Title: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy
Series: Star Wars Illustrated Novels
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Age Level: Middle Grade
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
The galaxy is at war. Although the Rebel Alliance has won a few battles against the Empire, hope is fading. The Empire is about to unveil the greatest weapon the galaxy has ever seen--the Death Star. The Rebels' only chance to defeat it now lies in the unlikely hands of a princess, a scoundrel, and a farm boy....
Okay... so I love all the movies in the Star Wars series, but I have never in my life actually read one of the many Star Wars books out there. I decided to change that this year when I purchased The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy by Alexandra Bracken. I can tell you that I'm so glad that I decided to give a novelization a chance because I really enjoyed it.
The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy is divided up into three main sections, each one about the three main characters in A New Hope. The first section follows Princess Leia as she tries to send the blueprints of the Death Star to Obi-Wan Kenobi up until Darth Vader destroys her home planet, Alderaan. The second section, and the longest section, of the book follows Han Solo from the scene in Chalmun's Cantina up until he, Chewie, Luke, and Leia escape from the Death Star. Finally, the third section follows Luke. Readers catch up on him right after Ben dies up until the point where he fires the shot to destroy the Death Star.
What I liked about The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy was that it is written in third person. Even though each section is about a different character, you never have to deal with first person narration. I will admit that the narration style is not what I expected, but I enjoyed it. Readers will learn a lot about Leia, Han, and Luke through Bracken's words.
Another cool thing about The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy is that Ms. Bracken adds a few new scenes to the story that movie-watchers will have not seen. It's a risky move to do that with a beloved movie series, but it works. I liked seeing these characters in moments that are off-screen, and I don't think that they take anything away from what George Lucas created.
So would I recommend this book? Yes, I would. I think that any new Star Wars fan would appreciate this novelization. I also think that it would be a great book to read either before or after watching A New Hope. Kids and adults will enjoy reading about their favorite Star Wars characters, and looking at some of the black and white illustrations and colored art work that is included in the book.
Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times best-selling author of the Darkest Minds trilogy. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that perpetually overflowing with books.