Jay Sherer is the author of Timeslingers, a time travel adventure available now on Amazon.com, and the soon-to-be released comic book, The Standard. He’s also a big Star Wars fan, if you couldn’t tell.
REVIEW SUMMARY: Part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens line of short novelettes, Moving Target follows Princess Leia as she leads a diverse crew of rebels on what could be a suicide mission.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An older Leia records her memoirs, recounting a mission that occurred between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. She leads a diverse team of rebels (including Nien Nunb) on a mission to distract the Imperial fleet from the Rebellion’s real objective.
PROS: A well-casted and personified crew of misfits; Leia is written very well; several interesting locations are revealed.
CONS: It’s pretty short—more novelette than full-length novel. The connection to The Force Awakens seems weak (obviously, since I haven’t seen the movie yet, I can’t say for sure), despite the book cover’s promise that: “Hidden within the story are clues about the highly anticipated new film…”
BOTTOM LINE: If you’re interested in a short, fun story set in the era of the original trilogy, I recommend picking it up.
Jason Fry tries his hand at another book in the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series (his other book, The Weapon of a Jedi was also reviewed by me for SF Signal), though this time he partners with Cecil Castellucci to get the job done. Moving Target is an engaging, fast-moving novelette that’s enjoyable, and worth the read, but doesn’t seem to add anything earth-shattering to the Star Wars canon.
The story begins with Leia reluctantly retelling a tale from her past to a droid that’s recording her memoirs. She selects Operation Yellow Moon, a mission that took place between the events showcased in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The basic objective of that mission was to distract the Empire in order to give the Rebellion time to amass their armada.
Princess Leia, joined by Nien Nunb, Kidi, Antrot, and Major Lokmarcha, heads off into space with the goal of attracting just enough Imperial attention to throw the Empire off the scent of the Rebellion’s real objective. In order to do that, her crew must visit several planets on what is billed as a rebel recruiting mission.
The story moves quickly, has plenty of action (both in space and on the planets visited), and has interesting characters. Leia’s character is the only one written with much depth, but the story isn’t long enough to warrant complex story arcs for each member of her crew. Leia’s character is well-written and feels true to the original trilogy.
If you’ve read my other reviews, you’ll notice a theme: the connections between The Force Awakens and all the new novels that have been released thus far seem unsubstantial. Granted, without seeing the movie, it’s a little difficult to say, but it’s pretty tough to draw any conclusions about the movie just by reading these books. That’s not to say the books aren’t worth reading, but they’re marketed in such a way that feels a little frustrating. It’s like the marketers are peddling delusions of grandeur (and laughing all the way to the bank).
Moving Target proves to be superior than many novels in the extended universe, and should be considered canonical at this point. That, plus the action-packed plot and excellent characterization of Leia, make for a fun read. It won’t satiate your curiosity about The Force Awakens, but it will probably whet your appetite.