Review by Niel Vuolo
With their need to fill up every section of every store with Star Wars product, Disney commissioned three best selling YA authors to pen re-tellings of the classic original trilogy. Alexandra Bracken had the unenviable task of being first and writing a retelling of the story everyone knows – Star Wars (aka Episode IV & A New Hope). And she did a magnificent job.
The book which is split in three sections, for each of the main characters. It stays in chronological order from the movie. The first portion which focuses on Princess Leia, from when her ship is boarded, she is captured and then Alderaan is blown up. But is was much more than just a word for word. We learned about her journey from a princess to a rebel leader. The Author tears down Leia’s almost imperial veneer and shows us a softer more human Leia. In the past I tried to tell the story of Star Wars through Leia’s point of view , this book nails it. I would read an entire book about Leia and her back story.
The only part of the book I didn’t like was the Han Solo section. Which is basically everything from Mos Eisley, to the Death Star rescue to arriving at Yavin. This section was pretty weak. There was very little extra character development, or moments that aren’t in the movie. Though the biggest WTF moment happens in this section. I won’t spoil it but lets say something we all believed true is not so true.
Lastly the Luke section which brings us from arriving at Yavin till the end of the movie, was really good. There were a lot of gaps that were filled in. Luke is painted as more as wide-eyed, eager and self-conscious and not a naive whiner. In a scene with Wedge, Luke learns that flying an X-wing is not at all like flying a t-16 back home. The details the author uses, and emotions that the characters are dealing with, tell me that she is really a fan.
Bracken did break from Star Wars cannon twice in the book. Han shot first and Chewie also gets a medal at the end.
You can get your hands on Star Wars: A New Hope – The Princess, The Scoundrel and The Farm Boy at your local bookstore, or amazon…
Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Star Wars: a New Hope
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press (September 22, 2015)