Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
So where were we at the end of the last chapter? Oh right, Xizor was using his race’s natural pheromones to essentially mind control and rape Princess Leia. Keep it classy, Steve. It’s a good thing I remember what’s coming next or I would have stopped this review right here, and it still bugs me.
Just as Xizor starts getting into it Chewbacca starts banging on the door, the guard taken out already. Leia leaves to see what he wants and he shows her a bugging device in one alcove that might be safe from the cameras. This gives Leia a chance to clear her head, between Chewie’s loyalty to both her and Han and the memory of her love for Han. Leia isn’t the same kind of girl we saw earlier, and now we can imagine that the reason she was so devastated at being sent away was the pheromone controls as Xizor is so sure he has Leia under his power like he did that girl because of it I can put two and two together. Leia is that strong female character we keep being told doesn’t exist (instead of doesn’t exist enough) and she has a very strong will, which not only allows her to fight off what she first thinks is a drug but come up with a plan for Chewbacca to get help.
And how strong is Leia? When she goes back in to provide a distraction, she keeps her distance from Xizor, delaying things as long as possible. When he wants her to strip for him, though, she tells him off. He moves in, either thinking his pheromones are still working or that he can get her back in his power, and she realizes that there’s an attractant coming from him. When he tries to kiss her again she knees him in the party zone and sends him to the floor! I forgot that part! He then calls for Guri…in a slightly higher octave I bet, otherwise regaining control. She comes out of a panel in the wall…where she would have been had Xizor succeeded in getting into Leia’s dress…which shows just how a big a freak his Lowness really is, and has Leia locked up, the princess hoping she bought Chewie enough time to get out. I told you things got better, but there’s still that part of me that didn’t want rape in my Star Wars story.
There’s also a scene between Vader and the Emperor that ordinarily would be a distraction that just reaffirms everything we know, and Palpatine just shaking off Vader’s concerns that Xizor may have put a “dead” price on Luke’s head. However, it does divide the scene where Leia comes up with her plan, and seeing the plan executed, so I’ll let it pass.
Did Chewbacca get out in time? Can her friends somehow sneak onto the Imperial homeworld and rescue her? The answers to come as our series continues.