Book Review | Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel
“All in all, The Princess and the Scoundrel is a nice story, with great character development, and an endearing mission.” Says Max in his review
It’s time to explore the love affair between The Princess and the Scoundrel.
Star Wars has taken a temporary intermission from The High Republic novels, as they prepare for Phase 2. In the meantime, we are treated to a classic tale of when Han Solo proposed to and married Princess Leia. Right off the back, this book reminded me of the story told in the now-Legends novel ‘The Courtship of Princess Leia‘. However, that book takes place several years after Endor, while ‘The Princess and Scoundrel‘ takes place less than 5 minutes after Endor.
In Courtship, Han shows his love for Leia by…well…kidnapping her. Yikes. That would not fly in today’s Me-Too strong society. This novel by Beth Ravis gives a far more humane and tender expression of Han’s love as shortly after the Celebration in the Ewok Village, Han approaches Leia and bluntly states “I want you.” This simplistic and brusque manner of a proposal may seem infantile. But it truly encapsulates who Han is. Non-eloquent and straight to the point. He ALWAYS shoots first.
Leia is taken aback by this proposal but accepts regardless, and Han wonders if they will last. This is quite an impressive foreshadowing as they do not, unfortunately last. However, that is the far future, and in the now; Beth Revis delivers a very tender moment that continues to coalesce throughout this short but sweet novel.
I really love how Leia struggles with the new identity of her father. After all, Darth Vader was the monster who tortured her and destroyed her home and her adoptive parents. “You are not my father!” she screams at the remains of the funeral pyre her brother built for Anakin. This was such a visceral moment and I’m glad it exists. Because it is only natural that Leia should feel that she cannot forgive her birth father for the crimes he has committed. Luke tries to tell her that he came back to the Light at the end, but Leia wants no part of it.
Let’s talk about Luke. Revis really captured the ROTJ and Post-ROTJ Luke very well. He is fully devoted to the Force and will soon have to go on his journey of re-discovery and re-building of the Jedi Order. He offers to train Leia to be a Jedi. But Leia refuses because she needs to help form the fledging New Republic. However, the doubt is there and Leia promises herself that she might reconsider one day, and viewers of The Rise of Skywalker know that that is quite true.
Even though the roadmap for these characters is very clear, there is a sense of suspense about how Han and Leia will adjust to marriage. Han has no problem with Leia’s parentage. But she feels that it will one day come out and bite her in the bud. How right she is. Leia also thinks of her lost home and adoptive parents and thinks about all the things she lost when Alderaan was destroyed. She even thinks of her toy droid LOLA from Kenobi, and I find it very odd that not once did her thoughts ruminate on the man she grew to love, Ben Kenobi. Why does she address him as a stranger in the fateful holo-message that only took place 9 years after he rescued her? Perhaps a story for another day.
Mon Mothma surprised me in this novel, with how eager and flexible she was on the insistence that Han and Leia have a honeymoon away from the fighting. Leia does NOT want one. But Mon convinces her, and this shows how much she cares about Leia. Leia lived most of her life serving others. Now it is time for herself. The wedding was Ewoked-out which I found very amusing, and Luke married his sister and Han. I guess Jedi are basically like ordained ministers.
The wedding rings the two received were Ewok-made as well, as they were made of an impermanent organic material that I feel symbolizes the fragility of their union. Leia and Han decide to honeymoon on the Galactic Chandrilian Star Cruiser, the Halycon which is featured in its own set of comics. And even has a real-world counterpart as a hotel in Disneyland’s Galaxy’s Edge. Han and Leia try to enjoy themselves but feel drawn toward what they do the best. Leia needs to further missions for the New Republic and Han doesn’t dig the fancy get-up. He just wants to play Sabacc!
Leia struggles with dealing with wealthy socialites on the ship who don’t care how much the Rebellion sacrificed for the galaxy. And I feel her anger when some dare to claim that the Emperor dying was just a rumor. Han is also a fun character to read. He is argumentative and impatient, and actually has a heated fight with his new wife. Even though they were married less than a week! Oh god. Leia manages to have the Halycon re-route to the ice moon of Madurs, as she feels an alliance with them would be beneficial due to the abundance of a rare fuel source on the planet.
The remainder of the novel is Han and Leia trying to see what is going on on this mysterious moon, as Prime Minister Yens is completely inscrutable. Something is happening, however, on this icy moon. And Leia and Han will not stop until they get to the bottom of it. The moon is also renowned for its ice sculptures which are not indelible, which is another representation of Han and Leia’s marriage.
The mystery that Han and Leia try to unravel is intriguing, as Yens tries to keep them in the dark and away from the suspicious activity. But several times I felt myself being dragged along by the pace of the book. It could get a bit boring, but the climax and denouement of the book are worth the wait. Fans of the greater Star Wars continuity will be titillated by the appearance of another Rebellion-era element and a precursor to a Sequel era tech. I love how much Leia grows to care for this beautiful moon. And she proves without a doubt to be one of the few politicians and leaders that truly care about people. Han is still a little rough around the edges, but he cares too, in his own way.
Fans of the greater Star Wars continuity will be titillated by the appearance of another Rebellion-era element. And a precursor to a Sequel era tech. I love how much Leia grows to care for this beautiful moon. And she proves without a doubt to be one of the few politicians and leaders that truly care about people. Han is still a little rough around the edges, but he cares too, in his own way.
The victory the reader will feel at the end is real and tangible. And while the Chekov Gun on the Wall was rather obvious, and the Yen conspiracy sloppily wrapped up, I felt like I gained something as a reader and a Star Wars fan at the end of this book. Beth Revis is also an exceptionally great writer (I must note) and has had several other entries in Star Wars canon. But this is her first full-length adult novel. Let’s hope we see more of her in the future. All in all, The Princess and the Scoundrel is a nice story, with great character development, and an endearing mission.
Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel is published by Del Rey/Penguin Books is will release on August 16th. Pre-order your copy here.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter where he shares his love of the Force frequently!