L3’s wish turned into a nightmare.
The lovable self-made droid from Solo: A Star Wars Story was a huge proponent of droid rights, encouraged her fellow droids to stand up for themselves, and wanted to see droids treated with more respect. But not even L3 would wish the nightmare that Last Shot bad guy Fyzen Gor was going to unleash upon the galaxy. Seeking to find the Phylanx, a mysterious device that has the capacity to broadcast a signal that would turn droids into killing machines, Gor is in a race against Han Solo and Lando Calrissian to see who finds it first.
Author Daniel Jose Older delves into both characters’ past and present to weave together a story that adds new depth to two legendary and beloved characters. Both men are having difficulties with commitment, just in different ways. Han is struggling to cope with being a new dad and what that means to his life of traipsing all over the galaxy. Lando is struggling to deal with some deep feelings he has for a woman who has come back into his life and if he is willing to give up his rogue-ish lifestyle to devote himself to one person. In the meantime, both men are trying to figure out the mystery of the Phylanx and Fyzen Gor.
Daniel is great at re-shaping your thinking about the Star Wars universe. He introduces Peekpa – an insanely smart Ewok with computer hacking abilities to shame most sentient beings. Most people don’t think of Ewoks as being tech savvy or sophisticated, but Peekpa defintely is. Daniel also challenges our perspectives on Gungans. There’s one part in the book where Han and Chewie meet one of the native Naboo species and Han starts talking to him in what he assumes is a Gungan dialect when the Gungan stops him and says, “Let me stop you right there, buddy.” Han quizzically asks, “Uh…What’s happening?” And Aro the Gungan says, “I am saving you the trouble of further embarrassing yourself with all the meesa meesa bantha poodoo. Just don’t.” Setting the record straight, Aro points out that Han is jumping to conclusions about what a Gungan is. Then there is Taka – the first non-binary, non-gender specific being in the Star Wars universe, who by the way is extremely cool. It’s refreshing to see Daniel challenging our assumptions of the Star Wars universe yet making it be in line with the values we’ve come to expect as fans.
The only thing I’m still troubled by is why it is called Last Shot. It just isn’t clear at all (at least not to me) and I’m hoping someone can clear it up. Who’s last shot? Is it a reference to Han shooting first in the Cantina scene from A New Hope? Was there a last shot in the book it is supposed to reference? There was one character I thought it could pertain to, but then it really wasn’t a “last shot.” That wasn’t the only problem I had with the book. At times, the action jumped around so much from place to place and from time to time that it was a bit confusing. Having to go back and try to make sense of where you are in the story is not ideal. I was also bothered by Han’s foul language at the beginning of the book. It seemed against character and distracted from the story, but it only happened in the beginning and he reverted to type. And considering Solo‘s references to Han’s past, it would have been interesting for Han to reflect on his own lack of a father in his life and how that affects his parenting. But those were minor problems compared to the satisfaction from reading Daniel’s well-crafted story. Last Shot is a must-read for Han and Lando fans. Who was your favorite character in the book? Han or Lando? I chose Lando!