#Solo Sunday – Most Wanted: A Solo Book Review

Warning – Spoilers about Star Wars: Most Wanted and Solo: A Star Wars Story are in this post.

‘Star Wars: Most Wanted’ is the Young Adult Prequel to ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ written by Rae Carson. It is set not long before the events of the scenes on Corellia, a year before at most seeing as in a conversation between Han and Qi’Ra in the book she says she is about ‘eighteen-ish’ which is roughly their ages at the beginning of the film.

The book starts out setting up the world of the White Worms, the scrumrat gang that Han and Qi’Ra belong to, run by Lady Proxima. They, a long with Rebolt (he has the Corellian Hounds in the Corellia scenes and a Lego Mini-Fig) are vying for the position of Head Child within the gang.

Han and Qi’Ra are sent on separate missions both part of the same job. Qi’Ra goes to an auction where the White Worms bid is “insultingly low”. The auction becomes a shoot-out when the Droid Gotra gang wins and the Kaldenia representative gets trigger-happy. Qi’Ra escapes and manages to get into the sewers, the best way to return to White Worm territory.

Meanwhile, Han is sent to a factory where he meets with his droid friend, Tool who is there to represent the Droid Gotra. This meeting is where the merchandise is to be handed over. Again the Kaldenia representative decides to enter ‘aggressive negotiations’ and Tool gets the merchandise, a Data Cube to Han, protecting his escape into the sewers.

Han and Qi’Ra are reunited on the run and soon realise that not only are the Kaldenia after them but the White Worms as well. Han leads Qi’Ra to a safe area, the den of a crazy homeless character called Powolo whom Han has befriended and get a message to their fellow WhiteWorm whom they both think they can trust, the tech-savvy Rodian, Tsuulo who joins them.

They escape capture by the White Worms and reach a safe house that Qi’Ra has set up by stealing Tsuulo’s brothers’ Speeder, and after some much needed rest, form a plan to try to get out of trouble.

Their adventure takes them to the heart of Coronet City, Corellia’s capital, to a luxury Space Yacht and and into the heart of the Imperial presence on the planet, barely stopping to let the reader breath. There’s danger and double crossing and loss, all of which lead Han and Qi’Ra to make the choices and make their attempt to escape the White Worms at the beginning of the film.

The book is an incredibly fast paced page turner. I read it in three sittings and was always surprised by how much I had gotten through in each one. It’s so action packed we only get a breather when our heroes do and that’s not very often.

The spotlight is focused on Han and Qi’Ra and it’s great to get to know them prior to the events of Solo. Han is written brilliantly and every bit the character we get at the beginning of the Solo film and the rest of the Star Wars saga. I can easily picture the Han from the book growing up into Harrison Ford in The Force Awakens.

The book is told from both Han and Qi’Ra’s perspectives, and it’s great to get to know Qi’Ra more. When I saw the film I didn’t quite know if we could trust her. Was she using Han at the beginning to essentially help her escape but the book clears that up. Qi’Ra does care about Han. Not at first because they care in competition but they become close friends by the end after all they go through on their adventure. It doesn’t end with them romantically entangled but near-enough that they mention the possibility of a date at some point.

Qi’Ra is a natural strategist and plan maker which comes in handy for the three heroes (I’ll get to Tsuulo later) and she can’t quite understand how Han is able to talk his way into and out of trouble so easily and he can’t get behind her need for a well thought out plan but both qualities end up working to their advantage.

We are introduced to a young Rodian White Worm called Tsuulo, he carries a datapad and knows his way around technology. Out of the three lead characters, Qi’Ra is the brains, Han is the brawn and Tsuulo is definitely the heart of the group. He understands basic but can’t speak it, relying on Han to translate his Huttese speech. He’s the most religious, having read about the Force in an illegal museum on Coruscant before coming to Corellia with his family, only for his parents to be killed in an accident which put him and his brother on the streets. His brother turned to street racing, Tsuulo turned to the gangs. Tsuulo started praying to the Force and does so through the book, Han scoffs at the thought but never mocks Tsuulo for it, showing off his good traits whilst giving us a hint of the Han we know from the Original Trilogy.

The book is well written, Rae Carson took on a difficult task of writing a Han Solo we know but want to know more about, giving us enough of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo whilst cementing the character as the Alden Erenreich’s Han and she fabulously develops Qi’Ra who comes across so well and you can see how she becomes the character we see at the end of Solo when she kills Dryden Vos and takes his place within the Crimson Dawn Crime Syndicate.

Carson gives us some brilliant new characters. I really loved Tsuulo throughout this book, he really shone through the muck and grime of Corellia for me. We get a little bit more of Rebolt, who cements his place as a nasty piece of work with his Corellian Hounds but his role is minimal at best but he was needed to tie the book to the film, even if it was only for a small sequence.

We learn more about the White Worm gang and Lady Proxima, the Grindalid matriarch who rules the White Worm gang. She’s a vile character and it’s great that we see more of her and why Han and Qi’Ra want to escape her clutches.

I have enjoyed all of Rae Carson’s work in the Star Wars book world, her short stories in both the Canto Bight and From A Certain Point of View collections were high points for me and this novel has granted her a place in my top Star Wars Authors, right there with Claudia Grey, Chuck Wendig and Timothy Zahn and this book is in my top five of the new canon.

I can’t recommend it enough, if you like Star Wars books or a fan of Solo: A Star Wars Story it’s essential reading. A solid 5/5 from me.

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