- Author: Rae Carson
- 348 pages
- Published in 2018
- Placement in Timeline: Just before Solo: A Star Wars Story (Pre-ANH)
What It’s About:
Most Wanted is a Han and Q’ira adventure story that takes place before the events of the film Solo. At this point, the two young scrumrats from the sewer-dwelling White Worm gang on Corellia don’t know each other very well. But they’re both summoned to Lady Proxima’s lair and are given, separately, special missions. Each are told that if they do well in the mission, they will become the next Head, a position that would give them a little bit more power, freedom, and food. Neither one knows they’ve been promised the same thing.
Q’ira is told to make her way to the surface to a meeting that takes place in the Buckell Center. She has no idea what this meeting is about, but once there, realizes it’s some kind of black market auction. There are two other bidders there: a representative from the Kaldana Syndicate, and a droid representative from something called the Droid Gotra. Lady Proxima’s bid is insultingly low, and it doesn’t sit will the other bidders. After a brief conversation on his comlink, the seller rep announces that the Droid Gotra won the bid at a billion credits. Q’ira’s soon in trouble as the rep from the Kaldana Syndicate, suspicious she’s some kind of spy, opens fire on her, and she barely escapes with her life, finding her way back down to the sewers.
Han, meanwhile, is supposed to meet a contact below the city in The Foundry basement. He meets an old friend, an ancient droid named Tool, as well as another Kaldana Syndicate rep. It turns out his friend Tool is from the Droid Gotra, as well, and Han learns later that it’s a group fighting for droid rights. Whatever is on bid, it’s important and both parties want it badly.
Han’s group gets the word that the Droid Gotra won the bid at a billion credits, and things go sour at his end as well. The Kaldana Syndicate starts firing here, too, and Tool is badly damaged, but not before he tosses Han the small datacube they were bidding on. He barely escapes with his life as well, and he and Q’ira end up meeting somewhere in the sewers.
They catch up on events, and, unsure of what to do next, they enlist the help of a Rodian acquaintance they know from the White Worm gang named Tsuulo. Tsuulo had received an education in engineering on Coruscant before his parents died, and through an unfortunate series of events ended up in the sewers. He has a datapad, his sole possession, which turns out to come in handy many times during the course of the story.
The three decide that since Tool trusted Han with the datacube, they’d try to contact the Droid Gotra. Making their way back to where Tool fell, they reactivate him with Tsuulo’s help, and he tells them the datacube holds schematics on a special type of defensive shield that would put anyone with such technology at a great advantage. Tool tells them the tech was created by an Imperial defector called the Engineer. The three decide that contacting the Engineer would be their best bet, and Tool agrees to help them contact her.
But the Engineer wants them to do her a little favor first…
This was a fairly entertaining book, revisiting young Han Solo and Q’ira and the beginnings of their relationship. It’s not a romance, however; the story shows how the two came to trust each other and become good friends. This was particularly revelatory to Q’ira, who had never had trust or friendship in her life before. Han, on the other hand, was good at making friends, whether it was the hermit Old Man Powlo in the sewers, Tsuulo, or the droid Tool.
The book also makes it clear that Q’ira is the planner, the strategist, and Han is the impulsive, gut-following one that gets them out of unexpected scrapes. This isn’t anything we don’t already know, however, and I don’t feel like the book adds anything new to the canon, except perhaps the Droid Gotra. I’m not sure if it’s mentioned anywhere else (it might be?) but I like how it ties into the droid emancipation rights that L-3 is so passionate about later in Solo.
I liked the character of Tsuulo, a truly good character who wants to believe in the Force. He doesn’t understand much about it, but chooses to believe that it is with him, and that it can help them in their troubles.
Basically, Most Wanted is a fun book if you liked Solo and want more of these characters; it reiterates how Han longs to be a pilot and Q’ira dreams of being a player, someone important who orchestrates events–along with possessing the finer things in life.
On a slightly unimportant note, I have to say I don’t like the paperback cover at all. I much prefer the hardcover print:
Rating: 3 out of 5 lightsabers