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Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion #2

Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves

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Nebula and Hugo Award nominees Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck—writing as James S. A. Corey—make their Star Wars debut in this brand-new epic adventure featuring Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia Organa. The action begins after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

When the Empire threatens the galaxy’s new hope, will Han, Luke, and Leia become its last chance?

When the mission is to extract a high-level rebel spy from the very heart of the Empire, Leia Organa knows the best man for the job is Han Solo—something the princess and the smuggler can finally agree on. After all, for a guy who broke into an Imperial cell block and helped destroy the Death Star, the assignment sounds simple enough.

But when Han locates the brash rebel agent, Scarlet Hark, she’s determined to stay behind enemy lines. A pirate plans to sell a cache of stolen secrets that the Empire would destroy entire worlds to protect—including the planet where Leia is currently meeting with rebel sympathizers. Scarlet wants to track down the thief and steal the bounty herself, and Han has no choice but to go along if he’s to keep everyone involved from getting themselves killed. From teeming city streets to a lethal jungle to a trap-filled alien temple, Han, Chewbacca, Leia, and their daring new comrade confront one ambush, double cross, and firestorm after another as they try to keep crucial intel out of Imperial hands.

But even with the crack support of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing squadron, the Alliance heroes may be hopelessly outgunned in their final battle for the highest of stakes: the power to liberate the galaxy from tyranny or ensure the Empire’s reign of darkness forever.

247 pages, Hardcover

First published March 14, 2014

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James S.A. Corey

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 381 reviews
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,565 followers
January 6, 2016
Do you enjoy good Han Solo's stories? Well, this isn't one of them.

This is the second novel in a book event of "Star Wars" titled "Empire and Rebellion". Three books, each centered in one of the "Big Three": Luke, Leia and Han.

This book is centered on Han Solo. (or at least it was supposed to be the original intention, but I feel that it wasn't acomplished.)


The Expanded Universe of Star Wars has offered a lot of great original characters on each side of the conflict, even some of them have been on both sides. However, I think that in this particular event, where the original intention was to offer 3 books showing the greatness of each of the "Big Three", creating new characters, and even worse, to give them too much of "screen" time is a bad idea.

I loved the first book centered on Leia ( See review here ) since while there are some new characters, all of them are secondary and/or antagonists, and none of them were able to shadow the greatness of Princess Leia.

However, in here, you have "Scarlet Hark" that it's as daring as Han Solo and as bossy as Leia, so when Scarlet interacts with Han, it's like having "Leia", and if she is interacting with Leia is almost as having "Han", sooooooo...

...mmh... why the heck having there?

It would be better to arrange the plot in a way that Leia and mainly Han (since it's supposedly his book) can interact between them without having a redundant "intermediary".


Also, there is a bounty hunter that I can't tell much to avoid spoiling but his role while it's no redundant first, later it's like having a second redundant Han... and you have the real deal there!!! You have Han Solo!!! Why do you want to have other people doing what Han Solo, let me say it again... HAN SOLO, can do that all that and so much more?!

I know how tempting must be to create new characters in Star Wars and get some extra money when the obligatory action figures would come out, because I know that they will come out, but please, let's create those new characters in another book event. Not here, where one is expecting a solid story real centered on each member of the "Big Three" on each novel.

Luke, while he has a very minor role on Leia's book, he has some cool moments. But here, it was like if the author didn't know what to do with him and he is reduced to some X-Wing pilot but with a name.


Another odd thing, the event is titled "Empire and Rebellion", set between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and while you have the "Big Three" representing the Rebellion side. On the Empire side, so far, have been a bunch of nobodies and/or "Hey, what do you know?" yep, new characters... mmh, what?

Darth Vader took vacations and he is not available?

I don't feel a good balance of the Force here!


And an odder thing is that the second book is chronologically set before of the first one. I know, in Star Wars, they love prequels, but, there is nothing on the story really forcing to be before of the first book, since it's supposed to be one single book event... was there too much to ask that these three books could be in following chronological order?

If you are fan of Leia, the first book is a "must-read", but...

...if you are fan of Han Solo...

...mmh... maybe you can skip this one.

Sorry, it's my only honest personal opinion.

Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
January 27, 2014
In the aftermath of The Battle of Yavin, Han Solo takes on a new mission for the Rebel Alliance: pick up a spy named Scarlet Hark on a planet in Imperial space. Since things are rarely simple, he finds a couple bounty hunters that want to take him back to Jabba the Hutt, Scarlet Hark, and the existence of an ancient device the Empire could use to control all of hyperspace travel. Can the legendary smuggler and his Wookie save the day?

There have been a couple periods in my life where I was convinced Star Wars was the best thing since sliced bread. The first time was when I was a very young lad and had 50-something Star Wars action figures. My relatives say I even slept with them when I was 4 but they are known liars. The second period I became enamored with Star Wars was when Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy came out. Between then and my second, much more successful, stint in college arount the year 2000, I read 40-something of the Star Wars novels. Then I lost interest around the time the prequel trilogy was in full swing.

Anyway, when this came up on Netgalley, I decided I'd put the trauma of the prequel trilogy aside and give Star Wars another chance. It was a fun read but I'm not going to dig my old Star Wars sheets and pillowcases out of storage.

Han Solo and Chewbacca rang pretty true to their screen incarnations, although I thought Han could have been a little more capable. The novel does a good job illustrating how the events of Star Wars changed him by having him encounter an old crony and contrasting the two of them. Bassen Ray reminded me of a broken down Han Solo with an English accent. Scarlet Hark felt like Princess Leia with a lick of paint, however.

The plot was a little overly complicated but it was still fun. There were double crosses, the Millenium Falcon malfunctions, and lots of gunplay. There were event a few fairly funny bits. But at the end of the day, it's still a Star Wars novel. You know nobody who has an action figure made in his or her likeness is going to get killed and because of this particular novel's place in the timeline, you know the likelihood of any recurring character getting introduced is pretty slim.

All gripes aside, I was fairly entertained by this book. I wasn't as crazy as a Bantha in heat over it like I was the Zahn Trilogy or I, Jedi, but it was a good bit of pulpy fun that reminded me why I liked Star Wars in the first place. Three out of five stars.
Profile Image for Rob.
853 reviews539 followers
August 1, 2016
Executive Summary: This is a short but fun book that has finally given me the itch to read Star Wars Books.

Audio book: The audiobook is awesome. The End. I'm told the sound effects and the music are normal for Star Wars books. It seems well done here and not overused/distracting. Marc Thompson is an awesome narrator. He does voices for all the characters, including Chewbacca. What's better than reading about a singing Wookie? Hearing it!

His Han Solo does remind me a bit of Peter Griffin for some reason, but overall it reminds me more of Harrison Ford's performance. His voices for Hunter Maas is probably my favorite. I think this will be my preferred way to read more Star Wars in the future, especially if Mr. Thompson is the reader.

Full Review
So let's set the stage for my review a bit: I'm a casual Star Wars fan. I like Star Trek just as much as if not more than Star Wars (*ducks*). I love the original trilogy (4-6) and I don't really care for the prequel trilogy. Jar Jar can go die in a fire. And this is my very first Star Wars book.

So why start here? My friend loves Star Wars books. I think he's read most of them. He's been telling me to read them for years. Shouldn't I have read Thrawn Trilogy by now at least? I guess so, but there are just so many other books to get to.

For me the final push was the author. I just did the Expanse books earlier this year and I really like James S.A. Corey. The other thing is that despite this being book 2 of a series. It's really just a stand alone as far as I can tell. It's easy to just read this without committing myself to reading more books.

What you have here is a short and interesting tale focused around Han Solo and Chewbacca with smaller appearances of some of the others (Luke, Leia, R2D2, C3PO). So if you're looking for light saber battles and the force, you probably want to pick another book (just don't ask me which one).

There isn't some real deep plot or major revelations here. There can't be really. The book is set between episode 4 and 5. You know that none of the main characters are ever in real danger of dying because they are around in episode 5. Original characters are fair game though.

The original characters (or at least ones I've never heard of before) are all pretty good. The other main character of this is Scarlet Hark a rebel spy who needs extraction from the center of imperial space. And guess who has to go get her? I also particularly enjoy Hunter Maas.

The real winner here is the dialogue though. Maybe it has extra pop for me since I listened to it rather than reading it, but they seem to really capture the mannerisms of the characters that I remember and love from the movies. Han especially. The interactions between him and Leia are really good. There is even a "Han Shot First" joke in there.

So if your a Star Wars noob like me, should you start here? I'm not sure. It seemed to work for me though and now I'm excited to check out some more books later this year. Even if you're a bigger fan, I think there is a lot to like here, especially if you go the audio book route.
Profile Image for Holly (The GrimDragon).
1,051 reviews232 followers
May 4, 2019
"The vast, dark ocean of space glittered with light. Each star was the chance of a habitable planet or moon, an independent station or asteroid base. The brightness beckoned and consoled, promising that there was life and energy and civilization all around. That the void could be overcome. And when the violence that life and stars carried with them was too much, the emptiness also offered safety."

As I write this review, Star Wars day is officially minutes away. I'm wearing a Star Wars shirt, drinking out of a Star Wars mug and Rogue One is on in the background. Stars Wars is a lifestyle! MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!!

Honor Among Thieves is the first book I finished in my month of Star Wars. I decided that I needed to take a step back from ARCs and other books for May and just focus on the War of the Stars! I'll be reading a mix of Legends and Canon, because I DON'T GIVE A FUCK!! If it's Star Wars, I will read it. Of course I'll be focusing a wee bit more on canon, especially since I've fallen somewhat behind on the releases. A new Star Wars book comes out approximately every few days.. or so it seems! It's hard to remain on top of them all! But I try.

You may recognize the author(s) on this. Yes, that's right - that's the pseudonym for The Expanse duo, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck! Honor Among Thieves is their debut Star Wars novel and is actually the final Legends book. It was a fucking blast!

For those of you that message me, asking where you should start in your Star Wars book journey.. this is one that you could easily begin with. I think just about anyone would dig it!

Honor Among Thieves takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. This? This is most certainly a Han Solo book! We follow the roguish pilot and the always loyal Chewie as they embark on a task set by Leia. They must locate a rebel spy, Scarlet Hark, who has been on a mission in Cioran for two years. She stopped reporting seven months prior, so the worst was assumed. That is.. until a retrieval code was received. 

Along the way, Han gets involved in the search for a superweapon that has been discovered by the Imperial astrocartographer, Essio Galassian. The hyperspace nullifier is incredibly important to both the Empire and the Rebellion. 

The dialogue was fucking fantastic! There was banter aplenty! Goddamn. I'm such a fan of banter. I mean.. clearly. It just felt so bloody right in this! Not only did the writers nail the voice of Han with his charm and brash sense of humor, but the supporting characters were solid as well. They were true to their characters on-screen, which is especially vital in a Star Wars novel. 

"The name's Solo. Han Solo. Might have heard of me."

Fast-paced, exciting, funny. This was such an enjoyable adventure! I found so much to like in this story. It's thrilling, yet comforting. Witty and sarcastic, yet there are more than a few gut-punchy moments as well. Like Chewie. Always Chewie!! I just adore him so much and want to give him a big hug! He has a little crush in this and it made my heart feel extra squeezy. Oof.

“I was afraid you were in trouble for a second, Your Highnessness,” Han said, but the barb sounded hollow and unconvincing. Leia looked up at him, and the softness in her face told him that she’d heard the relief in his voice. He might just as well have said I thought I’d lost you.

“No such luck,” she said softly. He was surprised by the power of his urge to sweep her into his arms and kiss her. For a moment, there was something else in her expression—apprehension or hope or something of both. She blinked and looked away.”

Unfortunately, I was in the middle of reading this when the world found out that Peter Mayhew had passed away. Another huge loss. He was someone that meant so much to so many of us. This hurts. A lot. Not only did he embody Chewbacca, creating one of the greatest characters in film (and my absolute favorite Star Wars character), but he seemed like such a genuine soul with the kindest heart. He was Chewie. His performance has left a lasting impact on both the films and the fans. Such an iconic actor! He is now one with the Force. Dearly missed, but never forgotten.
Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,634 followers
September 13, 2015
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

I've been a reader for as long as I remember, but science fiction is still a relatively new genre for me. In fact, I don't think I started until I well into my high school years, and back then, I remember cutting my teeth on novelizations of the Star Wars prequel movies. There you go, my not-so-secret confession!

Obviously, I've branched out a lot more since those days, but I still retained my love for Star Wars books. To date, I've read a bunch by many different authors, and some of them have been better than others. Media tie-in novels have always been my guilty pleasure, especially when it comes to my beloved Star Wars, but admittedly the bar has never really been set that high. That's why whenever I do come across one that I genuinely like, I can't help but do a little happy dance.

And I'm definitely dancing now. Actually, I'd been excited about Honor Among Thieves for a long time, ever since I first learned that Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck will be working on a new stand alone Star Wars book under their nom de plume of James S.A. Corey. I adore their work on the Expanse series, and to hear that they would be writing a story about my favorite scoundrel was like a dream come true. Come on, James S.A. Corey and Han Solo? You just can't go wrong with a winning combination like that.

So you can see why I am so thrilled to say this book lived up to all my expectations. You can tell right away that the authors are fans of Star Wars and the characters themselves, because the first thing I noticed was how "right" Han sounded and felt in his dialogue and actions. He even felt true to the character in his internal narrative, all the way down to his growing affection for his new friends in the Rebel Alliance. This book takes place after the destruction of the Death Star but before the events of The Empire Strikes Back, so we get a real good look at how those experiences have affected and changed him.

The best part is, this is a Han Solo book through and through, and no doubt about it. Expect lots of his signature seat-of-the-pants approach to solving problems, the usual daring flyboy maneuvers, and of course a healthy dose of roguish humor. The plot is relatively simple, beginning when Han and Chewy are tasked on an assignment to extract a high-level rebel spy deep in Empire territory. Meet Agent Scarlet Hark, whose moxie might just give Han a run for his money. But as it turns out, Scarlet has uncovered delicate information about a new technology, one that can turn the tide of the war if only the rebels can secure it before the Empire gets their dirty hands on it.

I would say it's fairly predictable how things turn out, but then I think that is to be expected. We all know the war goes on in The Empire Strikes Back, et cetera, et cetera, so to an extent you can guess how everything in the story ends. Still, none of that manages to take away from the fun. Another thing I liked about this book is how deftly the plot involved all the main characters. One of my biggest problems with a lot of Star Wars books is how desperately some authors try to squeeze in all the prominent players, sometimes resorting to giving them obligatory sub plots that feel shoehorned in. Not an issue with this one, I can happily say. Despite Han Solo taking the center stage in this, Luke and Leia both also have their parts to play, and they actually are integral to the story.

Sure I may have my biases, being a big fan of James S.A. Corey and having a massive soft spot for Han Solo, but this is probably now favorite Star Wars novel, beating out Darth Plagueis, which is the former holder of that distinction and also another really great story. Star Wars books have certainly come a long way, and I look forward to seeing this trend continue.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
580 reviews218 followers
March 20, 2014
3.5 stars.

I received a free eARC copy of this book from NetGalley.

When I saw that James S.A. Corey was doing a Star Wars novel, I was excited. I'd read Leviathan Wakes and liked it a bunch. So how would that translate to the Star Wars universe?

Very well, as it turned out. Abraham and Franck (the duo behind the Corey pseudonym) do well with crafting characters in a complex, yet easy to grasp setting. This is told from Han Solo's viewpoint, and they were able to give us a nice look inside his head to see what makes him tick. And yet, they stayed very true to the character as seen in the original trilogy. They also perfectly describe the movements, actions, dialogue, and mannerisms of the other characters we'd seen in the movies.

The world building was here too. Of course, the Star Wars universe is very much in place already, but they added rich detail to scenes that would have flown by on the screen. What I like about this is that there is plenty of room for them to explore while staying true to Lucas's original vision.

The negative points were minor. Aside from Scarlet Hark, I didn't care much for the new characters added to this story. I did like her, and would love to get more on her at some point. Also on the negative, some of the descriptions of scenery got just a tad long. While they added richness to the work, they did sway from the expected pace of a Star Wars story. That's very minor though, and one might argue that it's an improvement.

Back to the positive though, I think that my favorite aspect of this story is the way it fits into the original movie sequence. It takes place between Episodes IV and V, and fits perfectly there. It helps us to understand why Han Solo stuck around after the Battle of Yavin, and it helps to show the early development of his relationship with Princess Leia. We also get to see how Han and Chewbacca were developing a solid friendship with Luke Skywalker as well. It made great sense, filling in that gap of years between "I'm saving your ass for the money" and "I care enough about you to go out in subzero temperatures and slice open a Tauntaun to keep you warm".

All in all, an enjoyable experience. I hope to see future installments in the Star Wars universe from Corey.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,775 reviews1,777 followers
July 17, 2015
I honestly shouldn’t be surprised that I liked this book as much as I did. James S.A. Corey’s Expanse series has crawled its way into my favorites slowly but surely, book by book. Corey has learned how to write exciting science fiction with engaging characters. Their* dialogue is differentiated and entertaining (and character illuminating), and their prose has the perfect balance of authorial voice and mimicry for the tone of the Star Wars universe and its characters. Their Han Solo is spot-on. They’re just good writers, dammit.

*James S.A. Corey is the penname of writing duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

Honor Among Thieves is the second in a loose trilogy of Star Wars expanded universe novels written by big-name sci-fi authors. Designed to focus around Han, it follows him on a mission to retrieve a Rebel spy from deep cover. Scarlet Hark has been embedded in the Empire for two years and they had thought her dead or lost, but she calls for a pick-up in the heart of the Empire, so of course only a really talented and/or crazy pilot will do for the job. Luke and Leia are also present to a smaller extent in the novel, particularly Leia, but this is really Han’s book. His experiences with the Rebellion have begun to change him without him realizing it, and he has several encounters with old “friends” that suddenly put his new outlook into focus for him.

This book really worked for me. I thought it had a nice balance of crime and heist-based shenanigans (in many ways, this book succeeds where Zahn’s Scoundrels didn’t) with character moments and a nice character-arc for Han. I liked seeing the way he thought about and interacted with Luke and Leia, and how he was contrasted with his old comrade, Baesen, who he sees as a kind of warning for his own future. I also like what they did with Luke and Leia, giving Leia some really intense moments as a leader, and showing Luke as the still-green farmboy adjusting to life as a hero of the Rebellion.

If you’ve been away from the EU for a while, this might be a good book to get back into it, and if you’ve never tried Star Wars books before, this would be a good entry point. Just keep in mind with the sale of Star Wars to Disney, this book and most of the existing EU is no longer canon.
Profile Image for James.
607 reviews113 followers
October 22, 2015
I'd never really been a Star Wars fan. Obviously, as a child, I went to see the three original movies with my dad. I mean, everybody went to first three movies. But unlike other people, they didn't really stay with me into my adult life. I didn't bother to see the second three movies. I'd never read any of the novels nor did I have any real desire to. Instead, I'd always rather enjoyed the quote from Harrison Ford: "George, you can type this shit, but you can't say it!" So when I saw this book on NetGalley it seemed an unlikely choice. That was until I saw the name James S.A. Corey emblazoned across the cover and I was immediately hooked. While it wasn't the first NetGalley title I was offered, it was damn well going to be the first one I read.

James S.A. Corey is the pen-name of double-act Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham – you may have previously read of him in the 'franckly' excellent Expanse series – and I was eager to find out how they'd handle a novel in such a huge existing franchise. Set about a year after the events of the first film, the rebels are trying to find a new planet to act as a base of operations while they repair their fleet and lick their wounds. Luke is sent to scout some of the planets, which is a good thing as it keeps him pretty much out of the whole novel except for some other-end-of-the-radio conversations and a group hug at the end of the book. This is a very good thing, Luke is easily my least favourite Star Wars character. Leia is heading off to a conference – it seems weird to think that rebel forces go to conferences, wouldn't the Empire get to hear about that kind of thing? And Han and Chewbacca are asked to head into Empire controlled space to rescue a rebel spy, Scarlet Hark. This is where the meat of the novel is. The friendship and rapport between Han and Chewie, the sarcastic dialogue is wittily handled. And much as the brash Han ended up getting bossed around by Leia, he now finds himself in the same situation with Scarlet – she fancies him too though, he's sure of that...

It's a fairly traditional science fiction adventure story, told in the Star Wars universe. The characters all seem very true to the originals. Although you could argue that Leia is a lot more likeable in this than she ever was in the films – I don't think anybody could really rescue Luke's character though. It's deftly told, excellently paced, with lots of twists and turns, double-crosses and triple-crosses. Lots of references to the wider history with mentions of key events, planets, Jabba and a very funny reference to always remembering to tip your barman after any 'incident'. Even as a non-Star Wars fan I recognised and enjoyed the ones I found. I assume there were others that I missed.

There's really not much to like about the novel. It's flaws are more the restrictions placed upon it than anything that Corey fails to do. Any novel set in such an already widely written history (past and future) is limited in what it can do, where it can go, or what it can introduce. Characters can't diverge too far from the expected behaviours, but more frustratingly, nothing can happen that might change that long sticky-taped together history. From the moment the novel starts to really kick in, you already know that it's going to have be, somehow, nullified by the end of the novel. You can't introduce a new technology or society into a universe when none of the later novels have referenced it. Which is a shame, because Corey's idea was a pretty cool one. In fact, it may just have converted me: I've already added a few older Star Wars novels to my to-read list...
Profile Image for Laura Johnson.
11 reviews
March 28, 2014
I have read my fair share of Star Wars books because I LOVE SW, but there are many SW authors and books that I have not read. If you are new to SW fiction, or have read only a few novels of the Expanded Universe, my advice would be to skip this book and check out some of the others first. There is such a wide spectrum of writers, styles, types of plots, and characters that there is probably something for everyone. This one just wasn't for me.

My husband gave me this ebook as a birthday gift so I was determined to read through it, and I am a Han Solo fan, so a story from his POV intrigued me. I wanted to like this story. However, I felt at times the character in the book seemed a little too immature or perhaps self-conscious, and it just didn't ring true to the Han of the movies (or of many of the other novels). Some of his dialogue is awkward and wordy.

Another problem is that it's just difficult to care much about a rather complex technical plot involving a superweapon that we already know won't amount to anything in the galactic rebellion -- because we've seen THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. This book is set slightly before Episode V. I can't blame the writers for being limited by the established storyline of the movies, but on the other hand they could have explored a different sort of threat to the Rebel Alliance (e.g., corruption within).

A major annoyance for me was a silly minor character who, for who knows what reason, had to refer to itself repeatedly in the third person. It made me groan. There are less cloying ways to characterize arrogance.
Profile Image for Nathan.
399 reviews126 followers
February 17, 2014
Fantasy Review Barn

Oh boy, Star Wars goodness. Can I start by saying what a pleasure it is to actually look Honor Among Thieves forward to new Star Wars books again? Martha Wells really got me excited again, and of course having James S. A. Corey (writing duo Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) attached to the follow up upped the excitement even more. No more seeing a new release and reading it only so I can keep up with the damn story, now I see a new release and say ‘oh boy oh boy.’ Just like it used to be.

Like Wells’ novel this is a quick hit, one mission, sprint focusing on a tighter cast and a few simple objectives. Early on we see the rebels looking for a new base of operations (with a running joke of anywhere but Hoth). Han, a bit bored with sharking the other pilots and still unsure if he is a rebel or mercenary in this battle, jumps at the chance to retrieve a rebel spy from Empire occupied system. Simple plan; get in, pick up the attractive spy, get out. But of course that isn’t what happens. Jabba’s bounty has kept Han in high demand, the spy has one last critical mission, and the Empire has another nasty new weapon in the works.

Delicate balance going on here, keeping the spirit of Star Wars and the EU novels while trying to avoid its previous traps. Start with the Empire’s new weapon. Old fans know that the Expanded Universe eventually fell into a ‘super weapon of the week��� rut; each trying to out Death Star the Death Star. Yet Corey manages to build a smarter weapon; it could still change the course of the war but doesn’t rely on smashing up increasingly larger targets.

Now take Han. Han is a rogue, a ladies man, and a smart ass. Always has been. While he is tied to Leia in most of the EU (for obvious reasons) there are always hints of a womanizing past. Always hints of a man sure of himself and who gets his way. So let me tell you, so awesome to see him meet his match. Leia is as she should be, just as component and in control as Han; they take turns in the movies holding the high ground in the little battle of wills and it is no different here (though some authors forgot to treat Leia right, no one gets a more inconsistent treatment in the EU). But new character Scarlet Hark (yes, I kept reading that as Hawk too, what are you going to do?) is my new character crush. She constantly has Han on his toes. She outwits him, turns his ‘manly’ comments around on their head (like when he called her ‘sister’ dismissively, oh my god, her reaction is the funniest part of the book), and saves his butt more than he saves hers. She keeps him from doing spectacular stupid things. And poor Han, confident in his ways, thinks he has the beginning of a love triangle going on and never really gets how badly he is being played by both sides. It was a thing of beauty.

The book is also one of the first to show just how the rebellion functioned, some actually thought has gone into this- maybe for the first time by an author in the EU. Though it doesn’t make the core of the story it is nice to see some thought go into questions like who is funding this rebellion, how strong are the alliances holding it together, how the fleet can avoid the Empire for so long, and just who makes up the rebellions members. We see fragile alliances, people like Han bought in short term (sometimes staying and sometimes not), and other various members of every corner of society.

The book has the same problems any Star Wars book has. Being firmly set between the movies it is not a question of if the rebel alliance will succeed in the book; only how and which of the new characters will live through it. The BIG THREE characters (Luke, Leia, and Han) are all there doing vital work for the mission, a bit more forgivable since in this stage of the story they are working from the same base. It also has some problems that are less common but should be expected; there are so many books out there the EU is starting to see some inconsistencies. The one that glared at me was a mention of a Noghri that Han saw. This was a species that five years after Return of the Jedi was completely unknown to EVERYONE, a grand secret of the Emperor. Yet here is one not just showing up but being recognized years earlier. Maybe this is nitpicky, especially considering that the whole EU is going to be blown up anyway, but there has got to be one internal editor that has read what comes before, right?

Though technically part of the series Martha Wells started, and with back references to the EU that comes later, this is a book that needs only knowledge of the movies to follow. If you’re a fan of Han Solo, or Princess Leia, or just space adventures in general, get on it. You see who wrote it, you know it’s going to be good.

4 Stars
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,886 reviews74 followers
June 5, 2020
I was excited to read "Honor Among Thieves" after seeing that it was penned by James S.A. Corey (yes, that James S.A. Corey, the pseudonym for the writing team of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck whose eight-book The Expanse series is one of the best sci-fi book series currently going), but the only thing it managed to do successfully was disappoint.

Don't get me wrong: it's not a bad Star Wars novel. It's just not that exceptional or memorable. It's certainly not as good as I would have expected from Corey.

The story is run-of-the-mill: Han Solo is assigned a mission to find and retrieve a Rebel secret agent named Scarlet Hark. She's on the trail of an Imperial archaeologist who has uncovered an ancient alien super weapon that could change the tide of the war. Han now has to get Hark and get the weapon before the Empire does. It's just another simple mission for Solo, which of course means that anything and everything that could go wrong, does.

It would have been nice to see the same depth of characterization that Corey employs for his wonderful cast of characters in "The Expanse" within the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Alas, not so much in this. Solo is his usual roguish self-centered-devil-may-care-but-secretly-wants-do-the-right-thing self.

Still, it slakes the thirst for a Star Wars adventure, if you are so inclined.
Profile Image for DiscoSpacePanther.
331 reviews10 followers
November 9, 2017
Written by James S. A. Corey (the pen name for the guys that are writing The Expanse series of novels), Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves is a Legends novel that as far as I can tell has zero (or at least entirely minimal) contradiction to the current Disney canon. That, plus the fact that it is a great, quick read, should be recommendation enough to all fans of Star Wars novels, new and old alike.

This is a short novel (less than 250 pages), but for me it really hit the spot. Written entirely from Han Solo's POV, it covers an escapade set somewhere early in the three years between the Battle of Yavin and the Battle of Hoth.

One thing I will say is that it really feels like Star Wars - Han behaves exactly as Han should; Chewbacca is loyal, strong, and always showing his prowess with starship repair; Luke (who doesn't feature significantly) is still a bit of the wide-eyed neophyte farmboy from Tatooine; and Leia feels exactly right as the skilled diplomat and negotiator who would be totally single-minded about her quest to free the galaxy from the Empire's yoke except for the (barely even acknowledged to herself) feelings she has for Han.

One of the new characters could be considered a little too OP (or maybe a just a little too full of herself), but she doesn't dominate, and makes for quite a fun equal participant in Han's banter.

The antagonists are entertaining - although the bounty hunter makes far more of an impression than the Imperial.

A superweapon (boo, hiss) makes an appearance, but it is dealt with fairly, and there is a good reason presented for why it has never been used before, and why it is never used again.

One odd plot element was that one of the principal characters loses a hand quite early on in the narrative, and whilst it is referred to later, it is treated surprisingly lightly by the character. I thought that strained credibility a little - but it is only a minor criticism.

Another valid criticism would be that the most spectacular space combat (8 X-wings against a star destroyer) takes place off the page - the outcome is mentioned, but the reader is not told precisely how it happened, or how it was achieved. Given that both Wedge and Luke were in the X-wing squadron, I would have very much liked to have found out exactly what had happened (but given that the novel is entirely from Han's POV, and at that time Han was down on a planet, that seems like a fair structural choice for the authors to have made). There is plenty of action with Han at the helm of the Millennium Falcon, however, so I don't feel short-changed!

This book could easily have been twice the length, with sections from Luke's and Leia's POVs, and it would have perhaps felt more like a proper saga story (think Heir to the Empire or similar), but felt good to have a nice, tightly focused story about Han and his relationship with the Rebellion that doesn't get bogged down with Force mumbo-jumbo!
Profile Image for Eric.
895 reviews79 followers
June 12, 2015
Having never read a Star Wars novel, I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into. Were the lot of them just poorly thought out pulp slogs churned out to cash in on the franchise's fame? I doubted it after seeing James S.A. Corey's name on it cover of this one, as Corey is the writing team behind the Leviathan Wakes series. While I didn't like the first book in that series enough to keep going with it, having read it made it clear that a) they could write well and b) they loved science fiction. I actually think the constraints of writing in the Star Wars universe helped them in this case, as it kept them from flying off the creative rails.

As far as this novel specifically, it was exactly what I hoped it would be -- a great Han Solo story. Corey captured the voices of familiar characters like Luke, Leia, and especially Han, but the focus remained on Han, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon. Also introduced were Scarlet Hark and Baasen Ray, roguish characters fitting with the novel's title. The plot, which I won't spoil here, felt right at home in the Star Wars cinematic universe. There were a few lampshades I enjoyed, such as a throw away line about how Han likes to shoot first, and a scene in a temple reminiscent of Indiana Jones, but the novel took itself seriously, and never slid into farce.

While sometimes I feel it doesn't matter, in this case I feel compelled to mention that I listened to the audio book of this novel. Both the narrator, Marc Thompson, and the production quality were amazing. I am sure some people will be turned off by the sound effects -- beeping droids, blaster fire, wookie grunts, music from the cinematic score -- but I thought it added immeasurably to the experience. It was basically an audio play with Thompson voicing every character, and he did an amazing job with the voices, capably switching between all the different characters, male and female, and his Han Solo impersonation, second only to Harrison Ford himself, is alone worth the cost of the audio book.
Profile Image for Jim C.
1,549 reviews24 followers
September 16, 2014
A book that takes place in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. In this one Leia asks Han if he can go into Imperial territory and extract Scarlet Hawk who is a rebel spy. She has information of a new superweapon that the Empire is trying to attain.

This is a fun quick adventure set in this universe. All of the main characters are present but it is mostly a Han Solo adventure. The author did an excellent job with the portrayals of the character and I loved the interactions between the characters that we have grown to love. Scarlet Hawk was a nice addition and fits in at this point of the timeline. There were enough action scenes to keep the pace going and I did get that Star Wars feeling as I was reading this. The only thing missing was the John Williams' soundtrack. The author did a great job tying it in with A New Hope and foreshadowed nicely with the rest of the original trilogy. I enjoy when an author does this successfully and it is not overbearing.

The only problem with this book is the reader knows the outcome. We all know that the Empire will not succeed and that Han, Chewie, Luke, and Leia will suffer no casualties. That being said, I would suggest this novel if you want to revisit your friends from a galaxy far, far away and you are looking for a new adventure.
Profile Image for Stephen Richter.
773 reviews23 followers
September 24, 2016
Thrown to the curb by the Great Star Wars Purge of the Extended Universe 2014, still a great read brought to you by the guys who gave us the Expanse Series. Loads of fun and the narration of the audio was fantastic. You get Han and Chewy off to do the Rebel Alliance bidding depite Hans desire to do anything but. Set between New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, a good quest plot with lots of danger.
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 5 books41 followers
June 5, 2019
This book is delightful; it's made me really happy. It's old-school Star Wars and everything I love about the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Some of it's even better than the original. The writing is really good. The plot is fun, the interaction of characters is well-done and the dialogue is fabulous. The characterization of Han Solo is excellent. I'm biased, but it has always irritated me when he's depicted as basically a lucky idiot. Here, we see his intelligence and complexity. Sure, he tends to cover the more thoughtful part of his personality with brashness and sarcasm, but there's more to him than wisecracks. Leia and Chewbacca are also depicted well. I very much like the new, original character, spy Scarlet Hark. She's brilliant, crafty and amusingly snarky.
Profile Image for Tom.
80 reviews11 followers
January 28, 2015
audio book read by Marc Thompson

Honor Among Thieves is a great Star Wars book. This is the second book of the Empire and Rebellion trilogy but fear not, there is no overarching plot to worry about and the only thing relating the two books so far is just that they take place between Episodes 4 and 5. The plot is pretty decent but whatever it may lack is completely made up for in the characterization and interaction of the characters I didn't realize I was missing in other Star Wars novels. The charisma feels a lot more like the character interaction from the original trilogy than any other time period in the books. The main short coming of the novel is that nothing major can happen in this book because it is essentially a side adventure that takes place between Episodes 4 and 5 of the original trilogy. I would recommend this book to any Star Wars fan whether or not they've read any Star Wars novels before.

As you can tell by the cover, this story mainly follows Han Solo as he goes on a mission to extract the Rebel Alliance agent Scarlet Hark from deep cover in the Empire. He struggles along the way with how far he is willing to go for the Rebel Alliance and whether he thinks they could become as controlling as the Empire they are trying to usurp. Scarlet Hark kind of takes the place of Leia as this strong, attractive female that Han can verbally parry with as they go along in their adventure. Luke and Leia are present too but in more of a limited capacity for much of the story.

Speaking of verbal parrying, James S.A. Corey does a great job with the character interaction in this story. One of the reason why I haven't really liked the prequel trilogy is that the characters felt stiff toward each other...even those that were supposedly falling in love. As I said earlier, this novel follows much more closely in the vein of the original trilogy where the characters banter with each other and feel like they have much deeper relationships or a history that this novel builds on. Other Star Wars books are great (particularly the ones by Timothy Zahn), but they rarely have this kind of warm interaction between the characters. There is some genuine humor and even some silliness in this book aside from the common slight comic relief normally present in Star Wars books. I would say that this part of the novel was so good that I'm actually going to go read some James S.A. Corey novels just because I enjoyed the writing style so much in this book.

As for the audio side of things, Marc Thompson does a great job with the voices as usual. The impersonations of well known characters are well done and new voices are quite entertaining. I particularly enjoyed his Hunter Maas voice because it was perfect for the swagger of that character. The novel also gave some great moments for Marc Thompson to use some great surfer dude and valley girl voices that were pretty great for the characters. His voices for Scarlet Hark and Leia were so similar though that they were hard to tell apart, especially when in the same conversation. As for Chewbacca, I think other books use canned sounds (pretty sure) but some of his parts in this book are more....unique...and all of his parts are done specifically for this book. This can be good at times but I kind of found it distracting because it didn't sound like the Chewbacca I'm used to. The sound effects and music were just about as good as you'd expect from your typical Star Wars novel.
Profile Image for Nico.
219 reviews35 followers
January 24, 2014
ARC provided by NetGalley:

This was actually the first Star Wars novel I ever read, only watched the movies. The only reason I tried it, is the fact that James S.A. Corey wrote it and I love their work, especially that of Daniel Abraham.
Though writing in a big genre like Star Wars and the ensuing tight framework certainly limits the creative freedoms they normalcy have, so I scaled down my expectations.
And the story turned out just like I expected. Nothing too bad, but nothing to get too excited about either. Just a solid action story, with the spotlight on the well known main characters. Even though we get to see a few new characters, their time is very limited and thus no real character development possible. It would be great to see more of Scarlet Hark in future books and give her the chance to grow more in her role.

The story itself was quite interesting, but it lacked suspense. Mainly because this book takes place right after Episode IV and since they can't change the continuity of the series, a lot of the plot is very predictable.

In conclusion just the book I expected. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this and it also works for someone who only watched the movies(like me). A fun little action book(only 230p), which certainly whet my appetite to rewatch the movies again.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,975 reviews53 followers
August 13, 2015
The only way to do these Star Wars books is on audio because of the sound effects. Usually I find sound effects annoying, but not in Star Wars books. Although, I have to say, Chewbacca impersonations in this one was more than a little lacking. It was so bad. I've only read a handful of Star Wars books and they all had Chewy down pat, so why not with this one?

Other than the poor Chewbacca imitation, I liked this. I like Han. He made me laugh. I also enjoyed the story. It had a nice pace. There was a considerable amount of action happening. It was a little slow to start, but once it did, it was in constant motion.

This was an entertaining read for my morning. It was the perfect book at the right time.
Profile Image for Arnold Corso.
6 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2014
"Honor Among Thieves" is the second in DelRey's "Empire & Rebellion" Star Wars novels set in the Original Trilogy era, this time focusing on Han Solo. This is also the first Star Wars novel from S.A. Corey. Here are my thoughts:


The story is apparently set sometime after Choices of One but before Razor's Edge. The Rebels are still looking for a planet to house their new base. Meanwhile, Princess Leia asks Han and Chewbacca to take the Millennium Falcon to the planet Cioran in order to retrieve a Rebel spy, Scarlet Hark (the woman on the cover). Of course, along the way, Han encounters a bounty hunter on Jabba's payroll. To my knowledge, we haven't actually seen Han being used for extraction missions, but it actually makes perfect sense for the character given that as a smuggler he's learned how to sneak in and out of places easily.


At some point early in the story, Han learns that the Empire is on the brink of discovering an ancient superweapon that could decisively defeat the Rebels. The story shifts from extracting the spy to tracking down the superweapon. Unfortunately, this becomes problematic for a few reasons. First, anybody who has watched The Empire Strikes back knows almost exactly how the book will end (I predicted almost everything correctly). Aside from the fates of a few of the new characters introduced in this book, there is zero chance that this superweapon actually plays any role in galactic events. That just drives the level of suspense to zero.

Second, this superweapon seems out of place in Star Wars. DelRey seems to have told writers for the "Empire & Rebellion" series to avoid referencing any Star Wars continuity outside of the films. While I understand that the goal is to make the books accessible to new readers, in this case I think the lack of continuity hurts the verisimilitudeness of the story. There are ancient races in Star Wars that have built superweapons (the Celestials, Rakata), but instead "Honor Among Thieves" invents a new ancient race and provides almost no information about them or the weapon. In short, the world-building needed to support this part of the story is nonexistent.

The book is also somewhat odd because the villain plays at best a marginal role. The danger comes from the Empire writ large rather than a specific individual or group within the Empire. There is one Imperial lackey named, but after being mentioned briefly near the beginning of the book one could easily be forgiven for forgetting about him. Unfortunately, this does reduce the potential for dramatic conflict. There really isn't a Boba Fett - or even a Gallandro - against whom Han can match wits or skills. In some ways this works because the book is about Han Solo and how he treats his friends and allies, but I do think there was a missed opportunity.



As I said above, this is a book for people who want to see more of Han Solo. While there have been many books about Han, there have been subtle differences in how he's been portrayed. In "A New Hope" and the Brian Daley Han Solo Trilogy, Han is much cockier and lighthearted. By contrast, in A.C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy and "Empire Strikes Back," we get a much more introspective and emotionally vulnerable Han.

Han Solo in "Honor Among Thieves" falls closer to the latter end of this spectrum. This Han seems less sure of himself, sometimes off his game. While externally he's still cocky, we also get to see his inner thoughts and doubts. In many ways, I like the way S.A. Corey used the point of view to allow us to peek into Han's mind. We see some nice introspective moments and moments when Han has to make tough calls about the ends justifying the means. Han also expresses some clearly libertarian ideals (although nothing like L. Neil Smith's "Lando Calrissian Adventures"). In short, Han comes across as a more real character. I think it's potentially more interesting, but fans who fell in love with the idealized version of Han Solo might be disappointed.

That said, as much as I enjoyed seeing more of Han, I don't think I learned more about Han. Han's character development doesn't really advance in this book. It doesn't really connect the dots from "A New Hope" Han to "Empire Strikes Back" Han. S.A. Corey do a good job emphasizing what we know about Han, such as his loyalty to his friends, but I don't come away from this book feeling like I understand him better. Compare this to Timothy Zahn's "Choices of One," in which Han played a more peripheral role but clearly advances from being unsure of his place in the Rebellion to taking the initiative in a heated battle.

There was one interesting personality quirk we learn about Han in "Honor Among Thieves," namely his respect for wildlife. But, as much as I like that characterization of him, it also contradicts Han's attitude in the scene in "Empire Strikes Back" when he shoots a Mynock coldheartedly.


The other characters in "Honor Among Theives" are fairly well rounded. S.A. Corey can create believable characters who defy tropes and yet are somewhat memorable.

Rebel spy Scarlet Hark is not just a clone of Leia but has a unique brand of sass. She's less angry and more patronizing. I like the dynamic between her and Han. Unlike Leia, who tends to respond to Han's jabs with anger, Scarlet responds by one-upping him. I'd actually like to see Han and Scarlet on another adventure together, although of course the events of "Empire Strikes Back" preclude any romance.

There is a bounty hunter, an older Mirialan named Baasen Ray who had worked with Han in the past. Baasen walks a fine line between ruthlessness and regret at what he's become, and readers can almost believe him when he calls Han "my friend." I like that Baasen has a distinct voice and walks the fine line of morality. It was nice to have a character in the book whose actions weren't predictable. More importantly, Baasen serves a greater role as a representation of what Han himself theoretically could have become had he not met Luke Skywalker in "A New Hope." Other authors have tried to create similar not-quite-Han characters (e.g., Timothy Zahn's Talon Karrde), but they're never quite convincing (did anybody really believe Han would have become a smooth-talking information broker like Karrde?). By contrast, it's very easy to imagine an infinities universe in which Han, down on his luck and out of credits, stoops to the depths of Baasen Ray.

Finally, there's the eccentric hacker, Hunter Maas, who is of a sort of bizarreness not frequently found in Star Wars. The departure from stereotype was amusing and feels fresh.


Overall, "Honor Among Thieves" has its moments and some fun characters, but is hampered by a very weak story. I don't know if I'll remember Scarlet Hark in five years, but I'd certainly like to see more of these characters. That said, given that there are so many other books about Han Solo published, it's difficult to avoid making comparisons. "Honor Among Thieves" lacks the sheer fun and excitement of Brian Daley's books or the rich character development of A.C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy. This certainly isn't the best book about Han, but should satiate your fix (until Episode VII at least).
Profile Image for Jackie.
9 reviews1 follower
December 12, 2014
I can't explain how much I was highly anticipating this book. I'm a die hard Han fan and when I heard there was going to be a Solo-specific book, I was thrilled. Even more so, despite my love of Timothy Zahn, the other recent Solo themed SW book Star Wars: Scoundrels failed me (Ocean's 11 capper that didn't even really focus in Han at all). After reading the first Leia-focused Empire and Rebellion Razor's Edge, I was even more excited. That book was very well written by Martha Wells so I had high hopes for the series. Unfortunately, this book did not meet expectations.

One of the hardest things for me to overcome were the poor characterizations. They did not feel authentic, especially Han...the supposed main guy. After reading 40+ SW books with these main characters, fans get a feel for what the characters would/wouldn't say. Han was too sheepish and humble, more like a young Luke. He freely admitted fear, confusion, and let others take the lead consistently. He downplayed his participation in battle instead of boasting. His swagger and cockiness were very much absent. Didn't seem like the guy who was brazenly running through a Death Star shooting stormtroopers a few months earlier or who basically told a rebel to F off, ignored warnings, and commandeered a tauntaun to rush into a frozen tundra to save his friend a few months later.

Secondly, Leia and Han's banter and overall relationship was flat. A few barbs/wisecracks here and there but they felt forced and misplaced, as did the typical Star Wars-esque lines/references (Leia "knowing" that swinging across a chasm would work, Han's "It's not my fault" line, etc). When a male character tries to give Leia a boost, Han tells him "hands off", Leia responds that she was fine and that's it. No sideways looks, no smartass comments, nothing. He dives on top of her as cover in another scene...nothing. The spark we see in ANH and Empire (and even Razor's Edge) was not there. Also, the potential for jealously was ripe, especially with a strong female character in Scarlet and that wasn't really exploited at all (until literally the very last page).

Thirdly, as I got towards the end and the group entered an ancient booby trapped temple, I finally, and to my dismay and sadness, realized the parallels to Indiana Jones and specifically Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (the movie I usually deny existence of). Baasen (aka the triple backstabbing Mac from the movie) comes complete with his British? accent ("aye love") and nickname for Han ("boyo"...hmmmm, similar to Mac's annoying "Jonesy"). We even had a fear of snakes (Chewie surprisingly, not Han).

Lastly, I had a very difficult time getting immersed in the "world." The authors used way too much Earthly (for lack of a better word) references. Someone looked like a walrus. They took an elevator (not turbolift). They used a bathroom (not refresher). They rode in a rickshaw. Even the name Scarlet Hark (makes me imagine a sweet southern girl from Georgia). It pulled me completely out of the world. Yes there are aliens and space travel and blasters and all but it still felt like a relatively normal environment, not another galaxy far far away.

To wrap it up, I would probably not recommend this book unless you've already exhausted the EU novels and are just grabbing at any new SW publication you can get your hands on that involved the Big 3 (in this case the Big 1.5 since Luke makes an appearance on probably a dozen pages max and Leia's in from about 1/2 way on). Was it as bad as The Courtship of Princess Leia or The Crystal Star, no, thank God. However, in my humble opinion, it left a LOT to be desired. Hoping future EU or whatever Disney is going to do will be better.
Profile Image for Althea Ann.
2,233 reviews1,046 followers
February 3, 2014
An entry into the Star Wars universe that exceeds its ‘commercial product’ requirements – this is, on its own merits, a solid novel that provides both non-stop action and food for thought.
It also does a great job of providing an episode that fits perfectly and believably into the Star Wars timeline – and even a nod to the fact that the events described here aren’t mentioned during subsequent episodes. (So many wild events; so many crazy stories.)
This wild story: Han Solo is sent on a mission to pick up a Rebel Alliance spy. However, her cover’s been compromised, and Han soon realizes that bounty hunters sent by Jabba the Hutt are on his tail. The spy’s time-sensitive information and her forceful personality mean that Han’s soon roped into a job that seems to be getting more complex – and more dangerous – by the minute. Space battles, personal drama, and on-planet adventures – it’s got it all.
The characterization is on point. The main character here is Han Solo (which means, of course, that Chewie’s there), Leia’s present for a good chunk of the action, and Luke features prominently as well. Real fans will be delighted to know that this is a Han who’s not afraid to shoot first. However, he’s not a man without a conscience, either. He doesn’t shoot without a reason. The book does a fantastic job of staying true to Han’s established character while letting the reader feel like they’ve actually gotten to know him better – maybe even see a hint of his hidden vulnerability and his motivations.
Oddly, I felt that the weakest character was the most important one who’s original to this book – the spy Scarlet Hark. Don’t get me wrong – she’s cool and badass. But she’s just a bit TOO perfect (competent, gorgeous, etc) and we don’t really get to know her as a person, or see any chinks in her flat façade.
However, what I liked most about the book is how Han’s background as a smuggler and his place on the fringes of society gives him (and the authors) a chance to actually critique the political ideals of the whole dichotomy of the Star Wars universe. There’s a lot here about how ‘rebel’ forces, if successful, often end up becoming no different than the powers-that-be, and about how it’s important to maintain enough freedom in any society for there to be ‘room’ on the fringes for the fringe elements. Han here is a smart, cynical guy, and I loved his questioning attitude.

Just a note: this is marketed as "Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #2." I've also read the previous novel (by Martha Wells) - they're both fully stand-alone novels - you don't need to read one before the other.

A copy of this book was provided to me through NetGalley. Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey Spectra.
Profile Image for Dessi.
210 reviews39 followers
July 14, 2022
Second read comments: This book still f*cking slaps.

(Yes, the plot is complicated, and you have to suspend your sense of disbelief many times and forget specialized bits of lore in order to buy it, and Scarlet is a perfect male fantasy, *and still* I loved it.)


This was a gripping, entertaining Han and Chewie adventure, and one that provided excellent insight into our favourite smuggler's mind. I loved getting to see the narrative peeling off his self-admitted layers, contemplating his involvement with the rebellion, his new relationships, and the man he could have been had circumstances not put him on the path of an old Jedi and an idealistic farmboy. I liked Scarlet Hark - intelligent, badass, take-no-shit female character? Yes please! It was hilarious to see Han kidding himself about Scarlet and Leia falling head over heels for him while at the same time not trying to initiate something himself with either of them. It was also great that Scarlet and Leia at no point fought over this or showed jealousy, and instead genuinely liked and appreciated each other and made an excellent team. Thank goodness for that! As a Han/Leia shipper, the UST and the moments of a deeper understanding between them made me squeal.
Profile Image for Julie.
3,001 reviews47 followers
July 7, 2019
I picked this out at the library as a test run to see how I liked James S.A. Corey, since I have the first three Expanse novels sitting on my shelf. I was surprised to find it was number 2 in a trilogy, but even more surprised to find that this trilogy got split up by the Legends/canon break in 2014. Books 1 and 2 had already come out, and they ended up editing book 3 so it would be official canon before releasing it. That book is Heir to the Jedi, which I'd already read. It makes plenty of sense why they chose to do this, since each book in this trilogy seems to be a standalone - one Leia story, a Han story, and a Luke story.

The book itself zipped right along at first. I think it's a good representation of Han, and I liked the new characters of Scarlet and Baasen. Unfortunately I got bogged down in the middle and I'm not sure whether that's due to life interfering or the book itself. Either way, it took me way longer to finish than it should have, but I did enjoy it. I do think it's more or less a filler novel, so it's not really a necessity for people delving into the Legends stuff.

Still, I'm looking forward to going back and reading book 1 because it's written by Martha Wells!

P.S. I definitely liked the short story that's included, "Silver and Scarlet." Fun to get more of Scarlet Hark, and stuff to think about to boot.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,965 reviews62 followers
January 17, 2018
This is my first Corey novel. It isn't the first one I've wanted to read (The Expanse is on my list), but it's the first one I've read, though it certainly won't be my last. This is the kind of Star Wars novel I'm most interested in -- the one where an established science fiction author tackles the Expanded Universe.

This is a pretty impressive read, not just because the authors capture the characters of Han, Leia, and Luke so well, nor because they give the story an appropriate sense of humor. Those traits themselves are impressive, but what surprised me the most about this story is that it's one plot. Zahn's Choices of One was equally impressive for its three distinct plots that served one story, but here we just have the one, with Han trying to run a routine recovery mission for the Alliance. Star Wars being what it is, such a simple plan develops into something far more involved and important, but the story never deviates from Han, nor does it shift to anyone else's perspective.

Something else I liked about this book was the importance of its female characters, and how much they led the events of the story. If The Last Jedi was commentary on toxic masculinity, then the authors planted the seeds for it in this book here. It's refreshing to see Han, the macho smuggler whose fragile ego prevents him from ever showing vulnerability or sensitivity (note: this story takes place before The Empire Strikes Back), defer to the plans of Leia and Scarlet when his own won't suffice.

Honor Among Thieves was a great introduction to Corey. I've heard enough good about The Expanse to be eager to read it, but having seen what the authors can do with an established universe, I'm now even more eager to start on that series. This book also makes me want to read more about the universe through the eyes of long-established science fiction authors. I only wish LucasFilm would employ more of them.
Profile Image for Steve Davala.
Author 5 books22 followers
June 15, 2017
A great standalone story with the original heroes... plus one. This takes place after A New Hope and follows Han and Chewie on a series of adventures with a rebel spy, Scarlet Hark. I really dug the times when Leia and Luke showed up, it really felt like the characters would act in the movies.
The plot is ok, some ancient artifact they're after. But it's the ways that the characters act that sells this story for me. Luke is Luke. Han is Han.
Yes the original Star Wars trilogy is about ships and evil and lightsabers and droids... but at its heart its the group of friends that form that really sticks with me. This book follows that same path.
Profile Image for Scott Firestone.
Author 1 book19 followers
June 7, 2018
I haven't read a ton of book in the Star Wars Universe, but I've read enough to know they're hit-and-miss. Sometimes the problem is that the author seems more of a fan than a FAN. The two authors who make up James S.A. Corey are FANS, and it makes all the difference.

Han is sent on a rescue mission to bring a spy in from the cold. But it turns out her secrets can mean changing the destiny of every man, woman, and child in the universe. So Han and Scarlet (the spy) head off on a world-hopping adventure to save us all.

They nailed Han's character. Yes, he's flippancy, and ego, and humor, but he's also capable of taking things seriously, and it all felt right for the character. Scarlet was also a great character, and a nice foil for the flashy Han. I'd love to read more Star Wars books from this caliber of author.

Incidentally, I listened to the audiobook, and it's only okay. Han sounds like Seth MacFarlane doing a Sammy Davis Jr. impression. And one of the antagonists we meet halfway through has a ridiculous voice that sounds straight out of a Duck Tales episode. It was so goofy.
Profile Image for Logan Harrington.
237 reviews1 follower
April 23, 2022
Unabridged Audiobook (9/10):
I absolutely loved this one! I’ve been on a pretty rough string of books lately, so this one was so nice to experience! It’s not often that I find authors who can perfectly capture characters like Han, Leia, Luke, and even Chewbacca. The stakes always feel high and it’s so easy to enjoy the new characters introduced here, even though you know how the story will end. I’d love to read more from this author in the future!
Profile Image for Ardus Kaine.
86 reviews1 follower
July 31, 2023
Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion Trilogy (?)

Honor Among Thieves by James S.A. Corey

Honor Among Thieves is the second novel in the "Empire and Rebellion" series. The story this time focuses on Han Solo, who despite his past, seems to be the most honorable person, even in the Rebellion itself. After Razor's Edge, it was good to see such a well-constructed novel, with an interesting story that incorporates classic elements of the struggle between the Empire and the Rebellion in an adventure of spies, bounty hunters, and an evil invention capable of oppressing the entire galaxy.

The Rebels have been trying to find a new Rebel base, but constant harassment by the Empire has forced them to abandon another possible location. A Han Solo not yet so committed to the Rebellion is a little leery of being part of this new group and seeks to figure out why he continues to help the Rebellion. Seeing that Leia is paying more attention to Luke, Han agrees to go on a mission to contact and extract a rogue spy named Scarlet Hark. So we have Luke training alongside Wedge, Leia on a diplomatic mission, and Han tasked with reuniting with Scarlet.

In the Saavin system, Han and Chewbacca head to the rally point. Passing an inspection with a Star Destroyer, they meet up with Scarlet Hark on the planet Cioran. Although at the first meeting at a bar, Scarlet doesn't show up, Han and Chewbacca head to a park to meet Scarlet. However, Han meets up with an old acquaintance named Baasen Ray, a Mirialan who pretends to be Scarlet's ally and contact but ends up betraying Han for collecting Jabba's bounty on him. Thanks to Chewbacca, they manage to break free and defeat Baasen's crew, with Han shooting Baasen in the hand to save Chewbacca. Seeking to find their Rebel spy, Han, and Chewie infiltrate the city further while avoiding the Imperials. Knocking out a stormtrooper, Han disguises himself as an Imperial to make their search easier. Disguised as an Imperial, Han meets with the Trandoshan Cyr, with whom he has a small fight to discover the location of Japet, someone who can lead him to Scarlet. This leads them to Japet's girlfriend and later to Japet himself, who is responsible for the mission going wrong by informing Baasen of the extraction. Japet sends them to meet a man named Wirrit, who gives her the location of Scarlet's old home, but when they arrive, no one is in the apartment; However, Han manages to discover a clue that finally leads him to Scarlet.

Before leaving, Han agrees to help Scarlet accomplish a mission involving the Emperor's astrocartographer, Essio Galssian, who had made an important discovery for the Empire that was to be discovered by the Rebellion. Coming up with a plan, they infiltrate a building to get the information. They achieve their objective but are discovered and forced to flee while being pursued by Imperial soldiers. Arriving on the roof, Chewbacca picks them up with the Millennium Falcon and they flee the planet with the information. But in their escape, the Falcon ends up being badly damaged and is confronted by Baasen, but before anything can happen, they manage to jump into hyperspace.

Heading to Kiamurr, Han, Scarlet, and Chewbacca meet with the Rebel Alliance. Walking in the city of Talastin, they discover that Baasem has a tracking beacon with which he can know the location of the group, so they rush to find Leia to go in search of a criminal named Hunter Maas, who has information on Essio. Galassian is wanted by an Imperial fleet that seeks to prevent him from spreading the secrets he holds. Despite this, Leia refuses to leave Kiamurr until she gives one more speech. At the conclave, Leia manages to convince everyone present that the Empire is an enemy that everyone must unite with to defeat it and "make the galaxy a safer and freer place for all."

After the conclave is over, Han and Chewbacca set about repairing the Millennium Falcon. Aboard the ship, Scarlet informs them that Hunter Maas has arrived in the system, so they rush to contact him to get the information on Essio Galassian before the Imperial fleet reaches Kiamurr. Finding Hunter Maas's ship, they are forced to defend him from an Imperial attack and get him safely to the planet. In a canteen, Hunter Maas negotiates over the information he has on the Essio Galassian project. It turns out that an ancient race had K'kybak created a shield capable of protecting them from any threat by blocking the passage through hyperspace and that now the Empire sought to seize this ancient technology. Seeking to convince Hunter to give them the information, Leia offers 50 million credits, but Maas ends up refusing. Following Maas, Han meets a Noghri and then Scarlet, with whom he decides to protect Maas from any danger. On his vigil, Han encounters Bothan and Baasen, who manage to capture Han. Convincing Baasen that a system capable of ending hyperspace travel in the hands of the Empire would be a problem for all of them, Han manages to get him to start a war. negotiation with Scarlet. Seeing that they share some common ground, Baasen agrees to help the Rebels for the time being. With the impending Imperial attack about to happen, they go looking for Hunter Maas in his room and are determined to get the information once and for all. They manage to access a safe where the data was supposed to be, but there was nothing. As a result, Baasen shoots Maas and claims that he knows where the information is going while the Imperial attack on the planet takes place.

Arriving at the spaceport where the Falcon was located, the group meets with Leia and informs her that they have obtained the data. In space, they have a skirmish with Imperial ships and a Star Destroyer, which they elude by jumping into hyperspace. Being safe, Han discovers that Leia convinced the Kiamurrians to stay to convince Hunter Maas to stay on the planet believing it to be safe. Despite being upset, Leia explains that this was all done so that another incident like on Alderaan wouldn't happen. Discovering that the information was on one of Maas's droids, they locate the location of the project in the Seymarti system, the same place where Leia sent Luke on a mission.

Forming a strike force, the Rebellion prepares to attack and destroy this dangerous technology lest it fall into the hands of the Emperor. Due to the fleet taking a long time to form, the crew of the Millennium Falcon decide to infiltrate the Seymarti system where they meet up with Luke, who informs them that the system's rebel force has been decimated by the Empire. Heading to the fifth planet of the System, they find the temple where the relic of the K'kybak is located up to Galassian's coordinates. On the planet, Han along with Leia, Scarlet, Chewbacca, Baasen, and Sunnim search for the facility where Galassian is located. On Sunnim's journey, he is attacked by a creature native to the planet and ends up dying. Infiltrating the temple, they defeat the Imperial troops, avoid the traps, behold the wonders of this ancient civilization, and finally reach Galassian after taking out the scientist's personal protocol droid to obtain his exact location. With the scientist cornered, Galassian refuses to give up and unleashes his droids to protect him. In combat, Galassian falls off a platform but not before shooting and killing Baasen. Saying goodbye to the bounty hunter, Han recognizes what he might have become if he hadn't joined the Rebel Alliance and is now more than willing to stop this new weapon. By destabilizing the planet's core, Han intends to destroy this technology so that neither the Empire nor any other government has such great power within its grasp. Reaching the top of the jungle, they escape by hopping on Luke's X-Wing until they can board the Millennium Falcon and leave the system.

Arriving at the rebel fleet, the attack is called off by news that Han has managed to stop this weapon capable of nullifying hyperspace travel. Having succeeded in the mission, the group splits up, with Scarlet Hark heading off on another mission and Han, Leia, and Luke discussing everything that happened in Kiamurr and Seymarti.
Profile Image for Ian Reay.
100 reviews4 followers
April 4, 2021
Honor Among Thieves, by James S.A. Corey, is the second book in the Empire and Rebellion series, which is loosely tied together and takes place between A New Hope (Star Wars) and The Empire Strikes Back. I’ve read several of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels and had mixed results, but I really enjoyed this book.

The main reason I liked Honor Among Thieves is the time period it takes place in. A New Hope was my first movie, and I have an affinity for the characters from the original trilogy. While Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker have roles in this story, the point of view character is Han Solo. Corey does a fantastic job of capturing Han’s voice and personality from the original Star Wars. Han is still questioning his involvement with the Rebel Alliance, and is full of quick one-liners and sarcastic remarks. Han’s relationship with Chewbacca is also on display, and it strikes the right chords as the two interact with each other. There are several references to Han’s past, as well, further fleshing out his character.

As for the story itself, it was entertaining. Han Solo and Chewbacca are on a mission to retrieve a Rebel spy, Scarlet Hark, and bring her and the sensitive information she has discovered back to the Rebel fleet. Unfortunately, someone got to the data first and Hark refuses to leave without it. Solo, Chewbacca, and Hark then begin the process of tracking down and uncovering the data. Along the way, Han encounters an old colleague who is determined to take him to Jabba the Hutt and claim the bounty on Han’s head. There is a rendezvous with Leia, several encounters with Star Destroyers, and a visit to an unexplored planet.

New characters like Scarlet Hark and Baasen Ray only serve to add depth to the story. Scarlet is a tough, resourceful, and attractive woman; she is also a top-notch spy for the Rebel Alliance. Her interactions with Han lead to some interesting dynamics once Leia is thrown in the mix, particularly when the reader knows where that relationship will end up. Ray is a smuggler looking to make some extra money by bringing Solo to Jabba.

Since the setting is so vital to the original movies, I was interested to see how Corey would handle this aspect of the Star Wars universe. He did a fine job, taking the reader to three different planets ranging from an Imperial center to a city carved in the mountains to an ancient and unknown jungle world. It was majestic and wonderous without seeming to be repetive.

Corey did a great job capturing the spirit of the original trilogy, especially in the raw newness of the characters. Han’s hard edges haven’t been worn off, Luke still has that shiny new smell, and Leia is young and in charge. In addition, Corey placed a few easter eggs here and there for careful readers to pick up as the story of the rebels leads them to the events of The Empire Strikes Back. With new movies on the horizon, Honor Among Thieves is a welcome addition and will definitely serve to fill that yearning for new stories that many Star Wars fans have. I highly recommend this book.
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