Star Wars: The Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy
Author: K.W. Jeter
Published By: The Bantam Dell Publishing Group
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Being a huge fan of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, I read any and every Star Wars novel that I can get my hands on. The Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy was no exception. I've always been intrigued by the bounty hunters featured in The Empire Strikes Back and I’ve always enjoyed learning the secrets behind characters in the movie. Right about now, I'm wishing that I wasn't such a die-hard fan.
The series begins with the novel The Mandalorian Armor. Although the series takes place some time during the events of Return of the Jedi, there are numerous flashbacks that date back to A New Hope times. Having barely survived his ordeal in the Sarlacc Pit, Boba Fett finds himself being attended to by bounty hunter Dengar, two medical droids and Neelah, a former slave dancer who has escaped Jabba’s Palace. Neelah is a rather intriguing character as she has no memory of her past other than the fact that she was not always a slave. She is compelled to aide Boba Fett’s recovery as she feels that he is somehow responsible for her former enslavement.
The second novel in the series, Slave Ship, finds Boba Fett sufficiently healed and en route to an unknown destination in a the Hound's Tooth, recently stolen from enemy bounty hunter, Bossk. Along for the ride are Dengar and Neelah. It would seem that someone has a vested interest in Boba Fett’s death and he wants to know why. Along the way, Neelah manages to glean some information about Boba Fett from Dengar. We learn a bit about Prince Xizor and his plans to destroy the Bounty Hunters Guild and we discover the reason behind the price on Boba Fett’s head.
The focal point of the third novel, Hard Merchandise, is Neelah's erased memories. When you discover who she is and why her memory was wiped, you are almost disappointed with the answers. Getting to that point is actually part of the fun…the most fun you will have reading the series.
I actually thought that The Bounty Hunter War Trilogy would give me further insight into the minds of the mysterious bounty hunters that we all wondered about in The Empire Strikes Back. In this, I was not disappointed. I did learn more about Dengar and Bossk and how the Bounty Hunter's Guild was disbanded.
However, if you were looking for insight into the character of Boba Fett, look somewhere else. The only info about Boba Fett that you'll come away from this book with is that he’s a ruthless, tough as nails bounty hunter with no friends. These tidbits of information are things that all true Boba Fett fans already know. I was hoping that maybe we would learn a little about Boba Fett’s past, but the only thing we do learn is that Boba Fett likes to erase all ties (human or alien) to his past. So much for that.
We do get to see quite a bit of the various bounty hunters we met in The Empire Strikes Back. However, the way they were written by K.W. Jeter left something to be desired. Zuckuss is supposed to be a findsman - a warrior. In this book, he's nothing but a sniveling coward, mostly hiding behind Bossk. Once in a while, he may show some intelligence, but those moments are few and far between. Bossk is a character we learn a great deal about. His interactions with Boba Fett are very entertaining. Dengar’s another disappointment. After reading Tales of the Bounty Hunters, I had the feeling that Dengar was tougher than he was portrayed in this novel.
Prince Xizor fans will be happy to find that he is very important to this storyline and makes quite a few appearances. It seems Jeter researched this character a bit better – he’s as power hungry and obnoxious as ever. He's the only character that has ever made me want to root for Darth Vader.
Hard Merchandise is the best book of the entire series, featuring more fluidity of story. The rest of the novels dragged in comparison. For die-hard Star Wars fans, the continuity issues in this series will drive you crazy. And yet, I would only recommend this series to those very same die-hard fans, who are probably the only ones willing to struggle through this series as I did. Any fan less dedicated will be bored to tears. Trust me, if you aren’t a die-hard fan, you can skip The Bounty Hunter Wars Trilogy – you won’t really be missing much.
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