Fantasy Novels 4 Life
Han Solo And Lando teaming up like Reservoir Dogs.
Han running a Big Con!
Marc Thompson should redo all the Star Wars Audio Books starting with the New Jedi Order. This time make it unabridged.
I was really looking forward to something different with this one. But being as this is from Timothy Zahn, who has written so many other Star Wars books, I guess I should have known better.
I wanted a gritty, hard-edged book about life in the underground and the adventures of our favorite smugglers. What I got, instead, was a book that tries to be like an "Ocean's Eleven" meets Star Wars, where a hand-picked team by Han Solo seeks to break into the vault of a crime lord and steal a fortune. The book falls short on several accounts, though.
We just recently had a book similar to this - Aaron Allston's "Mercy Kill". In fact, these books are TOO similar to be coming out so close together. Unlike "Mercy Kill" and "Ocean's Eleven", however, this book has virtually no humor. That's one problem. Another problem is that the book simply isn't as interesting as Oceans. The book takes place in one location, an unremarkable setting an an unremarkable system, featuring a large cast of characters that simply aren't as developed as they need to be. Even Han, Lando and Chewie are not really "main" characters, but just part of the cast.
Other things I didn't like? I don't care much for Black Sun and didn't care reading another book featuring them. Plus, all the same tropes and stereotypes of all the other modern-day Star Wars books are getting old by now. The sanitized world of Star Wars, where nothing really bad happens to anyone and the good guys never fire first, feels so out of touch with reality today, not to mention other literature. In fact, there was almost no shootouts or good action scenes in the book at all. We all know how much of a crack shot Han and Chewie are, yet Han doesn't even get to fire a shot that I remember. Most of the good guys don't even carry weapons at all! They just feel extremely helpless throughout the novel, and all this feels contrived to make them utilize unnecessary spy and thievery gadgets.
Furthermore, my problems with the Audiobook are as follows:
I did get tired of the same melodramatic Star Wars music playing during tense scenes, even a disagreement between characters or a dispatch of a would-be-robber. The problem is, these are not original music tracks, but rather music from the movies, which have scenes and memories from the films already attached to them. As a result, you end up with this clash of images in your head: both the original films' scenes, plus what you're currently listening to. In addition, the choices of music tracks are not always appropriate to the scene in the book.
I also don't like the narrator's forced grunts and inflections during the action when characters expend effort. It just throws me out of the story, most times.
I'm still waiting for a mature Star Wars book. I just don't think we'll get one from any of the established authors so far.
I did enjoy listening to this book, but it took a bit of getting used to. More on that below.
If you like The Great Train Robbery, Ocean's 11, and similar heist stories, this one is pretty good.
There were Star Wars sound effects and background noise throughout the narration. I get that it'd nice to create a real sense of ambiance, but it's tough listening to the book while listening to the whine of an airspeeder in the background, or hearing the same narrator play five characters in one conversation and then suddenly having Chewbacca growl loudly into your ears.
For the most part. This is not Timothy Zahn's best work -- it's a unique departure from usual Star Wars literature, and if you can get over the overt background effects and noise, it's a good read.
Best to listen to a sample first to ensure that you can actually live with the sound effects -- it's very distracting and probably ruined the first few hours that I listened to it.
Not sure if this is a common practice with Star Wars audiobooks as a whole, though.
Han Solo's Eleven
Mark Thompson does an excellent performance on all his characters, but my favourite was Lando Calrissian, as he sounded 100% like Carl Weathers including the accent and everything.
An excellent and exciting story full of twists! I think I'm going to listen to it a 3rd time as well. :-)
It was a entertaining listen, but not one to listen to over and over again
The story was pretty good, I very much like the ending
Marc Thompson is one of the best... Never disappointed by his work
Enjoyed listening to it..
Fun, exciting, action packed
Marc is the voice that brings a book to life and paints a piece of Art
You just cannot go wrong with Zahn
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
I was born in 1977, the year of Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back was the first movie I saw in theaters, and I’ve been a would-be Jedi ever since. When Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire series came out, I ate up every page of those books, and I read many of the subsequent books. But around the time the New Jedi Order came out, I got burned out on the Expanded Universe books.
Fast forward to Disney buying Lucasfilm, and (completely coincidentally) Zahn writing a standalone Han Solo’s 11 novel. I’d read exactly one SW book in the past decade (the ridiculously fun Death Troopers), so as soon as I heard about this one, I wanted to check it out. I thought it’d be the perfect book to get back into SW – one that wouldn’t be overly bogged down by the Expanded Universe continuity, and that would be good old comfort food.
It wasn’t bogged down with continuity, but it wasn’t too much fun, either. Scoundrels is a “Heist” novel, starring our favorite rogues from the SW galaxy: in particular Han Solo, Chewie, and Lando Calrissian. This is the biggest problem with the book: there are too many players, and not enough of our favorite scoundresl. Han Solo is the mastermind of the heist, and thus – he oversees it all and doesn’t do as much as the rest of the players until the very end. Chewie does even less. As the frontman Lando’s part is thankfully bigger, but most of the rest of the action falls to characters Zahn created for this book (and a couple pre-existing EU characters), which is a shame. In a book with Han, Chewie, and Lando in an Imperial line-up on the cover, you want Chewie, Lando, and especially Han to steal the show, if not the prize.
My suspension of disbelief was blown pretty early on (and yes, it was set to Anakin midichlorian levels of “High” to begin with) when the characters didn’t ask some basic questions about their marks or the job itself, I was disappointed. It might have been forgivable if the pace of the book didn’t feel so slow. Perhaps it’s my own nostalgia speaking, but it just didn’t work as well as Zahn’s other Star Wars books. It took too long, and I didn’t find a lot of the rest of the team to be very entertaining or developed considering how much time we spent in their heads.
There is some entertainment value – Zahn introduces Han in a scene where someone else shoots first, and Han and Chewie turn the tables. There are some fun twists (especially at the end). And once the action does pick up (about halfway through the book), things become more fun. It just took so long to get to that point – I was literally looking up Star Wars fanfic waiting for the good stuff to kick in. But it takes a looooooong time, and Han Solo just doesn’t do enough.
Marc Thompson has a knack for narrating Star Wars, apparently. His Han Solo is flawless, which is a necessity for a book that’s supposedly about him, and his Lando is pretty good too. (His Chewabacca is INCREDIBLE. (What? It was soundbytes from the movies? NO, SIR, I REFUSE TO BELIEVE IT.) The production is punctuated by sound effects and the occasional John Williams score, which was much more distracting than the other SW book I’d listened to. Thompson sometimes overplays his line-to-line delivery as well, but I’m not sure I can really fault him for the pace.
I probably will go back and revisit Heir to the Empire at some point, as well as A.C. Crispin’s Han Solo trilogy (oh, for an UNABRIDGED AUDIO VERSION!), but overall, it felt like the only thing heisted was my time.
(Originally published at the AudioBookaneers)
I'm having a bromance with coffee!
Marc Thompson!! He always brings the Star Wars universe to life with his narration. The story was great as well. Think of it as Oceans 11 meets Star Wars.
I liked the scene when the safe was rolling through the streets.
His first person voice impersonations are spot on! Especially when it comes to Han and Lando.
I wouldn't say that the book moved me.
Great book for Star Wars fans. As with many of the Star Wars books, there are great sound effects and music to provide the listener with a more cinematic experience.
If you've read any other of Zahn's books, this is pretty comparable. The Thrawn Trilogy and Outbound flight are still my favorites by him, but if you enjoyed other things by him, you'll enjoy this.
The voices are pretty well done - especially Han and Winter. He's very understandable and has a good cadence.
This book takes place in between episode 4 and episode 5. Zahn does a good job of writing within the restriction of keeping previous plots in tact, while keeping the story suspenseful.
I loved the Thrawn books and the Hand of Thrawn books and every other Zahn book this one was just bizarre and had no connection with any of his prior books I was very disappointed it felt like a bad RP game
yes everything else he has written in the universe was great
all of the m Marc Thompson is the best narrator ever for star wars
Zahn please go back to what you do best not a one trick pony of a story