The latest Star Wars book I've read is Lando's Luck, an adventure taking place before the Solo film. Which is great, because we get to spend time with Lando while he both owns the Falcon and is working with L3-37.
Spoiler-free review: I loved this book. Lando is always a fun character to read or watch, especially since this version is more oriented towards the younger version of Lando we saw Donald Glover play. And of course, L3-37 is an amazing (if difficult) droid that's lovable in her own way. However, a lot of the joy for me came from the book's original characters, who were all unique and had their own interesting stories that came to play.
If you like the movie Solo, Lando Calrissian, or just fun Star Wars adventures, I'd definitely recommend this book, which you can find wherever you usually find your books. If you've already read it, or don't mind seeing some spoilers before you do, then read on for my thoughts on Lando's Luck!
Obviously being called Lando's Luck, Lando gets a big focus in this book. He's the scoundrel we all know and love, trying (and failing) to create illegal schemes that will help him become rich. Of course Lando runs into trouble (the luck in the title seems to be bad luck), and doesn't quite get there. However, Lando does the other thing we know and love him for (besides his fashion obsession, which is also big in the book) which is do the right thing, as much as he may grumble about it. The driving force of the plot is that they are trying to return a powerful energy source called the Solstice Globe to Zell's (one of the main characters, the fluffy one in the picture above) home planet, in order to save it. While Lando is reluctant, because he's supposed to be taking the globe somewhere else in service to a queen so she doesn't feed him to a lizard, but because Lando does have a heart (and is convinced by being told that he'll be a "legend") he does help them take the Solstice Globe back to its rightful people.
Then, there's of course L3-37. L3 is about what you'd expect from her in this book if you've seen Solo already. She's witty, funny, and values herself and her independence. We know that L3 is an essential part of the Falcon, both before and after Solo, and it was nice to see her get some appreciation in the book. She got to show off her flying abilities, especially in a maneuver that she and Lando call the "Mustafarian Special," which sounds both very fun and very vomit-inducing (and does invoke some vomit).
But this book really brings it with the original female characters- and there are plenty. In fact, there aren't really any super notable male characters (besides Lando himself, of course).
The most important original character in the book is Princess Rinetta (the short girl pictured above). Honestly, I'd say in many ways that the book is actually more about her story than it is about Lando. Princess Rinetta is actually an old woman in the prologue and epilogue to the book, telling the story many years later to the spy Bazine Netal (from The Force Awakens) who is on the hunt for the Falcon. In the story, the princess is rebelling against her mother, who urges her to stay put and is enforcing the laws that get Lando in trouble, and that keep them from returning the Solstice Globe back to the Lynna (Zell's species). Rinetta was a great character- she was extremely resourceful and kind, but most of all she was persistent. Her attempts to help Zell return the Globe to her planet (Livno III) failed many times throughout the book, and there were times when she felt very helpless. But despite that, she never stopped trying always figuring out a new way to keep going on her mission, determined to succeed and fulfill her promise to Zell, no matter the cost. Rinetta is very young in the story, only thirteen years old, yet she already proves that she has admirable strength and wits, that no doubt assisted her throughout the rest of her life- as in the epilogue, it's revealed that when the Empire invaded their planet, the queen bought them all time by making a bold stand while Rinetta helped her people flee to Livno III, where the Empire never found them.
Rinetta's mother is the queen, Forsythia Jin. Forsythia Jin is a strict mother and ruler, who greatly values Hynestian (her culture, of the planet Hynestia) customs and showing strength to everyone, including the Empire itself. She has an interesting backstory- she's known by the title of the Assassin Queen, because of the story that when her parents died, she hunted down and killed every one of her twelve siblings with the help of a bounty hunter to make sure that none of them could claim the throne, and that she had absolute power. However, we find out that this isn't true. Forsythia actually took the throne, and warned her siblings to stay away from the planet, because if they returned, tradition dictated that they would have to battle for the throne, and Forsythia didn't want to do that if she didn't have to. The fact that she lets the fake Assassin Queen story run amok so much is an interesting part of her character- it's clear that she values showing a strength and even a cruel streak that she does not actually have, in order to keep her throne. Not to see she doesn't have some strength- she is pretty willing to execute Lando via lizard feeding, and doesn't hesitate to arrest Zell. However, she is also a very kind mother- she has many soft, sweet scenes with Rinetta, and even when Rinetta is in trouble, she is still very loving towards her.
The next most significant character is Zell. Zell is the fluffy Lynna who was Rinetta's teacher before she got in trouble for trying to take the Solstice Globe back to her home planet. She's a good guide for Rinetta through the book even from her jail cell, giving her a powerful necklace that can be used to make her invisible. Zell also isn't very fond of Lando since he cleaned her out in sabacc, claiming that he cheated (he did). However, despite her constant threats of shooting him, she is begrudgingly thankful when Lando helps her return the Solstice Globe to Livno III, and thanks him with a very valuable rock, that I'm sure Lando sold to help pay off some debts after the story's end.
There's other pretty remarkable women in the story. There's Ne'eda, the the fish-like crime lord that tries to eat Lando when he can't pay her back (not a role model, maybe, but still a cool lady), Twyla, the captain of the Hynestian royal guard that first captures Lando and serves the queen, and Jeskian Veldar, a bounty hunter that's hunting Lando. And of course, I definitely need to mention how great it is that both Rinetta and her mother, the royalty, are black women, who definitely have a long way to go before they get their due as far as representation in Star Wars. In general, I was definitely impressed by the representation this book provides, and I was definitely happy with the fact that it was both written and illustrated by women.
Overall, Lando's Luck is a great book, and definitely one you should try and read for yourself to really take in the scope of all the great details, and the full extent of the page-turner of a story. Whether you do read it or not, I hope you enjoy my review!