Bracken launches this retelling with the first of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Aptly titled, this novelization focuses on Leia, Han, and Luke as the titular princess, scoundrel, and farmboy, organized into a section for each. In the first, Leia has perhaps bitten off more than she can chew in trying to prove herself to the Rebellion and distance herself from princess stereotypes. The novel follows spirited Leia from Darth Vader’s attack on her ship, through the “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” holographic message, her capture, and her interrogation to the destruction of planet Alderaan, her home. From there, the third-person narration shifts to Han, who agrees to transport Luke and Obi Wan to pay his debt to the dangerous Jabba the Hutt. They run into trouble with Vader and take advantage of the chance to rescue Leia from her impending execution. Han’s pulled between his pragmatic desire for money (and skepticism of the Jedi “religion”) and the affection he feels, against his will, for Leia and Luke. The final section begins as Luke grieves Obi-Wan’s death and struggles to find his place both as a half-trained Jedi and in the Rebellion. While occasionally the narration dips into saccharine sentimentality and often tells more than it shows, generally Bracken’s love for the source material results in enhanced characterization.
A competent novelization of a beloved story. (Science fantasy. 8-12)