Back in 1985 on a family camping trip in the Shenandoah Mountains, I brought with me and read James A. Kahn's novelization of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. My first Star Wars novelization and it was for the last film, story-chronology-wise of course. I finally re-read it recently, as since then I'd read the others: Alan Dean Foster's ghost-written Star Wars (which was first six released months before the film), the prequels' novelizations -- I especially liked Matthew Stover's quite stylish and saddening Revenge of the Sith adaptation -- and Donald Glut's disappointing Empire novelization, my issues with which are detailed here. This one? Not bad, and I've been in a Star Wars mood so I was happy to scratch that itch with this book.
Some decent flair to the writing, managing to be a little poetic+ -- especially nice after how flat Glut's book was -- and also not being too inconsistent with how the prequel part of the Star Wars story eventually got told, over 15 years later. The book seems to claim Anakin never met Yoda, but that's not a big deal. (I get a kick out of getting the continuity right. Though it can be amusing when continuity gets screwed up: Doesn't Dracula have two full moons two weeks apart or something? And in Robinson Crusoe the title character strips naked, swims to and climbs onboard a wrecked ship, and then starts filling his pockets. As Stephen King said, "Such literary invention knows no bounds.")
And I like how the book shows the Ewoks' thought process that leads them to fight on the Rebels' side (through C-3PO translating, as it should be -- notice how in the final film 3PO doesn't actually translate much?), as well as the well-described chaos of the battle of Endor, and an unexpected callback in the dialogue when Luke first sees his father without his mask: the dying, wrecked Anakin weakly chuckles and says "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." It feels right that at that moment, Anakin experiences some sort of Yoda connection.
And little flashes of writing I'd remembered came back to me as I read. I remember a decent amount of this book from that one reading 25 years ago. Yes, much younger self, I came back to it. And I still like Star Wars.
+ An anecdote from when I first read it: as Yoda dies and tries to say "There is another Skywalker," it's written out "There is...another...sky..." My 11-year-old self first read that as "There is another sky," which seemed like it could be something that someone having a vision while dying would say. Unintended poetry!