Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
“You were a critically important member of the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War, a veteran of key battles such as Yavin, Hoth and Endor-”
“That was a long time ago,” Leia said, her eyes turning cold. “We’re on the brink of war again—and we may not survive.”
In forming the journey to The Force Awakens, Disney-Lucasfilm Press released four YA Star Wars novels, three of which featured illustrations by Phil Noto and framing chapters giving readers a glimpse of The Force Awakens. Moving Target is one of the three featuring the illustrations and framing chapters. Written by seasoned Star Wars author Jason fry and new to Star Wars Cecil Castellucci, the writing duo focus on Leia as she recounts a mission she once did in between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It stars a crew of new Rebel characters as they venture to far off planets in a ruse to distract the Empire. It’s a seamless story filled with great characters, small adventures, and a nice look at Leia’s strengths and weaknesses. While we have gotten Leia stories before, there haven’t been many. Thankfully, Moving Target churns out a fun one which will hopefully pave the way for more Leia adventures in the future. On top of that, with the sneak peaks at the beginning and end at The Force Awakens, this one becomes a must read for fans.
The book starts with PZ-4CO convincing Leia to finally set some time aside to work on her memoirs. She recounts a tale of misdirection and narrow escapes that takes place sometime after Han’s ordeal at Cloud City. It’s a time when Han is frozen in carbonite, her and Luke are just friends, and the Rebels are gearing up to take on the second Death Star. It’s an undertaking beyond their capabilities and they’ll need all the help they can get. That means sending Leia to the other side of the galaxy and leading the Empire on a chase for a non-existent secret operation.
Along the way, readers find out about the colorful member’s of Leia’s special Rebel team. There’s a Cerean communications specialist, an Abednedo tech guru, a Dressellian commando and the ever present Nien Nunb. So far this is the best character development I’ve seen for Nien (even counting the old Legends material), and the authors do a great job of giving him a fun personality. Plus Nien speaks dialog we can read instead of the gibberish we heard in the movies. They also create an interesting tension between the communications specialist, Kidi, and the Dressellian commando, Lokmarcha, as they’re at opposite sides of the spectrum: one cold and crass, the other deeply caring and idealistic. The tech guru and Nien both play up on humor with Nunb being the outgoing funny guy and Antrot bringing a dose of dry wit. It makes for a good supporting cast.
Through the story, they travel to new worlds which we haven’t seen before. Each trip adds weight to Leia’s shoulders as she balances the necessity of war with that of a compassionate and empathetic leader. She makes the hard decisions, she cares, and because of that, she makes the even harder decisions. The result is that we see why Leia is such a great leader and a key part of the Rebel Alliance.
The storytelling in Moving Target is perfect. It reads like an adult novel, never feeling dumbed down, and the flow keeps the story changing and interesting. The characters are fun and well developed. On top of all that, what they do with Leia is great. They further cement the different aspects we see of Leia in the films and use that to flesh out her character and seal it altogether. From the way she talks to the direction of her actions, Leia is spot on.
Then there are the framing chapters. As mentioned before, the book ties into the whole journey to The Force Awakens by giving readers a glimpse of that time period. Since this is a Leia story, we see a couple sneak peaks of Leia with the Resistance. However, unlike the other two YA books with framing chapters, this one gives us a fairly meaty glimpse of the movies. The framing chapters are very brief, but in those few pages we get a mention of Poe, the war, the First Order and Jakku. They’re meer snippets, but they provide clues to speculate on, and they’re extremely tantalizing. Of the three novels, Moving Target easily wins for the best framing chapters.
With excellent character development, a shifting series of locations, and top notch use of Leia, Moving Target is a great book. Whether you are new to Star Wars or a long time fan, this one is worth checking out. I give it a five out of five metal bikinis.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.