Updated: Feb 26, 2021
As part of my attempt to catch up on Star Wars books before they release too many more (and then I have to start on comics... oh boy) I recently read through the Choose Your Destiny books. They're a set of four books, each about a different pair of characters, written in a "choose your own adventure" style. There are multiple different ways to end each story, but one for each that is the canon version, while others are just alternates, or ways for the reader to fail (my sincerest apologies to Anakin, I got him hurt a lot trying to find the canon ending).
I was pretty excited to try these out, as I've always loved choose your own adventure books. I remember having historical fiction books like that for the American Revolutionary War and American Civil War that I would reread constantly when I was a kid. Plus, these books were written by Cavan Scott, one of the writers of the Adventures in Wildspace series, books I recently read and absolutely adored. So I had high expectations with those things combined, and was definitely not let down. Each of the stories were fun and interesting, giving us a fun adventure with beloved characters while introducing some cool original ones as well.
If you want to go through them yourself and find all the endings, which I think you should, you can order all of the books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble as paperbacks. I should note that there are also six audiobooks in the Choose Your Destiny line, which I have yet to listen to, so I won't be reviewing them. However, I will certainly be reviewing them when I do listen to them.
Spoilers ahead for the Choose Your Destiny books! I'll mostly just talk about what the canon version of each story is, but know that each choice you make can lead you down a fun path in the book.
Choose Your Destiny: A Han & Chewie Adventure
The Han & Chewie adventure is set after Solo: A Star Wars Story but before A New Hope. Han and Chewie are hauling some cargo for Jabba when they get caught by the Empire. Now, the reader can decide whether or not to attempt to use some fake identification codes sold to them by Azmorigan. I used the code for a medical frigate in my succesful read-through, and it went through... however, the Imperial officer communicating with the Falcon tries to make some small talk, and asks which planet in the sector Han and Chewie are going through. I tried to have Han lie and make up a planet, and he said "Fuzzballia," which wasn't exactly what I had in mind, but I'm not sure what else I expected from Han "this is a thermal detonator click click" Solo. On the way through, Han (with your help) makes the decision to dump off Jabba's cargo to scramble the TIEs chasing him. There are a few different options to take in their attempted escape from the Empire, but eventually, Han and Chewie crash the Millennium Falcon on a nearby planet. While trying to fix the Falcon, you can spot a Twi'lek woman named Meecha. Han is able to disarm her, and they find her boss at a shipyard, who Han convinces that he is Jabba the Hutt. The shipyard workers trip over themselves to serve Jabba and treat him like a king, fixing his ship in hopes that Jabba will send them great wealth. However, Han gets sold out to a crime lord, who comes believing she can finally capture Jabba the Hutt to settle a score. However, she very quickly realizes that Han is not in fact big and slimy with a tail, so things go south. In the chaos, Han, Chewie and Meech are able to free prisoners, steal a troop transport and some rhydonium canisters, and then escape in the Falcon. Han drops Meech and the prisoners with some rhydonium they can sell to make their way in the galaxy, and Han and Chewie are off to go see Jabba and talk to him about the cargo that they lost.
I liked going through this book a lot. It had great art and Meech was a fun character. It was really entertaining to know the story behind Han's fated drop of Jabba's cargo. It was also great to see Han help out Meech and the prisoners, if a little hesitantly. Han says he's not a hero, but we know otherwise. And of course, it's always great to have Chewie doing anything. Word of advice if you go through this book trying to get the good ending- just do pretty much whatever Chewie says to do. Chewbacca is always right.
Choose Your Destiny: A Luke & Leia Adventure
The Luke and Leia story is set after the events of A New Hope. After many Rebellion ships repeatedly going missing on the same route, Luke and Leia decide to covertly steal the Millennium Falcon from Han to go and investigate, against the orders of Mon Mothma. Luke and Leia find that a group of pirates have been hijacking the Rebellion's ships, and taking them to a remote group known as the Tech Masters. They hide underneath the floor of the Falcon while the pirates bring them back to the Tech Masters' planet. After coming out of hiding, they find enslaved people being kept in the shipyard. Luke and Leia (along with R2-D2) do some sneaking around to get to the comm tower of the facility, where they're able to send a transmission- not to the Rebellion, but to the Empire. The Empire arrives shortly, threatening the Tech Masters, while Luke and Leia are able to escape with the slaves. They come home to the Rebellion with the supplies and an explanation behind the ships that were going missing.
I enjoyed this story. It was full of classic Star Wars fun, where we got to help (or not help) Luke and Leia on their investigation. The end also had a really touching scene with Han, where he admits (if only a little) that he really cares for Luke and Leia, even more than he does for the Falcon. There is also a scene, depending on how you play your read-through, where Leia rescues Luke with his lightsaber, and of course Leia using a lightsaber is always awesome. This book was very entertaining, even with just short bits like C-3PO's ploy to distract Han. Another great part of it was a small Star Wars Resistance reference that I definitely was not expecting. One of the young pirates that takes over the Falcon from Luke and Leia is Kragan, who we know in Resistance as the leader of the Warbird gang of pirates. It was a small detail without much consequence, but still a cool tidbit that excited me, because I do love Star Wars Resistance and it doesn't get referenced as much in a lot of the other material that Star Wars provides.
Choose Your Destiny: An Obi-Wan and Anakin Adventure
The Obi-Wan and Anakin story takes place during Anakin's apprenticeship under Obi-Wan, before Attack of the Clones. The story starts with Obi-Wan trying to train against some remote droids without his lightsaber- which Anakin doesn't take kindly to. In front of Yoda, Mace Windu and a Jedi/friend of Obi-Wan's named Bant Eerin, Anakin steals Obi-Wan's lightsaber and cuts all of the droids apart. The older Jedi masters walk away, and Obi-Wan is extremely embarrassed. He scolds Anakin and instructs him to stay and clean up, even after there's an attack by droids on the temple. If you follow the canon story, Anakin of course doesn't do that. He gets out of the locked training room and finds Yoda in combat with an attacker in Temple Guard, who knocks out Anakin with a dart and kidnaps Yoda. Obi-Wan and Anakin begin to investigate the kidnapping, leading them to a crime-riddled place known as "The Wheel," and then to a watery planet, where Anakin and Obi-Wan dive deep beneath the surface to find Yoda and fight the assailant, however it turns out that Yoda was never in danger all along. The whole plot was a trick put together by Yoda, Mace and Bant to force Anakin and Obi-Wan to work together more.
This story was probably my favorite of the four. The investigation that Obi-Wan and Anakin were going through was really interesting, and riddled with fun scenes like Obi-Wan getting attacked by doughnuts, and the revelation that Mace Windu used to do community theater on Coruscant before joining the Jedi Council, which is such an incredible detail that I want Windu's theater career to be written about in a book of its own. All in all, though, I've always loved Anakin and Obi-Wan's dynamic, so it was really fun to see that highlighted in the book. Also, I just really liked the idea that Yoda, Mace Windu and this other Jedi decided to host an elaborate plot just to make them get along. That's just the funny kind of shenanigans that makes Star Wars so charming.
Choose Your Destiny: A Finn and Poe Adventure
The Finn and Poe story takes place before The Rise of Skywalker, and is actually part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker line of books as well as the Choose Your Destiny series. Finn and Poe are trying to get some bacta from a First Order factory, and pose as inspectors. While there, Finn finds a group of aliens who have been attempting to sabotage the bacta- however, they're all too afraid to attack the facility outright because the First Order is holding their children hostage. Finn and Poe help them rescue their children, and then in turn they are able to destroy the facility by making an AT-AT slip on a big wave of bacta.
I loved this story, it's always great to have fun stories featuring Finn and Poe, and especially when those stories involving them both helping other people and the Resistance. Also, I think that the dynamic between the two characters is great, they share a really strong bond so it's always fun to watch them have adventures together- plus, BB-8 is always fun too. A particular moment I really liked is when Finn hides in a GNK droid as part of their rescue plan for the children- poor Finn didn't seem to like it (I know I wouldn't be a fan), but it was a cute and funny moment, and also shows how far Finn is willing to go to do the right thing- even if he complains a little. I also thought that Poe was so much fun in this book. He's totally dedicated to his cause, and really plays into his part as First Order inspector- and even when caught, Poe's persistent and hopeful spirit never stands down.
All in all, this is a series of really great, really fun books that I'd highly recommend to anybody- including you!