Author: James Luceno
Cover Artist: John Van Fleet
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: October 21, 2008
Two years have passed since Jacen Solo, seduced by the dark side and reanointed as the brutal Sith Lord Darth Caedus, died at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina, Sword of the Jedi. For a grieving Han and Leia, the shadow of their son’s tragic downfall still looms large. But Jacen’s own bright and loving daughter, Allana, offers a ray of hope for the future as she thrives in her grandparents’ care. And when the eager, inquisitive girl, in whom the Force grows ever stronger, makes a curious discovery aboard her grandfather’s beloved spacecraft–the much-overhauled but ever-dependable Millennium Falcon–the Solo family finds itself at a new turning point, about to set out on an odyssey into uncertain territory, untold adventure, and unexpected rewards.
To Han, who knows every bolt, weld, and sensor of the Falcon as if they were parts of himself, the strange device Allana shows him is utterly alien. But its confounding presence–and Allana’s infectious desire to unravel its mystery–are impossible to dismiss. The only answer lies in backtracking into the past on a fact-finding expedition to retrace the people, places, and events in the checkered history of the vessel that’s done everything from making the Kessel Run “in less than twelve parsecs” to helping topple an evil empire.
From the moment the Falcon broke loose from a Corellian assembly line like an untamed creature with a will of its own, it seemed destined to seek out trouble. It wasn’t long before the feisty YT-1300 freighter went from shuttling cargo to smuggling contraband. But it‘s a fateful rendezvous on Coruscant, at the explosive height of the Republic/Separatist uprising, that launches a galaxywide cat-and-mouse game whose newest players are Han, Leia, Allana, and C-3PO. And they’re not alone: Crime lords, galactic pirates, rogue politicians, and fortune hunters alike loom at every turn of the quest–each with his or her own desperate stake in the Millennium Falcon’s most momentous mission. Through the years and across the stars, from the Rim worlds to unknown points beyond, the race will lead them all to a final standoff for a prize some will risk everything to find–and pay any cost to possess.
*Spoilers within Review*
“I renamed her. Fast as a bat-falcon, resilient enough to last a millennium.” -Tobb Jadak
James Luceno’s Millennium Falcon brings a glimpse of the future, a nod to the past, and an exploration of good old fun. Breaking away from the dramatic vanguard of the Legacy of the Force series, Millennium Falcon is a healthy dose of upbeat adventure. The story revolves around the search for the history of the Falcon. Han, Leia, Allana, and Tobb Jadak form the core cast of characters in the novel and, of course, the Millennium Falcon plays the centerpiece for the adventure. By the end of the tale readers will come to realize that there was quite a lot about the Falcon that we didn’t already know.
Perhaps one of the main objectives of this book was to explore the past of the Millennium Falcon. Luceno not only tells how the Falcon got its name, but also the many names that came before it. Plus we get to see the names of a dozen other owners of the Falcon as well as a detailed look at handful of those owners. Whether it was the Falcon’s time in a circus, or as doctor’s ship hopping the Outer Rim, Luceno takes the reader on a journey through the ship’s past while entwining it with the present. Through the flash backs we get to hear about the Stellar Envoy, Corell’s Pride, the Fickle Flyer, Meetyl’s Misery, and a host of other names that the Falcon has flown under. We even get to see the birth of the ship as it rolls off the assembly line and one wonders whether this eventful little vessel will ever see its end.
If the Falcon’s past was the main objective, then the book’s driving Force would be Han, Leia, Allana, and Jadak. The first group, Han, Leia, and Allana start out on a mission of discovering the Falcon’s past. On their journey they run into Lando and several other previous owners of the Falcon. Steadily they reach back farther and farther as they trace toward its origins. At the same time Jadak, one of the original pilot’s of the Falcon, is tracing forward in his search. He’s determined to find out what happened to his ship so he can complete his own mission. And on top of all that, there’s a third party who ends up looking for the Falcon. This third group forms the antagonists of the story. They are also a diversion from the norm. Rather than your standard bad guys, they’re antique collectors. As all the groups conduct their search, they are drawn closer and closer together into one chaotic meeting. Luceno does a superb job of developing all the characters, especially Jadak. He also does a great job at bringing Han and Leia back to life. No longer overburdened with the shadow of what Jacen has become, they are again free to be themselves. Most importantly, they form a new relationship with Allana, who for the first time actually comes to life as interesting kid. Allana shows the scars of Jacen’s turn into Caedus, but also the promise of inheriting his power and being able to use it without turning to the dark side.
Behind the main plot is the complicated workings of a background we our only given glimpses of. While Han, Leia, and Allana are searching for the Falcon, there are mentions of Daala and Luke. It would seem that Daala’s new rule is one shored up through comprehensive security and the use of Mandalorians. The Mandos prominence has escalated in the galactic state of affairs. Not only do they now serve as Daala’s honor guard, but also as her personal police force. We are told the tension is mounting between the government and the Jedi and we even get to see an example of such when a Jedi name Seff comes into contact with the authorities. By the end, things are all set for the next book series, Fate of the Jedi, as Daala announces Luke’s arrest. From the looks of things, a new era has begun.
With the sneak peeks of the future there is also a large dose of mentions and nods to the past. Among the mentions are a handful to the Adventures of Lando novels: the Flamewind, the ThonBoka Star Cave Nebula, the Centrality, Oseon, and even Vuffi Raa. Aside from Lando, we get another look at the Battle of Coruscant, a trip to a Vong formed world, and a mention of the Rakata Infinite Empire. Throughout, there all kinds of easter eggs sure to delight die hard EU fans. Added with the flashbacks of the previous owners, and the plethora of history uncovered, the ever expanding EU gets a little bigger.
There are a few miscellaneous topics that slip into the book that are worthy of mention. One is the growing fad of bug racism. This seems to be the lingering effect of the Dark Nest Crisis, but also a holdover from the Clone Wars. People everywhere are holding a general distrust of bug species. I think it will be interesting to see where this goes and how it may or may not play a bigger picture in the coming turmoil. And speaking of bugs, the Colicoids make a big come back in this novel. In case you don’t remember, the Colicoids were the ones who created the Droidekas for the Confederacy in the Clone Wars. They’ve now finally come out of hiding and are ready to get back into the droid manufacturing market. Perhaps the Colicoids will become the new protagonist in future events. One other topic of interest is that of rejuvenation. It’s sort of a bonus thrown into the novel, but Luceno paints a pretty good picture of life spans of the beings in the Star Wars universe, and how modern medical advancement has lengthened it. We now have a pretty firm grip on just how long people can live and to what degree they can preserve their youth. Whether this will prove significant latter on or not is yet to be seen but at the very least it helps clear some things up regarding longevity.
When it comes down to it, Millennium Falcon provides a good read that is both entertaining and tantalizing. It starts a little slow but quickly picks up pace and wraps you up with the character’s and their journeys. At the end it gets a little murky with a hard to follow ruckus on the Vong formed planet, but manages to leave with a foreboding glimmer of what’s to come. Allana shows up for the first time as a real character with dialog and thought, plus displays aptitudes toward the Force and animals that are both throwbacks toward Jacen. Altogether, Luceno manages to shift gears and suffice the desires of the reader with a good all around adventure.
So may we hope the best for Falcon, the future, and Lando Jr.!
-By Stephen H
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