Lando Calrissian gets captured trying to smuggle illegal goods. To save himself, he and L3-37 have to help a princess save a dying world in Lando’s Luck.
This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Lando’s Luck.
What do you get when you cross a princess, a queen, an entrepreneur, a self-built droid, and a dying world? Plenty of action, a few close calls, and a quickly paced story written by New York Times Best-Selling author Justina Ireland with illustrations by Annie Wu (Black Canary, Hawkeye). Lando’s Luck, published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, has everything one would expect from a tale centered around Lando Calrissian and L3-37, with a few surprises tossed in. Lando’s Luck is the first novel in the Flight of the Falcon series that follows the adventures of the Millennium Falcon through its history from Corellia to Batuu and all stops in between. The Falcon has been from one end of the galaxy to another, but the journey has only just begun.
Mapping the Galaxy
Before the story begins, on the inside cover, there is a historical map of all the planets the Falcon has visited throughout its travels starting with Corellia and ending with Batuu. With each world, there is a coinciding number that refers to which film or book each planet appeared in. According to the map, the events of Lando’s Luck occur after the Corellian scenes in Solo: A Star Wars Story and before Lando is introduced on Vandor. Any sort of information to assist the reader before starting is always helpful, whether it’s a map or a list of dramatis personae.
The story begins with a prologue where Bazine Netal (the woman in Maz’s Cantina who’s moonlighting as a First Order spy), meets a woman to learn more information about the Millennium Falcon. The woman happily indulges Netal with a story for a price. And now the story truly begins…
Chapter One opens with Lando on Hynestia at the Frozen Kova cantina in a sabacc match with a female Quarren, and a Lynna called Zel Griss. While on Hynestia, Lando smuggled thirty barrels of purple glandis flower juice, an illegal drink on Hynestia. After winning the match, a bounty hunter shows up to collect the bounty on Griss, and bring Lando in for smuggling illegal contraband. It doesn’t take long for Lando’s day to take a wrong turn. His bad luck is what makes Lando’s Luck such a fun read. Star Wars fans know that any story revolving around Lando will include him trying to weasel out of deals. Wherever he goes trouble will soon follow.
Age is Just a Number
Lando’s Luck is a hardcover sans dust jacket. Not having a dust jacket constantly sliding off is a welcomed relief. Wu’s cover art captures Lando’s personality wholeheartedly. Who else has a smile like that? And the color of Lando’s shirt really stands out. Ireland’s writing style is sure to captivate all ages despite the middle-grade genre. Just add it to the list of Star Wars middle-grade/YA novels that have been topping the list of many fan favorites.
Besides Lando and L3, the story surrounds the adventures of 13-year-old Princess Rinetta Gan, and to a lesser extent, her mother Queen Forsythia Jin of Hynestia. In Chapter Two, Rinetta is in a hurry to meet her friend Zel but can’t find her boots because she hasn’t cleaned her room as she was told. Princess Rinetta and Queen Forsythia have a typical mother/daughter relationship; they love each other but don’t always see eye to eye. The Queen enters her room announced by the Royal Guard and tells Rinetta that Zel is a traitor and tried to steal the Solstice Globe. Forsythia employs the guard and a bounty hunter called Xersko to capture Zel. Before the conversation is finished, a guard informs them that Zel has been captured.
With a Little Help from her Friends
Lando’s Luck doesn’t take any significant risks, but when a book is as enjoyable as this, it doesn’t really have to. As the story unfolds, it’s revealed that the Solstice Globe is a device along with two others from the planet Livno III that help the planet maintain its beauty. Without all three devices, Livno III dies. Rinetta wants to do the right thing and help her friend save her world. Through a series of random events, Rinetta convinces Lando and L3 to help return the Solstice Globe to Livno III.
Along with agreeing to help Rinetta, Lando also has to settle a deal with Ne’eda. Ne’eda is the owner of Neral’s Moon, the next destination for the Falcon. Lando tries to payoff Ne’eda with his cargo of Ghlerian furs, but she isn’t interested and tries to eat Lando. Sometimes with Star Wars books, it can be challenging to picture the aliens or the setting, which is why illustrations are always appreciated. Ne’eda is a great example. Judging by the description, Ne’eda sounds similar in appearance to Lady Proxima, but the illustration shows her to be more fish-like than a crustacean.
It’s interesting to learn that at one point Lando had actually wagered L3 in a sabacc game, but knew he couldn’t fly the Falcon without her. In fact, the Falcon “didn’t run so hot without L3.” So even at this point, the Falcon was already experiencing issues.
These Words are Razors
Ireland has Lando and L3’s dialogue down pat. Some might argue that Lando sounds too much like Billy Dee Williams revisiting his Colt .45 days. If that’s the case, so what? Billy Dee is Lando is Donald Glover, and Justina Ireland has nailed all three. Any bit of dialogue spoken by Lando sounded like it could’ve come from the script of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Despite the quality of YA novels, expectations for this series were tempered, but Lando’s Luck has exceeded in all areas.
L3 is 100% snark, which would make one think she’d be easy to write. Yes, her dialogue can seem very one-dimensional, but there can be too much snark. For example in the comic Lando: Double or Nothing, L3 sounded too snarky and came off as just plain mean.
L3’s feelings towards Lando are complicated in Lando’s Luck. At one point while Rinetta is held captive on the Falcon, L3 discovered Rinetta has escaped, but she doesn’t feel the need to tell Lando that the girl is gone; instead, she feels it serves him right. But she does comm him when a bounty hunter, Jeskian Veldar, threatens her and leaves to find Lando. So it seems the pair have been partners for long enough to not feel the need to be kind to each other, but their attachment is undoubtedly secure.
One Cape to Save Them All
As princess of Hynestia, Rinetta Gan wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps and travel the galaxy, even if it meant disobeying her mother. Her need to do the right thing was an overwhelming factor in her decision making. Staying on Hynestia and acting like a typical teenager wasn’t the life she wanted to lead. As a thirteen-year-old, it takes bravery to accomplish what she did. Courage to step out of her regal comfort and cross the threshold of the unknown. There is a line by Ireland that literally reads, “Comfort is deadly.” And it would’ve been for the planet Livno III if Rinetta hadn’t stepped up and taken control.
During the epilogue, it’s revealed that the woman telling the story is Princess Rinetta. After she leaves, Netal receives a call from an unknown source telling her a certain Weequay pirate has the Falcon and he is residing in Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. The next book in the series, Pirate’s Price features Hondo Ohnaka, Han Solo and Chewbacca. What could go wrong?
Listen to Justina Ireland discuss Lando’s Luck with Andi Gutierrez on today’s episode of The Star Wars Show.
Lando’s Luck is highly recommended whether a quick fun story is all that’s desired, or you’re headed to Galaxy’s Edge and want as much backstory as possible. Ireland’s writing is so easy to follow, and not in a simple child-like way. It just floats off the tongue, and she doesn’t over-complicate the plot or feel the need to hit the reader over the head with unnecessary details. Ireland is also involved in a project with four other writers (Charles Soule, Claudia Grey, Daniel Jose Older, and Cavan Scott) called Project Luminous. More news will be revealed next year. Until then, Bright Suns!