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: Of the three Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens novelettes released thus far, Greg Rucka’s Smuggler’s Run is my favorite. Han Solo and Chewbacca reluctantly agree to pick up a stranded Rebel Alliance spy, and as you might expect, chaos ensues.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: An older Han tells a group of thugs a story about the Millennium Falcon. His story takes place after the destruction of the Death Star (and the Battle of Yavin), when Han and Chewie were tasked with picking up a stranded Rebel Alliance spy being hunted by the Empire.
PROS: My favorite representation of Han Solo in written form. Great pacing. Excellent weaving of the prologue and epilogue into the main story. Cool villains.
CONS: You’re likely to want more since it’s so short. As with the other entries in the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens series, this one promises more “clues” than it reveals, but the story is great, so you probably won’t care.
BOTTOM LINE: The best new Star Wars universe book is Star Wars: Lost Stars, but this is a close second. This is the best I’ve seen Han Solo written. Highly recommended for Star Wars fans. Kudos to Greg Rucka!
“I have a bad feeling about this.”
I mutter this to myself every time I pick up a book with Han Solo as the protagonist. He’s one of my favorite characters. I mean, I used to be Han Solo (in my imagination, playing in the yard with my brothers, of course), so I cringe every time I read a terrible Han Solo adventure (e.g., I couldn’t stand A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy). But, taking a deep breath and hoping that the odds of Greg Rucka successfully navigating Solo’s character were better than a TIE pilot successfully navigating an asteroid field, I dove in…and I’m glad I did.
Like all of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens books, Smuggler’s Run starts out with an older Han recounting a story about his past. Unlike Moving Target and The Weapon of a Jedi, however, Smuggler’s Run has a fantastic prologue (and epilogue) that are actually intriguing in and of themselves—not to mention that they are the most tightly connected to the actual story being told.
The story Han tells has the infamous crew of the Millennium Falcon heading off on a mission to find Ematt, a Rebel spy stranded on the planet Cyrkon. (Quick side note: Ematt has now shown up in a couple of these books, so I’m guessing we’ll see him in The Force Awakens, but we’ll see). Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a story without some good old-fashioned conflict, and that comes in the form of a group of bounty hunters who are tracking Solo (he still hasn’t had a chance to pay Jabba) and a group of Imperials tracking Ematt. The latter threat is led by Commander Alicia Beck, who fits the role of efficient, ruthless Imperial hard ass extraordinarily well. She’s interesting in her own right. I’d love to see her in The Force Awakens. Since the book is so short, I won’t go into further detail, except to say that frenetic action and adventure ensues and doesn’t disappoint.
The best part? Han Solo is the Han Solo we all know and love—captured extremely well by Mr. Rucka—scoundrel, reluctant do-gooder, and sarcastic smuggler (his trusted side-kick, Chewie, is also written very well). And that’s probably the best part about the book—the characters.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, especially if you like Han and Chewie, you should purchase this book. It’s worth the read!