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The Paradise Snare (Star Wars, The Han Solo Trilogy #1) (Book 1) Paperback – May 5, 1997
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From Library Journal
With the re-release of the Star Wars movies, interest in the books will likely increase. While many of the recent ones took the beloved characters into the future, this first book in the "Han Solo Trilogy" tells the story of the smuggler/pilot's childhood and teen years. Abandoned, then taken in by a Fagin-like thief/space pirate, and finally raised by an old female Wookiee, Han escapes into his first piloting job, where he falls in love for the first time and saves his girlfriend from enslavement. Crispin deftly weaves Han's early years into the Star WarsR storyline and provides details that shape his personality. This prequel belongs in Star WarsR sf collections.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
This novel begins with Han's late teen years and shows us how he escaped an unhappy adopted home situation to carve out a new life for himself as a pilot.
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I was thrilled to discover Han's noble lineage, intrigued by his shady childhood, disturbed by his cousin Thrackan's brutality (which is important to recall later in the EU), and sympathized with Solo's cruelty under Shrike who is kind of like an evil version of Yondu.
Muuuurgh (did I miss a 'u'?) was fun! I'm a big fan of dangerous catlike aliens. I wish he appeared in more books.
I wonder how many elements of this volume will feature in the Solo film of the new canon...I already have noticed a heist, Kessel, a smuggling mentor, Corellia, Han' s Imperial service, his speeder racing, and scamming on the street in the trailers....Ugh.
Looking forward to The Butt Gambit, book two!
Obviously I had high expectations going into this novel, and they were quickly tossed aside within the first chapter. Crispin (a veteran of the Sci Fi genre) constantly used strange phrasings, like "gee force" instead of "G-force", and opened the book with the most ridiculous Wookie to Human dialog I've ever had the misfortune of reading. The whole thing was cringe inducing. And my lord, I've never read a female author so bad at creating female dialog!
But that all turned around though in the second chapter. The story really stands out among the huge pile of Star Wars novels because it's so different than the norm. Where other stories aimed to be epic, The Paradise Snare focuses on a small group of characters, and uses small events to change those characters. The antagonist of the novel isn't an evil Emperor and his underlings, but rather the concept of addiction, which was refreshing.
Crispin is at her best when the book strays from Star Wars conventions, and her worst when attempting to fit into the extended universe. Countless references are aimed at hardcore Star Wars fans, and these just feel shoehorned in. I didn't need to read "I have a bad feeling about this" eight times. I didn't need to learn why "scruffy" was a major insult to Han. And I certainly didn't need a specific favorite character to rear her head in an absolutely meaningless appearance. Oddly enough, I DID enjoy one of Han's many aliases: Jenos Idanian. Obviously an anagram for Indiana Jones.
That being said, AC Crispin did a terrific job of molding Han into the character we all know and love in unconventional and indirect ways. She showcased Han slowly growing, rather than just throwing out simple answers for why he is the way he is. She makes you work to understand Han, something I wasn't at all expecting from this.
All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It's absolutely in my top 10 Star Wars books, and I look forward to reading The Hutt Gambit soon. Han Solo has always been my favorite Star Wars character (and therefore my favorite fictional character), and I still think it was a great injustice to completely ignore him in the prequel trilogy. Obviously I feared that The Paradise Snare and The Han Solo Trilogy wouldn't be able to capture the magic behind the character, but it did. AC Crispin gives a back story to one of the greatest characters of all time that, in my opinion, could easily outdo anything George Lucas could concoct.