Star Wars

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Courtship of Princess Leia

I'm so torn about this book. I know Rose is super excited about it so I hope it lives up to her dreams. As she pointed out to me, there is a planet-full of bad-ass women so Dave Wolverton gets mad props for that. I'm a list-maker, so I'm going to make a couple to help me cope with my conflicting feelings and memories of this book ...

Things I Am Looking Forward To

1) "I am Dathomir, hear me ROAR!" In other words, I seem to remember this planet being amazing. Not only is it run by women but the planet itself is described in exquisite detail, if I remember correctly. The colors, landscapes, and animals (I remember one having blue hide, never mind the rancors!) stand out vividly in my memory.

2) "Strong am I with the Force" In other words, Wolverton really goes to town building the Jedi from what we'd seen so far as readers by the time the book was published (Luke, vague hints about Obi-wan and Yoda, and the shape the new Jedi order takes) into something that basically became a teaser for the huge body of expanded universe that makes up what we now know in grade detail about the Old Republic's Jedi. There are references to Jedi lore, a flying Jedi academy, and data about the history of the Jedi that extends "a thousand generations" or more before Luke's own training even began. It's great that Wolverton took the time to develop that, when he didn't necessarily need to.

Teneniel Djo
3) "All the single ladies!" In other words, planet full of women who are allowed to be good, evil, and everything in between. I don't remember Wolverton trying to make Teneniel Djo or any of the clan sisters especially good or noble or even especially ladylike. I do remember him giving them spirit and ambiguity and a strong sense of culture. I also remember them getting to be the truly scary of the bad guys - the Nightsisters are really terrifying ...

Things I am NOT Looking Forward To

1) "I am Luke Skywalker and I know it all!" I absolutely loathe the novels in which Luke is written like wise old hermit. He's twenty-five, only been a Jedi a few years ... dude doesn't have a clue! Wolverton has him a bit more on the holier-than-thou side in this, as I remember (although I may be remembering wrong ... we'll see) - I remember lectures to Isolder and Tenenial about morality, etc. It rubs me the wrong way because I'm a fan of Luke as the farmboy-turned-pilot-turned-reluctant-Jedi who is doing his best under very adverse conditions but doesn't really know what the hell he's doing.

2) "I am Han Solo and I drank the crazy juice this morning." My biggest headache with this book was the premise that Han would go crazy and kidnap Leia. Props to Wolverton for using this as a plot device to precipitate an adventure that is pretty cool but it also is absolutely not the Han Solo I know and love. In Return of the Jedi, Han is fully prepared to give Leia up because he thinks it will make her happy - he says of Luke, "When he gets back, I won't get in the way." While I realize that this probably also to do with the fact that he cares about Luke and wants to see both of them happy, it's also just who I think Han is. Desperation to keep Leia should lead him to investigate the Hapans - Prince Isolder, specifically - but not go insane and kidnap Leia. It's just - I don't know, it's beneath him.

3) "I am Leia Organa and I, too, partook of the crazy juice this morning." Leia spends most of this novel being pretty bad-ass herself but in the beginning when she gets all swoony over Isolder ... let's just say I throw up a little inside my mouth. She straightens herself out nicely when she hits Dathomir's atmosphere and suddenly remembers that she's not a simpering pawn of the New Republic. Again, it's a great plot device to get Han and Leia out the door and on their Dathomirian adventures but it's also frustrating to watch her swan around like a twit selling herself to the Hapans for their battle dragons (not sexy talk).

Anyway, welcome to my expectations and apprehensions. We'll see what Wolverton has in store for me.

Rose's Expectations
Let me preface this with a little something about me: I am a hopeless, HOPELESS, romantic. I see a chick flick (and I do watch a lot of them, sans Husband who is always grateful I don't force the gooey cheeze on him...) and sigh my way through it. I read books with romance (and some romance books), and enjoy every last minute of sappy, mindsucking, disgustingly vomitous romantic interactions. So this book, for me at 13 years old, was the ideal. It was Star Wars and romance TOGETHER IN ONE BOOK! With badass warrior women who ruled their planet and had the Force. What could be better?! Nothing, it turned out to my 13 year old self, nothing at all.

And so, my expectations for this book are that I will go into delights of joy while at the same time gagging on the corniness of the entirety of it all. And I also agree with Es that lots and lots and LOTS of crazy juice was ingested by ALL parties before embarking on this particular Star Wars adventure.

And with that, start up the hyperdrive and punch it Chewie!


  1. I'm fascinated by your mention of romance. Obviously, this novel is supposed to be THE romance - Han and Leia's - and yet I remember as a kid having zero interest in this one. I'm a hopeless romantic myself (why would I spend so much time reading YA novels??) and yet for some reason this novel, indeed this COUPLE doesn't really do anything for me. When they're parents, it's different. Zahn's Han and Leia dealing with pregnancy and first-time parenthood I find incredibly romantic. Not really sure, but there may be something wrong with me ....

  2. I don't think so. I mean, you know, nothing more unusual than the normal stuff. Just kidding. I can see what you mean. I think part of it is because they aren't acting the way Han and Leia act in the movies/other books (that portray them properly). Kidnapping is never romantic. More of a creepy-call-the-cops-quick kind of thing. And I think their alter-crazy-egos don't help at all to propel the romance along. However, at 12 years of age (roughly), I swept right past those parts and was completely engrossed by the adventure of it all. We'll see if that happens this time...

  3. That's a good point - as an adult, I don't find kidnapping even remotely romantic. Shocker ... ^_^ It's interesting to note as well that I never found the Twilight series romantic either - sure, like everyone else, I burned through the series very quickly and can't help going to the movies (thank god the last one's almost over - I mean, out! ^_^). But the possessive, exclusive creep factor sort of destroyed it for me.

    The good news for "Courtship" is that, apart from the kidnapping, as you pointed out there's so much more to this book. I'd be willing to bet I'll still enjoy a lot of what happens in it (rancor-riding warrior princesses!!).

  4. True that! I'm reading it at every possible moment and just enjoying the heck out of it. I can't wait to get to the warrior Amazon women!! They are my favorite part. ^_^

  5. I think you've just hit upon a really important part of this project. We can discuss the heck out of these books, agree or disagree about them, but in the end it's about enjoying the heck of out them! I hope "Courtship" is as awesome as you remember and that you find new awesomeness to enjoy as you read ^_^

  6. You're absolutely right, the point of this project is to have fun and enjoy the books. The discussion and posts are just icing. ^_^ And I'm so glad I'm reading a book I actually like, after two that I didn't...