“This is the story of three people who cross paths with destiny- who are in the wrong place at the right time. Together, these three will prove there’s more to them than meets the eye… and they just might be the galaxy’s only hope for the future.”
-The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
Destiny is a curious thing, often throwing together unlikeliest of people when they are needed most and if they cannot learn to work together, there could be dire consequences for many, many more people– or a galaxy.
The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy does not cover radically new ground. The book- like the film, A New Hope– opens on the Tantive IV, which is under attack by Imperial forces. Leia hides the Death Star plans on R2-D2 and sends him off to find Obi-Wan Kenobi before she is captured by Imperial forces. The book diverges from the film by staying with Leia through the first third of the book, filling out details that were not seen in the film such as her interrogation at the hands (tools?) of an interrogation droid. Though her part of the story ends on a dark note plot-wise, Leia’s resolve is stronger than ever as she decides there is nothing that can keep her from escaping and continuing the fight against the Empire. She is, she recalls her father telling her once, a glittering star- formed by unimaginable pressures into a light that can be seen even thousands of lightyears away.
From there, the perspective switches to Han Solo in the infamous Mos Eisley cantina, just before he and Chewbacca are hired by an old man wanting to book passage for himself, a dusty farm boy, and two droids to Alderaan. Thinking that this is nothing more than a chance to get some easy money to pay off a debt, Han takes the job, only to find himself wrapped up in an adventure- and a cause- far bigger than he had imagined and he must decide if he is going to play it safe, keep up his self-serving facade and leave Luke, Leia, and the Rebellion to their fate, or if he will follow his heart and join a cause that seems hopeless.
We switch over to Luke’s perspective as the crew of the Millennium Falcon makes its escape from the Death Star. As a naive farm boy suddenly thrown into a far, far bigger world than he ever imagined, Luke is simply trying to keep his head above water and prove to the people around him that he is the capable, confident person he wants to be, all while trying to hide his fear and confusion. He gets his chance to prove himself in the biggest way possible when the Empire shows up at Yavin 4.
And even after all of this, the trio’s adventures have barely begun.
Isn’t it weird that, no matter how many times you’ve read the same book or watched the same movie, it can still keep you glued to your seat to find out what happens next, regardless of the fact that you already know what’s going to happen next?
That’s what this book did. And I like it for that reason. There was nothing new to discover, no new stories to be told. The plot faithfully follows that of A New Hope. The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy merely fleshes out a story most of us know by heart. Alexandra Bracken has been a Star Wars fan for a long, long time, and the opportunity to write a book for the franchise was a dream come true for her. Her love of the series, I think, comes through in her writing. The story is engaging, the prose is graceful and suited to a kid’s reading level without being too simplistic for adults to enjoy, and the characters’ words, thoughts, and actions ring true to what we know of them from the films.
I haven’t read all three of the books my friend gave me to review for her library, but I have a feeling this one will be my favorite.