The Author took a basic story of buying a stolen painting at a black market auction, added a Star Destroyer Commander that wanted it for his stateroom, and threw in some background of the Empire’s biggest villain.
It may not sound like much, but once you top it all off with Han and Leia Solo working with others to get that painting, the action keeps right on going from the beginning, which is a welcome addition to almost any story.
But in this case, the action is steady and involved, drawing you into the events as if you were not a reader, but rather a spectator, standing right beside the characters throughout.
The journal belonging to Shmi Skywalker was a nice touch to help fill in some of her life after Anakin left to train as a Jedi. It gave more substance to Shmi and gave Leia insight into her Grandmother, whom she had never known.
As the Force influenced her actions, we get a glimpse of her inner fight to not be like her father, to not turn toward the Dark Side. We also see the softer side of her as she interacts with Han throughout the story.
The curious things that came up were dealing with the Imperials, and how they reacted and spoke to each to her. A new and improved attitude towards non-military seemed odd, and left doubts, as well as a mysterious “reflective voice – the one that seemed to be in charge. The one that gave Han the creeps.” This went nowhere but to make you wonder who this person was, and expecting to find out. …but you never do.
The hidden code within the painting, a moss-painting, gave the impression that the code was woven into the mass of the painting itself, not on some memory chip inside the water pump. That was a little disappointing.
- From nearly the first page, the action was continuous and involving, but broken irregularly only by the necessity of setting up the next action sequence.
- Discovery of a holographic journal and given to Leia, gave a very interesting insight into the life of Shmi Skywalker, Leia’s grandmother.
- The Author ties in many of the things we learned from the movies (except Episode 3 which wasn’t out yet) into this story which takes place four years after the final movie, “Return of the Jedi”. In particular, the Pod Races from Episode 1 figured prominently in this story, as Anakin’s friends from that era, his mother, and the course itself all were major factors in how the story flowed.
- Throughout the story, it was made clear that a secret code key was hidden in the moss painting and that it has to be recovered at all costs or destroyed. There was so much attention paid to the fact that the moss that made the painting required water, that you felt the information was actually in the moss itself. But to have it on a memory chip was actually a letdown and very cliché.
- Leaving subtle hints about a mysterious commander that gave Han “the creeps”, and not reveal what the guy is all about was a little tough to swallow and left the reader wondering why it was even included in the first place.