The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy (Spoiler-free book review)

With a title like that, it sounds like you’re about to read a classic fairy-tale.  And perhaps you are.  Star Wars is a modern classic fairy-tale complete with all the elements you’d expect – excitement, danger, romance, heroics, a daring rescue, and a menacing evil that is defeated despite the odds.  This adaptation of the original Star Wars movie is true to the story while adding a new perspective and insightful twists to the narrative.  Even for someone like me who’s seen the movie about 100 times and knows most of the lines by heart, I found myself unable to stop turning the pages.  When a familiar line came up in the book, I could picture it in my head, complete with music in the background and sound effects going on all around.  And Alexandra stays very faithful to the script with only minor changes and modifications from time-to-time.

Amazing author, Alexandra Bracken
Amazing author, Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Cost: $17.99
Age: 8-12 (it’s recommended for this age group but every Star Wars fan will love this book)
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Genre: Star Wars, fiction

What makes this book so great is the way she tells the story.  The book is divided into three sections, each one told from the viewpoint of that particular character.  It’s not a first person narrative, but the story of Star Wars is told with the thoughts and observations of whoever is experiencing the story.  Leia opens up the book and we notice that not only is she smart and determined, but also carries the heavy weight of responsibility on her shoulders.  Being a princess isn’t just some title but a duty to something greater, and she takes her role as Senator with even more of that same sense.  We follow Leia until the destruction of Alderaan when we switch to Han.

Wonderful new adaptation of Episode IV: A New Hope - or as us die-hard fans call it, Star Wars
Wonderful new adaptation of Episode IV: A New Hope – or as us die-hard fans call it, Star Wars

Good ol’ Han.  He really is a scoundrel with a heart of gold.  Alexandra opens Han up to us in a different way.  We see him grow from a disinterested loner into someone who develops a real connection to someone other than Chewie.  His relationship with Luke is probably the most intricate part of his arc in the book as he sees Luke as a snotty kid and then in a way becomes his big brother.

But Luke was probably the biggest eye-opener.  Alexandra really plays up his “farm boy from Tatooine” background and adds dimensions to it that make Luke’s story even more remarkable.  Sitting in the briefing room, Alexandra reveals that having been home-schooled Luke’s never been inside something that resembled a classroom (something I never even thought about – where would you go to school when you live in the middle of the desert?).  I like that she downplays the Luke / Leia romantic angle that seemed so much more prominent in the movie.  Kind of gross upon reflection.

Overall, this is a fantastic book for young fans and older fans alike.  Both my 11-year old daughter and I are reading all three in this series and think they are wonderful.  Oh, I will share one spoiler with you.

Han shot first.  Thanks Alexandra.

The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy will be released on September 22nd so pre-order your copy today!

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