I honestly shouldn’t be surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series has crawled its way into my favorites slowly but surely, book by book. Corey has learned how to write exciting science fiction with engaging characters. Their* dialogue is differentiated and entertaining (and character illuminating), and their prose has the perfect balance of authorial voice and mimicry for the tone of the Star Wars universe and its characters. Their Han Solo is spot-on. They’re just good writers, dammit.
*James S.A. Corey is the penname of writing duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.
Honor Among Thieves is the second in a loose trilogy of Star Wars expanded universe novels written by big-name sci-fi authors. Designed to focus around Han, it follows him on a mission to retrieve a Rebel spy from deep cover. Scarlet Hark has been embedded in the Empire for two years and they had thought her dead or lost, but she calls for a pick-up in the heart of the Empire, so of course only a really talented and/or crazy pilot will do for the job. Luke and Leia are also present to a smaller extent in the novel, particularly Leia, but this is really Han’s book. His experiences with the Rebellion have begun to change him without him realizing it, and he has several encounters with old “friends” that suddenly put his new outlook into focus for him.
This book really worked for me. I thought it had a nice balance of crime and heist-based shenanigans (in many ways, this book succeeds where Zahn’s Scoundrels didn’t) with character moments and a nice character-arc for Han. I liked seeing the way he thought about and interacted with Luke and Leia, and how he was contrasted with his old comrade, Baesen, who he sees as a kind of warning for his own future. I also like what they did with Luke and Leia, giving Leia some really intense moments as a leader, and showing Luke as the still-green farmboy adjusting to life as a hero of the Rebellion.
If you’ve been away from the EU for a while, this might be a good book to get back into it, and if you’ve never tired Star Wars books before, this would be a good entry point. Just keep in mind with the sale of Star Wars to Disney, this book and most of the existing EU is no longer canon.