Review: The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin – Rebel Dawn

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My brother’s extremely tatty copy of Rebel Dawn! (My books from here on are in much better condition!)

Things kick off with that infamous game of sabacc where Han wins the Falcon from Lando. Now flying the fastest ship in the galaxy, Han and Chewie become top dogs in the smugglers’ world. This of course doesn’t last as the jaws of the Empire clamp down ever tighter on Hutt space.

Cue the reappearance of Bria! Remember her from book 1? Han’s first love and now a free woman, Bria has joined the Rebellion and is
hatching plans to flatten Ylesia, maybe for the benefit of the Rebellion but more likely a revenge plot. Han of course is reluctant to agree to help her out, having had his heart so mercilessly stomped on by Bria in the past, however with the promise of a decent financial return, Han agrees and manages to persuade some of his smuggler friends to help out. This leads to quite a fall out as the smugglers are ultimately betrayed by the Rebellion (you can decide whether this was in the ruthless pursuit of their ultimate goal or just downright mean!). The result of this fallout is reflected in some of the animosity initially shown by Lando when we eventually see him again in Empire Strikes Back (‘you’ve got a lot of nerve showing up here after what you pulled…’). This all leads to Han having to work for Jabba again and the ill-fated ‘cargo dump’ – bringing us right up to the start of A New Hope.

The good

A.C.Crispin really brings everything together in this book which have been ticking along throughout the trilogy – Boba Fett’s dogged pursuit of Han and Bria, the Rise and Rise of the Empire and the flames of Rebellion. We see how Han manages to hack just about everyone off and yet, you kind of agree with him (or maybe that’s just part of his charm!) that it’s really not all his fault! :-p We get closure on Han and Bria’s relationship which was satisfying as it had been coming for a while. I also think it’s the mistakes and heartache from this relationship which make him initially so incapable of speaking his true feelings for Leia later on. Ultimately Han’s relationship with Bria and it’s final breakdown has a defining impact on him as a person – I honestly think it’s Bria’s influence which leads to Han’s decision to help out the Rebellion in A New Hope.

The tension also ramps up between the clashing Hutt clans and you get a whole new level of respect for Jabba. In fact, these books did slightly ruin Jabba for me because I do struggle to believe that he would ever have been out-manoeuvred by our heroes in Return of the Jedi! He was awesome! Kudos for A.C.Crispin for making Hutts such believable, well-rounded (hah pun intended) antagonists. They all had strong, complex motives and, I think, if A.C.Crispin wrote it I could read a whole novel just about the Hutt politics – as long as it included some artwork showing what a flippin T’landa Til looks like!

The slog through the mud in the battle of Ylesia really highlighted the desperate plight of the early days of the Rebellion and the sheer grit and determination needed by those trying to bring down the mighty Empire.

Everything is rounded up in the final chapter just perfectly, and the tantalising glimpse of Luke and Obi-Wan through the dim and clatter of the Mos Eisley Cantina gave me goosebumps. I challenge anyone just finishing this book not to put A New Hope straight on after!

The bad

Whilst I understand and even admire her dedication to the rebel cause, I still really struggle to like Bria as a character. She is just so cold-hearted and ruthless frankly which makes her a difficult character to warm to. I think she would have flattened anyone, even Han, for the Rebellion. Having said that, it’s probably just my Han-bias clouding my judgement there 🙂 so a slight Bria reprieve I suppose…after all, we’re talking
about bringing down the most evil Empire the galaxy has ever seen here, what’s that compared to the feelings of a bunch of smugglers? Wah.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 Death Stars – a solid conclusion to a great trilogy!

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Overall

I haven’t got praise high enough for these books! They really are a must read for any fan of Han Solo or Star Wars generally. They are seriously well written books, with great pace, depth and character development. A.C.Crispin really got Star Wars and, possibly more
importantly, she really got Han.

I must admit I am nervous for the new film due to come out in, uhhh 2018 is it? This trilogy has set the bar high for How It Should Be Done. I’m honestly not sure if they can be beaten! However, I will go in with an open mind and, if the film doesn’t make the grade then I will simply ignore it, kick back with a pint of Corellian ale and a plate of Traladon steak, and re-read these beauties! Punch it!

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