by Greg Rucka, illustrated by Phil Noto
Published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, September 4, 2015
192 Pages • ISBN 978-1484724958 • Hardcover
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Han Solo and Chewbacca the Wookiee team-up for an all-new adventure in this thrilling upper middle grade novel. Set between Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, the story follows everyone's favorite pair of smugglers as they fly the Millennium Falcon on a top-secret mission for the Rebellion. Hidden in the story are also hints and clues about the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, making this a must-read for fans old and new!
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
It is a period of civil war. The heroic freedom fighters of the Rebel Alliance have won their most important visctory thus far with the destruction of the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star.
But the Rebellion has no time to savor its victory. The evil Galactic Empire has recognized the threat the rebels pose, and is now searching the galaxy for any and all information that will lead to the final destruction of the freedom fighters
For the Millennium Falcon's crew, who saved the life of Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Yavin, their involvement with the rebels is at an end. Now Han Solo and Chewbacca hope to take their reward and settle some old debts...
One of a trio of middle grade books released as part of Force Friday and the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing initiative (the others are Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure and Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure), Greg Rucka's Star Wars: Smuggler's Run: A Han Solo Adventure takes place directly after the events of Episode IV: A New Hope and finds Han Solo and Chewbacca reluctantly taking up what should be an easy rescue mission for the Rebellion. Of course, things don't go according to plan, and Han and Chewie find themselves the targets of not only a band of bounty hunters sent by Jabba the Hutt, but also the Empire, as Imperial officer Alecia Beck tries to capture both Han and Chewie as well as the Rebel they are trying to rescue.
While this is a short book, Rucka clearly knows Star Wars: Han and Chewie feel and act like themselves; the Millennium Falcon is practically a character unto itself; the galaxy feels large; the Empire is relentless and imposing. Even the new characters introduced felt like they belonged in the Star Wars universe. The story is just plain fun and fast-paced, if not abruptly ended, but it still feels like a complete story. The prologue and epilogue bookending the main story are set in the time frame of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and while they don't give us any concrete clues to the upcoming movie, you do get a little taste of what Han and Chewie are like.
While Smuggler's Run is marketed as a middle grade book and it isn't a necessary read for the overall Star Wars story, it's an engaging adventure that will entertain any Star Wars fan, young or old. For me, it fell squarely between Moving Target (the best of the trio) and The Weapon of a Jedi (the weakest of them). I'll definitely be picking up Rucka's Star Wars: Shattered Empire when it is released, a graphic novel set directly after the destruction of the second Death Star.
A note on the design of the book: All three of the middle grade books are packaged similarly, each set up in three parts with a prologue and an epilogue. Before each section there is an illustration by Phil Noto that is presented in greyscale with red highlighted areas. The red is reflected throughout the chapter openers, as well as the dust jacket covers and the boards of the book. The entire thing comes together in such an impressive package. I'm hoping that if they do anymore middle grade adventures of other Star Wars characters that they keep this same packaging throughout, as it is top notch.