Angleberger, of Origami Yoda fame, follows Alexandra Bracken (The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farmboy, 2015) and Adam Gidwitz (So You Want to Be a Jedi, 2015) to close out the trilogy of novels retelling the three original Star Wars films.
In the longest of this trilogy, Angleberger appears to relish packing in as many details as he possibly can. In fact, in places where the extra information he wants to insert doesn’t fit in the narration, he uses footnotes. The book opens with a classic “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” scroll-style introductory recap before launching readers into the complicated scheme to rescue Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. Once all players are safe, they must deal with a bigger problem—the Empire is building “a new and improved” Death Star. If the Rebellion can’t stop Emperor Palpatine now, then future resistance may be impossible. Luke also grapples with the revelation that Darth Vader is his father, and he’s desperate to find goodness buried somewhere in the emperor’s right-hand man. The emperor, for his part, sees Luke’s potential and wants him as a Sith apprentice. The final showdown, both on the ship between Luke and Vader and between everyone else on Endor, is action-packed. Early in the book the footnotes sometimes come too frequently and with content that doesn’t add much, but as the book goes on the notes are better spaced and frequently hilarious. While the novel doesn’t add much to expand on the film, it is far better than the average movie novelization; Angleberger’s intrusive narrator adds pleasant texture to the story proper as well as footnotes.
As intended, a great way to prepare for Disney’s new Star Wars film. (Science fantasy. 8-12)