|Bossk, Prince Xizor, a droid, and Boba Fett|
in Slave Ship
K.W. Jeter splits the action between two different time periods in the Star Wars Boba Fett trilogy, and a large portion of book 2, Slave Ship, is related to us by Dengar, a bounty hunter who doesn't like his job, but has helped nurse Boba Fett back to health after his near-death in the Sarlacc Pit on Tatooine. In return, Boba Fett agrees to partner with him for as long as Dengar desires. Dengar hopes for one big score, so he can retire and marry the woman he loves. But first he has to survive his alliance with the galaxy's most effective bounty hunter.
There's a lot of action in Slave Ship. Boba Fett joins forces with Bossk, the Trandoshan bounty hunter who despises him. Together, they capture an imperial officer who stole secret plans from the Emperor, and battle a Hutt who wears such extensive armor that he resembles a submarine. Unfortunately, the way Jeter structured the novel didn't work for me. Despite all the action, the plot felt weighed down with dialogue, and the overall pace seemed too slow for a Star Wars novel. This was a real shame, as Jeter constructs schemes within schemes, and imbues the underlying technology of his world with incredible detail.
If I wish I had enjoyed Slave Ship more, the same cannot be said of the third book, Hard Merchandise. The plot zooms along like the Millennium Falcon in hyperdrive, and the action comes thick and fast. Jeter kept me turning pages all the way through, and every time I set down the book, I couldn't wait to pick it up again and resume the story. Nor could Dengar keep up with Boba Fett. After surviving one near-death experience after another, he realizes that Fett has no fear. The man is a primal force that will stop at nothing to complete his tasks. Kud'ar Mub'at, the arachnoid assembler who resides at the heart of events in the trilogy, receives his comeuppance. And Bossk realizes something important and life-changing about himself. While Jeter threw nonstop action and space battles my way, what I most enjoyed about book 3 was the character resolutions. How he made me care about some truly despicable people, and how some of them, as a result of their interactions with Boba Fett, emerged with a better understanding of themselves.
With his three books, K. W. Jeter introduced me to some colorful characters, and allowed me to accompany Boba Fett on adventures even more exciting than those I had imagined. Yet, while entertaining me, his story also reminded me that, regardless of what I've done (or failed to do) in the past, that I can change. That I can be more than who I am. That perhaps, with renewed focus, I can become the person I wish to be.
That's a great realization to take away from a trilogy of action/adventure novels.
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