The Courtship of Princess Leia
by Dave Wolverton
Published by Bantam Publishing
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
After RETURN OF THE JEDI, it seemed for sure that Han and Leia were going to get hitched. However, at the start of this novel, we find out that thre is no such thing as a sure thing! Han returns to Coruscant after a long time of fighting Imperials in another part of the Galaxy. As he returns, he finds that a prince from a wealthy and powerful planet has offered Princess Leia an offer she can hardly refuse, marriage, wealth, and an alliance between the Rebels and his people. How can Han match that deal? With a beat up old ship and a Wookiee? So he does the only thing he can to rekindle their old flame...he kidnaps her to the obscure planet Dathomir!
Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker discovers clues of a Jedi expedition to a planet populated by Force weilding witches. The planet? Dathomir, of course. Do they still exist? He decides to go and find out!
When Luke hears of Han's little stunt, he chases off after him along with the prince to talk sense into Han. The trouble starts when the Force witches called the Nightsisters, Imperials, and rancor beasts complicate things.
Dave Wolverton is one of the few Star Wars authors that uses one of the elements that made the films great. He uses humor, and when he does, you want to laugh out loud. He also overcame the impossible task of telling a story that you already know the ending to, and he makes it interesting. The story is also enjoyable because he not only expands the characters and aliens in the Star Wars Universe, but he doesn't do the typical 'return of the imperials' storyline. I particularly liked the comments about Yoda, 'the old flirt!' There is also a funny scene in which C-3PO writes a love ballad for Han and Princess Leia. The scene in which Luke singlehandedly flies the Millenium Falcon into battle is very impressive, as well. We see that being 'the greatist fighter pilot in the galaxy' runs in the family! This was a very enjoyable read for me.
Cool! Nothing has beat this book yet (though Kevin Anderson's Darksaber came close--I call it a tie). This book has some excellent action scenes that are very easy to follow. The clash of cultures is quite well done. How does an author make you think "oh, buzz off" about a *perfect gentleman* in favor of a rouge like Han Solo? I don't know, maybe it's just Han's mystique. Most of this book takes place on Dathomir, and we get to romp with the Rancors. Whee! The Nightsisters are cool--wicked women Jedi. I bet they'd fit in just fine in punk rock clubs.
Dave Wolverton tends to be very brutal with his characters. Yes, it does add a degree of realism and intensity to the story (I suppose if you can't kill 'em, you can at least make 'em hurt real bad), but it made me cringe a bit. I never did like going to the dentist, so I can truly sympathize with Han Solo (read the book to get this). I also kind of feel that he took away from the ferocity of the Rancor in RETURN OF THE JEDI by making them gentle, controllable creatures in the novel. Also, the major coincedence that Luke and Han are both interested in the same planet at the same time was a little statisticly off, but what kind of story would you have without it? It also bummed me out that Luke didn't get himself a chick, yet again. Man, so far he's only gotten to kiss his sister! (those Trekkies keep rubbing THAT in!) I still loved the book, though.
What?!? Sacrilege! This book is as Star Wars as pulling ears off of Gundarks! Ok, there were a couple of sticky points--Luke basically dies and gets resurrected by the Force. That happened once before way back in Splinter of the Mind's Eye, so you'd figure Luke wouldn't be so surprised. The thing about the Rancors, well, we're able to tame Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my!) aren't we? And about them winding up on the same planet at the same time...that *always* happens in Star Wars. Just like redshirts die on that inferior Sci-Fi show.
The Nightsisters (basically female Emperors). If you think that's bad, imagine 'em nekkid. EEEEEKKKKK!!!
And you thought I had a dirty mind! Seriously, turning the lights out on an entire planet? Maybe so, maybe no.