The Third Installment of the Han Solo Adventures
I’m conflicted about Han Solo and the Lost Legacy. On the one hand, it’s a treasure hunt. On the other hand, the pacing is kind of terrible and at a lot of points, I just wanted it to end. It’s part three in a trilogy that doesn’t really connect, except for two characters that hang around from the first book, so it’s kind of like Indiana Jones really soon before there was Indiana Jones (I’ll get to that later). Essentially, I don’t feel any which way about this book, but I’m still going to break it down and tear it apart because that’s what I do best.
“There’s a fabled treasure at stake and a price on Han’s head. So he and Chewbacca head for a planet rumored to hide undreamed-of riches. But once they get there, Han’s beloved spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon, is hijacked by a band of assassins and killer robots. Their chances of survival are so slim, they might as well risk it all.”
It’s a Pirate Story!
There’s a treasure hunt! It’s not as much of an “X marks the spot,” Treasure Planet, going on an adventure like the Goonies treasure hunt as I wanted it to be. It’s actually kind of confusing and easily forgettable how they get all their information in the first place, as there’s no real map to this treasure, and it turns into more of an archaeological find than a treasure hunt. Essentially, it’s the type of story that goes, “There’s a legend of a treasure and we’re gonna find it.”
Published in 1980 and written by Brian Daley, Han Solo and the Lost Legacy follows Han Solo and Chewie as they meet old friend Badure and new friend Hasti who tell them about the legend of a treasure ship, the Queen of Ranroon. Badure knows Han from the Academy, and Hasti knows Badure from the Dellaltian mining camp where he took care of her and her sister, Lanni. As for the treasure, apparently, there’s a flight log recorder on the planet Dellalt that has the location of the lost treasure on it. And so, that becomes their mission, if only because they owe Badure a Life Debt and Chewbacca is a sensitive soul. Along with Skynx (a Ruurian professor of archeology) and Bollux and Blue Max (an old droid [Bollux] with a little computer boy [Blue Max] plugged into his chest cavity, two characters from the first book in the trilogy) the gang heads off to Dellalt to find the flight log recorder Hasti’s dead sister left in a bank vault on the planet.
Han Solo’s Characterization is Pretty Good
He’s sarcastic, he’s risky, he uses a lot of gambling terminology. Sometimes he’s kind of a dickweed. At one point, we get strangely deep into his psyche, his characterization, and why he’s always alone. Well, it’s not discussed exactly why he’s alone. Hasti calls him out, asks “Where are all the people, Han?” Which is a good point. At this time Han Solo is alone; he hasn’t met Luke and Leia yet so all he has is Chewbacca. He has no human friends, and everyone he meets now is just “temporary cargo.”
Where the book falls flat, for me, is it doesn’t go into depth with this. Hasti continues her mini-rant, going on about “light housekeeping in a starship isn’t my idea of a dream come true.” So she’s getting on Han’s case about trying to seduce her when earlier she brought up the much more interesting point of him always being alone. Instead of making sure we know that Hasti is a strong independent woman (which we know already just by the nature of her character), I wish the book had gone more in-depth with Han’s characterization and his habit of isolation.
The OCs Are Decent
A Ruurian, “a little over a meter long, low to the ground, his natural coat a thick, woolly amber with bands of brown and red.” He has eight pairs of limbs, feathery antennae, “big, multifaceted red eyes, a tiny mouth, and small nostrils.” According to Badure, he’s a “ranking expert on Pre-Republic times.” Basically, he’s a hairy worm professor, and I pictured the worm from Labyrinth throughout the entire novel.
Spunky, feisty, rough-and-tumble, and reminds me of Leia at some points. When Han first meets her, she’s described as “short and slender, not long into womanhood, with a pale face and disorderly red hair that hung limply. Her brows and lashes were so light that they scarcely showed.” She spent most of her life working in the Dellaltian mines, and she has rough hands and shabby clothing, and Han thinks of her as “lowest-echelon tech or other toiler.” I really liked Hasti as a character (not only because she’s one of two women in this book) because she doesn’t put up with any crap from Han or Badure or anyone else. I know, that’s pretty much the mark of a Strong Female Character, but she didn’t seem overly strong or unrealistically written. She still had flaws, which is the mark of an Actual Female Character.
Knows Han from their days in the Academy, and when he runs into Han again he “seemed to have come on hard times”. He’s an older, large man with a good sense of humor and a loyal streak. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was a father figure to Han, but at least like that older kid you grew up with in the cul-de-sac and had to hang out with and were pretty much friends with. His character has that kind of feel, and I didn’t really connect with it. He was just there, and I don’t have any feelings about him. I didn’t really like him, but I also didn’t dislike him.
Chewbacca is a Fancy Man
He goes to the spa! (“Chewbacca was still enjoying the pleasures of a full-service grooming.”) He has a fancy hat he stole from an admiral in the second book! (“He…tried straightening the Authority Security Police admiral’s hat perched rakishly on his head, his lush mane escaping from beneath it.”) He tries to seduce two human girls who are studying the Wookiee language at the university? He does do that a little bit. (“‘Captain Chewbacca told us his copilot would be coming by to meet him. He invited us to go with you on a groundcoach ride.'”)
This Series as a Whole is Just Indiana Jones Goes to Space
You know how the Indiana Jones series starts out with the first one with Marion, and then in the second and third movies it goes back to before he meets Marion and he gets involved with two other women? You know how the series was written where he’d have a different woman in every movie? This book series feels kind of like that, wherein Han becomes involved with a different woman in every story. First, an outlaw tech named Jessa (a character infinitely cooler than Han), then someone named Fiolla in the second book (which, admittedly, I didn’t finish), and then he tries it with Hasti in the third book.
This third book itself is very Indiana Jones Goes to Space because they’re literally searching for a treasure. Except Han is going to spend it instead of putting it in a museum, but whatever, nuances.
Almost Too Much Action
There never seems a time where our characters slow down and take a breather. Or sleep, for that matter. It’s constantly go-go-go and for a reader, that gets tiring. I don’t mean for things to be unnaturally short, but some concision would be nice; not every action scene needs to be multiple pages long, okay?
This scene goes on for eight pages, about six longer than it should. In this scene, a group of bad guys (who we never learn the names of and I still don’t really know where they came from) chases the gang in a limo, shoots at them a lot, and Chewbacca drives like a mad man. This all could’ve been accomplished in about three or four pages.
Fighting the Shore Gang
While this is the shortest action sequence, lasting about three pages, I still feel it was too long, considering what was happening was only a fist fight with some characters who aren’t even important in the long run.
Kasarax versus Shazeen
In this scene, two sauropteroids—Shazeen and his nephew Kasarax—race each other to see who gets to rule over the lake. The thing is, Shazeen is pulling Han and the crew in a raft boat across the lake. Kasarax is pulling his Shore Gang, who attack Han and company. This goes on for five pages and it only furthers the plot of these two characters who we didn’t know much about in the first place and never see again afterward.
Escape from the Survivors
The Survivors are an indigenous-modeled people who inhabit the mountains of Dellalt; they are the secret guardians of the big huge robots who guard the treasure. They capture Han and friends, preparing to sacrifice them for reasons which I’m still not clear on; Bollux and Blue Max eventually open the cage holding our heroes and distract the Survivors so they can escape. That’s pretty much all there is, except there are eight pages of it. Chewbacca does end up using a huge gong to make a Mulan-style ride across the snow, which is unrealistic but still the most interesting part of their escape.
This is eighteen pages of solid action before things slow down even the slightest. And it slows down into a scene that doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is tiring. At this point, I just wanted the book to end. Sometimes, a little bit of slow pacing is good. Even characters need to sleep.
Gallandro is Basically Useless
Gallandro is a marksman who apparently has beef with Han over something that’s never really explained (“‘I backed Gallandro down a while back, didn’t even realize who he was…I made him look pretty bad, but I never thought he’d go to all this trouble.'”). The problem with this is, we don’t know what kind of trouble Gallandro is going through to get Han. Han mentions him on page 419 and he doesn’t show up again until page 475. He’s a convenient character to use to stir things up at the end when Han and Skynx find the treasure; but he’s defeated easily and his entire arc is anticlimactic. I know nothing about him, I don’t know why he’s trying to get revenge on Han, and he’s basically useless.
Things Are Easily Explained Away
Ah, we’re back again with Exposition Theater. This, in my opinion, is a sign of bad writing, when things are just Explained Away. There are a few instances like this in Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, where things are Explained not even in dialogue, which is less bad, but in solid blocks of text in the narrative. When I read a book, I want things to come together naturally on their own, I want that Ah-ha! moment when I finally put two and two together. In this book, the answers wait there, ready to be explained. I wouldn’t call Lost Legacy a bad book per se. It just does some bad things narrative-wise.
This isn’t a bad book. I’m probably making it sound like a bad book, but I promise Han Solo and the Lost Legacy is pretty good, all things considered. Does it make some mistakes? Sure, it definitely does. Can I look past those mistakes and focus on the good parts of this book? For the most part, yeah. I’d recommend Han Solo and the Lost Legacy to anyone who wants something more substantial than, say, The Glove of Darth Vader. Also, to anyone who likes Han Solo, likes constant action, and doesn’t mind the lack of lightsaber battles.