Lucasfilm Press ended a five-month Star Wars drought after the December 2017 theatrical release of The Last Jedi with the release of the novel Most Wanted by New York Times Best-Selling author Rae Carson. Set before the events of Solo: A Star Wars Story, we are introduced to the perilous lives of a White Worm, the sewer-dwelling crime-lings owing their existence to the temperamental Lady Proxima. As we meet them in the story, Han and Q’ira are at odds for the position as Head Child of the White Worms, not for the prestige or glory, but mainly for the extra food rations.

Sent out on separate missions, the two characters find that their lives are of no value to their so-called protector. Fortunately, they have each developed special skills that allow them to read dangerous situations with the aim of reaching the best outcome—living through it.

For Han, it is his ability to improvise in the moment; for Q’ira it is her talent for planning ahead. Individually, they do just fine, but as their missions cross paths, they learn that they are better suited when working.

I truly enjoyed the build-up of this story, especially finding that our two main protagonists begin at odds with one another. Assuming that you’ve seen Solo, I don’t believe it is spoiling anything to hint at the fact that the two end up as friends by the end of the book, so it should also not surprise anyone to say that they were not always friends. They were acquaintances simply due to circumstance and find that their mutual survival is best secured when working together. However, at the start of the story, it seems that goal would be impossible.

My absolute favorite part of the book takes place throughout as we read of the experiences and insights that Han has about himself, the Galaxy, and especially the Force. I will not ruin any of these, but rather hint at them, and make the story a sort of treasure hunt into the psyche of the older Han Solo that we meet in A New Hope.

The story struggles towards the end of the second act, when the twist in the pair’s mission is revealed. They are introduced to the owner of a highly sought-after possession, and as this unfolds, the story sputters a bit. Fortunately, it isn’t the real focus of the story, and the reader should be able to move past it without too much disinterest.

Carson shows her excellent character developing skills by inserting herself into the well-known persona of Han not-yet-Solo. She understands his nuances and decision-making processes. Reading him and his thoughts, it is apparent that Carson is a fan not only of the franchise but of Han, too. This challenge must have been overwhelming; some fans of the films refused to see Solo simply because it wasn’t a young Harrison Ford in the role. As if clone-casting were a thing.

Don’t fall into that same, misguided logic with Most Wanted. With three-picture contracts for the film’s main characters, we will certainly be seeing more of young Han & Q’ira, and the insight into their characters and motives will bleed between the pages and the screen.

Most Wanted is available now in bookstores worldwide.



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