Guest Review: Ambush at Corellia (Start Wars The Corellian Trilogy Vol. 1) by Roger MacBride Allen

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Book Review The Corellian Trilogy Vol. 1 Ambush at Corellia by Roger MacBride Allen

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Andrew:
Orig­i­nally pub­lished at: http://www.rancorslovetoread.com/2009/12/andrews-review-of-corellian-trilogy-vol.html

2/5 Ran­cors - Roger MacBride Allen's Ambush at Corel­lia is the first vol­ume of the Corel­lian Tril­ogy and was pub­lished in the hey­day of the Ban­tam Spec­tra Star Wars license in the 1990s. Set four­teen years after Return of the Jedi, this story sets up a con­flict in the Corel­lian sys­tem, which com­prises five plan­ets and three dis­tinct sen­tient species. Han Solo is a native Corel­lian and a trade con­fer­ence brings him and his fam­ily back home after many years away. Over­look­ing an early warn­ing of dan­ger brew­ing in the Corel­lian sys­tem, Han and Chief of State Princess Leia, along with Chew­bacca and their three chil­dren, all travel together to attend the sum­mit. Events start build­ing towards a cri­sis and by the book's res­o­lu­tion, full-out war threat­ens the entire system.

Despite the action implied by the plot sum­mary, I found this book a slow read. At its core, it felt like an elon­gated setup for the next two books, one that could have been con­densed into a few chap­ters. It's mildly inter­est­ing learn­ing more about Corel­lia, and the sys­tem itself is one of the more intrigu­ing of the galaxy far, far away. Its mix of three species plus var­i­ous out­side influ­ences from the Empire and New Repub­lic cre­ates a potent stew of sim­mer­ing ten­sion. This mate­r­ial is good back­ground and per­haps will pay off in the next two vol­umes, but taken on its own there sim­ply wasn't that much to this story.

The Solo fam­ily is at the cen­ter of the novel, espe­cially with the rev­e­la­tion of the iden­tity of the Human League's Hid­den Leader at the cli­max. Leia con­tin­ues to be a sym­pa­thetic and inspir­ing fig­ure as she deals with bal­anc­ing work and fam­ily life. We explore some of Han's emo­tions as he revis­its his past on the Corel­lian trip, but this explo­ration doesn't illu­mi­nate any­thing sig­nif­i­cantly new about his char­ac­ter. The three chil­dren are fre­quently present but don't get the lime­light as often as they did in The Crys­tal Star. One odd­ity in the por­trayal of the chil­dren is Anakin behaves more like a tod­dler than a seven-year-old, both in speech and in actions (at least, based on my own 2.5 year-old daugh­ter, who talks quite a bit like Anakin in this book).

The "B" plot fol­lows Lando, Luke, R2-D2, and C-3PO as they embark on a quest to find Lando a rich wife. This is as silly as it sounds. I can under­stand that Luke might need a break from car­ry­ing the weight of the galaxy on his shoul­ders, but a Jedi Mas­ter wast­ing time on a trip like this is a lot to swal­low. Lando is a good char­ac­ter but surely Mr. Allen could have found some­thing more mean­ing­ful for him to pur­sue: this plot would have been bet­ter left "off-screen," as it were.

Ambush at Corel­lia is not a dif­fi­cult read or par­tic­u­larly long. It sim­ply felt slow because of the dragged-out sto­ry­line. The stage is set in the cli­max for the rest of the tril­ogy to accel­er­ate sig­nif­i­cantly, so it will be inter­est­ing to see what follows.

Buy this Star Wars Book in paper or elec­tronic copy*

David:
Orig­i­nally pub­lished at: http://www.rancorslovetoread.com/2009/11/davids-review-of-book-one-of-corellian_25.html

3/5 Ran­corsAmbush at Corel­lia is the first book in The Corel­lian Tril­ogy. In this ini­tial story, Han and his entire fam­ily plus Chewie go back to his home world of Corel­lia for a trade sum­mit and a vaca­tion. Han also plans to show his kids the world where he grew up many years ago. The level of excite­ment in the fam­ily is high. How­ever, as usual, things are not as sim­ple as they seem to be.

Shortly before the trip, Han is vis­ited by an oper­a­tive from New Repub­lic Intel­li­gence who informs him that many things are going wrong in Corel­lia and that he needs to be care­ful on the trip. The warn­ing is couched in mys­te­ri­ous terms. Han decides to go ahead with the trip against his best judg­ment. On the approach to Corel­lia he real­izes that things are in fact going wrong, and the prob­lems esca­late from there. The five inhab­ited worlds of the Corel­lian Sec­tor are on the brink of civil war and the once peace­ful co-existence of the three lead­ing races — human. Selo­nan, and Dral­lan — has come to an end. By the end of the book Han and Leia find them­selves trapped on a world about to explode in vio­lence unless they can meet a fanat­i­cal Rebel leader's impos­si­ble demands.

All of this sounds good, but I kept feel­ing that noth­ing much was actu­ally hap­pen­ing. Pos­si­bly the next two books in the tril­ogy will pick up. I also had sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems with a ven­ture that Lando and Luke are involved in, i.e., find­ing Lando a rich wife. None of this rang true at all to me. I can­not imag­ine Lando being a part of such an effort, and I don't know as yet why we should care.

Time to move on to the sec­ond book, Assault at Selo­nia.

Buy this Star Wars Book in paper or elec­tronic copy*

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