Review: The Corellian Trilogy by Roger MacBride Allen

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I think I’m going to review this trilogy as a whole because it really just felt like one long book which had just been split into a trilogy for ease. However, by lumping them all together means I now have to try and summarise 3 books without waffling on for pages and pages. Yikes – here goes!

So these books are all centred around the planet of Corellia, Han Solo’s home planet (and the home planet of most of the cooler characters in the EU – Bel Iblis, Han, Dash Rendar etc. and also does a cracking ale from the sounds of it!). An unknown terrorist is threatening to tear apart the peace and stability of Corellia and the neighbouring planets of Drall and Selonia, by threatening them with a deadly superweapon (yup) capable of destroying the planets. Also stirring up a good dose of xenophobia in the process. The clever thing with this superweapon is it’s awesome power has been demonstrated over the Holonet although no-one is 100% sure if it is real, but they can’t really afford to take the risk.

In the first book, Ambush at Corellia, everything kicks off on Corellia, leaving Han captured, Leia trapped and unable to get off world (due to a massive force field which has surrounded the entire planet), Chewie has managed to escape with the kids and they head for the planet of Drall with their new teacher – a Drall called Ebrihim. In the meantime, Luke, having finished the ridiculous quest to find Lando a wife is unable to get past the force field to help Han or Leia.

Assault at Selonia (book 2) continues with the machinations of Han’s pretty messed up cousin, Thracken Sal-Solo. We see Han team up with a Selonian, Dracmus, as they attempt to get off the planet in order to warn Luke etc. Thracken has worked out that there are massive repulsors in the planets in the Corellian system which he is trying to take over so he can use them as leverage to basically get what he wants. It all comes to a head in the final book, Showdown at Centerpoint, when Luke and Lando realise that the deadly superweapon mentioned earlier is in fact Centerpoint Station which has been programmed to destroy the nearest star and, as a result, pretty much wipe out all local life. They must take out Centerpoint Station before it goes off, which leads to one of my favourite Luke and Lando action scenes to date!

Whew, there you have it! That doesn’t do the intricacies of the plot any justice at all but that is the general gist of the stories and the main sticking point, aka centerpoint station, which everyone is arguing over. Some people want to blow up stars, others like the New Republic, think this is a bad idea.

The good

Finally, the Solo kids aren’t completely annoying brats! Hurrah! Yay for Roger MacBride Allen (RMA)! I actually found their parts to be some of the most interesting as they don’t have the same compunctions or consideration for consequences as the adults, so it
was extremely fun to see them lurch from one disaster to another. It’s particularly the case for the twins Jacen and Jaina, I think we are starting to see glimpses of the adults that they will later become. That being said, I still found Anakin pretty annoying and brattish throughout this trilogy and, by now I kind of feel we should be seeing more flashes of the Jedi that Jacen and Jaina are going to become. Apart from some pretty spectacular piloting of the Falcon in book 3 (I think this whole scene pretty much stole the show for me and the image of the Falcon being flown upside down by Jacen with Tracken’s men in hot pursuit isn’t something I’m going to forget in a hurry! They were truly their father’s children in that whole scene!) But yeah, apart from that, they seem like pretty ordinary kids, albeit in quite extraordinary situations, but I just feel we should be seeing some more of their force abilities coming through by now. Who knows, maybe I’m just impatient!

After a slightly rocky start – I really did find the storyline of Lando looking for a wife in the first book to be very naff – by books 2 and 3 Lando gets some awesome page time and emerged as one of my favourite characters in the trilogy. I found my spirits lifting when we came to a Lando chapter (which is always a good sign right?) and he properly kicks butt by the end of the story. More Lando please! He got a really meaty storyline and I actually thought RMA wrote a better Lando than he did Han. That’s not to say that he wrote a bad Han or anything, I mean, these books are called the Corellian trilogy, so the author clearly gives a crap about Han and wanted to write a decent story for him. And he defiantly did. It’s just Han is a little bogged down in this book with leadership, a sense of responsibility (this is his homeworld after all) and just the general fears and concerns that any parent would have if they are separated from their children in a hostile situation. Lando on the other hand has none of this responsibilities. He is a free agent and therefore also free to have himself a good, old fashioned adventure. I thought he teamed up really with with Luke and Gaeriel (who makes a welcome return from the Truce at Bakura novel and a nice bit of inclusion from RMA) and their adventures really lifted this entire story for me.

The bad

Whilst there were some really interesting plot threads throughout the story and the Corellian sector was a fun playground for RMA to work in, there were parts of this story which felt, dare I say, a little boring? I did find myself skimming over some parts which is surprising because the overall threat level of the story was high and I’m surprised it
didn’t feel pacier than it did.

I also found the Corellian back story of Han to be really jarring, having read the Han Solo trilogy. A lot of Han’s story as I know it is contradicted by this trilogy. For one, there is no Garris Shrike and in A.C Crispin’s novels, Han was more of a very young street urchin and didn’t actually grow up on Corellia but spent a good chunk of his earlier years abroad the Trader’s Luck. It’s obviously not RMA’S fault, these books were written before the Han Solo trilogy but it was still weird for me and maybe don’t read the Han Solo trilogy before you have read these books so it’s not as odd for you!

These weren’t the sweeping, epic novels of Zahn, nor were they the fun adventures of Kevin J. Anderson. They took themselves a little more seriously, which was actually quite refreshing after KJA and the madness that was Darksaber. There are some key parts of these stories that I found very memorable and I liked the inclusion of two very well rounded alien species. We really got to get under the skin of the Drall and the Selonians in a way that we haven’t since the Nogrhi really. However, they were a tad dry in places, especially in book 2 although this did redeem itself with a cracking book 3 and a really dramatic and exciting conclusion to the series.

Overall: off to a slightly slow start, but the whole series lifted by the Luke and Lando action at Centerpoint!

Rating: 4 out of 5 Death Stars for the Corellian Trilogy!

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