As most boys of my generation, I've always been a big Star Wars fan. Okay, so the second movie trilogy is something I often try to pretend never happened, but that's another story! Way back when, following the enormous success of Timothy Zahn's first Star Wars trilogy, I read a whole lot of novels set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Over the course of the years, I felt that the publishers were milking that commercial success to such a degree that they had effectively sold out. Hence, nowadays I only return to the Star Wars EU when Zahn or a writer I particularly enjoy come up with a new book. As a fan of James S. A. Corey's The Expanse series, when I learned that Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck were working on Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves, I knew I was going to read that novel as soon as it came out!
Here's the blurb:
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.
Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, we go back in time and witness the early days of the Rebellion. Leia and her allies are searching for a safe haven where they can set up their new hidden base, all the while trying to find financial, political, and military support across the galaxy as they attempt to avoid the forces of the Empire. The beauty of Honor among Thieves is that it can be read and enjoyed by any Star Wars fans, regardless of the fact that you might not know anything about the Star Wars Expanded Universe. As such, it's very accessible and easy to read.
Although Luke and Leia are part of the tale, Han Solo and Chewbacca take center stage for the better part of the book. Scarlet Hark, a new female lead, is the other main protagonist. The Han Solo POV is a lot of fun to follow and makes for an entertaining read. And yet, probably due to the fact that they had little or no control over this project, I felt that the characterization and the worldbuilding left a little to be desired. With the Expanse, both authors have raised the bar quite high and I was expecting them to "jazz up" this new Star Wars offering in a way that would make it more satisfying than most EU works. I was hoping to see elements that make the Expanse the very best ongoing science fiction series in Honor Among Thieves, little things that would elevate this novel over its EU peers. Sadly, it wasn't the case.
Don't get me wrong. Honor Among Thieves is a fun read. And weighing in at only 288 pages, it's a very quick one. The crisp pace means that there is not a dull moment between the covers. Unfortunately, there is nothing special about the novel. Nothing that indicates that it was written by the extremely talented duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. I was hoping that Honor Among Thieves would sort of sate me, so to speak, as I eagerly await the release of Cibola Burn later this spring. But it wasn't meant to be. . .
Hence, I believe that it's more a novel for Star Wars EU fans than one for James S. A. Corey fans. Still, if you are in the mood for an adventure featuring the inimitable Han Solo and Chewie, Honor Among Thieves is a fun and entertaining read.