Star Wars: Rebel Force #2 – Hostage
by Alex Wheeler
Published by Scholastic
Adrick's Rating: 2.4 out of 4
The deadly assassin contracted by the Empire, X-7, is closer than ever to discovering the identity of his target. He's already infiltrated the top levels of the Rebel Alliance and gained Princess Leia's trust--but he still hasn't been able to get Leia to give up the classified information he desperately needs.
After all, Leia Organa is unbreakable, the youngest, toughest member of the Galactic Senate, and, since its dissolution, the fiercest opponent of the Empire. She's survived kidnapping and torture under Darth Vader, but she's never had to do anything more difficult than her latest mission. She is going home.
And X-7 knows it will be the perfect opportunity to destroy her.
All right, Scholastic and "Alex Wheeler", I'm calling you out. If Alex Wheeler, the author of Star Wars: Rebel Force is not, in fact, Judy Blundell, alias Jude Watson, author of Star Wars: Journals, Star Wars Science Adventures, Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice, Star Wars: Jedi Quest, and Star Wars: Last of the Jedi, I'll eat my Lucasfilm-authorized Indiana Jones fedora.
The evidence is nearly conclusive: in the first volume we had a needlessly convoluted setup for the Imperial agent and a Phlog used as a convenient large/thuggish character rather than a towering Endorian tree-sized orge. In Hostage, we have treacherous intersystem politics, a small underground group whose leaders are intimately involved, with a traitor among them--all trademarks of Watson's previous Star Wars works. And now the icing on the cake: the reappearance of Ferus Olin, former Jedi padawan of Jedi Apprentice supporting character Siri, a reoccurring character in Jedi Quest, and the star of Last of the Jedi. A young adult author, by any other name, still writes the same stuff.
But it's not bad--not bad at all. This is a terrific Princess Leia story in which the aftermath of Alderaan's destruction plays a large part--this is something that was not dealt with much in the many, many other works set in this time period. Watson takes a few scant details about Delaya, a sister world of Alderaan long established in canon but never fully explored, and has created an interesting counterpart to the peace-loving planet we know so well. The conflict between the Delayan government and the survivors of Alderaan is an interesting story, and I enjoyed seeing it played out.
And as shocking as it may seem, I didn't mind the reintroduction of Ferus's character. I had grown to enjoy the character during the Last of the Jedi series, and it will be interesting to see what path he takes now that he's set off on his own in the Classic Trilogy galaxy.
As much as I enjoyed Hostage, this book does have flaws in its storytelling logic. In a scene in which Yoda confers with the spirit of Obi-Wan, the two have almost exactly the same conversation about Luke they had in The Empire Strikes Back...except that Obi-Wan and Yoda's opinions are flipped. Later in the novel, Leia is given a truth serum that either reduces its subjects to babbling nincompoops or kills them...but she is restored to full health in a matter of hours with no explanation. Also, the shadow of Vader looms...a sticky continuity situation if ever there was one. Watson...excuse me, Wheeler, would do well to tread carefully here.
The warehouses where the Alderaan survivors were kept.