Most Wanted Book Review: Scrumrats, Religious Rodians, and Droid Gangsters

Rae Carson’s newest Star Wars book, Most Wanted, follows the exploits of two Corellian scrumrats before their lives were forever entwined with 190 year old Wookiees, caped crusading smugglers, and devilish crime bosses.


A prequel to Solo: A Star Wars Story, the tie-in novel focuses on a teenaged Han and Qi’ra who are barely scraping by as scrumrats in service to Lady Proxima. After the mysterious disappearance of her last Head of the White Worms, the sewer-dwelling gangster separately offers the two an opportunity to prove themselves and earn a big promotion for a seemingly simple task. Walk into a meeting, say a few choice code words, and come back. Sounds easy, right? Naturally, Han and Qi’ra jump at the chance and quickly embark on their missions, unaware that they’re going to head to head with one another. Everything seems to be going according to plan – until it isn’t. A deal to buy the Empire’s blueprints for a shield generator goes awry when members of rival gangs take the term “bidding war” to a whole new level. Now, Han and Qi’ra are on the run from assassins and droids and White Worms – oh my!


Most Wanted moves at a pace that could easily keep time with that of the movie its based on. The plot, simple in its execution, moves along at the speed of a Conveyex train and never lets up as it seamlessly transitions between both Han and Qi’ra’s point of view. But while the movie puts Han front and center, the novel serves as a spotlight for Qi’ra. This is a girl who has grown up with no one to trust but herself. She’s fallen in with the White Worm gang for lack of options but refuses to submit herself to a life of eating dog biscuits (yes, you read that right), instead aspiring to rise in rank and power all while keeping an array of secrets from everyone around her. When she is forced to eventually rely on Han, Qi’ra never becomes the princess in need of rescue. Instead, she takes the opportunity to gather intel on her new ally in the event that she ever needs it for blackmail purposes. Capable and cunning, the book sets up the older iteration of Qi’ra we know from the movie, an intelligent young woman with the skill and ambition to survive among the worse the galaxy has to offer.



Most Wanted marks Rae Carson’s third entry into the Star Wars universe having written “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing” for the Canto Bight anthology and an R5-D4 short story for the 40th anniversary collection From A Certain Point of View. Carson has a great handle on the characters we’ve seen flicker across movie screens this past weekend and flexes some serious creative muscle by fleshing out this little seen corner of the galaxy. While Crimson Dawn remains mysterious, we do get to learn more about another infamous criminal organization that has been making a name for itself recently: the Droid Gotra. First mentioned in the Tarkin novel, Droid Gotra is a band of repurposed battle droids who are attempting to place a foothold in Corellia. They’ve recently popped up in both the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comic book series from Marvel where they sought to obtain the design matrix for murderous droid Triple-Zero. Carson also shines a brief spotlight on Rebolt, a character who was Constable Zuvio-ed out of Solo: A Star Wars Story despite being featured prominently on a LEGO set. Rebolt takes care of the Corellian hounds we see Moloch using to hunt down Han and Qi’ra in the movie and we learn in the pages of Most Wanted that he was largely excluded and disliked by those around him – which is probably why he takes such glee in hunting down his fellow scrumrats. The novel also adds another little wrinkle into the past of Han. In an effort to get to know each other better, Han tells Qi’ra a story about his father:


“I remember one night after he’d been drinking, he took me back to the freighter factory where he worked. ‘I wanted you to see this. These ships. This is what I build. What I give to the galaxy. But no matter how many hours I put in, I’m nothing, a nobody.’ Then, he said, ‘Han, my boy, when you grow up, don’t build ships like me. You’re meant for better. You’re meant to fly them.”


Qi’ra is immediately suspicious, not taking Han as one to open up with such a personal story, and inquires as to whether or not he’s lying. Han shrugs it off with a “I guess you’ll never know” and quickly changes the subject. Considering he mentions his father as a shipbuilder in passing to Lando later on in life, it’s possible that this story has a kernel of truth to it. But if Han can remember these late night musings with his father, how can it be possible that he doesn’t remember his last name? Or has Han shed his surname and this part of his past in order to keep himself from being just another “nobody”?



One of the most interesting new additions to the Star Wars canon, as introduced by Carson, is the character of Tsuulo. An orphaned Rodian with a crooked antennae, Tsuulo represents the poor of the planet. Having lost his parents at a young age, Tsuulo is left with a brother who blew their inheritance on a new racing speeder and his growing belief in the all powerful, all consuming Force. Carson plays up the notion that the growing rate of poverty on the planet has also increased the number of people who have found religious solace in the Force. Tsuulo prays to the Force, wishes it on others and consults with it as one would do with any higher power they believe in. While Han brushes off the idea of a mystical power guiding their purpose, he’s much more tolerant to the idea of the “hokey religion” in this stage of his life – something we know will change as he sets out into the world beyond the one he knows.


If you enjoyed Solo: A Star Wars Story and want a glimpse into the teenage years of Han and Qi’ra as they struggle with survival, hunger, and young love – Most Wanted is a highly recommended new addition to the ever expanding history of that galaxy far far away.



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Under the twin suns of Los Angeles, Chris continues to mourn the loss of Admiral Ackbar while championing the rights of Ewoks everywhere. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Chri5Manning for all your pun needs.

Chris Manning

Under the twin suns of Los Angeles, Chris continues to mourn the loss of Admiral Ackbar while championing the rights of Ewoks everywhere. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @Chri5Manning for all your pun needs.