HAN SOLO IS THINKING OF GETTING MARRIED.
TRIOCULUS HAS FOUND HIS QUEEN.
BUT THE FATHER OF JABBA THE HUTT IS ABOUT TO SHATTER THEIR PLANS.
No, not Jabba’s father! Ahhhhhhhhh!
When we last left our heroes and villains, Luke Skywalker had become the guardian of Ken the Jedi Prince and Trioculus was cured of blindness but burned while acquiring the cure to do so. Everything seems hunky-dory for the opening of Han Solo’s awesome sky house in Cloud City. But of course, things never stay happy for long with our heroes.
Right off the bat, I have a lot of questions about Zorba the Hutt’s Revenge. First of all, why is Luke Skywalker flying a Y-wing starfighter? I don’t know if you all saw the same three movies I did, but Luke Skywalker flew an X-wing. That’s kind of important, you know, as the founder/leader of Rogue Squadron and all that. But in this book, he’s flying a Y-wing. A Y-wing that looks like this:
Now, I’m not the biggest fleet junkie in the world, or even on this blog (that title goes to Brian), but even I know enough about ships to know that a Y-wing starfighter does NOT look like that. That’s, like, as big as the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. If you needed Luke to be shuttling around Jedi Princes and droids, why not give him an actual ship?
(Yes, I’m picking nits, and this is actually addressed in a later book, but it just made me go like this
while reading the book so I had to mention it here. Moving on!)
Luke is off to Han’s big housewarming party, but he needs a gift. Of course, Ken the Jedi Prince comes up with the best idea for a present: a housekeeping droid! Because, you know, men can’t be clean and cook or do any of those sorts of “womanly” things! Especially not a lifelong bachelor like Han Solo! And since he’s not interested in marrying Leia anytime soon (well, not yet at least), it’s imperative to buy him a droid (a feminine droid, of course) to play pseudo wife!
Ahem. Sorry. I seem to have gotten some feminism in this review of a silly children’s book. Forgive me. (But seriously! Can I have one of those droids?)
Luke and company change their plans and go to Tatooine for the big droidfest! Because that’s a thing the Jawas have on Tatooine. You know, that hugely populated planet. There we have our new acronym for the book, JDTs! Short for Jawa Droid Traders, of course. Also, here is where we get one of my favorite pieces of background information from the entire series: because Jabba the Hutt had no will, his Palace was turned into the Tatooine Retirement Home for Aged Aliens.
I AM NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP, I PROMISE.
Even in the midst of buying a housekeeping droid to pick up after Bachelor Han, the authors do strive to teach children that there is absolutely no difference between male and female droids. They can all do the same things. Isn’t that inspiring, kids? But of course, the HSD (that’s Housekeeping Specialist Droid!) that they pick out for Han is a girl. Who turns Bachelors into Husbands. JUST A COINCIDENCE.
But oh no the droidfest is attacked by Tusken Raiders! Our heroes escape and leave Tatooine. Arriving on Tatooine, meanwhile, is Zorba the Hutt, father of Jabba. He’s basically a predecessor of Ziro the Hutt, Jabba’s uncle from The Clone Wars. He speaks basic, is really annoying, and a dumb villain. He’s just been released from prison and wants to hang out with Jabba again. But when he goes to the Mos Eisley Cantina (where Grand Moff Hissa is personally offering a reward for Ken the Jedi Prince), he learns that Jabba is dead! It’s actually kind of sad. And he wants to kill Leia like nobody’s business.
Zorba goes to Jabba’s Palace and looks up the secret will using the code JTHW. How dash cunning of Jabba to create a will with such an indecipherable filename! And back in Mos Eisley, Luke and company run into bounty hunters who want Ken. They escape, and Ken refuses to tell Luke what he knows that makes Trioculus want him so badly. I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty stupid to mean. I mean, it’s LUKE SKYWALKER. I think you can trust him.
Next is probably my favorite scene in the entire series, that being Han’s housewarming party. It’s utterly hilarious and cannot be described with words. To summarize, Lando teaches Ken all about braze (brown haze) that’s ruining Cloudy City (environmental subplot of the book!), Kate dazzles everyone with her housekeeping skills, and Han teaches Leia how to do the Space Pirate Boogie.
(As an aside, when I get married I am DEFINITELY doing the Space Pirate Boogie. It’s a requirement. And I will also be wearing laser gun earrings.)
Of course, Zorba has to crash this incredibly amazing party. He arrives in Cloud City to take back ownership of the Holiday Towers Hotel and Casino, previously owned by Jabba, now owned by Lando. (Whenever I say that name, I think of the Ali Baba Hotel and Casino from an old episode of Full House. Ignore me if you’ve never seen it.)
Lando, of course, says no, the hotel is HIS now, so Zorba proposes a wager in sabacc. If Lando wins, he’ll leave Cloud City and never return. If Zorba wins, he becomes Baron Administrator of Cloud City. Lando, stupidly, agrees to this. LANDO. DIDN’T YOU LEARN YOUR LESSON ABOUT BETTING THINGS IN SABACC?
Of course, Lando loses, because Zorba uses a deck marked with ultraviolet light. This is like when Han won the planet Dathomir. Seriously. Lando is not this dumb! Anyway.
Lando calls Han to tell him that he’s lost the farm and going to try his hand at the theme park business (he should come run Disney World!) and also to warn him that Zorba’s out for Leia. Han, being smart for once, wants to get Leia off Bespin immediately. But oh no–Kate’s fallen from the sky house while cleaning! Way to go, Kate! Luke and Leia jump into a cloud car to rescue her. They save her, but get shot down over Trioculus’s factory barge (the one producing all the braze). Ack! Stormtroopers capture Leia and trap Luke in this sewer they fill with poison gas. But Luke is having trouble moving the latch with the Force. Um, really? Luke freaking Skywalker is having trouble moving a simple latch? OKAY THEN. Then can’t he just cut through the door with his lightsaber? (The use of the Force is so inconsistent in these books, I swear.) It’s no matter–Luke gets the door open, but it’s too late. Leia’s gone!
She’s taken to Trioculus, who’s fallen in love with her and wants to make her his queen. Um, Trioculus, I don’t know if you’re really familiar with Leia Organa’s history, but I can tell you that her answer will be unequivocally NO even if Han Solo wasn’t in the picture. Also, he wants to show his affection for Leia by putting the Glove of Darth Vader–you know, her FATHER–on her shoulder. Ugh, why does Leia always get creepers after her?
And here is one of my favorite lines in the entire series:
“Is it so wrong to be a murderer?” he asked. “Or a liar? Or an inhuman monster? I may be all of those things, but I still have a heart.”
Oh, be still my beating heart, Trioculus. I’ll marry you!
Ken, meanwhile, goes joyriding in one of Han’s cloud cars, like you do. Because he’s so responsible and all that. And he gets caught by the Cloud City police! Zorba realizes that this is the Jedi Prince that Grand Moff Hissa was talking about in the Mos Eisley Cantina. He also learns that Trioculus has Leia. So he comes up with a plan: he offers to trade Ken for Leia, because, you know, he wants her dead for killing Jabba. Trioculus, of course, says hell no you can’t have my future bride! A villainous catfight ensues, and Trioculus is frozen in carbonite, using best countdown ever: get ready, get set, go! Then Zorba destroys the factory barge, thinking that Leia was inside. Gasp! At least the Cloud City residents have fresh air now, right?
But of course, Leia wasn’t really on the factory barge. She and Ken are both rescued, and they all go flying away from Cloud City in the Millennium Falcon. Han gives Leia a smoking hot kiss, and in the middle of it a “crazy thought” pops into his head: maybe he should propose to Leia.
NO, YOU DON’T SAY?
In our next installment…um, I’ve forgotten what happens in the next book. But it involves a mission from Mount Yoda. Mount Yoda! Yes! I’ve always wanted to go there.