Beth Revis was given an opportunity that many would jump at upon first glance; writing a Star Wars novel about the love between Han and Leia in a post Return of The Jedi world. However, once the words hit the page and the weight of this decision had been fully realized, it would make firing two proton torpedoes into the exhaust port seem like a cakewalk. It is no small undertaking when it comes to crafting a story about two well established characters in a beloved universe. As an author, you must walk the fine line between canon and fan fiction, while also making your own mark within this realm. Revis calls upon her previous Star Wars knowledge and authorship to craft a tale about our favorite Scoundrel and Princess that will leave many readers satisfied.
The second Death Star is destroyed and the celebrations are raging on Endor at the opening of The Princess and the Scoundrel. If you’re a first-time Star Wars reader, this feels like a really safe place to start your reading journey. The characters from the original trilogy are easily recognizable and descriptions of Endor and its loveable, yet viscous, Ewoks are easy to picture and set the scene. Things pick up right at the end of Return of the Jedi, and the novel bounces back and forth between Leia and Han’s point-of-view. It’s clear from the onset that while there’s a little adventure to be had, romance and relationships are the soul of this novel.
Revis excellently characterizes Leia from page one. Leia’s dialogue and internal monologue feel realistic to the screen versions we’ve seen of her. Han’s characterization unfortunately took a little longer for me to recognize. I’m not sure if it’s because I couldn’t untangle my own imaginings of what Harrison Ford as Han Solo would be doing in particular moments, as opposed to what Beth Revis envisioned him doing, but I eventually started to connect with written Han and the book became more enjoyable from that point on. Even though Han was a miss early on in the novel, Revis expertly explores Leia’s grief over the loss of Alderaan and her parents, as well as the revelations of her biological father and the existence of her twin brother. Leia as a character really has so much on her plate that the films didn’t or couldn’t explore, so it felt meaningful to be able to live in those significant moments in this book.
While I’m definitely here for the juicy emotional moments, most readers will be drawn to The Princess and the Scoundrel for the romance. There are proposals! Bachelor Parties thrown by Lando Calrissian! Wild and crazy Ewoks! A Wedding! And of course – a Honeymoon! Han and Leia, fresh from the marriage altar, are placed aboard the luxury cruise liner Halcyon to enjoy their newly wedded bliss by none other than Mon Mothma. Of course, the Rebels need some positive press, so Han and Leia are on a working vacation to improve optics. Princess Leia is the face of the rebellion after all, and if it’s safe enough for her to go on a honeymoon, perhaps the rest of the galaxy can begin to put their faith in the new Republic.
Does Halcyon sound familiar? Why, it’s only the new Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser hotel that has opened up recently in Walt Disney World. Is this book a little cross-promotion-y? Yes, but if you don’t think too much about it, the story can make up for the rampant capitalism that brought about its existence. A honeymoon on the Halcyon ends up being the perfect vessel to bring the princess to the people, Rebel & Empire sympathizers alike. Revis takes her time to really explore the ravages of war, and that the everyday people of the galaxy were truly the ones who suffered most. Leia is right to be hesitant about taking some time off, because the newly defeated Empire is still making moves all over the galaxy. Lucky that Han and Leia are in the prime position to help the new Republic take on this threat as they visit many planets aboard the Halcyon.
The Princess and the Scoundrel is a fade-to-black romance, which I ended up really appreciating. Maybe it’s just me, but while I enjoy reading about their romance, something about the prospect of anything explicitly sexual regarding these characters made me feel a little uncomfortable. Revis does an excellent job setting a romantic scene for two newlyweds, but not oversharing on the details with these two. There are certainly enough fanfics out there for those in need of that type of detail, but I was perfectly pleased with this restraint found here. For Star Wars readers new and old, this novel is the perfect bridge between the Han and Leia we left in 1983 and the ones we rediscovered in 2015. Now, you just need to cough up the $5000 to ride the same honeymoon ship that these two lovebirds rocked, metaphorically speaking of course.
The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis is available for purchase August 16th, 2022 at your local independent bookstore or wherever fine books are sold.