Thursday, June 7, 2018

Book Reviews: Han Solo at Stars End by Brian Daley and Scoundrels by Timothy Zhan

Han Solo at Star's End by Brian Daley
Hardcover, 187 pages Published March 12th 1979 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 1979)

I read these books in an effort to get hyped for the release of Solo, this more than any other book was the one I wanted to read. A Han Solo novel written when only A New Hope existed,even though I read many many years ago. It is cool because when author Brian Daley wrote this he had no rich canon or universe to rely on. He just had this one movie and the Han Solo in that movie was the one who shot first and tipped the bartender for cleaning up Greedio's corpse. I read this book the week before seeing Solo.

The rest of the efforts to write Han Solo in movies, books and comic were writing about General Solo. In the light of the character who rightly was changed by seeing the sacrifice of Luke and Leia. It makes sense that Han Solo is a changed person. Solo as a movie rightly writes a character who is the foundation of both those sides of the character we know now, what makes this book special is the author Brian Daley had only the super rogue Han solo to go off of.

Han and Chewie are a little more simple in this book but it doesn't suffer for it. AC Crispin who was a excellent tie-in writer did books that address the wider EU and I like both series in different ways. I like the artifact nature of the sorta-out of date Star wars book. In this book Han is not afraid to get his hands dirty, a lot of attention is paid to the operation of the Falcon. I got the feeling that the Falcon in this book was slightly more important to Han than Chewie. Then again this is early in their friendship.

This part of the star wars universe is a creation of Daley, as he didn't have much to go on. The corporate authority is never seen again, and neither are the interesting two droids Bollux and Blue Max. I found myself liking them more than I expected. While there for greed of course Han and Chewie end up being reluctant heroes.

As for Scoundrels. I admit I did not really finish this book. I did a lot of skimming. I know Zhan was trying to do Ocean's 11 in the Star Wars universe but it didn't work for me. Then again it is not super fair for me to say much more.

A few thoughts on the film Solo. I know a few have made the point that this film was not needed. I think there is an argument that Solo is a better character with his back story being mythology. That said I think it was fun for fans to see this story realized. I think the first twenty minutes were rough, and I was a bit worried. After Chewie shows up the movie gets better. I think Solo adds a cool window on the Star Wars universe. Did we need it? Nah but I think having a different window on the galaxy far, far away adds depth to it all. Seeing the universe from the underground was cool to me.

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