Jeffrey Brown has cemented himself as a firm favourite of mine for a bunch of reasons, not least:
- his genius in coming up with an idea for some clever books and seeing them through to fruition
- because he’s gotten me out of many a gift-giving bind (especially for friends with children, as being a child-friendly but child-free person, I’m not overly familiar with what appeals to kids these days)
- his books manage the holy-grail feat of impressing both adults and kids.
I’m writing, of course, about Brown’s Vader series. The first, entitled Darth Vader and Son ( I have to say I think Vader and Son would have been a stronger title), I’ve blogged about previously. It’s based on the premise that instead of not encountering Luke until he was an adult, Vader instead raised him on the Death Star.
The follow-up, Vader’s Little Princess, is the daughter-themed equivalent, with Vader experiencing all the love and enduring all the quirks that come with that gig.
The scenarios are recognisable to parents and non-parents alike, but given a peculiarly fantastic Star Wars-themed twist. Let’s be honest, these books are pretty much the best thing nerds and nerds who’ve become parents could ask for (and that’s not even including how much these books appeal to kids).
Some favourite Vader’s Little Princess moments include:
- when Vader embarrassingly insists on dropping Leia right to the front door of school in an At At Walker rather than, as she requests, around the corner
- a dad-and-new-boyfriend ‘bonding’ moment when Vader introduces Han Solo to a carbon freezing chamber
- when Vader lectures Leia, dressed in the barely there outfit famous from the Jabba the Hutt scene, that she’s ‘not going out dressed like that’
- when Leia pours her heart out about (and implores Vader to help dissect the meaning of) saying ‘I love you’ to Han Solo and all he said back was ‘I know’
- and when Leia takes Vader to the ballet featuring—wait for it—Jar Jar Binks (it wouldn’t be a Star Wars spoof without a Jar Jar Binks joke).
I don’t find Vader’s Little Princess quite as entertaining as I do Vader and Son, although whether that’s because Brown understandably used up his best material in the first book or because the element of how-cool-is-this surprise was gone the second time around.
But I do find it great enough to warrant reading occasionally and recommending and gifting to friends more often than that.
I’m not sure if there’s room for a third book in the series—maybe a Vader as grandparent title?—but I truly hope so. In the interim, these two are going to remain my parents-and-kids gift-giving staple.