Book Review: The Princess and the Scoundrel
Star Wars romance novels are always fun- A Crash of Fate, Lost Stars, and Dark Disciple are all examples of some really great ones. The Princess and the Scoundrel is a very special one, because it takes us through the wedding and honeymoon of arguably one of the most iconic Star Wars couples, if not one of the most iconic couples in pop culture. Beth Revis really captures both Han and Leia's characters so well, this really feels like a perfect follow-up to Return of the Jedi. Filled with plenty of callbacks and moments both big and small that elicited very real reactions from me and a great story of both the evolving romance between Han and Leia and the uncertain state of the galaxy in the waning hours of the Empire, The Princess and the Scoundrel is a great read for anybody, and especially fans of the Original Trilogy.
Spoilers ahead for The Princess and the Scoundrel by Beth Revis.
The first section of the book is about Han and Leia's wedding. Han impulsively proposes after the celebrations at the end of Return of the Jedi, and Leia enthusiastically says yes. Word spreads very quickly, with characters like Luke, Chewie and Lando being excited and also going "finally!" The wedding is so adorable, Mon Mothma takes over a lot of the planning for Leia and they have a beautiful, traditionally Ewok ceremony. The traditions that Beth Revis comes up with for Ewok weddings feel very fitting, and are so visually well-described. There were so many parts of the lead-up and during the wedding ceremony and reception that were so wonderful, I couldn't begin to mention them all. It's worth mentioning that of course, in true Star Wars fashion, things go slightly awry when Ewoks decide to really take over, but it's cute and funny. While the rest of the book is of course fantastic as we board the Halcyon (someday I'll get to go too...) for Han and Leia's honeymoon and of course get into some hijinks, the whole book is worth it for the wedding alone.
Leia's character is so well-written in this book, and I really liked exploring her at this place in time. She's at a point where she's been fighting for so long it's all she really knows, and is now balancing between nurturing her relationships and doing things for herself and making sure she's contributing to the cause she believes in. It reminds me a lot of Hera's arc in Rebels, and it's so interesting. Ultimately, Leia taking the first steps into learning that she can count on others to make up for her while she takes some needed care for herself is a huge part of the book, and I really liked what Revis had to say about it.
Han's character is also so remarkably written in this book. I think my favorite parts had to do with how it was addressed that Han not only lost a whole year of his life while in carbonite, but that to him, the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi all happened within a few short weeks of each other and how that makes his perspective on the war different from everybody else. It's really interesting to see this really explored, because it's not something that tends to get really brought up. I also loved how he grows into his relationship with Leia, learning that though he needs to help her know when to take care of herself, he also needs to learn how to accept that the rest of the galaxy will always have a part of her, whether its in a rebel war room or the New Republic Senate.
Seeing the galaxy immediately post-Endor was also something really cool. That world-building is some of my favorite parts in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy, and it was nice to get a different and even more recent perspective on it here, especially from a non-military view like what we see in Battlefront II's story. The uncertainty on what happens now, people not believing that the Emperor was dead, people fearing collapse were all cool to explore. But what really struck me was showing how many of the wealthier in the galaxy saw very little difference in all the areas of the galaxy, how the Empire's rise and fall were just more headlines to read for some. We're often so embroiled in the conflicts and the weight of them in all of the Star Wars stories, it was interesting to see people distant from it, and to connect that to our own world.