Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck - writing as James S. A. Corey - make their Star Wars debut in this brand-new epic adventure featuring Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia Organa. The action begins after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.
When the Empire threatens the galaxy’s new hope, will Han, Luke, and Leia become its last chance?
When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo - something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.
But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect - including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.
But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s x-wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.
©2014 James S. A. Corey (P)2014 Random House Audio
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I read all the Star Wars books. I stopped right before the New Jedi Order (when I was in college), and since then have only read two - Zahn's Scoundrels and Schreiber's Death Troopers. In general, the Expanded Star Wars Universe became too much of a chore for me - the continuity got too bloated, I heard some of my favorite characters were needlessly killed off, and it just wasn't as much fun as when Zahn's first books came out. So when I heard that James S.A. Corey - the writing duo of Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham who write the kick ass Expanse space operas - were doing a Star Wars book, and that it'd be a stand-alone Han Solo Star Wars books, AND that it'd be set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, well, I knew I'd have to make the jump to lightspeed and pick this nerf-herder up.
Han Solo and Chewbacca are recruited by the Rebel Alliance to pull out spy Scarlet Hark from her assignment on a planet in the Imperial Core. The extraction doesn't go as simply as planned (their plans are awful). Scarlet has some loose ends to tie up, Han has a price on his head, and the Empire has their sights on a new super weapon. I don't want to give away too much, but suffice it to say blasters are drawn, planets are scorched, and Chewbacca is a far more profane wookie than I ever realized. (We always did wonder what he was saying, right?)
In other words: Franck and Abraham do not disappoint. There were times when I was worried the story was going to take a long time building up to a plot point - say a heist - and then, like the Expanse books, they barrel right into the action, never sacrificing characterization, and move onto the next play. The characters we know feel like they've walked right off the screen, just as we remembered them. And we're introduced to several fascinating new characters: the aforementioned Scarlet Hark, who is as stubborn, gutsy, and wise-cracking as Han; Hunter Maas, an arrogant would-be alpha male who always talks about himself in the third person; and Baasen Ray, a down-on-his-luck smuggler and old friend of Han. Saying too much about any of them would be spoiling the fun, but I do want to say that they were all very well-developed. I was pleased Scarlet never became part of a romantic triangle with Han and Leia - their relationship and camaraderie had a very business casual professional feel to it, playing against the obvious type. But most of all, I was surprised and delighted by the shades of grey displayed by one character. Often, we generally know which side someone is on when they walk onto the screen (or page) in Star Wars. However, one character's journey really surprised me, and it was nice to see that they're can be acts of kindness and grace, even by characters who often came off as an utter bastard. It's a nice bit of characterization, and one I feel like we don't often see in Star Wars.
Is it as good as The Expanse or The Dagger in the Coin books? No. Not even close. But I'd be lying if it wasn't loads of fun, and had me wishing that they'd do another Star Wars book someday, in all their free time. If you like any of their books, and Star Wars, you're gonna get a kick out of this one. It'll make you want to invite your buddies over for beer and an original trilogy marathon. And it'll probably make you want to check out all their other non-Star Wars books too.
(And being a big fan of both Expanse series, and Abraham's Dagger and the Coin series, it's fun to pick out some of their kinks - whether it's where does the Rebel Alliance get their money from, a traveling Opera troupe, a labyrinth-like mad scientist laboratory filled with dead Storm Troopers. The only thing missing is vomit zombies. Basically, if they thought something was cool, and they could use it, they did.)
I've listened to exactly three Star Wars books now, two of which have been narrated by Marc Thompson (no relation). I have to give Thompson credit - it's gotta be hard to come into something like Star Wars where the sound of the characters are pretty ingrained in our minds. In that regard, Thompson is a winner - his Han Solo isn't Harrison Ford, but it's the next best thing. And he gets all the bravado, cockiness, and general scoundrelness across well. His voices for other favorites like Luke and Leia aren't quite as good, but he makes up for it with the supporting cast and characters like Scarlet, Hunter, and Baasen. Where Thompson doesn't work so well is the line-to-line delivery. Often simple actions - like Han picking up a tool to repair the Falcon - are delivered with Shatner-esque forced excitement, and I would've preferred he let the material speak for himself a little more.
The book is jam-packed with the standard sound effects and John Williams score that's have become custom for these things. The F/X are actually kind of fun, but the over-reliance on the John Williams score is distracting. When Han gets into a fistfight with an alien, and the SW soundtrack starts up, some of the tension gets lost for me. That said, it wasn't enough of a distraction to keep me from wanting to press play when I had the chance.
If you've been nostalgic at all about Star Wars, and considered diving into one of the novels - Honor Among Thieves is your ticket to all the charm and excitement that made you fall in love with this scoundrel and his wookie co-pilot from a galaxy far, far away.
(Originally published at the AudioBookaneers)
Marc Thompson's amazing ability to generate tension during any of the action scenes. I think the two narrators worked together seamlessly.
I enjoy most Star Wars books. While "Honor Among Thieves" doesn't rank at the same level as the "Thrawn" books, it is nevertheless a fun book to listen to. It is set after "A New Hope" and features Han Solo as the main character. Han is tasked by Leia Organa to retrieve spy Scarlet Hark from behind Imperial lines. From there the adventures begin. Former associate Baasen Ray, who has taken up bounty hunting, makes things difficult as he captures, loses and re-captures Han and Chewie.
I really, really enjoy Marc Thompson's narrations. They are actually more like productions than someone simply reading the story. There are droid sounds and blaster sounds and ships taking off sounds. Marc totally nails Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. It was pretty funny that Baasen Ray had an Australian accent. The only reason I couldn't give the Performance 5 stars that Marc Thompson's narrations usually merit was Chewbacca. Marc - what happened to Chewbacca??? Chewies "voice" sounded different this time and it was kind of embarrassing. I'd say - if it can't be done correctly, don't do it at all. It isn't like he has "words" that he speaks - just leave it to be narrated by the story. When Chewie's voice is done correctly, it adds to the performance. Done incorrectly, it definitely detracts. Otherwise - great job as usual!
I listened all the way through but I kinda didn't like the "performance" of Han. The story was cheesy and played up the classic character archtypes of Han, Leia, Chewie. It was clearly fanboy fare but... whatever. It was fun and I still dug it.
Narration is great except for Chewies voice which it seems as though Thompson did as a place holder for his growls that were never replaced. If that isn't the case then he did a poor job of it.
Story is engaging and fairly easy to listen to but should be considered non-canon even by Legends standards. There's some good mystery in the first half and the prose is typical for a Star Wars novel, similar to Zahn but with fewer sardonic smiles. I'll complain a lot now but it's not as bad as I make it sound.
The authors are massive Han fanboys and the story revolves entirely around him. Han makes all the right moves and decisions. Han is often the only voice of reason, trying (in vain) to stop Leia from allowing thousands of civilians to be slaughtered, or preventing his companions from shooting an animal because he notices it isn't a predator. It's highly out of character and the opposite of pretty much every other Star Wars story, where Leia has to be his conscience. Most of the other characters are sideshow at best; the authors seemingly didn't know what to do with Chewie and literally leave him on the Falcon the entire novel; Han treats him so much like a servant it's almost uncomfortable at times.
The main villain doesn't get enough "screen time" but is quite interesting, well written and even better voiced. On that note, Thompson's narration is mostly good as usual but has some flaws. Some minor characters are voiced with obnoxious SNL-style parody voices to match their obnoxious SNL personalities. For some reason Chewie's roars and grunts are voiced very very very very badly instead of using licensed clips like all the other Thompson audiobooks. Easily the worst part of the novel. Also, Leia and Scarlet sound too similar and he makes them snarky even when they shouldn't be.
There is a bonus short story voiced by a female narrator. She is terrible - she sounds like a 20-year-old who smokes 3 packs a day trying to sound like a sultry 30-year-old woman. Her voice has zero emotion or range and is so unbearable I couldn't get through the short story. I hope she's just someone's daughter getting a cameo, because she doesn't have the voice for narration.
bit difficult to finish. excellent narration however. han is fun but they barely scratch the surface of what could be there.
I agree that the Chewbacca voice is distracting but not all the time. It's only partially distracting at sometimes.
"Harrison Ford is in this"
The voice overs were very good, if a bit ethnic steriotyping, but then again, that' star wars. Gilbert Godfrey and an Italian android.
This is a Harrison Ford book - half way through it goes from a spy thriller (running round not liking things) to Indiana Jones (Pick one, they do all three)
"Everything you'd want in a Star Wars story"
I won't ruin it but from the start it fills you with that Star Wars joy you had as a kid when watching the originals. You'll know what I mean!
And Marc Thompson does a fantastic job.
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