There’s very little I love more in this world than a well-written Leia Organa story and Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry have definitely delivered with their contribution to the Journey to the Force Awakens: Moving Targets. It’s a middle grade book which means the writing style is a bit more simplistic but that certainly doesn’t take away from the impact of the story nor from how much I enjoyed reading it.
Worrying reports have reached the Rebel Alliance of the construction of a second Death Star… something that absolutely no one wants to see in the hands of the Emperor. The Rebel Alliance must strike back but they’ll need time. Princess Leia volunteers to lead a decoy mission and serve as a distraction… a moving target if you will.
The authors join the club of recent Star Wars writers who really seem to get who Leia Organa is as a person and who don’t skew her too far towards one character trait or the other. The only quibble I had with their characterization was how Leia internally and repeatedly thought of Bail and Breha as her adopted parents. It seems odd that she wouldn’t just think of them as her parents but it’s a relatively minor quibble. What Castellucci and Fry absolutely nail (like Martha Wells before them) is Leia’s eternal struggle between doing her duty as a living symbol of the Rebellion and her desire to have an active role within it.
Part of the fun of Moving Target is how many little tidbits it casually drops into the text while also bringing up questions. For example, Wedge seems to have already taken over the role of Rogue Leader… or rather Red Leader which in turn begs the question of whether the squadron alternates between being called Rogue and Red or whether they have a standard name that they use all the time. On the more light-hearted note, the sly jab towards the slave outfit Leia later has to endure certainly made me smirk. And can we please all go to the planet where ships can land on giant lily pads? What will be particularly interesting to see will be to go back and reread this book (and the three others) and see what little hints went completely over our heads the first read-through.
Castellucci and Fry also take advantage of their page time in this young readers book to introduce more diversity to the galaxy. If we keep going at this rate, we’ll soon no longer be able to count the number of high ranking female Imperial officers on our fingers. The main cast is also fairly evenly split as are the various background and supporting characters. It’s wonderful to see so more and more progress towards diversity in the galaxy far, far away and not just lip service.
So is Moving Target worth your money? Do you want a fun and easy read that stars Leia and really gets her? If the answer to that second question is yes then absolutely. To the book store you must go!