Honor Among Thieves

Quite simply, Honor Among Thieves is a fun story with great dialog and good characters. The story focuses on Han Solo’s point of view as he is sent off on a rescue mission to recover a Rebel spy named Scarlet Hark. Along with his trusty companion Chewbacca, Han must deal with Imperials, bounty hunters, and the Emperor’s pet astrocartographer who has made a discovery that could upset the balance of power in the galaxy. It’s a series of fun adventures that’s kept lively by the ever entertaining cast of characters.

Promoted as a Han Solo book, Honor Among Thieves hits the mark. From start to finish, this story focuses on Han. Best of all, it doesn’t just use Han as an easy ploy to connect with readers. Instead, the authors do a great job of fully utilizing the character. For starters, they nailed Han’s dialog as well as his complexity. Han isn’t just a smart mouthed, sassy smuggler. He’s someone who can be compassionate, thoughtful, insightful and quick witted. And yet he’s still brash, foolhardy, cocky and selfish. He’s a man of many talents and faults. Through his actions, insights and dialog, readers get to see all the sides of Han that make him such a wonderful character. It’s not just a channeling of A New Hope Han or Empire Strikes Back. They really capture the full spectrum, and the book is so much better for it.

But Han is not alone in this book. While we don’t ever get to hear what Chewbacca is actually speaking, he’s still there all along the way to support his best friend. Leia also pops up later in the story for a role that involves both leadership and action. It’s a small part, but also very well done as the authors show the burdens and responsibilities Leia has to deal with while also not sidelining her when the action comes into play. Luke, however, gets the short end of stick as he has very little part in this story. Wedge’s role is pretty miniscule and it’s kind of odd that he gets a mention in the dramatis personae. Aside from Han, the biggest two characters in the book are Scarlet Hark and Baasen Ray.

Scarlet is a refreshing new character that I’d personally love to see more of. She’s similar to Leia in that she can hold her own when it comes to trading barbs with Han. As a Rebel spy and field agent, she can also hold her own when it comes to combat and tricky situations. She gets a lot of page time and the story manages to flesh her character out as someone who is both colorful and intriguing. On top of all that, she’s integral to the story rather than just a throwaway character. At first, Han has to find her, but once he does, she becomes a catalyst. Her involvement drives the story forward. Her presence also antagonizes and enhances Han, giving him someone to play off of, be challenged by, and even be defined by. There’s a contrast and similarity between the two that the story takes time to illustrate. By doing so, it helps cement the personality of both characters.

On the other hand, there’s Baasen Ray, a very unlikely character to tag along for the journey. Baasen is a Merialan (like Barriss Offee and Luminara Unduli). He’s also an old friend of Han’s. He shows up early in the story and becomes a recurring presence. In a way, he’s like a different version of Han, a smuggler who didn’t catch a break in life and fell on hard times. Throughout the story, there are moments when Han notices people and reflects on whether that could have been him if circumstances were different. It happens once with an old smuggler he runs into who has no love for the Rebellion but isn’t shy about making a profit off of them. It also happens a couple times with Baasen. Like Han, he’s a complex character, and like Scarlet, he’s colorful. There are other characters, but none as important as Scarlet and Baasen. Through them, a certain depth is added to the story.

“Scarlet?”

“Han?”

“Everything all right with you?”

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“Nothing, maybe. But you’re all right?”

“Making progress,” she said. “I think I see how to do the thing, but if there’s trouble out there—”

“I don’t know that yet,” Han said. “I’m going to look around a little. If you hear, you know, blasters and screaming…”

“I’ll keep my ears up.”

One of the strengths of this novel, and the characters, is the dialog.

“Almost there,” she said, pointing at the room nearby. It was still filled with red dots. “We’ll need a plan to get past those guards.”

“What’ve you got in mind?” Han asked.

“My first thought was to send you and Baasen into the room, guns blazing, and then have Leia and me sneak past while the stormtroopers loot your corpses.”

“You see?” Han said. “That’s a terrible plan. This is why we don’t use plans. We’re really bad at them.”

Having read some of the author’s non-Star Wars books, I knew they were good at characters and dialog, but transitioning over to Star Wars can be tricky. Trying to capture the magic of the films without just rehashing the same lines is no easy matter. That said, they pull it off in Honor Among Thieves. There’s witty banter that brings a smile to your face as you read the lines and get lost in the story. Then there are the moments of Han when he’s panicky that reflect those same moments from the film and you can hear Harrison Ford’s voice as the words spill across the page. The dialog is just spot on.

Between the dialog and the characterizations, Honor Among Thieves is an easy story to get immersed in. It’s also a quick read at just 247 pages. While it won’t take you a week to finish the book, there’s the benefit of no time being wasted with filler. This story gets straight to the good stuff and hangs with it. For Star Wars fans, this is a great way to enjoy a Han Solo adventure as there is no extra baggage from the Expanded Universe. You can pick this book up without having to know anything else about Star Wars except the films. Yet EU fans can enjoy the new characters and locations that are brought to life. For us Star Wars book addicts, a Han Solo story has to compete with the likes of Brian Daley and Ann Crispin. Thankfully, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck managed to pull it off. The Han in this book is a natural fit with the Han we all know and love. Best of all, they toss him into a series of fun adventures with equally great characters. I give Honor Among Thieves a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed by Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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