I think the consensus is that of all the Star Wars movies, this one is the best? It’s been a while since I watched, so I can neither confirm nor deny that. However, my seven-year-old loves this one so much, we just bought the sheets and duvet. I remember having “A New Hope” sheets, back when the movie was just called “Star Wars.”
The book has a prologue that fills in a little bit of the action following the Battle of Yavin (that’s the one where the original Death Star blew up). If you recall, Darth Vader got spun off into space when Han Solo came back. When he regained control of his ship, he made it to an Imperial outpost, and tried to figure out who was the mysterious pilot who was strong with the Force. Darth had recognized the ship that knocked him out, knew that the Millennium Falcon had escaped Tatooine, knew that Obi-Wan Kenobi had been on that ship. Vader remembered his time on Tatooine, and wondered why Obi-Wan had been there?
That’s one of the best things about these novelizations – background information, sub-text, and maybe a little retconning to make sure all the stories line up. There’s no need to tell you the story – we start on Hoth, it’s cold, Luke gets lost and Han rescues him and shoves him in a wampa so he doesn’t freeze to death, the then Empire shows up. Luke has a vision, heads to find Yoda, gets trained up a little bit Jedi-wise, then they all end up in Cloud City with Lando Calrissian, who may or may not be a bad guy. Luke finds out something kind of important, doesn’t like it, and loses a hand. Oh, and something happens to Han Solo – you’ve seen the rug or the fridge.
Much like the movie, this book moves the story along and sets up the final (well, final at the time) story. Which I’ll be reviewing next.