I’ve spent a lot of time dealing with what Luke and company have been doing so far in this book but there’s a whole other half to this. Leia and Han, and the story seems to be largely from the perspective of Leia, are off trying to find where the titular young’uns were, and maybe still are.
More after the jump.
So, Leia and Han have been poking around, trying to find information about the planet that they were warned about, but they’re also trying to figure out when and how the old friend that warned them vanished. So, what’s the logical place to do this? Well, if you’re Han Solo, then you are going to do what you’ve always done and slip into a dive bar near the space port and start slipping people credits and asking questions. If you’re Leia, you have an entire intelligence organization that you can set on doing this.
Because delegating makes for poor storytelling, we follow Han’s logic. He and Leia find the rough and tumble bar and pay people and ask questions. Now, in some cases, I’m okay with that, especially if the author opts not to point out the obvious. But Ms Hambly did.
Early in the book, it is firmly established that Leia is the Chancellor of the New Republic. She is the chief of state, there’s a whole senate that is there to make decisions, but at the end of the day, she’s the masthead, Leia is the face of the Republic. Again, if she didn’t bring this up, then it’s fine for her to wander into a bar. But the author does, she comments that, despite the fact that she ought to be one of the most recognizable faces in the galaxy, nobody will recognize her because shut up they won’t.
Oh, really? Come on! There were so many ways that you could fix this, maybe just Han walks into the bar. Han may also be a very easily recognized face, but one person that resembles somebody that walks into a bar does not make that person the celebrity. Maybe Han walks into the bar dressed differently than he normally does and just comes in under the radar. “Hey,” one bar patron says to another, “isn’t that Han Solo, former general of the Rebellion and husband of the chancellor of the republic?” The other patron looks at the first and says, “Yeah, he does look like that well known hero and public figure, but why would he be in here? I bet that’s just a lookalike. I bet that’s just Dash Rendar hopping around disguised again*.”
*Shadows of the Empire, your day is coming
You might tell me, “Hey, you. Yeah, you. The smart alec on the internet, you’re wrong! Leia is disguised!” You know what, you’re right, internet reader, she is dressed differently from how she normally does. Han apparently buys Leia clothes from time to time. Leia comments that she doesn’t wear these a lot because it’s unprofessional, unless she’s doing something like this. Bar hopping with Han. Right, so we’re given the impression, nothing outright mind you, but the impression that Han is buying Leia inappropriate clothing and she wears it when they go out clubbing.
Here’s where my problems come in, one guy wanders into a bar and looks like someone else, it’s a lookalike. Two people walk in and they look like celebrities that are associated with each other but at different times are suspicious but maybe it’s just one heck of a coincidence. Two people that look like a high profile couple walk into a bar together? Your cover is blown. No, don’t argue with me, cover = blown.
And furthermore, how do you not recognize Leia anywhere? How does she not have a security force on her heels at all times? Think about this: You, the normal reader, may not know the name of your US representative or senator and for that matter you probably don’t know what their face looks like. You may not know who the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader is, but, darn it, you know what the president looks like! There’s a good chance you know what the leadership of other high profile countries look like and who they are. You might be able to pick out Vladimir Putin or David Cameron, but you know what Barack Obama looks like.
These are three people on one world. They’re high profile people in a sea of other people. You know who they are, even if you aren’t part of their country. Now, imagine that you have a government that is made up of literally tens of millions of worlds. Do you know who the individual senators are? Almost assuredly not. Do you know who the rebel hero and leader who became the face of the galactic government is? Darn skippy you do. When taxes go up, do you curse Senator Frogface of Amphibianface 4or do you go “Freakin’ princess and her freakin’ taxes.”
And let’s be honest about this, the First Lady doesn’t get to go shopping unless her Secret Service detail clears out the entirety of that Macy’s before she walks within a block of it. And Leia walks into a bar with just Han? There’s nobody out there that wants her blood for reasons or complete lack of reasons? A man shot President Reagan because he thought it would impress Jodie Foster. That’s one country, what does this kind of insanity look like in a universe full of aliens and trillions of people?
That wasn’t even one chapter. That was one scene.