Boba Fett #1 - The Fight To Survive
by Terry Bisson
Published by Scholastic
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
Be warned, this review contains some spoilers from the book.
Boba Fett - The Fight For Survival is the first in a new young reader's series. It picks up shortly before the events of Episode II. Young Boba Fett and his father, Jango Fett, live on Kamino. When Boba is not alone in Tipoca City reading books and honing his skills, he's with his father learning the tricks of the bounty hunting trade.
At the end of the events of Episode II (which make up the first 2/3 of this book), young Boba Fett is now on his own. Left with Slave-I, Jango's Mandalorian armor, and a video book containing a database of knowledge from his father, Boba begins life anew on his own. In a video message recorded before his death, Jango tells Boba Fett that he must accomplish several tasks, the first of which is to find Count Dooku. Thus begins his quest. But Boba finds out that the real world is much harsher than he imagined as Jango's old associates try to collect on a bounty placed on Boba Fett's head by the Jedi Knights.
If you like Jango and Boba Fett, this is one book you're not going to want to miss. The first 2/3 of the book recaps what happens during Episode II, but it explores what happens well off screen. We are shown the relationship between Jango and Boba through these scenes. You get a much greater sense of how Boba went from a sweet kid to a distrusting and sometimes violent loner. At least one scene of Jango and Boba fishing on Kamino comes straight from the Salvatore novelization. There is one other when Jango and Boba spot Obi-Wan's starfighter on Kamino.
There are some interesting things explored in this book such as Boba being jealous of the clones, him longing for a mother, his infatuation with Padme, and his early hate of the Jedi. He becomes more shocked and confused as he sees the Clone Troopers, copies of himself and his father, aiding the Jedi who just killed his father. It's a rather deep exploration of his character considering this is a young reader's book. It's also something you may not have considered after initially viewing the film.
After Jango's death, we see Boba retrieve the armor, bury his father, and leave Geonosis. Since Jango knew he could be killed one day, he put together a video "book" to help Boba in the event of his death. Boba periodically opens it and it spits out words of wisdom like a Bounty Hunter fortune cookie. Boba Fett begins a quest to reunite with Count Dooku to collect his father's money, then plans to meet up with Jabba the Hutt for "knowledge". It's a great way to begin to pull together all of the aspects of the Boba Fett legend.
As Boba Fett tries to track down Dooku, he is repeatedly screwed over by everyone he encounters. He gets a harsh dose of the real world, and it obviously leaves an impression on him and shapes him into the hunter he will become. Matters are complicated when the Jedi put a bounty on Boba so he can be brought in for questioning. After having witnessed a Jedi killing his father, it's an extra reason to hate them more. Things take an interesting turn at the very end when Boba Fett meets up with Aurra Sing who is also working for Count Dooku. Does this mean that we'll be seeing Aurra Sing working with Count Dooku and Boba Fett to hunt the Jedi in Episode III?
Bisson is also very good at creature weird and unique planets. The moons of Bogden, briefly mentioned in the film, are fleshed out here. They're imaginative and unlike other planets we've seen before in other Star Wars novels.
Bisson kicks the series off to a great start. I hope this book is a sign of things to come.
The book starts out a little preachy. Boba Fett goes on and on about how much he loves books and how wonderful they are. While it's a good thing and probably true to his loner character, it comes across as more of an ad for your local library than an adventure series. It was a little over-emphasized.
This book also never really shows any of the combat or weapons training that Jango undoubtedly gave Boba. Boba does show some competence in piloting Slave I and fighting some massifs, but we're never really given a sense that this is what Jango was creating him to do. Rather than showing Boba and Jango fishing or spouting off facts about a Jedi starfighter, I would have liked to have seen them practice hand to hand combat or target practice. It would have given a greater feel that Boba Fett was being bred to be the ultimate weapon.
Finally, with the book itself, I loved the hardcover format, but I was unimpressed with the cover art. I don't think it is as eye catching as it could have been. I think a lot of adult readers will pass it by without realizing what a good story it is.
Nothing to add here.