Analysis, Reviews

Review: Honor Among Thieves by S.A. Corey

TLDR: Honor Among Thieves is more delightful Star Wars nonsense by writers that know their craft.

When I heard that the Expanse guys had written a Star War, I was like, yes please! And I was not disappointed.

Honor Among Thieves has heart and the authors have nailed Han Solo’s roguish charm by remembering that HAN SHOT FIRST. He didn’t warn Greedo, he didn’t shoot in self-defense, he did what he thought he had to do to survive. Han is not a nice guy. The authors do present him as a conflicted guy, but that worked for me. Han felt like more than the stereotype of a pirate with a heart of gold.

It’s been harder and harder to find quality Star Wars extended universe books. I loved Timothy Zahn when I was a kid, but his stuff has not held up when I’ve reread it as an adult or even when I’ve read his more recent publications. Those books have felt padded and slow.

Honor Among Thieves drops the spice at the first sign of an imperial cruiser and guns it into hyperspace. It’s a short book, but hey, I signed up for Star Wars, not War and Peace.

Every line of Han’s dialogue feels like it was delivered by Harrison Ford himself and I went through most of this book with a childish grin on my face and even laughed out loud a few times.

Am I going to remember this book 6 months from now? No, but it was a delightful popcorn diversion from two authors who know their craft well.

Speaking of which, aspiring authors might do well to check out how they introduce the characters of their own invention. Here’s an example:

Hunter Maas appeared at the top of the ramp bursting out of the smoky ship’s interior like an actor taking the stage. He was a small man, physically speaking, but he managed to take up all the space in the large and mostly empty dock. He didn’t walk down the ramp, he swaggered. He didn’t smile at them, he grinned a mouthful of sparkling white teeth. He was shirtless, wearing his small middle-aged potbelly with a pride it didn’t deserve. His pants were tight black leather. Over his shoulders floated a floor length red cape with elaborate gold piping. An R3 droid followed after him like a supplicant, the thin rat-like bird perched on his left shoulder chittering random words in a dozen different languages.

No one reads this and wonders who Hunter Maas is. No one reads this and worries they will forget this character after a few pages. The man hasn’t even spoken, but the reader knows volumes.

In his book Writing and Selling Your Novel author Jack Bickham recommends creating exaggerated characters like this for your readers to fall in love with.

You might argue that this sort of flamboyance works for Star Wars, but less so for a more subtle book. Yes and no. Characters aren’t real life people. In real life, people are hard to get to know. It takes time and a lot of back and forth to build trust. Characters should be streamlined. They should be introduced in the midst of action or dialogue that makes their personality clear. Otherwise the author is wasting the reader’s time.

That’s all for now. I hope all your NaNoWriMo’s went well.


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