________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 6. . . . November 15, 2002

cover Star Wars: Boba Fett: The Fight to Survive.

Terry Bisson.
New York, NY: Scholastic (Distributed in Canada by Scholastic Canada), 2002.
157 pp., cloth., $14.99.
ISBN 0-439-33927-8.

Subject Headings:
Space warfare-Juvenile fiction.
Science fiction-Juvenile.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Helen Arkos.

**** /4


"A bounty hunter is an outlaw, a tracker -- and sometimes a killer -- for hire. He doesn't care who his targets are, or who they're running from, or why. He works for the highest bidder, which means the richest and the most ruthless beings in the galaxy. No question asked.

Being a bounty hunter's son means keeping your mouth shut and your eyes open.

No problem. Boba Fett was proud of his father and proud of what he did. "I'm a bounty hunter's son," he would say to himself proudly.

The reason he said it to himself and to no one else, was that he had no one else to say it to.

He had no friends.

How can you have friends when you live and travel in secret, sneaking on and off planets, avoiding police and security and the dreaded, nosy, Jedi Knights.

A bounty hunter must always be ready to go anywhere and face any danger. That was from Jango Fett's code, the rule by which he lived.

Boba Fett had his own, smaller, more personal, code: A bounty hunter's kid must always be ready to go with him."

Since readers are likely familiar with the events of the Star War series, they are looking for a between-the-lines insight into the characters and events of this galaxy far, far away. That is exactly what they will find in this tale not about the fiercest, fastest, most fearless bounty hunter but about his son. The Star Wars saga can be overwhelming in the whos and whats. This tale helps to explain some of the whys - at least as far as the characters of Boba Fett and his father, Jango Fett, are concerned.

     Boba Fett has spent all of his ten years living with his father in an ordinary, modest apartment on the rainy planet of Kamino. He has no friends. His father and his father's questionable associates provide Boba's social contacts. He is very proud of his father. As a successful bounty hunter, Jango Fett lives by his code. He has lots of sayings, one of which is: "No friends, no enemies. Only allies and adversaries." Boba often daydreams of what it would be like to have a mother. He has never known his mother because he never had one.

     The story of Boba Fett parallels the action in Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, but it is told from the point of view of a 10-year-old boy, the son of a bounty hunter on the wrong side of the galactic conflict. Small incidents and situations in Boba's daily life make him come alive in this story in a way that is not possible on screen in an action movie. It is strange to feel sympathy and understanding for the tribulations of one of the "bad guys," but that is the mark of successful storytelling.

     An army of clones, apparently commissioned by a Jedi Knight 10 years previously, is being developed on the planet of Kamino. Two hundred thousand of the million soldiers have already been created. Their genetic material is manipulated so that five years after their "birth," they are combat ready. They are all the clones of one man - endowed with the qualities and character of the renowned bounty hunter, Jango Fett. As part of his payment, Jango had requested an unaltered clone, a direct replica of himself, to raise as his son. Unlike the army of clones who had their growth accelerated, this one would be allowed to grow and develop naturally without tampering.

     Once the army of clones is inadvertently discovered by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jango decides Kamino is no longer safe. When he tells his son to pack up his few belongings because they are getting ready to flee the planet, Boba insists on returning his library books first! You've gotta love a bounty hunter who loves books.

     Young Boba Fett crosses paths with Obi-Wan Kenobi and his apprentice Anakin He looks upon them as a threat to his father and as enemies, but his feelings are less clear cut for the beautiful Senator Amidala.

     The chaotic circumstances of his father's death are felt from Boba's perspective, and, from that point, the story diverges from the movie version. Boba, now a young orphan, has to fend for himself and learn to survive in a world where he meets many beings who try to take advantage of him or who consider him as bounty himself.

     Boba Fett: The Fight to Survive is well written and respectful of its readership. The action scenes are vivid and comprehensible. Despite its spare writing style, there is a depth to the narrative that creates three dimensional characters. Even the droid librarian, Whrr, seems human.

Highly Recommended.

Helen Arkos is the teacher-librarian at École John Henderson School in Winnipeg, MB.


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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364