Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure

Welcome to Book Reviews. In this series I will look to review any canon books that come out in the Star Wars galaxy as I work my way through them. I am no expert book critic or expert in writing (as you may be able to tell), so this is very much from a fan’s point of view. In each review, I will also try to point out a few “Moments in Canon” – moments that link into the wider canon and references to other canon stories. Today I will be looking at Cecil Castelluci & Jason Fry’s Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure

There may be some mild spoilers

star wars books moving target

The Story

The story is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and tells the story of how Leia put herself in danger by leading a mission to distract the Empire’s attention and hide the massing of the Rebel Fleet ahead of the Battle of Endor. The story is framed as Leia beginning to dictate her memoirs to a Resistance droid on D’Qar just before The Force Awakens.

He’d been right about her—she did need a scoundrel in her life, someone who wouldn’t salute her, who didn’t care about her title or role in the Alliance.

As a result of the narrative framework, the entire story is from Leia’s point of view.

Review

I haven’t read many of the Star Wars junior novels yet, but if they can match Moving Target, then I will be very impressed. I really enjoyed this story and honestly wish that it had been longer.

“We fight for a cause, but what we’re really fighting for is each other. That’s why our pilots fly into fire instead of abandoning a wingman and our commandos stand their ground rather than leave a flank unguarded. It’s because they care for each other. We fight for duty, yes. But we also fight because we love each other. And that’s something even more powerful.”

While I still think that Claudia Gray writes Leia the best, Jason Fry & Cecil Castelluci clearly have a very strong understanding of the character, her feelings and her motivations. As I’m catching up with my reviews, I will also tease that I have read another of Fry’s Star Wars stories and think that he is a fantastic Star Wars writer who just understands the galaxy so well. This is a big time in her life: the man she loved has been taken from her and she still doesn’t know if she’ll see him again, while the construction of a new Death Star has left the Rebellion and the galaxy in a dangerous position. It was great seeing Nien Nunb have a larger role in a story and his character expanded upon – this story has actually increased my affinity for a character that I had previously been rather indifferent about. The other main characters – Antrot, Kidi and Lokmarcha – were fine and did a great job of bringing different dynamics and skills to the group, however I felt that the characters were left somewhat shallow – though I put this down to the novel being meant for younger readers.

I really like the general plot of this story. The mission itself makes sense, as does the reason for such an important member of the Rebellion to be leading it, while I like that the importance of the mission is that very few know its true purpose and the full details, causing Leia to lie to most of her group. Meanwhile I like how there are consequences for the group and the planets they are visiting, and how this has a negative impact on the team.

Hadn’t escaping from Hoth with a damaged hyperdrive been an impossible mission too?

But herein lies my one issue with this story: the fact that it is a junior novel. This is an incredible story, but I think that it has such a dark undertone to it in the Imperial consequences for the group’s friends and the necessity of putting people at risk that I think it would work better as an adult novel, which can delve deeper into the darker aspects. This is by no means a criticism of the novel, but just a feeling that maybe this wasn’t the right story for this format.

Should I read it?

She felt like she was in a waking nightmare and barely registered the details Ackbar was providing.

Larger diameter. More powerful superlaser. Advanced specifications.

Yes! Don’t be put off by the younger reader focus, this is still a very good story in its own right and adds some content to a time period that is largely empty at the moment. It’s suitable for kids but also not too young for adults and just tells a really good Star Wars story, while it only really needs you to know the films and not the wider canon.

Moments in Canon

Now they would pay a terrible price for that opposition—and the Alliance would be no help to them.

  • After the Battle of Hoth, the Alliance fleet was kept broken into small mobile task forces until their massing at Sullust
  • Leia knew Luke had feelings for her
  • Due to Luke’s absence, Wedge took over command of Red Squadron after the Battle of Hoth
  • The Empire’s intention is to use the second Death Star on planets heavily associated with the Rebellion, notably Mon Cala and Chandrila
  • This story shows how the Rebels got hold of the Imperial shuttle Tydirium, which Han’s task force use to reach the moon of Endor

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts on it? Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you…

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