Most Wanted Review

by Dennis Keithly

Rae Carson delivers a deceptively entertaining and fun adventure featuring Han Solo and Qi’ra in this prequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

This article discusses plot details for Star Wars: Most Wanted.

Most Wanted - Solo Tie in Review

Star Wars: Most Wanted
by Rae Carson

Solo: A Star Wars Story recently arrived in theaters and gave audiences a glimpse into Han Solo’s life before his fate was entangled with an old space wizard and a kid from a moisture farm. The film began with Han on his home planet of Corellia scrambling to make it home to the sewers. There, Lady Proxima ruled over the White Worms, a gang of children and teenagers that struggled to survive on a planet overrun by the Empire. It is clear from the movie that Han and his girlfriend, Qi’ra, are attempting a desperate escape from Proxima, the White Worms, and all of Corellia after Han comes by the means to fund such an attempt. In a few short scenes, Solo established ample motive for Han and Qi’ra’s flight from the White Worms. However, it left many of the details of their life on Corellia behind.  Most Wanted, by Rae Carson, arrived on bookshelves the same day as the film release and provides a compelling backstory for the galaxy’s most notorious smuggler that exceeds expectations.

Plot Summary

Most Wanted targets a young adult and teen audience. Regardless, it tells an engrossing tale of adolescents working to overcome their environment appropriate for Star Wars fans of any age. Han, Qi’ra, and Tsuulo (a Rodian technology wiz) are all among the older teens in Proxima’s White Worms. The three of them, plus a hound handler named Rebolt, vie for the position of “Head” in Proxima’s organization. On one fateful day, Proxima sends both Han and Qi’ra on complimentary missions with the promise that if they succeed, the promotion to Head is theirs. Naturally, things go wrong, and Han and Qi’ra find themselves running from not only the White Worms, but the Empire and the Kaldana, a pirate and mercenary organization threatening space around Corellia.

Han and Qi’ra

The potential promotion is everything to Han and Qi’ra. For one, it means an extra helping of better food. The promotion also brings respect and authority among the White Worms. Furthermore, it is a gateway to something bigger. Han and Qi’ra both have dreams beyond their present situation. In fact, both have secretly began preparing for a future that doesn’t include living off Proxima’s scraps. How they go about achieving their goals differs considerably. Qi’ra is a planner. Conversely, Han works in the moment. His expertise is in improvisation. Even though they began as rivals that didn’t particularly care for one another, they eventually gain an appreciation for the other’s talents and skills.

World Building

Carson’s Most Wanted excels at world building. The desperation and poverty of Han, Qi’ra, and their fellow scrum rats. Each chapter contributes to the vivid picture of the degradation of the environment whether it is Qi’ra marveling at a clean set of clothes that aren’t stained and don’t smell, or Han, Qi’ra, and Tsuulo realizing that their home in the sewers literally stinks after being away from it for a while, or the fact a meal of dog biscuits is perfectly acceptable, and in some cases, preferable to their usual food. When Han says he grew up in the streets of Corellia in Solo, this novel demonstrates exactly what that meant.

In addition, Carson’s story goes a long way in introducing the underworld of Corellia and the larger galaxy of Star Wars. Proxima’s White Worms are just the beginning. Most Wanted also features the vicious Kaldana and the Droid Gotra (Han’s pronunciation of which is an amusing ongoing joke in this novel). Even though Han, Qi’ra, and Tsuulo might have bigger dreams than a life with the White Worms, Proxima’s band is an evil they know, and still home inside a larger, more dangerous galaxy.

Early Hints to Han’s Later Life

Finally, much like Solo: A Star Wars Story, Most Wanted offers hints as to the man Solo becomes by the time of A New Hope. Ever wonder why Han had such disdain for the Force? The answer to that question begins here. If you ever considered why Han professed to look out for just one person, himself naturally, then Carson’s novel sets up the answer. Just as Qi’ra tells him in Solo, he is a good person. Yet, circumstances of his existence conspire to change his world view.

Concluding Thoughts on Most Wanted

Just as Catalyst enhanced Rogue One, Most Wanted enhances Solo: A Star Wars Story. Carson’s novel draws readers into a world ravaged by the demands of the Empire and from which a society based on criminal gangs emerges. Life isn’t pretty there. Despite all of this, Solo is a fun adventure complete with fast speeders, daring escapes, clever infiltrations, and a little space adventure on top. Readers craving a little more early history on Han Solo and Qi’ra will thoroughly enjoy this book.

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