I have embarked on a quest to read through the Star Wars Expanded Universe once more. Be sure to check the linked text there to see other posts in this series. Here, we go back to the future past to see the origins of Han Solo with book two of the Han Solo Trilogy, The Hutt Gambit by A.C. Crispin. There will be SPOILERS in what follows.
The Hutt Gambit
The Hutt Gambit features an older Han than we saw in The Paradise Snare (see my review). Here, Han has been kicked out of the Imperial Navy because he saved Chewbacca from slavery. Thus, he’s “stuck” with Chewbacca, who has sworn him a life debt. They go off to work as smugglers, trying to save enough money to buy their own ship by working for the Hutts.
The plot is extremely character driven, but unlike the previous book, the side characters get serious development. The Hutts in particular get fully realized stories, with motivations to drive them and even a developed view of the world. Although there is little description of the planets themselves (more on that below), the Hutts that are met in the book are enough to make a great setting and a genuine feel of uniqueness–something that doesn’t always happen with all the aliens in Star Wars. The dialogue is fantastic. It reads as though it is actually people talking with different motivations and thoughts happening behind the words, which makes it feel real.
Reading The Hutt Gambit made me desperate to tread more by Crispin. I think I’ll go check out her other fiction at some point, because the way she writes characters is just phenomenal.
That said, there are some downsides to this book. There is very little development of the various places that are visited. We learn that the Hutt world, Nal Hutta, is swampy, but there aren’t really any descriptions of places or flora or fauna. It’s unfortunate because in many of the Star Wars novels, the planets themselves act as secondary characters in their own right, whether it is through physical hazards or unique locations or other features. Crispin is skimpy on these details and seems to leave locations largely to the readers’ imagination. This lack of description bleeds over into pretty much any scene of the book, as action largely takes place against a blank, imagined canvas. Again, this is a pretty major strike because Star Wars does seem to rely so heavily–and excel so much–in creating unique locations and settings throughout.
The Hutt Gambit is a thoroughly enjoyable read. It surpasses The Paradise Snare in many ways, and is a solid entry in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
+Totally character driven
+Great action scenes
+Creates fully-realized background for Hutts
-Not much description of planets or set scenes
Best Droid Moment
Hardly any droids means this category is sad
Grade: A “Thoroughly character-driven with plenty of action, intrigue, and ‘Star Wars’ feel, this is a great Star Wars book.”
J.W. Wartick- Always Have a Reason– Check out my “main site” which talks about philosophy of religion, theology, and Christian apologetics (among other random topics). I love science fiction so that comes up integrated with theology fairly frequently as well. I’d love to have you follow there, too!
Reading through Star Wars: Expanded Universe– Here you can read other posts in this series (reviews of other EU books) and make suggestions about what I should include in my reviews.
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