Pirate’s Price Review: Hondo Ohnaka Tells a Tall Tale
No one can quite tell a tale like Hondo Ohnaka. So when Bazine Netal needs to locate the Falcon, Hondo is more than happy to spin a yarn in Pirate’s Price.
This article contains plot points for Star Wars: Pirate’s Price
The most recent addition to the Flight of the Falcon series is Lou Anders “Pirate’s Price” (released 1/19) which follows the adventures of another well-traveled Star Wars personality, Weequay pirate Hondo Ohnaka. The book is told almost entirely from Hondo’s POV who has a creative way of storytelling and a flair for the dramatics. By employing unique colloquialisms, Hondo is able to weave us in and out of dangerous situations orally as though they were everyday circumstances. In fact, when he’s not quoting his parents, Ohnaka can tell a tale better than just about anybody.
It can be dangerous having Hondo Ohnaka as the main character because there is a risk is that everything turns into a joke. On the flip side, what’s great about that is when Hondo does do something honest, it’s so rare that it comes off as super honest. Hondo usually only looks out for number one. Which is precisely why Hondo Ohnaka is such a fan favorite. Add to that the acting of Jim Cummings, and you have a character that will be around for a long, long time.
It Was A Tale Of Three Falcons
These particular tales stretch across an extensive timeline as Hondo tells First Order spy, Bazine Netal, in a cantina on Batuu, all about three occasions when he came across the Falcon and her crew. Netal is searching for the Falcon and believes Hondo is the present owner; but first she must sit through these stories before he begins negotiations. Surely it’s a small price to pay to get your hands on the galaxy’s most infamous ship, right?
With the first book, “Lando’s Luck,” by Justina Ireland, which focuses on the Falcon’s previous owner Lando Calrissian, this story looks at Han Solo, her longest and most famous captain. And where Han Solo goes, his co-pilot and long-time friend Chewbacca goes right with him.
Part One takes place about one year before A New Hope, but after the liberation of Lothal, and Hondo tells Bazine about the first time he encountered the Falcon. He was actually attempting to steal the freighter at the time but went from criminal to stowaway. Han and Chewie return with a client who paid them 10,000 credits for a mission when one thing leads to another, and Hondo inserts himself into the ploy.
Spoken Like a True Scoundrel
This first part serves as an introduction between Hondo, Han and Chewie, and their individual characteristics, but Anders does take them on quite an adventure. In fact, the maneuvering between Hondo and Han is enough to make things interesting as these two scoundrels give each other more than they can handle. Ever the observer, it’s interesting to see Hondo take a mental note of the bond Han and Chewbacca has between them.
While the events near the end of this tale are relatively predictable, they are very entertaining as the group finds themselves in one ridiculous situation after another. Tie-ins to other material are subtle, but one-liners like this are fun to come by:
[Hondo} “How did two such scoundrels as yourselves get such a fabulous hyperdrive?”Pirate’s Price
“That’s a story for another time,” Solo replied.
Some of the dialogue, primarily spoken by Han, comes across a little off-putting:
“You don’t shut your mouth”, said Solo, “and you may find yourself smashed apart anyway.”Pirate’s Price
Anders is going for the cynical Han from A New Hope, but it could’ve been toned down just a hair. However, Anders does nail Han’s cockiness. There were even parts where, during his narration, Hondo broke the fourth wall, which actually puts the reader in the shoes of Bazine:
“Are you sure you’ve never been to Gwongdeen? No? That surprises me, it does.”
Hondo reveals his soft side in a touching scene between him and Chewie:
“I could’ve slammed the boarding ramp, and stolen their ship after all, right then and there. But of course, Chewbacca knew that. That was why he went first—and left me alone with the Falcon. And that, of course, is why I followed.”
He knew Chewbacca trusted him not to steal the Falcon, and so he couldn’t betray that trust. Hondo is respectable deep down regardless of his attempts to make it seem like he is a scoundrel pirate. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, namely ones like this:
“Just so you know,” he [Han] said. “I have no confidence we can pull this off.”
I [Hondo] replied with a smile, “No confidence is better than none.”
Lines like this make absolutely no sense which is why they’re so funny.
We Meet Again, At Last
In Part Two of Pirate’s Price, Hondo recalls a time many years later when he returned to Takodana. While there on business, he spots the Millennium Falcon once again and considers stealing it, yet again. But like before he is halted by Solo and Chewbacca just in the nick of time.
The two of them are kidnapped by ship smugglers known as the “Hackjackers” who have been taking ships and selling them for parts, right under the eyes and ears of Maz Kanata. And again, Hondo nearly permanently borrows the Falcon. This time he’s stopped by Maz who cautions him against it, then the two of them go search for Han and Chewie. The two of them end up locating the kidnappers, and their headquarters, who are led by a Delphidian (think Sidon Ithano) named Tjepo Juibop, and free Han and Chewbacca.
This is a delightful little tale for two reasons, and both are connected to The Force Awakens. First, Hondo mentions the Ohnaka Gang flag that hangs from Kanata’s castle, which is visible in the movie as Han, Rey, Finn, and BB-8 arrive at her front door. Second, Hondo asks Bazine if she’s been to Maz’s castle before; obviously, she has, being the spy that dropped a dime on the whereabouts of BB-8 to the First Order. Curious that Hondo would ask her this question since it’s her intel that led to the castle’s destruction. The conclusion is that he knew this fact, in which case he’s not looking to do her any favors, like sell her the Millennium Falcon?
Porgs vs. Hondo Round One
Finally, in Part Three, the details of how Hondo would come to own the Falcon become apparent. This tale happens after The Last Jedi and now Chewbacca, with a new co-pilot Rey, are the Falcon’s crew. Unexpectedly, Hondo shows remorse upon hearing about the death of Han. It’s a brief moment Anders slides in, but it reverberates.
Chewie lets Hondo borrow the Millennium Falcon in exchange for tools and parts both the Falcon and the Resistance need. Hondo needs the Falcon to make some much-needed runs to Wild Space territory while setting up his new operation, Ohnaka Transport Solutions.
While en route Hondo encounters an old nemesis from Part One, a Pakiphantos (picture a two-legged elephant) named Trunc Adurmush, who desires the Falcon and revenge. Fortunately, or unfortunately for Hondo, he made allies out of the Falcon’s newest inhabitants, a flock of Porgs.
Back on Batuu, Bazine is glad the stories have finally come to an end so they can start negotiating a price for the Falcon. The twist at the end is unexpected and will connect to a bigger picture, as most canon material does nowadays.
It’s very cool how so many of the so-called members of the underworld have crossed paths. Han and Chewbacca have crossed paths with Lando Calrissian, Hondo Ohnaka, Maz Kanata, and Dok Ondar. Meanwhile, Hondo has worked with Han, Maz, Doctor Aphra, and Dok Ondar. Maz has most likely met Aunt Z from Star Wars Resistance. It’s much like those that work in the same profession have worked together at one point or another.
Annie Wu Does it Again
The interior illustrations in PIrate’s Price, along with the cover, are once again drawn by artist Annie Wu, who also contributed her talents to Amy Ratcliffe’s book, “Women of the Galaxy.” Considering the length of the book, 225 pages, it could have used a few more illustrations by Wu, some of the descriptions were a little too alien to picture.
Hondo is one of those memorable Star Wars characters who have been in nearly everything the franchise has put out within the last 5-10 years, including The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, The Freemaker Adventures, comic books, books, and novels. A fan favorite to be sure, it seems his time as a leading man has finally come as Hondo is featured in the Smuggler’s Run attraction in the Galaxy’s Edge theme parks.
The characters make reading this book just about as much fun as you can have while hearing about familiar characters in mortal danger. This book has a little something for everybody. Pirate’s Price comes wholly recommended as well as other “Flight of the Falcon” additions.
If you plan on consuming via audiobook, you’re in for a treat. The audiobook is narrated by Jim Cummings, the original voice actor who brought Hondo endearingly to life in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It’s available from Audible.com.
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