“An all-new adventure starring Lando Calrissian and L3-37 onboard the Millennium Falcon. When Lando Calrissian gets caught smuggling on the planet Hynestia, the queen agrees to let him go if he delivers something called the Solstice Globe to the Empire on her behalf. Lando is relieved that his punishment is a simple delivery mission — but things are not as simple as they seem. The queen’s daughter, Princess Rinetta, has stowed away on the Millennium Falcon and demands that Lando and L3-37 take the globe back to its home planet, which needs the globe to survive. Now Lando has to choose: do what’s right or do what’s best for Lando? If he’s lucky enough, he just might be able to do both…”
Although the Star Wars movies are overall still struggling with basic diversity of anyone other than straight white people, the books in the new canon are absolutely resplendent with it. Lando’s Luck is the perfect example of this; it’s basically a book about Black people in space. Lando Calrissian, Princess Rinetta, and her mother Queen Forsythia dominate the narrative, with L337 and a few other aliens as supporting characters. The main plot and subplots are all driven by the Black characters. White people are few and far between. Compare that to the original trilogy, the prequels, the new trilogy, and the standalones (and, given their poor history on Game of Thrones, presumably the forthcoming trilogy by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss) and you’ll see why a mostly Black cast is so exciting for me.
Beyond the race of the characters, the story is just so much fun. It’s middle grade adventure, but Ireland doesn’t talk down to her younger readers or tame down the action. Rinetta has real worries and concerns. She may be young but she isn’t silly or thoughtless. Children should feel empowered to make change and push back against something they don’t think is right. Rinetta often takes on more than she can manage, but the adults around her give her the support she needs to follow through without taking over.
Lastly, I can’t forget to sing the praises of Annie Wu. Her illustrations are playful, easy, detailed without being cluttered. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long while now, and she always knocks it out of the park.
What can I say about Lando’s Luck other than it’s kriffing great? I’m a huge Star Wars fan and nerd and love exploring the ‘verse in side books and comics (especially Poe Dameron and Doctor Aphra). I also looooove Justina Ireland (Dread Nation y’all). So of course I had to read her take on Star Wars. And of course it’s, well, kriffing great.
“I know the Millennium Falcon. I know it well. Even flew it once,” the woman said, laughing at some far-off memory.
“When did you first see the ship?” Bazine asked, feeling as though the world were shifting slightly every few moments, as though she stood on the deck of a sea craft instead of sitting in a cantina on a deserted backwater planet. The woman made her unseasy.
“Long ago, when I was a girl.” The woman’s eyes lost focus as she drifted off into memory, a slight smile on her face. Bazine started the recorder under her coat, but the woman didn’t seem to notice. She was already caught up in the spinning of the tale.
“It was a beauty of a ship then, refurbished by a man who loved that ship almost more than he loved anything but himself,” the woman said. “A smuggler who went by the name of Lando Calrissian.”
Do the world a favor and buy this book from your local indie bookstore or borrow it from your public library.