Monday, November 16, 2015

Audio Book Review: A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm Boy (Star Wars Illustrated Novels #1)

Release Date: September 22, 2015
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Narrators: Marc Thompson and Rebecca Soler
Length: 336 pages
Source: Audio book from Library

Acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken delivers a captivating retelling of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope like you've never experienced before, infusing the iconic, classic tale of good versus evil with a unique perspective and narrative style that will speak directly to today's young readers while enhancing the Star Wars experience for core fans of the saga.

This illustrated novel is the first in the highly-anticipated series and features richly detailed art by celebrated Star Wars concept artist Iain McCaig. Fans old and new will be delighted by this beautifully crafted book and the unexpected twists in this retelling of a beloved story.


Reviewer's Note: Since Star Wars is so iconic, and this is an adaptation of the fourth episode in the series, I've decided to forgo my usual spoiler-free review in an effort to better review this book, so if you haven't seen the original Star Wars Trilogy (Ep. IV-VI) I will most likely bring up spoilers from time to time. Also, since this is an adaptation and not a re-imagining I've gotten rid of the world-building and predictability sections I normally use to instead comment on how I enjoyed the adaptation and to comment on the aspects of the audio book I listened to.


Protagonists: This book is told from the third person perspectives of Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker, in that order. With each new section comes insights into the minds of these three characters during the events of A New Hope, I felt that Alexandra Bracken kept these characters very true to themselves, making new pieces of information that weren't a part of the movie fit right in with ease without seeming like something was off. Since we get more insight into the minds of the characters they definitely come off more developed than just watching the movie would.

Romance: So this section isn't really to talk about the romance in this book, but more to point out the glorious lack of it. After reading William Shakespeare's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope nearly teo years ago, I was nervous to read any more Star Wars novelizations or adaptations because, while Luke's attraction to Leia, who is, unknown to both of them, his sister, is seen in the movie it's very light and Ian Doescher's work made it too heavy handed. This adaptation though captures it perfectly. the feelings that Luke has seem innocent and harmless, more of a hope of love than the intense feelings Doescher portrayed.

Adaptation Notes: So, much like when I read Verily, A New Hope, I decided to watch the movie afterwords to better compare how this book stacks up. After just finishing the book I was a bit hesitant on how it was formatted. Since it's told in three chunks, each one focusing on a different main character, there were quite a few things that were taken out of it, such as everything with Luke in it from when we first meet him in the film to when he enters the Mos Eisley Cantina, in addition there were quite a few things added in as well. A lot of the stuff that was taken out is seen via flashback later in the book, or added in someway that doesn't really affect the current part of the story. After I finished the book I felt like the author had taken out too much story for this gimmick to really pay off, however after watching the movie again I have to say that nothing taken out was vitally important and in the end it kept very true to the movie.

Audio Book Notes: Since I listened to the audio book and it wasn't a typical audio book I thought it only wise to comment on how it may impact your experience should you chose to listen to the book instead of reading a copy. This audio book is fantastic, first off, there are two narrators Marc, whom I've heard of before but have never listened to before, and Rebecca, who reads the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. Both narrators were fantastic but Marc's got his impressions down pat, when he reads Darth Vader or Han Solo's lines he sounds nearly identical to James Earl Jones and Harrison Ford, so much so that I had to try and find if they were somehow a part of this book but unaccredited for some reason. That's not all, all throughout this book are sound effects, music, and other things to really bring it to life. It all felt so immersive that it's got ot be one of the best audio books I've ever read, the only thing that would make it better would have been if it had a full cast to read it.


After just finishing the book I would have given this book 4 stars, thinking that the author took too much out of the story and I would have been wrong, luckily I rewatched the movie and found that the author found the perfect way to keep the Princess/Scoundrel/Farm Boy gimmick and still keep the necessary parts of the story. The audio book was also beautifully produced and the story and writing itself were fantastic, given how great this series has started off I'm a bit hesitant to continue as the rest of this series is written by other authors.


1 comment:

  1. I've heard a but about this book but was unsure if I wanted to give it a try but I think I will have take a look at it!