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.
I would be remiss if I didn’t start this review with some bad news concerning this franchise. Reports are coming in that Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in this franchise, passed away today. Considering her character is kind of needed for the new stream of sequels it’s a blow to the franchise, and to the fans. However, please please PLEASE remember that it’s worse for her family and friends, and they don’t just see her as Princess Leia, but as someone they personally know and love. There was more to her than the one character, and show some respect to Fisher personally and to her loved ones. Princess Leia will live as long as the franchise, including in the book we’re about to get back to. More stories can be made about her in novels and comics, and it’s not the first time a new actress took on a role if they really needed the character, as poor form as that would be at this point. Carrie Fisher has died, and that’s the loss to be mourned as 2016 takes out yet another celebrity. (I just read the author of Watership Down was announced as dying today as well.)
Speaking of Leia, we left her in the clutches of a man who thinks sexual-arousing pheromones is foreplay and Stockholm Syndrome is romantic seduction, which is not a place we want to come back to given today’s tragedy but here we are. However, Luke, Lando, and Dash have a plan to rescue her if daddy Vader doesn’t screw it up despite wanting his own shot at giving Xizor the Darth Maul treatment. And since again we have a chapter lasting barely three pages we’ll be looking at two chapters today. Let’s see how that goes.
Vader calls Xizor to let him know the Sith Lord is aware of the Dark Prince’s plan to kill Luke and warns him off of it. And Xizor will be Xizor to the last, figuring he can still get away with it if Vader can’t prove it and delivers Leia to Palpatine. He’s so sure of himself that he can’t see the possibility of things going wrong, or at least won’t let himself, even after getting a bad feeling about this a chapter or so ago. He’s really that dense, isn’t he?
Meanwhile, our heroes make their trek through the sewers toward Xizor’s palace. Their guide leads them there and then turns to leave. That’s all they paid him for, so it makes sense that he is ready to leave. It also makes sense that they aren’t convinced he won’t immediately betray them, but maybe you should have paid for him to wait until you knew it was safe? Consider the propaganda the Empire is already spreading against the Rebellion in the way despotic regimes tend to do when they control the media, and it’s understandable he isn’t sure you guys aren’t going to blast him. So of course he has a pocket-sized blaster hidden on him and tries to shoot his way out, whether or not he did plan to betray them irrelevant at this point. I also wonder if this fight (which the guide lost thanks to Dash being a better shot) was picked up by Xizor’s people?
We’ll have to wait until next chapter, when the rescue proper begins (or at least I think it does). I kind of see why chapter 35 is so short, as it’s just the pins being lined up, but again I have to wonder why it couldn’t have been linked to chapter 36. which is just setting up the lane for our metaphoric bowling game? It’s another example of the pacing issues this book has had on and off as we’ve gone along. Have we seen the last of them? How many chapters will the rescue take? We’ll start to find out next time.