“Book” is probably an overstatement. This is more of a short story. But it was a really good one.
This short story follows Han and Chewie on an important mission they’re carrying out for The Rebel Alliance.
There’s a lot of risk taken with this book. Han and Chewie (and the Falcon) are incredibly beloved. If the book gets it wrong, then it just doesn’t fly. This book does a good job capturing the spirit of these characters, particularly in the given time period just after the Battle of Yavin.
The book isn’t particularly long (under 200 pages), but the story keeps moving along. The writer is able to give strong characterizations to a few of the new characters in just a few sentences. I love this style of establishing characters and think it does a better job than, say, Aftermath.
But Han and Chewie are both believable here. Han’s voice sounds realistic, but in a strange way. His dialog was certainly true to his character, but almost felt like a menagerie of emotional responses – not actual lines of dialog – cut from the three original trilogy films. We hear his exasperation (reminiscent of “Marching into the detention center is not what I had in mind”) and his conscience (“I know what I’m doing”).
The real revelation here is Chewie. We don’t really see much of an emotional arc from Chewbacca in the films. This book gives an admirable voice to his emotions and desires in a way we haven’t seen before.
There are some “reflections” that may constitute a “Journey to The Force Awakens”. The entire book is a flashback from the current setting in the “future” after Return of the Jedi. An old Han tells a ragtag group who wants to steal the Millenium Falcon a story about a time when he owned the Falcon. This sets the scene that in The Force Awakens, Han and Chewie aren’t in possession of The Falcon. This confirms some suspicions about the “Chewie, We’re Home” line in the second teaser.
There are also a few other smuggler characters and a Rebel Alliance character who play roles in this book, but I’m not sure they’re important to the TFA plot. I guess I’ll have to see.
The best part: NO Boba Fett.
Definitely get this if you’re taking a 2 hour plane ride. But it’s not a necessity for the hardcore fan.