Last Shot – Daniel José Older

Synopsis: THEN: It’s one of the galaxy’s most dangerous secrets: a mysterious transmitter with unknown power and a reward for its discovery that most could only dream of claiming. But those who fly the Millennium Falcon throughout its infamous history aren’t your average scoundrels. Not once, but twice, the crew of the Falcon tries to claim the elusive prize — first, Lando Calrissian and the droid L3-37 at the dawn of an ambitious career, and later, a young and hungry Han Solo with the help of his copilot, Chewbacca. But the device’s creator, the volatile criminal Fyzen Gor, isn’t interested in sharing. And Gor knows how to hold a grudge…

NOW: It’s been ten years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando — and all life on Cloud City — will be annihilated.

With the assistance of a young hotshot pilot, an Ewok slicer prodigy, the woman who might be the love of Lando’s life, and Han’s best and furriest friend, the two most notorious scoundrels in the New Republic are working together once more. They’ll have to journey across the stars — and into the past — before Gor uses the device’s power to reshape the galaxy.

“And Lando had calmed, settled back down, and without even having placed his lips against hers or felt her in the thrall of passion, he had felt a strange kind of peacefulness flood over him. It wasn’t the reeling outburst of excitement that came with victory at the card table, had none of the smugness that would rise in him at that blissful culmination of a con. No, this was something much more long lasting and delicious. This was joy.” 

Ee chee wa maa!!

This was great fun!

Daniel José Older contributed a brilliant short story to the Star Wars 40th anniversary anthology, From a Certain Point of View. It was a favorite of mine in a collection of incredible stories. I knew I wanted to devour more of his work if it was anything like Born in the Storm. As one would expect, I was wicked fucking pumped to hear that he was writing this!

What is this? Well, it’s a story about two smugglers in a galaxy far, far away. The two smugglers are the charismatic & always stylish Lando & Han, the scoundrel with a heart of gold. Two of the most popular characters in the franchise, with reason.

Han is struggling with becoming a stay-at-home dad to little Ben, while Leia is the rad boss bitch that she always is, leading the New Republic as Senator Organa. Lando is thinking about settling down, however, he ends up getting attacked because it is assumed that he possesses this bonkers Phylanx Redux Transmitter. Which he doesn’t. But he thinks he knows who stole it many years ago.. none other than Han Solo himself. So apparently he won’t be retiring into domestic bliss anytime soon, because now he must go to Han for help in locating the Phylanx before they provoke a droid uprising.

I’m not always the biggest fan of alternating timelines for each chapter. I find that I just start to sink into one area & then it’s yanked away from me & we’re in a different period. Inevitably, I end up liking a certain time frame over the other. In this case, there were three separate timelines, which did take some getting used to. A flashback timeline for Han & Lando, as well as the present time period.

Oh, but how I loved the diverse cast of characters in Last Shot. So goddamn much! They are what made the book for me. The crew that assist Han & Lando consist of Peekpa, the Ewok hacker who fangirls hard over Chewie (I mean.. same); Taka, a glorious non-binary human pilot; Kaasha, a badass Twi’lek shooter & Lando’s love interest; Florx Biggles, an Ugnaught mechanic; and my favorite character from Solo, L3-37, Lando’s one-of-a-kind droid co-pilot.

Older does a fantastic job at capturing the voice of ::Lando! Calrissian!:: I have to admit I wasn’t always happy with how Han was portrayed at times, but in the end, I think he did a good job finding a balance between slapstick, awkward new father & rebel.

I hope this isn’t the last time we see Older in the Star Wars universe. Perhaps another Lando story? Maybe a Mon Mothma backstory? She’s a character that deserves more attention. More stories featuring her, please! (Her Mothfulness!) OR AN EWOK STORY OMFG YES PLEASE WE NEED MORE EWOK ADVENTURES THERE AREN’T ENOUGH THERE WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH! Either way, he is more than capable of writing solid stories for this much-loved franchise!

May the Force be with you!

-Holly

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