Book Review

The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton - A Guest Review by Carrie S.

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Title: The Courtship of Princess Leia
Author: Mark Wolverton
Publication Info: Spectra 1995
ISBN: 978-0553569376
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Book CoverIt could have been worse.

When people ask me if I’m “Into Star Wars”, I say, “Yes, absolutely”.  But when I say “Star Wars”, I mean, “Star Wars:  A New Hope”, “The Empire Strikes Back”, and “Return of the Jedi”.  I saw the first two prequels but am convinced they were a hallucination brought on by bad popcorn.  I’ve never seen the Clone Wars.  And I’ve never read a Star Wars novel.  But for you, dear bitches, I braved the novelization world to review The Courtship of Princess Leia.  I figured a novel about Han and Leia’s romance would either be the best thing since hyperdrive or the worst thing since Jabba the Hut’s personal appearance.  Turns out I was wrong on both counts.  This novel wasn’t irredeemable.  It had good action sequences, a fast pace, and a few hilarious moments.  But, as a romance novel, it was a big fail, because the most critical component – believable, well-developed, exciting romance – was absent.

To be honest, I’m grading this novel pretty harshly, mostly because it dangled so much potential in front of me and then whisked it away.  At the start of the book, Han and Leia are both exhausted and overwhelmed. They are mourning the losses brought on by war and facing the realities of the struggles yet to come.  Han has just returned from five months in combat, and Leia is preparing for a major diplomatic mission in another star cluster. They have a very brief time to try to reconnect.  But, before they can do more than say, “Hi”, Leia receives a marriage proposal from Prince Isolder from the Hapes Consortium.  This marriage would greatly strengthen the Alliance, and Isolder is quite a hottie.  What will Leia do? 

Well, I’ll tell you what Leia will do.  Leia will be greatly charmed by Isolder (as who wouldn’t).  Leia will then follow the men of the book around as they initiate all the action.  Han, who has never been a paragon of maturity, will have hissy fits not unlike those of a thirteen-year-old girl. Luke will utter calm, wise words of wisdom and peace whenever he isn’t busy turning his enemies into barbeque.  Chewie rips off arms, Artoo chirps, and Threepio is surprisingly awesome.  Readers get a lot of adventure, but not a searing examination of the costs of war, or the difficult realities facing a couple who experience long separations and conflicting demands on their time and energies.  Nor will the ethical implications of Leia’s choice have any but the most superficial treatment.  Initially, it looks like this story will deal with the question of how much one can put one’s own personal happiness ahead of the well-being of others.  A character explains the benefit of the marriage to Isolder in this way, “With the wealth of Hapes to help fund the war, Leia could overthrow the last remnants of the Empire quickly, saving billions of lives in the process”.  Hear that, people?  Not dozens, not millions, but billions of lives.  What difference does it make whether Isolder is cute or repulsive?  What difference does it make whether Han is the love of Leia’s life?  Why are they fighting for her affections?  This is a royal, political marriage, like many others, and normally affections would be beside the point.  If the author is going to set such high stakes, those stakes should be seriously debated.  That would make a compelling story about two kids who fell in love in wartime, and now have to make things work as adults with major challenges in their lives.

We don’t get that story, but we do get a fun romp, albeit not one that makes a lot of sense.  I’ll let Han explain what happens once he realizes that Leia may very well leave him for Isolder:

“Well, see, it happened this way:  I won a planet in a card game and really wanted to see it badly.  Meanwhile, the woman I love was planning to run off with another man, so I convinced her to take a short trip with me.  Only when we got here, I found the skies full of warships that shot me down – because no one bothered to tell me the planet was interdicted – and after we crashed, a bunch of witches decided to start a war over who gets the wreckage of my ship.  So I’ll tell you, Luke, I’ve had a really bad week so far.  Now, to top it off, I suppose you’re going to lecture me, or arrest me, or beat me up.  So tell me, how is your week going?”

That plot summary is pretty complete, except where Han says, “convinced”, read, “kidnapped”.  There are also various side plots involving extraneous characters who appear to be fully, um, compatible, despite originating from different planets.  Sadly, the romance aspect really falls short.  In a good romance novel, the relationship between the couples grows before our eyes, and the moment when they realize they love each other and decide to be together is a satisfying conclusion to that growth.  The mood of the novel may be light and comic, or ridden with angst, but the happy ending has to be earned.  We have to believe (at least, I have to believe) that this couple is in love, respects each other, balances each other, and is committed to each other.  Sadly, without being too specific with the spoilers, it seems like the only reason romances in The Courtship of Princess Leia come to fruition is that the author is running out of pages and has to wrap things up. In one case, two characters go from showing no significant romantic interest in each other to professing undying love in the space of one page.  I don’t mean that we know they liked each other all along, but they were blind to their true feelings, etc, etc.  I mean the book was almost over and no one else was eligible, so the author gave these characters total reversals so they could be an item. 

On the upside, the characterizations in the novel aren’t bad.  Han and Leia bicker just as they did in “A New Hope” and “Empire”.  There is some truly clunky dialogue, but some good lines too.  The action zips right along, there are plenty of explosions, and one remarkable scene in which Luke experiences the Force on new levels (Not THOSE levels.  Jeez, I can’t take you guys anywhere!).  Above all, there is a song from Threepio.  Yes, a song.  Bitches, I’m not saying you should read this book, but I do think you should buy it, just to send a thank you donation to the author for coming up with this:

“He’s got his own planet

Although it’s kind of wild.

Wookies love him.

Women love him.

He’s got a winning smile!

Though he may seem cool and cocky,

He’s more sensitive than he seems,

Han Solo!

What a man!  Solo!

He’s every princess’s dream!”

In closing, let me just say that nowhere will you find a more devoted Leia/Han shipper than myself.  Han Solo was my first crush, and Princess Leia was my first female role model.  Having invested all this energy in the two of them since the age of eight, I’m a little picky.  In fact, I can tell you the exact moment when the Star Wars franchise jumped the shark.  It’s in “Return of the Jedi”.  Han is staring out the window, and instead of smacking him upside the head and making a sarcastic comment, Leia gently embraces him and says, adoringly, “Hey…you awake?” My God, people.  They’ve shared great sex, not full frontal lobotomies.  Can no one write for this couple anymore?  Their fans deserve bickering!  We deserve passion!  We deserve the joy of watching them work as a team – her levelheadedness balancing his impulsiveness, his bravado balancing her emotional caution, and their two strong natures ensuring that no one gets pushed around.  Since this book consists of people randomly running around and then pretending that some sort of emotional journey took place, I’m giving it a C.  However, in fairness, Threepio’s little ditty by itself deserves an A.  Beware readers, the book looks promising, but “IT’S A TRAP!”


The Courtship of Princess Leia is available at Amazon, as an Audible audio book, from Book Depository It is not available digitally that I can find, anyway.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Scrin says:

    I never read THIS one, but I can say that Han and Leia do have three kids—first fraternal twins, then a son.

    And they did a whole lot of years dangling potential love interests for Luke around until George Lucas put his foot down and they tied him down with someone. But the character had been a recurring figure in the books, often involved in the same crisis Luke did, so it isn’t like it came out of nowhere.

    But I will say this: The Star Wars Extended Universe novels are often reeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy hit-or-miss.

    Sometimes you get something awesome like the Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn (the books in order are Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command and yes, I am recommending them). Sometimes you get something ‘meh’ such as the Courtship of Princess Leia. Sometimes you get something absolutely retarded like Darksaber or Crystal Star.

    If it’s any consolation, there was a whole series pretty much dedicated to the villain here—Zsinj—basically pointing out that no one gets to his position by actually being as big of an idiot as he tried to appear as. The X-Wing books contain several romantic subplots and end on a pretty sweet notes, too.

    Actually, the Star Wars EU has several instances where someone wrote something bad/mediocre, and another author did a book pointing out its flaws. Sometimes retconning plots and characters into something coherent, sometimes being not nearly so kind.

  2. 2
    OdetteLovegood says:

    Part of the problem here is that you were hoping for a romance, and what you got is a sci-fi adventure story. The author was probably more interested in causing trouble for the main characters than seriously exploring their relationship.

    I haven’t read a lot of Star Wars novels, but I did enjoy the Jedi Academy Trilogy, which focuses on Han and Leia’s three children and the revival of Jedi training- and where it can go wrong.

  3. 3
    Jen H says:

    Like our brave reviewer, my first ‘ship was Han & Leia, with Han setting the Bad Boy Precedent For All Time, so this p.o.s. that manages to emasculate him and render her TSTL in places just bugged me when it came out and still does.  That song, however, has popped up randomly in my head for over 10 years…! Gah. One of the best qualities of this couple is that they are so similar, like a functional version of Rhett & Scarlett, so to see them portrayed so OOC is painful.  Their characterization in Mr. Zahn’s books is much more accurate, and the story’s not bad, either:) Carrie, thanks for taking one for the team, and for refreshing those lilting lyrics for me!

    move69: …I got nothin’.

  4. 4
    Jen H says:

    Forgot to include: in the movie (500) Days of Summer, there is a part where the hero looks in a glass and sees Han Solo looking back. It was so perfect for that story point and such a pleasant surprise, I laughed out loud. See it if you haven’t already, Carrie—-you’ll love it:)

    wish44: nope, too early for me

  5. 5
    JJ says:

    Sarah, I love you for this review.

    I too adore the original trilogy (I was 11 when A New Hope was re-released in the theatres) and I once picked up a Star Wars novelization meant for children in an obsessive 11-year-old fit of “I’M ADDICTED AND I NEED MORE.”

    I don’t remember much about it; it had less Force stuff and less romance than I would have liked but it was an decent sci-fi action-adventure story that I enjoyed at the time and then forgot about entirely.

    I’ve always been tempted to pick up Star Wars novelizations involving Han and Leia (because I too, am a devoted Han/Leia shipper), but am always afraid that it will never live up to the movies and/or the couple in my head.

  6. 6
    H says:

    I will also recommend the Zahn stories. I used to read all of the SW novelizations and agree on the hit or miss nature. One thing to note is that Courtship did come out after the Thrawn trilogy, so it had already been established that Han and Leia end up together and start a family.

  7. 7
    Hannah says:

    I read the novelization of The Empire Strikes Back, back in the day. It wasn’t that memorable and I quit reading Star Wars books after that. To me, the story told in the movies was complete—I didn’t want any more. I really enjoyed the radio dramatizations that were played on NPR and had some of the original cast members—they filled in a lot of details that were not in the movies.  I had a huge crush on Luke Skywalker (even wrote in my first diary at age 6 “Luke Skywalker is my boyfriend”) and always wanted him to hook up with Leia. In my defense, there were no clues at all the first two movies that they were brother and sister. No, I take that back, there was that time that Darth Vader said “there is another” about Luke and Leia.

  8. 8
    Sarah W says:

    I got into trouble for this book.

    I was working in a bookstore when it came out, and the minute I opened the carton, I skimmed the first few pages.  My assistant manager came up and asked me if it was any good.  I said it was so far and told her what the blurb said.

    She expressed passionate hope that Leia would choose Han.  I, veteran of the romance circuit said, “Yeah, like there’s any chance she’d pick anyone else.”

    She yelled at me for ruining the book for her and gave me a serious lecture on how she had better not hear that I’d told any of our customers the ending.

    Ooookay.

  9. 9
    Beth says:

    The love story between Han and Leia in the expanded universe is so complex and fantastic, but this book isn’t very representative of that. They have children, they grow old, they celebrate personal and political victories, and they suffer some terrible losses. So don’t fret that authors have ruined the Han and Leia romance.

    This book is really kind of fun because of the characters it introduces; they play a HUGE part in the story line later on. I don’t think I could point to one book that sort of does the whole Leia/Han romance justice, but that’s probably becuse I was never a big Han/Leia shipper. Liked them, but I was much more interested in who Luke was gong to end up with. If you are looking for Star Wars books that have good romances in them, I’d recommend X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar, by Aaron Allston, and Visions of the Future, by Timothy Zahn (though, you should probably read his Thrawn trilogy and Specter of the Past first) Actually, you should read the Thrawn trilogy anyway because it’s just really, really good.

    The most frustrating thing about reading Star Wars books is that there are lots of authors writing in one universe so sometimes characters aren’t very consistent.

  10. 10

    Oh man, STAR WARS.

    My fellow Bitches, I PLAYED Han Solo for two and a half years on an online Star Wars game. I know me some Han Solo. And I slurped up a whole helluva lot of Star Wars novels in the process, including this one. Our guest reviewer Carrie is right, though; this isn’t the best that Star Wars novels have to offer by a long shot.

    But yeah, they’re SF, not romance, so there won’t be as much front-and-center emphasis on the relationships as you’d get in the romance genre. I DO however recommend for my fellow Solo fans the awesome, AWESOME trilogy that A.C. Crispin wrote going into his backstory: THE PARADISE SNARE, THE HUTT GAMBIT, and REBEL DAWN. There’s a lovely little pre-Leia romance in those—though since it IS pre-Leia, y’all will already know it ain’t going to end well. ;)

  11. 11
    Barbara W. says:

    I’m sure a bigger and better fan than I will come back and give a title, but I seem to recall back before it was revealed that Luke was Leia’s brother that there was a ‘shipper book about the two of them.  I only recall some vague details (hey, I was 4th, 5th grade at the time), but I remember Leia got injured at the end – something about her arm? – and they had a sort-of HEA.

    It was so swoonworthy.  Then RoTJ came out and I couldn’t believe I ever wanted her with anyone but Han the Hottie.

    (bowing back out because I totally don’t know anything about the Star Wars books beyond that weird memory)

  12. 12
    Sarah W says:

    @Barbara W

    I think the book you’re remembering was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye

    I agree that the scene was swoonworthy—-but in retrospect, it was a good thing Luke nobly held back from “taking advantage.”  I re-read it after Return of the Jedi, and whew, close call!

  13. 13
    Ruth says:

    I blazed through the Star Wars novels right about the same time I discovered romance novels (so, about 14?). This one never sat well with me. It’s decent, but not especially romantic or that useful for understanding the ‘verse. It’s very much a one-off. That said, it’s much better than the “romance” which Barbara Hambly dredged up between Luke & Callista in some later books. That was godawful. Luke’s romance with & marriage to Mara (I’d say spoiler, but it’s been 11 years or more since that was published & you totally see it coming) is much more in the style of a good romance…cooperation combined with annoying and some good banter.

  14. 14
    LizC says:

    Oh boy. I read this book when I was 13 or 14. In fact I wanted to read it so badly that I made my mom buy it for me using the special order form in the back of one of my other Star Wars books because you couldn’t find it anywhere else and this was before Amazon.

    The thing about Courtship is you cannot read it as a self-contained romance. It is a Star Wars novel first and a romance novel last. The other thing about Courtship is that it really helps to have read the other EU books that take place earlier in the timeline to get a better idea about the progression of Han and Leia’s relationship in the novels. EU novels aren’t meant to be read as stand alones even when they aren’t part of a series within the EU. At least in my opinion they aren’t.

    I also recommend any and all Star Wars novels by Timothy Zahn. Also, almost all the X-Wing novels (I haven’t read them all yet). DO NOT read anything by Troy Denning. Just . . . don’t. Start with Zahn, read the older novels first, and then if you must, read Denning. But he’s a hack so it’s not necessary.

  15. 15
    Barbara W. says:

    OMG @ Sarah W!

    I feel like I just fell down a rabbit hole, lol.  I went to Amazon and was reading the reviews and most of it came flooding back if I ignored all the arguing about the legitimacy of the book’s place in the Lucas empire.  :

    Ha, I even guessed at my age right – I would have been roughly in 4th grade when this originally came out.  How weird.  I feel the urge to break out my curling iron and roller skates…

    Thank you!!

  16. 16
    sanalayla says:

    I have the exact same relationship with “Star Wars” that you do: HUGE fan of the first trilogy, but I pretend the prequels never happened & I don’t make it a habit to go around reading “Star Wars” books, fanfiction, or watch Clone Wars.

    However, I have read Timothy Zahn’s trilogy (over a decade ago) and it was VERY good. It is not a romance, by any means, but I enjoyed how the Han/Leia romance was handled in that book. It was much more mature. Also, I enjoyed the new characters he’d created.

    Han/Leia are one of my first ships, too. (Along with Clark Kent/Lois Lane) and – yes – it would be impossible to read someone write them without the banter and the bickering. It’s one of my beefs with “RotJ”, too.

    I really enjoyed this review, but I don’t think I’ll be reading. It seems like there is probably fanfiction out there that would handle Han/Leia better.

  17. 17

    one remarkable scene in which Luke experiences the Force on new levels

    I wish you hadn’t told me that this doesn’t mean what it sounds like, because I would have ordered that book pronto.

    Yet another recommendation for Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. There’s not a whole lot of Han/Leia romance in it, but I like what he does with Leia’s character – you get a sense of how she has a different, not lesser, skillset from Luke and how she’s going to use the Force to her advantage. Also I loved Mara Jade: angry, kickass, pitiless, and hell-bent on Luke’s destruction. You know they’re made for each other :)

  18. 18
    Jennifer Armintrout says:

    Greatly disagree!  That book is one of my favorites from the extended universe!

  19. 19
    Jennifer Armintrout says:

    @Anna the Piper, I totally agree about the pre-New Hope trilogy.  I freaking gobbled those up.  And then I lent them to someone and… well, we know how this story ends.  :(

  20. 20
    Chelsea says:

    I went through a phase once upon a time when I was for no reason at all determined to read quite a few of the star wars novels. This was among them. I remember having a similar reaction as in this review. I am a HUGE Han Solo fan, and like you he an Leia represent one of my earliest intersts in non-Disneyish romance.

    I recall really liking the ones made for young adults, which were mostly about Han and Leia’s children. I was 9 or 10 at the time though, so my tastes weren’t well refined.

  21. 21

    @Anna, I’ll see your Crispin and raise you Daley.

    I’m a SW geek from the days when Luke and Leia had a two year age difference between them and she was his dream girl. (he was 20, she was 18 at the opening of ANH) And as far as I’m concerned Brian Daley sitteth at the right hand of the Great Flanneled One forever.  Han Solo at Stars End, Han Solo’s Revenge and Han Solo and the Lost Legacy are terrific. And Daley also wrote the radio plays. (I will not tell you how much of the 6.5 hour production of ANH I still have memorized)

    I read The Courtship of Princess Leia years ago. Didn’t move me much. I gave up on the HanxLeia romance somewhere in the middle of Jedi (I was 15) and never picked it back up. I tried the EU and just never found them convincing as the centerpiece. Then I discovered fanfiction….

    And whoever said it above: Han & Leia are Rhett and Scarlett right down to the dialogue. My copy of Gone with the Wind is cross-referenced to my copy of Empire.

  22. 22

    @Jennifer: Sympathies on the loss of those books!

    @Angelia: Oh god yes the Daley trio of stories is just as awesome for Han backstory goodness. :D Crispin even called back to the Daley adventures in her trilogy, so they tie together nicely!

    Crispin’s got way prettier cover art though. Mmm pretty young Han mmmmmm!

  23. 23
    Tee says:

    I’ve read a bunch of the Star Wars books.  I just went back thru my list with ratings to see which ones were best and mentioned Leia and Han enough to make the summary for the books, best one was “Truce at Bakura” by Kathy Tyers.  It was set right after Return of the Jedi, and chemistry is good and the plot blew me away, way better than a lot of other books published prior to 2003 in the series. 

    Kathy Tyers is an excellent author too – she has written several other sci-fi/fantasy books that crossed over as romance also, good with writing about emotion and internal conflict.

    Can I give you a bit of a bitch slap – most guys don’t write good romance novels?  The Courtship of Princess Leia was a good book, but mostly for political intrigue, not for romance.  The author puts in what should make sense – a hunky prince coming to woo the hand of the imperial daughter of Darth Vader.  He’s handsome and wealthy, much more honorable than Han.  It’s a bit of a let down that she ends up with Han…

  24. 24
    Carrie S says:

    Oooh, now I have lots (more) to read!  I’m loving this thread!

    Smart Bitches, I have many questions for you.  SB Sarah has graciously told me that I can write one geektastic review per month for y’all.  I made my first official entry a Star Wars novel because really, how much more geektastic can we get?  But, OdetteLovegood was absolutely right that I hoped for a more romance centered book and I got adventure.  I took pity on the author and gave him kudos for the adventure without skewering the “science fiction” aspects.  It had spaceships aplenty but was gravely lacking in “science”.  Anyway, crossing genres seems to be a theme with me.  Most of the books I’ve reviewed or am planning to review are found in the science fiction/fantasy section of the bookstore, even if they are advertised as romance here on the Smart Bitches website.  Do you guys prefer reviews that are more straight up romance genre?  Do you like crossing genres in hopes of finding great romance in hard sci fi, i.e., Lois McMaster Bujold, or in fantasy, i.e., Emma Bull?  The next two books I’ll be reviewing (probably) are “Tempest’s Legacy” (yeah, the one with the ad that says, “Bringing selkie back!”) and “Across the Universe”, which is being marketed as a YA dystopian romance (but IS IT?  Drumroll, please).  Tell me what kinds of things you like, please!

    BTW, completely off topic, I just read “Iron Duke” and it was MADE OF STEAMPUNK WIN.  So good.  Consider that a mini bonus review, right there.

    @Jennifer Armintrout:  Don’t leave us hanging!  Tell us why this book resonated with you!  It was the song, right?  I almost upped this book a whole grade just for the song.  Seriously, I would love to hear what you liked about it.

  25. 25
    Carrie S says:

    @Tee – One of my big problems with the book was that I didn’t feel like it worked as good political intrigue, either.  It had a great set up for intrigue, and frankly, I’m with you – I love me some Han and Leia, but based purely on the novel, I was rooting for the Prince.  There could have been so much more done with the politics, not to mention the ethics and the issue of personal preference over greater good.  But then they had to go run around the planet, at which time the intrigue virtually disappeared, and even by Star Wars standards the sci fi was pretty weak, although the straight up adventure was fun.  I think the author was just trying to take on too many elements.  The first few chapters seemed to belong to a completely different book.

    Anyone out there know of any guys who write good romance?  Aren’t there some Harlequin male authors who use female pen names (much the was, in the early days of sci fi, many women used male pen names?)

    Yes38:  Yes, I have seen Star Wars 38 times.

  26. 26
    April says:

    Oh, that book. It drove me nuts back in the day. I remember really enjoying Dave Wolverton’s The Golden Queen though. He just wasn’t really cut out for Star Wars stuff, I didn’t think. But then I was more into the whole Dark Empire idea with the Emperor clones and the Thrawn Trilogy.

    I can’t pretend the prequels completely don’t exist, but only because I actually love all of the books the prequels resulted in. Especially the Jedi Academy books by Jude Watson featuring such hilarious moments as Qui-Gon giving a young Obi-Wan a random river rock for his birthday because he figured he should have gotten the kid something.

    And I’m really excited about your next two reviews, Carrie! As for future titles, I’m a big cross-genre fan but really whatever you want to read sounds great to me. I’ve liked your picks so far.

  27. 27
    megara says:

    Oh man. I just reread CoPL back in November, and realized how utterly out of character Han & Leia were in this book. (I wrote about it here.)

    Carrie, you’re right—it had so much potential as a romance, or a political intrigue, or a romantic political intrigue, but instead turned into….a book where they run around in circles on a backwater planet? SW novels have never been great with the romantic side plots, but CoPL just failed.

    I, for one, would love to see more reviews about other genres that contain great romance as well. I love me some Bujold, but I’m always looking for more. :)

  28. 28
    Beth says:

    DO NOT read anything by Troy Denning. Just . . . don’t.

    @LizC Oh, I know! Star by Star ruined the New Jedi Order for me, and the Joiner trilogy was just a joke.

    BTW, completely off topic, I just read “Iron Duke” and it was MADE OF STEAMPUNK WIN.  So good.  Consider that a mini bonus review, right there.

    @Carrie S I LOVED everything about the book -except the romance! It seemed forced and although I loved the characters individually I thought they had no chemistry together. But I think that’s just me :P

  29. 29

    For the geeks:
    http://www.tomscott.com/weather/starwars/
    Star Wars Weather Report

    And really, Prince Isolder?
    Is it just me or does it sound like Isildur? You know, the Man who cut off Sauron’s hand, claimed the One Ring for his own and ended the reign of the Dark Lord for ages?

    Isolder?  Seriously?

  30. 30
    Betty Fokker says:

    My Fellow Bitches,

    I can recommend, with all my heart, the two Star Wars novels by Barbara Hambly, Children of the Jedi and Planet of Twilight. They were (holy of holies) nuanced character portrayals.

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