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
I found the "Ocean's 11"-style story to be an interesting direction for some of my favorite Star Wars characters. Unfortunately the book gets bogged down in way too much minutiae and spends an inordinate amount of time developing a cast of secondary characters that are no where near as interesting as the main characters that drove me to the book in the first place.
In the Star Wars series my next book will be John Jackson Miller's Kenobi.
He develops nuanced personalities beyond the printed page. He also brings the characters from the movies to life in surprising ways. If I didn't know any better I would have sworn that Audible hired Billy Dee Williams and Harrison Ford to reprise their roles.
Absolutely not and further more if they did I wouldn't be inclined to watch it.
I'm a fan of Timothy Zahn's writing, both Star Wars and his own original material. This unfortunately was not representative of his better work. For his better work I would recommend any of his Thrawn books or his Conqueror's trilogy.
I would definitely listen to it again. This was my first audio book and I was impressed by the quality. I wasn't expecting the sound effects, music and voice acting (impressive that it was all done by one person.)
I am however a big fan of Timothy Zahn having read many, if not all his star wars books.
The story was great, very entertaining from start to finish. The last 1 minute of the story was awesome, I didn't expect it. It gives the excitement that comes from seeing different parts of the star wars universe come together.
Again, my first audio book; I thought his performance was awesome.
They are going All In.
lol, probably could come up with something better
Get it, it's worth it.
I would recommend for sure. It has a great way of sucking you in to the story and can often keep you awake some nights Just because you just want to know what will happen next.
The great way the story is written, It always keep you exited and there is no boring moments.
I like he's way of impersonating the characters, Its very convincing how he does it.he also does great reading when a moment intensifies, the way he reads in the quick and action filled moments always keeps you exited .
I really was never wanted to put it down, as i said some sleepless nights just because i wanted more.
It may have little slow start but it pays off. The story is great written and i say its a must for all Star Wars fans.
First of all I must say that Marc Thompson is a brilliant narrator. His tones & inflections as well as his multiple voices make you think that there are multiple actors voicing this book. Secondly, Timothy Zahn does it again with his superb writing style. He has knack for imagery & intrigue. This particular story has a plot line that twists & turns and leaves you guessing throughout the book. One of his finest works that I have ever read or heard. A must for all fans of Star Wars.
I don't know if I can give the details of the most memorable moment. The book is like a mystery, crime mob, "Oceans Eleven" type of drama with the Star Wars flair. To tell of the moments would spoil the surprise.You just got to experience it for yourself.
Not one but two for me Villacher & Lando.
"Oceans Eleven" in a galaxy far, far away...
I say again, this is a must listen or read for the true Star Wars fan.
I haven't read the print version but I loved the book, was well written, entertaining and fun to listen too.
Bink, because of her abilities, and cleverness.
When Lando Arrived
I'm 52 and enjoy sifi, history, funny romance, fantasy type books. I give my views as to how a book is based on my emotions.
Nothing against the Narrator, Thompson is the best for Star Wars, but seemed the story was less then I expected. It was ok to listen too.