While some people love and adore Han Solo, I was never his biggest fan. I dressed up as him once for Halloween, but that’s only because I like his sense of style. His antics and lines made me laugh, but I never really connected with the character. He also wasn’t my type, so while Leia grew to harbor those kinds of feelings for him, I didn’t really see it. So when The Force Awakens came around, I didn’t shed a tear when that big moment happened because he’s not someone I really care about. I know that makes me sound heartless, but don’t get me wrong, I still had emotions when Leia felt Han’s passing and when Chewbacca yelled out in pain. Han meant a great deal to these other characters (and to many other fans out there), but to me, he was just another guy with a fast tongue. So when I finally picked up Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka, I wasn’t initially all that enthused, but with each turn of the page, I became more interested in his character and the relationship he shared with Chewbacca.
The duo were tasked with a mission to retrieve someone of great importance to the rebellion, and of course, Han was reluctant about the whole thing. Although he complained at the start of the mission, he eventually rose to the occasion and showed a side of himself that he wasn’t always comfortable in showing. It’s what makes Han…Han. He’s the reluctant hero, who—in the end—always comes through. We saw it happen in A New Hope and again in The Force Awakens.
Chewbacca was the good angel who sat on his shoulder. I love how everyone was always so happy to see him, but they frowned upon seeing Han and reminded the smuggler of what he owed. The person to do that in this book was Delia Leighton. I am a fan of stories that introduce new and intriguing characters, so it’s no surprise that Delia and Commander Alecia Beck, the Imperial ISB agent tasked with the responsibility to track down Han and this rebel informant, were my favorites.
Beck, in a lot of ways, reminded me of Count Vidian from Star Wars: A New Dawn. She was ruthless and her cybernetic eye gave her the upper hand. From an out-of-universe perspective, it’s great to see more and more females being introduced in Star Wars, Beck being one of them. Under her command was someone who caught me by surprise: an ex-clone trooper. A lot of people, including myself, had asked various questions pertaining to the clones after the Empire took over. Some, as we saw in Star Wars Rebels, took off to live lives of their own. Others remained in service of the Empire. Despite feeling sad about this man continuing his service for a corrupt government, it was great to see how clones—even at an older age—are still far superior to the average stormtrooper.
In terms of content and reading level, this is definitely a book for children aged 12 and older. It briefly touched on suicide and included various shooting scenes. Additionally, the complex sentence structure and range of challenging vocabulary are more suited for older independent readers in that age group. I also love this series of books because of the beautiful illustrations by Phil Noto. The gray toned and red-accented drawings make you feel like this really did happen a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Overall, the story was fun and jam-packed with action and adventure, and that’s really what I look for when it comes to a Star Wars book, especially one focused on Han and Chewbacca. Did it make me a hardcore Han fan? No, not really, but it did help me understand the character a bit more and see him in a different situation that wasn’t straight out of the films.
Make sure to add Smugger’s Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure to your collection and purchase it today.
Many thanks to Disney-Lucasfilm Press, an imprint of Disney Publishing Worldwide, for providing a review copy. That said, this review is an honest assessment of the product.
(Photo: Disney Publishing Worldwide)