Young Han Solo is much the same as older Han Solo, or is he?
Cover Art By: Drew Struzan
Written By: A.C. Crispin
“One look told him Plancke was dead. Too bad. He’d have let the man go, if those troopers hadn’t started trouble…” – Han Solo
It’s only recently that I’ve encountered a few Star Wars fans who aren’t the biggest fans of The Han Solo Trilogy. For the longest time I assumed that The Han Solo Trilogy was held in the highest regard as far as the novels went. I still don’t think I’m that far off in my estimation of the series, but it is interesting to read that some fans don’t care much for the series. I can see many of their complaints, and do even view them as valid. However, I have always had fun with The Han Solo Trilogy, and this time out reading The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare I was still having a lot of fun.
I can understand frustrations with a character like Muuurgh. He is, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than a Chewbacca stand-in. I see the purpose his character serves, he’s a way of showing off that Han Solo has a decent side to him that isn’t related to the ladies. That being said, Muuurgh is an empty character without his relation to Han. He exists in a vacuum, and that makes his character hard to swallow at times. I had no reason to care about his wedding, because to me Muuurgh was never anything more than a feline version of Chewbacca.
As far as villains go, I felt The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare came up a little short. Teroenza and the inhabitants of Ylesia are nothing more than stock villains. Sure, they do evil things, but they aren’t that far off from Han himself. After all, Han is more than willing to do illegal things, and evil things in the case of ferrying drugs, as long as it suits his purposes. Garris Shrike is a better villain, and he does provide a decent cap to the novel. Still, in a novel about the beginnings of a hero I thought the villains that helped to define Han as a hero were all relatively weak.
Where The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare most excels is in laying the groundwork for the character of Han Solo. A sense of his loyalty, determination, ruggedness, and even his ignorance are all laid out rather nicely. Han teeters on the edge of being a full out bad guy. In the end his charm and his willingness to try to do good are enough to pull him over the edge from being a full out bad guy. But, it is interesting to read Han walking that line and to read the rather flippant way he often looks at his wrongdoings. Han’s attitude is a major character flaw at times, but it’s a character flaw that helps to create a robust and well thought out character.
I liked the way A.C. Crispin used the Star Wars universe and I liked some of her own creations. Bria Tharen is similar to Leia Organa Solo in some ways, but she’s different enough that it never feels like a retread of the love story that is to come. In a way she is the perfect foil for Leia because the tremendous heartbreak she provides Han make it all the more obvious just how much Han does love Leia by the time he’s in her life. Teroenza may not have been a good villain, but I did like the t’landa Til as a species. I enjoyed the way the Hutt’s were mixed into the story as well as how Alderaan was handled.
It’s not a perfect novel by any means, but The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare is a pretty good origin story for a beloved scoundrel. Thanks to this novel I was able to view Han as more than just a ruggedly handsome, and quick witted, charmer. Han comes from a genuine place of loss and betrayal, even if he’s not always able to recognize where he comes from. Flawed though it may be, I enjoy The Han Solo Trilogy: The Paradise Snare all the same and it remains an example of quality storytelling in the Star Wars universe.