.

“But the real reason I sent this message is to ask you to come here. Gaeriel Captison has called a council of war for eighteen hours from now. We need you all there. Madame Captison wants a Selonian representative as well. Please arrange that if you possibly can. Also, to be blunt about it, the odds are good we're going to need every scrap of firepower we can get before the end of this. We need all of you, we need the Jade's Fire, and we need Luke's X-wing. Send a return message as soon as possible, reporting your intentions. But whatever you do, please hurry. We are almost out of time."

In the very next chapter, titled: The Last Good-bye, we get the Solo family reunion without a moment’s delay:

Leia Organa Solo, Chief of State of the New Republic, ran full-tilt down the access ramp of the Jade's Fire, onto the hangar deck of the Intruder, and nearly knocked over two of the honor guard as she rushed forward to her children, flinging her arms around the twins. Anakin escaped her first swooping hug simply because he was hopping too fast and too high with excitement to be an easy target. But Han Solo was hard on the heels of his wife, and he scooped Anakin clear up off the ground. Luke joined the happy little knot of chaos, hugging the children, greeting them, tousling Jacen's hair, tickling Jaina, lifting Anakin out of Han's arms to hold him in his own. Threepio tottered around, offering his own greetings- and generally getting in the way.

"Anakin! Jacen! Jaina!" said Leia. "Oh, let me look at you all." But then she threw her arms around all three of them, and held them so tight it didn't seem likely she could see much of anything at all.

Lando Calrissian joined the tangle of welcome, throwing his arm around Han, shouting a friendly insult in his ear, pounding him on the back, giving Leia a kiss, teasing the children. The other new arrivals, Mara Jade and the Selonian representative, Dracmus, followed.

Admiral Ossilege allowed himself a thin, wintry smile as he watched the proceedings. "Not the most dignified of entrances, eh, Madame Prime Minister? I would have expected more poise from the Chief of State."

Gaeriel probably could have managed some commonplace comment about ceremony giving way to family, or that there were other considerations besides dignity in the universe, but somehow she couldn't bring herself to do it. She thought of her own little daughter, Malinza, back home on Bakura. She looked to Luke Skywalker, lifting his niece up onto his shoulders, and thought of how good he was with children, and of all the things that might have been, but never could be now. But still, the admiral seemed to be expecting some kind of reply. So she decided to speak, and somehow, the truth slipped out. "I think it's beautiful," she said,

Admiral Hortel Ossiiege turned toward her and regarded her with frank surprise. "Indeed?" he said. "Clearly, then, standards of beauty vary greatly. Mine do not include noisy and unruly children."

"Then I pity you," said Gaeriel, quite surprised with herself for being so blunt. "I know of nothing else that brings more beauty into my life."

Gaeriel Captison stepped forward, leaving a stunned Admiral Ossiiege in her wake. She moved toward the newcomers and offered them a simple, graceful bow. "Madame Chief of State," she said. "Captain Solo. I bid you welcome to the Intruder, and wish you much joy of this wonderful reunion." And with that, she knelt down in her very official ministerial robes and gave each of the children a kiss.

Let the old sourpuss chew on that for a while, she told herself. Gaeriel had had something of a wild streak in her youth. It was good to know it had not completely abandoned her.

Cute little reunion scene and I included the latter half for two reasons:  One to demonstrate what Zyra had talked about in the previous book review, the ‘what might have been’ between Gaeriel and Luke and secondly, the reaction from the grumpy old man at Leia’s behavior.  I just thought it was something that she had to deal with all the time and I like seeing her when she just doesn’t give a damn and acts how she wants for the sake of herself, Han and/or the children.

Now that everyone is together, they start to talk strategy.  In what I paste below, the characters will sum up their plan, so I won’t go into it here.  Towards the end, Kalenda the secret agent, suggests that the kids (particularly Anakin) are the best hope to get the repulsor firing and to do what they want with the machinery.  Old grumpy from the passage pasted above, was not too keen on this idea, as you can imagine:

Ossilege looked up at Kalenda, his expression utterly unreadable. Was there anger seething under there? Was he simply considering her words? Was he infuriated at the assault on his authority, or simply wondering if she might be right? It was impossible to tell. The man was completely inscrutable. "You argue most effectively, Lieutenant Kalenda. You marshal your facts well. You will either go far as an intelligence officer or end your career in the brig for insubordination. I had intended to disembark all noncombatants on Drall in any event, and it occurs to me that the shielded side chambers of the repulsor are probably the safest place to be right now. Madame Chief of State, Captain Solo-if, as Lieutenant Kalenda claims, your children might be of help, would you consent to their being put to work?"

"Absolutely," said Han. "Not that it matters what we think. Get them within a hundred kilometers of trouble, and they'll find it all on their own."

"Madame Chief of State?"

"We need all the help we can get," said Leia. "Let them do their part."

Ossilege raised his eyebrows and looked hard at both of them, "Very well," he said. "Then let us move on. Lieutenant?"

"Well, sir, to sum up, we have two objectives, neither of them very easy. First is to defeat the Triad fleet and prevent it from dominating this star system. Second is to do whatever we can to prevent Centerpoint from firing again. I believe that covers everything we were going to discuss, except for Source A-and I believe you wanted to cover that yourself."

We’ll get to more plot stuff later, but before all the heroes go off to save the galaxy, you know what needs to happen, right?  If you don’t, here you go:

If the day had started with joyous reunions, it ended with tearful good-byes. "Do you really have to go, Mommy?" asked Anakin, his voice a little snuffly, his chin quivering just a bit. They were in the Intruder's hangar deck again, the last load of noncombatants boarding the shuttle that would take them down to the safety of the repulsor's shielded side caverns.

"Yes I do, dearest," Leia said, kneeling down in front of him, forcing a reassuring smile onto her face. "And so do you. Everyone has a job today. I have to help Daddy and Chewbacca fly the Falcon. You and your brother and sister have to go down to the repulsor again, and see if you can make it work the way we need it to."

"I bet we can," said Anakin.

"I'll bet you can too, sport," said Han, tousling his son's hair. He was smiling too, but even Anakin must have been able to see the pain in his eyes. And even Anakin knew that everyone had to pretend that everything was fine.

Leia looked up at Jaina and Jacen. "You two take care of each other, and of Anakin, all right? And do what Threepio and Ebrihim and the Duchess tell you to do. And be sure to-be sure to-"

Suddenly Leia stopped, her voice choked up. It was all too ridiculous. She was going into battle, she was sending her children to operate a machine that could move a planet around, sending them off to face more responsibility than most intelligent beings ever dreamed of, she might be killed and never see them again, and yet she was left with nothing to tell them but the age-old motherly admonitions to behave themselves and brush their teeth.

"We will, Mom," said Jaina, her voice gentle and low. "Don't worry, we'll do all the things we're supposed to do."

"Fear not, Madame Chief of State," said Threepio. "I shall take good care of them all-assuming the Drall permit me."

Leia threw her arms about her children, shut her eyes, and squeezed them as tight as she could. "I love you all," she managed to say, before her voice choked up altogether.

She held them for as long as she could, and a little bit longer besides, until Han knelt down beside her and gently pulled her arms back. "It's time to go," he said. "The ship has to leave."

Leia nodded, unable to speak. She kissed each of them one last time, and Han did the same. The three children and Threepio walked aboard the shuttle transport, and the shuttle transport lifted off.

And they were gone.

Poor Leia.

Han goes and sees old Thrackan in the brig and the two exchange words and then everyone is getting ready to head out and do their part in the final chapter aptly named:  Showdown at Centerpoint. 

At last, at long last, it was time to board ship, launch, and head out into space. But getting to that point was not easy. The Bakurans needed all the firepower of the newly repaired Millennium Falcon, and no one could argue that the Falcon needed a crew of at least three-a pilot, a copilot, and a gunner-in order to provide the maximum firepower. There was, of course, never even the slightest debate over who the pilot and copilot should be. Han and Chewbacca belonged in those seats, and there was no doubt about it.

But more than a few people tried to talk Leia out of sitting in the quad laser turret. It was not proper for a Chief of State to go flying around taking potshots at enemy ships. But Leia was adamant. She had had enough of being pushed around in recent weeks. It was high time she paid a little of that back. The harder people tried to talk her out of going on the mission, the more determined she became. Even Ossilege tried to talk her out of it. But even Ossilege realized, eventually, that he had to back down.

Go Leia!  So, with everyone in place now the big battle is about to start.  Anakin is down at the big machine working his magic and all the ships are flying around in formation.  Han even makes a comment about how well Mara Jade flies a ship, so even he is warming up to her by the end of this trilogy.  But wait, what about Lando’s love life?  Don’t worry, it hasn’t been forgotten.  Although I didn’t mark this, I guess I’ll go ahead and treat you to it. 

Lando sees a civilian ship floating nearby and on a hunch, goes off to investigate (you know right in the middle of the big galactic crisis that is going on).  Of course, it is Tendra and we have this scene as they reunite:   

"Lando?" she asked. He was the first human being she had seen in a month.


And suddenly they were in each other's arms, holding each other tight. "Oh, Lando. Lando. You shouldn't have come. You shouldn't have. There are ships on all sides of us, and sooner or later the shooting is going to start and-"

"Hey, hey," said Lando. "Shh. Take it easy," he said. "Take it easy. My ship is plenty fast enough to get us out of here. We'll be all'right."

"But it's too dangerous!" she insisted. "It was too risky."

"Come on," Lando said, stroking her chin and giving her a big, warm smile. "I had to think of my image. How could I possibly turn down the chance to rescue the damsel in distress?"

Alright, I have to admit that was kinda cute to read.  Lando that old rogue, it’s good to see him happy.

We bounce right back to a bunch of getting in position and waiting around and other plot stuff, until things begin to heat up and we have the crew of the Falcon preparing to go into battle and it looks a little something like this:

"All right, Chewie," said Han, half an hour later. "Jump off in five minutes. Let's look sharp. Leia-time for you to get up to the turret and strap in."

Leia stood up from the observer's seat and nodded. "I know," she said. But she didn't leave. Not immediately. First she stepped forward, pulled Han's head toward hers, and gave Han a kiss. A warm, lingering kiss that did not so much end as fade gently away. "I love you," she said.

"I know," said Han. "And you know I love you."

Leia smiled. "You're right," she said. "I do." She stood up straight, reached over, and ruffled the fur on top of Chewbacca's head. "So long, Chewie," she said. "See you on the other side." And with that, she turned and left the cockpit.

Han turned and watched her go, then looked over to Chewbacca. "You know, Chewie," he told the Wookiee, "there's a lot to be said for this being married business.”

Chewbacca let out a low, rumbling laugh and went back to double-checking the shield settings."

Ooh, pretty nice kiss and exchange, right?

So the end of the book is very fast-paced, going paragraph to paragraph between all the different players.  Anakin gets upset and runs off and hides and his brother has to talk him into coming back and helping which was cute.  All the major players do all their major parts and the big bad machine gets properly blown up and the bad guys lose and the good guys win.

Yay!  And maybe, just maybe, proving that this trilogy of books was supposed to be about Lando all along, he even gets to close out the novel:

But the repulsor beam broke up the opening into hyperspace, defocused the beam, detuned it enough that some small part of its energy was converted into visible light. The South Pole of Centerpoint began to glow, began to throb and pulse with its own power. The glow spread, expanding outward, stretching itself out into a magnificent bubble of light, harmless light, that lit the skies of all the Corellian worlds, gleaming, shining, blooming, growing-and then guttering down to nothing.

Lando Calrissian watched it all from the North end of Centerpoint, and started breathing again. He hadn't even realized he had stopped.

"Now," he said to Tendra. "Now, it's over."

And indeed it was.  There is an epilogue that has a happy scene of Han and Leia watching their kids run around and everyone smiling and watching as well.  There’s a bunch of plot wrap up stuff and then we end again with Lando:

"Lando?" asked Tendra as they wandered about on the churned-up land that the rise of the repulsor had produced. It was not the loveliest of landscapes, but it did have the advantage of providing a good deal of privacy behind every hummock and furrow of ground.

"Yes?" Lando asked. "What is it?" Tendra had found herself on top of a higher than usual clump of loose rock. Lando offered his hand, and she took it, used it to steady herself as she slipped and slithered down into the next little furrow of ground. He did not let go of her hand once she was on level ground, and she did not let go of his.

"Remember how I told you that a Sacorrian woman is not allowed to marry without her father's consent, no matter how old she is?"

Lando felt a little flutter in his chest, a flutter of fear, and excitement, and interest, all mixed up together. "Yes," he said, managing to keep his voice steady. "What about it?"

"Well," she said, "there's just one thing. We don't have to do anything about it immediately, but there's something more I want to tell you about that law. An interesting legal technicality. It's been well established by many precedents that a Sacorrian woman is not bound by that law- ifshe is outside the Sacorrian system. If she were on, oh, Drall for example."

"Is that so?" Lando asked, quickly regaining his old equilibrium. The idea needed time, and thought-but he definitely liked it at first glance. He smiled, and looked at her lovely face. "Is that a certifiable fact?" he asked.

"It is," she said, smiling right back at him.

"Then why don't we get back to the Lady Luck and discuss the whole matter over dinner?" he asked. "I've always found legal technicalities to be downright fascinating."

And that’s that.  I have to say that I enjoyed this book for the most part.  I thought several parts of it, as I mentioned, were very Star Wars-y and that the characters seemed written fairly well and on point.  There were a few sluggish parts, like the tour of the facility and some other plot heavy scenes/chapters but other than that, it was an overall good read, escpecially from a Han and Leia perspective.

Now a word on scoring.  As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the EU does not seem as grim as it used to following TFA.  So, I’m thinking our scoring system and our reviews themselves might be skewed a bit as this is the first book to be reviewed following the release of the movie.  Regardless, there isn’t anything that can be done about it, but I will at least try to keep in alignment with the previous scores, not giving an undeserving book a 5 star rating just because, as bad as it was, it was still better than TFA, if you know what I mean.  Funny, I wonder how we would rate COPL now?  I'd venture to guess that it might've at least eeked up a little higher on its score.  Haha!

With all that being said, I’m giving this book a rating of 3.5 stars.  It was a fun read and had just enough of Han and Leia and their children sprinkled throughout to keep it enjoyable.  Even Mara and Lando were fun to read about.  There was some Leia girl time, Lando in love, a few kisses - yeah, not too bad at all.

And that's it.  Hope you enjoyed this review and thanks for reading.

Up next:  The Hand of Thrawn Duology by Timothy Zahn.


  1. Great review! I miss the Solo kids. I love reading about Han being a good dad and Han and Leia having a little brode of children.

    Someone in the last thread posted some confirmation that Harrison and Carrie definitely hooked up while filming ESB but now I can't find it. Can someone repost it if they find it?

    1. There was a comment that Harrison indirectly confirmed that he was living at Eric Idle's place during the filming of ESB, which Carrie was too (she's said that multiple times). It's funny because Harrison is so notoriously private and won't reveal anything so of course he was playing dumb and pretending like he didn't remember the Rolling Stones story, but then he accidentally totally confirms that he was living with Carrie. Ha ha!

      I always thought their affair was supposed to be on the set of ANH though and that they were done by ESB (hence the fighting and sparks between them). The story that's gone around is that she was crazy about him in ANH, but he was still married with two kids and she was very, very young (19 compared to his 34). He ended things and she was pretty pissed at him during the filming of ESB. But if they were living together, I guess there probably was still something going on!

    2. I always thought their affair was during ANH too! If you read the Making Of books they talk about how the three of them, especially Harrison and Carrie, were inseparable during ANH but by ESB the Three Musaketeers dynamic had cooled. If they were living together though, then wow something more than a fling was definitely going on. Anyone read that script where Harrison and Keshner discuss the carbonite scene? It always seemed like there was something going on deeper with Harrison and Carrie with the huge fight they had over it.

      Carrie doesn't even bother to deny they had a thing now. In the Rolling Stone interview all she talked about was her relationship with Harrison. She even retweets tweets that say her and Harrison had a thing.

    3. Here's the Carrie interview:

      Here's Harrison's:

      Yep, Ford slipped.

      I have the Making of ESB book now. I can't actually read through it (some of its boring), but I read online that Kasdan said that during ESD, if you wanted to find Harrison, he'd be in Carrie's dressing room.

      I just assumed that they got it on during ESB.

    4. That is so crazy they were living together during the filming of ESB. I thought they had a hot on-off fling going on, but living together is pretty serious.

      Carrie just posted another cryptic tweet implying her and Harrison got it on during Star Wars. I wonder what Harrison who's very private thinks of all this. He was giving an interview and the interviewer mentioned a story Carrie said and he rolled his eyes and said "She lies all the time". He also joked about needing a lawyer when Carrie publishes her The Princess Diaries book. (Remember, he was married at the time of filming ANH with two kids!)

  2. Regarding couples being broken up, I am also sad Mulder and Scully are broken up in the X Files reboot. It's like TBTB are messing with all my favorite ships! The good news is that I doubt they would kill off Mulder, allowing a possibility for a reconciliation.

    1. I feel like Mulder and Scully have been breaking up and making up for so long that it's kind of played out. I love them too, but I feel like they're always in a precarious state of relationship and I'm tired of it. Weren't they broken up at the start of the last X-Files movie too, and it ended up with them together?

    2. I bet they split them up because they're trying to "reboot" the series so they want to take it back to when they were colleagues not lovers.

      Even Barbie and Ken got a divorce didn't they? It seems like Hollywood is really against happily together couples. I wonder if they'll do a P & P sequel someday with Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy divorced the way things are going.

  3. Glad the Book reviews are back! Can't wait till we get to see some of the good stuff in the later NJO and post NJO books where they're inseparable.

    Some more good news - I looked at Chewie's page for the Visual Dictionary and it specifically says that he went back to Kashyyk and lived with his family right after ROTJ because Han was settled into a family life and they didn't go on adventures any more. That puts the theory of "Ben turned to the Dark Side because Han was off gallivanting around on adventures and never around during his childhood" to rest.

  4. Thank you for these reviews. I've got the NJO on order, so I'm looking forward to receiving them, although I'm afraid it will mess with the AU I'm trying to write as fan fic! I don't want to be influenced too much! - kels

  5. Can someone please report that excellent post defending Han and Leia as parents I can't load it in the old comment section...I am arguing with my friend right now who's trying to use the "Han and Leia were bad parents" theory on tumblr and I would like to copy and paste it...

  6. Here it is - I heart this whole post!

    hey so can we discuss how the movie made it very clear that when Han told Maz “Leia doesn’t wanna see me right now,” in that one scene, it wasn’t because she was angry with him or they were fighting or like, that typical “the wife is mad at me better Stay Away” trope, or because Han was pissed off at Leia and using her feelings as an excuse for his pettiness, or because they Had Marital Problems

    or anything like that

    he was, as directly quoted in one of his later scenes with Leia, staying away because he wanted to spare her the emotional pain of being reminded of their son every time she looked at him, something that’s implied was A Thing

    “I know,” he says, looking down and speaking softly, “that every time you look at me you’re reminded of him.”

    you guys remember that?

    can also we discuss that not for a moment in that entire film was Han Solo bitter towards either Leia or Ben? that it was so clear, inevery interaction he had with both his wife and his son, that he still loved them both, so very, very much?

    can we discuss how Leia Organa was not for a moment bitter or angry towards Han, that not for a moment did they seem to blame anything on each other? that in every interaction with Han, it was clear that she still cared for him deeply? that she was not angry about the situation they were in, but rather sympathetic? loving? gentle? kind?

    can we mention how even when Leia acts vaguely exasperated, even when she says “don’t” (”don’t do what?” “anything”) - even when she says “no matter how many times we fought” - their interactions in TFA spoke of nothing but a gentle, stable, longstanding - if almost melancholy - love? How comfortable they still were, in the way they stood and their easy quips and the softness in Han’s expression every time he looked at her? The gentle little smiles Leia gave him?

    could we, for a moment, consider the fact that nowhere, nowhere, is it implied that Han and Leia’s marriage prior to Ben’s turning (brainwashing, leaving, whatever - we still don’t know exactly what happened) was somehow some sort of angry, dysfunctional disaster? That there is no canon evidence that they spent all their time acting the way they did when they were fighting in the middle of a war, scared and quite frankly immature, all the way back at the beginning of empire strikes back? Like, jeez, even putting aside how very clearly their interactions had developed into far gentler, more mutually supportive and overtly loving gestures by the end of ROTJ (learning to apologize to each other immediately when they may have even slightly hurt the other, actually communicating like adults, etc), why would you assume that Han and Leia, two people who had experienced so much together, who demonstrated time and again their dedication to each other, would be the type to really, genuinely fight all the time? Even their ESB fight were more of like, petty, childlike “you like me!” “NUH UH” spats than they were actual, malicious fights.

  7. on top of that, this idea that they’d be absentee parents?? nowhere. NOWHERE in TFA does it even remotely hint at that. they showed nothing but love and dedication towards their son, and quite frankly, the fact that one would even assume that as a child Ben wasn’t their top priority is??? insulting to their characters??? these two people, orphans, who have such a poignant history - Leia especially - with parentage and heritage and the value of a kind, loving, wholesome family? in what universe would they be like “yo, just gonna ignore our kid cause we didn’t feel like having one, sorry buddy, you were an accident so you’re gonna chill at home while we ignore this new responsibility and throw ourselves into our work”????


    I’m really tired of seeing so many people assuming that Ben actually turned because of his parents, or that Han and Leia (and by extension, Luke) were terrible, neglectful, absentee parents who learned nothing from the past mistakes of those before them. Forcing the same lovelless, manipulative emotional environment that Anakin experienced on Ben is a) ignoring the canonical differences drawn between the two and, b) quite frankly not very creative, making for a boring, reused storyline (a la old Expanded Universe), and c) forcing characters to behave in a way that is really just not canon-compliant. Even within the original trilogy, we see them learn from the mistakes of those before them, family or otherwise. Hell, half the original trilogy is Luke and Leia avoiding those same mistakes that their parents and thier parents’ friends made.

    so like, I guess my point here is that I’m getting really tired of this constant in-fandom assumption that these characters who, in canon, both old and new, have been shown to so clearly demonstrate so much love and care for each other and other people -

    I’m getting really tired of this constant assumption that they were neglectful, absentee, constantly-fighting parents who were somehow the cause of their child - who they’ve been shown to UNCONDITIONALLY LOVE AND SACRIFICE FOR - turning to the dark side. It’s a discredit to both their original character arcs and growth and to the canon evidence presented in the new film, and honestly I’m not sure why, on top of all this other disaster and sadness, people are clinging to this unfounded idea.

    Were Han and Leia perfect parents? Probably not, but honestly, who is? Did they have a flawless, bump-less marriage? very likely not, but once again, who does? That’s part of life. No marriage is flawless. Taking those bumps and mistakes to the extreme, though, is unreasonable and insulting to both their individual and collective character arcs, imo

    so like

    i’m really sorry if i’m coming off as terribly salty but

    hypothesize all you want about Ben’s fall. headcanon all you want about this family’s dynamic and life prior to TFA. But don’t throw out literal years of character development while you’re at it, please.

  8. so, like, actually about the post we're commenting on...

    I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed this particular series, especially how funny Han with the Solarians was. I remember cracking up reading that, and the moment when the kids capture Thracken was cool. Oh, and then the reunion on the ship and the guy being all, how undignified, and Gaeriel is all, I think it's awesome. the whole plot of the trilogy is totally bizzare with the big giant weapon and the ancient aliens and all the stuff with Lando's love life... but it all worked out in the end :-)


  9. Thanks for the review! I'm glad we're going to be doing these again. I like this series. A lot of good Han and Leia stuff that goes back to the things I love about them. Like Leia kissing Han goodbye and lingering and Han telling Chewie how being married is kind of nice ;)

    I really liked how the Solo kids were given their personalities here, and they are no longer just an accessory and a necessary but pointless addition to Han and Leia's little family. We don't just see their capture from Han and Leia's perspective, we see it from the kids, and how they are trying to help each other out and talk each other out of being too scared. I love their kids in these books (before evil stuff starts happening, but that's later and at this point there was no sign of that!) and I love them flying the Falcon and being scared, and Anakin being totally willing to just step up and do it himself since his brother and sister are too scared. I can see the worry but ultimately pride Han and Leia would go through hearing about what their kids did there.

    (as a side note, while I'm typing this I'm looking at that cute background pic of Leia and Han on Bespin and Leia giving him that look, and it is making me smile thinking about them 15 years later married with their kids) I like the reunions too, and thinking of each other but also being realistic about the battles and things that are going on. Oh and the kids having that reaction to seeing Han's cousin, who for some reason was never fully explained how he was really related.

    I think I had more to say but I forgot. I liked this one. They really used the whole Solo family and made them pretty cool characters. Oh I also laughed when Lando first thought Jacen was Jaina on the comm, because that totally always happens when I call my sister's house and my nephew answers and I think he is his sister. A couple more years and that mistake won't happen anymore.

    Just so nice to see the nice Solo family after the bad stuff that we have been talking about lately.

  10. Oh and this book has its own special place in my own personal Star Wars history, since it is the first one of these books that I had to wait for it to come out and go buy it at the book store. And given my almost non existent access to the internet at the time, I probably had to find out when it was coming out based on information in the prior book. I started reading Star Wars books earlier that summer in 1995!

  11. Oh Jaina. I do miss you so. Mckak

  12. This is off topic, but I just had to share this post I found on tumblr. She was discussing how the fanboys have this head canon as Han Solo as this James Bond/Captain Kirk ladies man and this is her response. It's brilliant, I just had to share for you Han/Leia fans.

    ugh, like there is LITERALLY no canonical evidence for the ~han solo: space womanizer~ head canon. like, when he first meets the ONE female character in the entire series that he interacts with he is GROUCHY and SHOUTY at her, not sauve and dashing. she thinks he is a tool and tells him this multiple times. not really smooth and charming.

    he then takes to following her around on Hoth and practically pulling her pigtails asking ” DO YOU LIKE ME? YES/NO? (PLS SAY YES)” with hearts in his eyes. (Chewie probably had to throw out like a HALF DOZEN old notebooks that were filled with awful power ballads/poetry/odes to her and “Mr. Han Organa” written in different fonts)

    when it comes to the iconic ‘i know’ in response to Leia’s proclamation of love, Ford has stated that it’s out of PURE CONCERN for HER FEELINGS (“the point is that I’m not worried about myself anymore, I’m worried about her” - DIRECT QUOTE), it was NOT a ‘boss’ move or ‘so swagtastic it hurts’ it was an apology that he couldn’t be there for her, it was an attempt to make her smile, to make it hurt less than if he had said the words too and then was forced to leave her. (not that he would have been much help; remember that han solo spends the majority of the 3rd film mostly blind and feeble, unable to take care of himself and generally getting in the way while Leia Gets Shit Done)

    when he does say the words, it’s with the most adoring and awestruck expression. those words are fused with more than just love and respect. he’s almost HONOURED that he gets to love this badass babe and that she allows him to exist in her orbit.

    AND THEN he loves Leia so much that he’s willing to step aside so she can be happy with the man he believes she wants. and valuing a woman’s choices and feelings over your own is not exactly womanizing behaviour - so where did this headcanon come from??

    1. That seems to be Lucas' intention too. The original ESB script has a scene of Han telling Leia she's the first woman he's ever brought onto the Falcon. George Lucas also said he cut the Jenny scene of Han having a prostitute in his lap because he didn't like what it implied about Han's character.

    2. Hmm, that was really interesting to read. I've also had the head canon for years as Han Solo as this suave womanizer before ANH, but you're right..there's really nothing in the movies that supports this. I guess people are assuming based on how good looking Harrison Ford is and how charming Han Solo is that he'd be a ladies man. It's like our head canon that General Riekkan is a father figure to Leia and Mon Mothma is this cold unfeeling bitch when there's nothing in the movies to show this!

      I know I've been saying in previous posts that it'd be unrealistic for Han to be celibate for years during him and Leia's separation, but now that I think about that post, maybe it isn't? I just remembered the book Allegiance (yeah, I know it's no longer canon but I always thought Zahn nailed Han and Leia's characters) that takes place between ANH and ESB. Han flirts with a Rebel just to make Leia jealous and it works. Then he says he feels "guilty" just for FLIRTING, so obviously he wasn't even sleeping around with other women in between ANH and ESB, even though he and Leia weren't in a relationship. Sue Zahn also does this in Into the Fire, where she has Han stop his "activities" once he starts developing feelings for Leia, mostly out of fear that the rumours will get back to Leia and she'll think Han just wants another conquest with her.

      Okay. Now I feel better :)

    3. For those that have read Smuggler's Run which takes place between ANH and ESB, is there anything in there about the Han/Leia relationship?

    4. I don't think Han slept with anyone in the period that Han and Leia were separated. He may have been a ladies man in his 20s, but he would have been in his 50s at the time he and Leia broke up. Of course, it depends how long they were apart for. If it was 5 years or less, than no.

      As for inbetween ANH and ESB, I think he probably continued his womanizing ways for a bit after ANH when he was in complete denial he had any feelings for Leia. After he started developing feelings for her, he probably stopped sleeping around.

    5. Ewokkey, I read Smuggler's Run and there isn't much Han and Leia. The prologue and epilogue are set in Force Awakens time, I'm not sure how long before the movie, but never mentions Leia. I was never quite sure whether he still had the Falcon or not in these parts. The gist of the book is that "old" Han is in a cantina telling a story of how the Falcon saved him during a mission. There is a part where Leia is asking Han to go on said mission, but that's their only interaction. This is set between ANH and ESB. Interestingly, there is a part in the book where Han could have taken off but he stays in a fight because he does not want to abandon a friend who had helped him earlier in the book...

    6. JJ Abrams has compared Han Solo to Captain Kirk in past interviews, so he also has the head canon of Han as their skirt chasing womanizer. Boys grew up wanting to BE Han Solo, that includes getting the chicks and flying the fast ship and all that comes with it. You're right, there is nothing in the movies that supports this idea.

      Let's just all be grateful that Abrams didn't pair Han up with a Bond girl during this movie.

  13. I really like how this book has the Solo kids start developing actual personalities. Them flying the Falcon is awesome. I also really like how Han is portrayed in the EU as a wisecracking scoundrel with an edge but always a completely devoted and loving husband and father. See, you CAN have both!

    Another cool thing was Mara and Leia teaming up together. It was a lot better than their later interaction in the NJO where Mara seemed to always outshine Leia. This had them using their talents together to accomplish their mission.

  14. I am looking for a fic. It's a year after ANH. Han and Leia get into a fight. Han goes to Leia to try to make up to her. They end up talking about how Leia is still a virgin and Han offers to have sex with her. There's a sequel where they start having a friends with benefits type relationship...Anyone know the name and author and where I could find it?

    1. Just Friends and More than Friends by an author who nows goes by Corellian Blue on ff.n (I can't recall her pen name for those fics) but unfortunately they are not on anymore :( Some of my faves as well. Hope to see them back up there soon!!

    2. Yep, it's those fics. And she used her real name back then, Cindy Olsen. Very hot fics, I remember those well from back in the day.

  15. Hi, folks - I just stopped by to let you know about a new Han Solo (and, of course Han/Leia-related) podcast a friend and I have just launched. We'd love for you to stop by and listen and tell us what you think.

    You'll be able to find the "Going Solo" podcast on iTunes as soon as it finishes propagating; in the meantime (and the future as well) you can find it here:

    We also have a brand-new Tumblr page:

    Hope to see you there and get your feedback. Thanks!

    Kathy (and Wendy)

    1. Great podcast. Liked your commentary that killing Han off was like killing your star player - who DOES that when they've got Harrison Ford signed on for three films?! I always assumed Han would die but that was because I thought Harrison Ford only signed on for one, but now that we know he was willing to do all three films, I don't see why they couldn't have killed him in the second one to mirror ESB as the darkest film....It would have been a much stronger story if we had seen the first film showing Han, Leia and Ben as a family and building up the family dynamic and then show his fall to the Dark Side and Han's death in the second film. Honestly the Ben/Han scene to me had very little weight because there was no build up of what kind of relationship they had had before, other than Kylo saying Han was a disappointing father.

    2. Thanks so much for the feedback! Wendy and I are recording a new episode today, and your concerns and discussions are giving us plenty to talk about.

      We're particularly interested in the fact that Ford is back on the public IMDb cast list for Episode 8, after being on the list, then removed from the list, and that's not even mentioning how this has evolved in IMDb Pro. It might not be remarkable except that only IMDb staff members can add to these lists now, so we're going to talk about what this might mean.

      Thanks for listening!


  16. What a lovely book review. Thanks! Love how the main point is to just flip through the books for all the important parts -- aka the H/L segments. :) Looking forward to the next review!

  17. Great article here: Nice to know we're not the only ones who aren't enamored with the film.

    Han/Leia part of the article:

    In The Force Awakens, Leia gets a handful of snarky lines towards her ex, Han Solo, but is mostly just one long stoic reaction shot. Whatever she thinks of her brother running off and leaving the galaxy to die, we never really find out.

    But worst of all, she and Han Solo have a couple of scenes that are like the executive summary of a couple talking about their relationship. It’s something I’ve seen a fair bit in movies lately: the scene where two people talk about their feelings, but they’re just summarizing the bullet points. The biggest Han-Leia conversation is half as-you-know-Bob exposition, and half quick-and-dirty, on-the-nose relationship synopsis. At no point do Han and Leia feel like people who once loved each other, had a child together, and have not seen each other in years.

    This matters partly because Leia is a kickass character in her own right, and getting to see her as a general was one of the selling points of the film. And it also matters because the Leia-Han relationship was the emotional core of the original trilogy, so it’s weird to see it get such short shrift here.

  18. I'll have to check this book out. I have a hard time finishing Star Wars book since some of them are boring to me. However, I read William Shakespeare's ESB & ROTJ with no problem. I loved them!

    If I get this book, I'll probably just read their scenes.

  19. Has anyone considered the theory that Han wasn't a coward and ran away from the Resistance because he wanted to be a smuggler, but that he couldn't handle being part of an organization that was trying to kill his son? He and Leia were driven apart because she formed the Resistance which was trying to kill their son and Han didn't want any part of it. He didn't believe there was any good left in their son but he didn't want to be part of an organization that was trying to kill him. So he went back to smuggling because he had to make a living somehow.

    1. Interesting theory, but then why would've Han been so warm with Leia when they were reunited? I don't think that he'd have wanted to see her in that instance. Remember when he walked right up to her ship's door? He REALLY wanted to see her.

    2. Interesting theory, but the movie portrayed it as Han as giving up on Ben while Leia still believed there was Light on him. It is really weird that it is NEVER discussed in the movie that Leia is the leader of an organization that is trying to kill her son though.

  20. I rather like the notion that I read elsewhere recently that Han has actually been working for Luke all this time, and to spare Leia (from what?), even she doesn't know. Granted, it would have to be a pretty significant situation for Leia to not be in the loop.

    1. Yeah, I understand. I'd like the theory better with a few tweaks.

    2. I like this theory but I don't know how easy it would have been to keep something like that from Leia. She has the Force and she's intuitive - remember in the movie when Han said "Women always know when you're lying" to Finn. I took that as a throwback to his days of marriage with Leia where he could never sneak anything past her.

  21. Awesome review! I loved the Corellian Trilogy... It was my favorite for a long time, after the original Thrawn trilogy. I always loved getting those glimpses of the Solo's as a regular family...or at least as close to it as they were gonna get flying all over the galaxy!

  22. Side note:

    I was just thinking about the movie. Just some food for thought. I still think that Rey is Han and Leia's daughter.

    During the Kylo/Rey torture scene, he says to her, "Han Solo can't save you." Now, I don't think that he'd say that if she wasn't his daughter.

    1. He knew Rey saw Han Solo as a father figure so that's why he said it. I don't think it confirms or excludes anything. I just don't think she's his daughter because of what we know about the timeline now with Rey being dropped off on Jakku before the massacre occurred. If they happened at the same time it would be more probable.

  23. I'm still hoping for another Jaina type character in the movie. I just don't want to see all this rich characterization gone. Whether its Rey or another as yet uncast actor. And we never actually see or hear that Kylo/Jacen was the Academynkiller. This is a new thought to me. So I am having faint hope we will get our Jacen and Jana in some form. and I will go buy this set of books again too cause its been years since I read them and this whets my appetite for Han and Leia love and bonding.

    1. The Visual Dictionary confirms that Kylo Ren is the one who slaughtered all the Jedi at the Academy. They're being deliberately vague on when exactly this happened though - Han describes Kylo as a "boy" when it happened but Pablo says it "wasn't that long ago".

    2. The universe does not want me to be happy

  24. Claudia Gray, author of upcoming novel Bloodlines posted her review of The Force Awakens here:

    She makes specific mention of Han and Leia and how it's clear they still love each other even though they can't be together. I hope her novel does them justice.

    According to her twitter, the novel is delayed being it's being edited with the new information that came out in the Force awakens. She said she stayed spoiler free for the Force Awakens except for knowing that Kylo was Han and Leia's son. This makes me think that Bloodlines will not go into anything too important if she didn't know the plotline to the Force Awakens before she wrote it. I thought it might be the book that goes into Ben's downfall, but I think she would have needed to know the whole plot of the Force Awakens if that were the case. What could the book be about? It's described as a "thrilling prequel to The Force Awakens" and set 6 years before it.

    1. This makes it clear Bloodlines won't give away who Rey is. Claudia Gray does not even know her parentage:

    2. Huh weird. If she had no idea what happened in The Force Awakens while she was writing the novel, then the novel must be mostly about original characters like Aftermath and only have the original characters as cameos OR it takes place before all the crap happens with Ben, but that doesn't seem likely with it only being 6 years before TFA.

  25. Han/Leia video:

  26. Shortlist for the Han Solo movie revealed! What do you guys think of the choices?

    1. Ugh. Not impressed. I can't see me being happy with anyone but a de-aged Harrison in the role. Really not remotely excited for this.

    2. I actually liked the Young Indy TV series, so this could be okay. I guess my worst case scenario is that they put in some Bria like love interest and then the EU has Han running into her during the years he's separated from Leia and having an affair with her, but let's hope they don't go there.

    3. Apparently the list isn't complete. I wasn't crazy about any of the choices. What about the guy who plays young Harrison in Age of Adeline?

    4. I have never been excited about the idea of a young Han movie. Any of he big 3, really. Cartoon, fine, but that's it.

      I also don't think the guy from Age of Adeline would be a good choice. It's going to be hard enough to accept someone as a new Han Solo, I think it will be worse if we are watching someone trying to do an impersonation of young Harrison Ford rather than trying to make the role his own. It worked for that movie because the part was small, we only needed to know that it was him in his youth. I think it would get irritating watching an impressionist trying to carry a whole movie. There is a lot more to it than just being able to look and sound like Harrison Ford.

    5. Young Han is now supposed to be making a cameo appearance in the Rogue One movie.

  27. Did everyone see the interview on yahoo with Ford? Last night after GG's he was asked if Han was really dead. He said Solo was resting? Is Harrison Ford playing mind games? That looked pretty dead to me.

    1. No I don't think its a given as there was no explicit acknowledgement and no body. It looks bad but this is sci fi. They will do whatever they want.mckak

    2. In my opinion, I think he meant, resting in peace. He was being tactful, and possibly stating it that way to not look like he liked it. That's speculation, however, but I'm sure that he did.

    3. Or it could have been a sideways reference to the young Han Solo movie. Yet those rumors about Ford being in Episode 8 are weirdly persistent, even after you dismiss the call sheets from the fake casting website. Who knows?


  28. Can anyone recommend some good Han/Leia fic on Archive of Our Own? Whenever I try to find anything there it gets buried in Rey/Kylo, Finn/Poe, Leia/Poe..ackkk! Is it too much to ask for some decent Han/Leia fic?

    1. I do not understand all the Leia/Poe fic around these days! They do not even have a scene together in the movie!

    2. Actually, if you read Before the Awakening which has Poe's prequel story to TFA, it very obvious implies he has a crush on Leia and worships her. She's the reason he joins the Resistance. While I thought it was kind of cool to see the young male/powerful older female gender dynamic flipped around and that it was awesome Poe idolizes LEIA, not Han or Luke, I think we can all agree it'd be waaaay out of character for Leia to hook up with her subordinate who's 20 years her junior even if she wasn't married.

      Some good Han/Leia TFA fics:

    3. Thanks. I'm reading these. Good stuff.

    4. I'm a one-trick pony at the moment, and this is a WIP (13/14 chapters posted) AND this is yet another shameless plug of my own work but I humbly submit it for your consideration...

    5. Erin Darroch's Return to the Light is AMAAAAAZING! Go read it right now - especially Chapter 12!

    6. Most of the Leia/Poe fics have her sleeping with Poe because he reminds her of Han. It's very weird. I keep accidentally reading them because the writer will tag them as Han/Leia.

      I noticed in Before the Awakening, Poe has no idea that Leia was ever married to Han. Makes it sound like they've been separated for a while.

    7. Sorry, I forgot to include your fic Erin because I thought everyone here had read it. If you guys haven't do so immediately, it's fantastic!

      Another fantastic Han/Leia fic, some TFA, some OT, some inbetween: Go read it now!

    8. Thanks, Ewokkey. And can I second your recommendation for MandyQ's "Tales from the Millennium Falcon"! Fluff, romance, gut-wrenching angst. It's like a box of chocolates.

  29. No Happy Endings for Luke, Han and Leia But That's Okay:

    Interesting trend I've noticed is that so many articles are like "Poor Leia, her son turned dark and her husband dumped her..." Am I the only one who thought TFA made it clear that their break up was very much mutual and both were to blame by not knowing how to cope with Ben going dark? "We both had to deal with it in our own way...Every time you looked at me you saw him." Han physically left her, because obviously Leia couldn't take off when she was a New Republic politician, but I'm pretty sure by the time Han left the marriage was already over. I think they both didn't know how to cope, shut each other out and stopped talking to each other. I don't think it was a "Han dumps Leia callously and takes off forever" scenario.

    Oh well, I guess we'll know for sure in the book that does their separation. Let's hope it's someone like Troy Denning who can do it justice and show how much they still love each other...

    1. No happy ending for Luke, Leia, and Han? I read this. It sounds like an opinion article, but how could anyone be happy with that if they're a fan of the original trilogy? What crapola...Sorry...

    2. Luke could still get a happy ending. It looks like Rey is his daughter and he may be reunited with her mother. They were casting for older females for Episode VIII and some people have speculated it's for Rey's mother.

      It does seem like Luke is NOT the Chosen one destined to bring balance to the Force after what we see happen in TFA. That may be Rey.

      I hope we do see some happier times for Luke, Han and Leia. There's some talk of a TV series like Rebels to cover the years between ROTJ and TFA.

    3. Thanks, but if there's no happy ending for the Big 3, then there's no point in this for me. Not after 32 years...

    4. Exactly, iluvkoalas. They had a happy ending in 1983 and tptb decided to rip it to shreds. - kels

    5. Hmm, I'm pretty sure Rey's mom is dead, or it will require a pretty convulated explanation on how she ended up on Jakku. Um, it will kind of piss me off if she isn't and her and Luke get a happily ever after when they utterly destroyed the love story of the OT.

      If they're going to keep making movies, then no one is the Chosen One because they're going to constantly need Sith in the galaxy to keep it interesting. I guess the prophecy was wrong after all?

    6. Kels,

      There was no point in them not having a happy ending. Their story, for the most part, ended in 1983. It really bothers me that I haven't seen more of a ruckus about this on the internet. There are so many OT fans out there. I don't get it.

      Ewokkey-I still think that Rey is Han and Leia's daughter.

    7. Agreed, iluvkoalas. It was unnecessary but we'really living in an incredibly cynical time. - kels


    1. Ooh I LOVE THIS! The voice isn't QUITE Carrie (she has a very unique voice) but it's close. It will be so interesting to see Leia as a double agent working for the Rebellion secretly but under the appearance of a Senator. Bring on the snark!

  31. We may not find out Rey's parentage until Episode 9:

  32. Just saw this comment posted on FB in response to MovieWeb clickbait. It annoyed me SO MUCH because it is once again lack of writer/director/producer interest in this character that has led us to a place where this poster can make this comment and have little blowback because, in film canon, he's not entirely wrong. I could argue with him, but he could score points based on the films alone. Ugh, poor Carrie Fisher. It would have been nice if anyone other than Carrie cared about that character:

    "Leia is a cold hearted bitch, didn't shed a tear where her home planet was destroyed. Her known parents could have died. Then doesn't seem to care when the Starkiller base wipes out an entire planet system that housed what we believe are the supporters of the Resistance. Her family and friends die and she doesn't seem to care."

    1. There is a good scene in the novelization of Leia responding to the deaths on Hosian Prime and comparing it to how she felt about Alderaan which was unfortunately cut. It does seem weird how in the film how little attention the ENTIRE NEW REPUBLIC getting wiped out gets and how Leia is back to normal a few hours after it.

      I was thinking how it had to hurt for Han to see how well Leia was seemingly doing with her life when he ran into her while he was basically this broken old man on the run from bounty hunters who owed everyone money. In Before the Awakening, Poe thinks about how she has a fire and spark in her whenever she talks about the Resistance, so it doesn't seem like what happened to Ben and Han completely crushed her. If she seems perfectly fine in Episode VIII, then yeah..she's a robot because seriously who could survive all that and keep going?!


    I don't get J.J. Abrams' comments here. He says that he didn't kill Harrison Ford. What does that mean?

    1. Because he didn't kill Harrison Ford. He killed Han Solo. He already explained in a previous interview that he did to to establish Kylo Ren as a villain.

    2. Yeah, but I didn't get the impression that he meant it that literally. I was wondering if Disney perhaps had a hand in it.


      Here's more context for that comment - joke in response to dumb reporter question. I think it is interesting how they are all like "not involved" immediately when asked about the Solo film. It is like they all want to dissociate themselves- kels

    4. Yeah, just a dumb "I'm going to take this internet-troll literally in order to duck a potentially uncomfortable discussion of my decision-making, kthxbye" moment on Abrams' part.


  34. What do you think about developing our own canon of events. could be a a mix of the novels and our favorite fan fictions. with various spots for AUs. Like we could agree to a canon about what generally happened on trip to Bespin as our own canon but recognize that there are alternative versions. forget JJ. thats just one more alternate universe.mckak

  35. I never read the EU, I stopped after the travesty that was COPL. Now I am thinking of getting into it. Does anyone have any recommendations of what books are good for Han/Leia content? Don't they separate for a while in the EU too?

    1. You people have to explore the blog a little more. On the sidebar we have a link to a bunch of other book reviews. There is also a post somewhere on here titled "Best Han and Leia moments in the EU" that has some good recommendations. The book reviews themselves give you a good idea.

      If you only want to read some stand alone books and not get too invested, I'd recommend Tatooine Ghost and also Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. Detailed review links on the sidebar, or you can just take my word for it. Those are great Han and Leia books.

      They do separate for some books in the New Jedi Order series, which we will be reading and reviewing in the upcoming months. The separation is due to Chewie's death as Han does not handle it well. It was not a fun time there, but once they reconciled they were entirely inseparable for the entire rest of the EU moving forward.

    2. Thanks Zyra! I'll start reading through the reviews. How long are they separated in the EU? Do either of them see other people during it? Which book has their reunion?

    3. They are separated in the first book and reunite in the 5th book, I think it was. Timeline-wise I think it covers a few months. And no, no, no, nobody is seeing other people. It's not like a conscious decision to split up and not be married anymore or anything like that. It's just that Han is withdrawing and they are both busy doing things in the war and Han is being annoying and not checking in with Leia and Leia eventually stops trying to track him down probably because she has too much pride to be begging him to come back or anything. Again, it's not like splitting up because they don't love each other or anything to do with their relationship, Han is just very broken and doesn't know how to deal with anything so basically runs away from home.

  36. Luke and Leia make it to Episode IX and have bigger roles:

  37. The biggest movie of 2015 is about a 73-year-old father with a broken marriage and a son who hates him.

    1. Darren Franich has been trying SO HARD to be profound with his last few articles, and they're coming out as a gigantic word salad of meandering half-formed ideas. Some of his ideas aren't bad ones, but he's still in a stream of consciousness mode, and he needs to look harder at the cynical way the scripts in nearly all of the movies he's commenting on use the older characters as chess pieces to allow them to half reboot/half sequelize. That said, disagree entirely with his comment on Ford's performance in TFA. - kels