Is this Journey to The Force Awakens entry a hit, or does it miss the mark? Pun intended.
This review contains spoilers for Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure.
Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
By Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry | Illustrations by Phil Noto
Princess Leia returns in an all-new adventure!
In this story, set between Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Princess Leia must lead a ragtag group of rebels on a treacherous decoy mission against the evil Galactic Empire.
Before getting straight to the review, I just want to say that I am thrilled with Disney and Lucasfilm Press for producing a line of young adult Star Wars novels. There were never books like this when I was growing up, and I think these will be a great transition for young Star Wars fans wanting to get into reading and the Star Wars expanded universe. Kudos.
Even though this book is labeled as a young adult novel, it’s worth a read. While the plot is pretty basic, and there’s not much character development, it’s still entertaining and fun, which is really what Star Wars is all about.
This story takes place in the year after the events in The Empire Strikes Back but before Return of the Jedi. The Rebels have discovered the Empire’s second Death Star and are plotting how to destroy it. Princess Leia, along with a small group of accomplices, are sent out as a decoy mission to keep the Empire’s gaze from the Rebel fleet massing for a take-down of the second Death Star.
The entire novel is from Princess Leia’s point of view, which is interesting and will make it easier for teens to read the book. While we get to know the new characters, and one we already know–Nien Nunb–we don’t get an in-depth look at their thoughts and backgrounds. However, we do get to see glimpses of Leia’s feelings. She has deep remorse for the beings that have sacrificed for the Rebellion’s cause, and for Leia herself. She also doesn’t want to be coddled, she wants to be in on the action and not guarded consistently. She’s a real fighter, and this story demonstrate that side of her again and again.
We also get insight into Leia’s blossoming feelings for Han Solo, who was just encased in carbonite. Leia and the rest of the Rebellion still do not know Han’s fate during this time. She doesn’t know if he’s even still alive, and this weighs heavily on her. I love that this dynamic of the Leia and Han relationship is investigated, as fans don’t really get much of a feel for it between episodes V and VI.
Since this is not a very long book, only 230 pages, I won’t get into specific plot lines or details. It is worth reading though. The most interesting part of the book is, in my opinion, the epilogue, which is told from an older Leia’s point of view. Specifically, from General Organa, the leader of the Resistance.
It doesn’t tell us much about The Force Awakens, but we know Leia’s a general now. Also, ‘General Organa’ begs the question–her last name is Organa, not Solo (or Skywalker, for that matter). Did Leia and Han NOT end up together? Or did Leia just keep her last name? Does it mean anything at all?
Another portion of the epilogue has Leia speaking to a Major Emmat about a certain outstanding pilot, Poe Dameron. She’s reflecting on how Resistance fighters need to balance commitment to duty, and commitment to each other. When speaking of Poe, Leia says, “He’s old enough to hear me, but not old enough to listen yet.” Maybe it’s just me, but that strikes me as something a relative, perhaps a mother figure, might say about their child. Maybe I’m just stretching the thought, but maybe it’s meant to read that way.
Overall, Moving Target is certainly worth reading. It’s a fun story, a quick read, and I’m so excited for the young readers that are now getting a chance to delve into the larger Star Wars canon.
Courtney Martin is a graduate of Indiana University and works in publishing. She’s an avid Star Wars fan and wrote the recipe blog Courtney Cooks Star Wars on suvudu.com. When not enveloped a science fiction or fantasy novel, she is watching television with her husband and son, doing crossword puzzles, or playing with her Shih Tzu, Burt.