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Star Wars: The Lando Calrissian Adventures (Classic Star Wars) Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 1994
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These three short books (in one volume) take place for the classic SW heroes about five to three years before Episode IV (depending on which adventure of the trilogy we are talking about), or, in other words, about eight to six years before we meet Lando in Episode V. Lando is a very young man trying to make his way in the galaxy, and it shows in his glaring lack of ability compared to later on. Though he does, of course, show the first hints of the brilliant pilot and tactician he later would become, as these novels begin, he is a talented gambler and smooth talker. Not much else.
Of course, he's not really as good at those thing either, at least not as much as he thinks he is. Oh, he can play games brilliantly, such as being so good at *sabacc* that he struggles to actually lose *on purpose*. And he can think on his feet and talk fast in tough pickles. But the difficulties he finds himself in, and how easily he is boxed in, show that he is not as good at reading others as he thinks he is, and that he is *quite* naive at times.
Of course, that is part of the charm, in that we get to actually *see* Lando Calrissian become the pretty badass guy he is in the last two original films. We see some of the beginnings of that growth, at least. And of course, one doesn't become that type of guy with no real tests of endurance and thus we get the main difficulty for this series, the Big Bad.
In this trilogy that part was played by a character called Rokur Gepta, the "Sorcerer of Tund". Later materials outright state Force powers for these mystics and somewhat (I think) Dark Side conjurors. Even in this early series, the author, L. Neil Smith, hinted at this somewhat, or at least left it vague enough that it could be easily worked into later plots. I mean, this guy was an influential political figure that had Emperor Palpatine's ear, and knew various seemingly mystical secrets. "Fellow Force User" is practically screaming in your face here.
The characterization was pretty good. Gepta is actually shown to not just be empty inside but to *like* being that way. He is chillingly evil, and not just proud but nonchalant about his crimes. Vuffi Raa, Lando's droid aide and pilot, is probably the heart of the books, as his journey of friendship with Lando and self-discovery about his origins are what drive the plot. And finally, for Lando himself. He is a good guy trying to act mercenary. But in the end, even if he can be self-centered and egotistical at times, he is a good and honorable man who cares about others and wants to do the right thing. Of course, he wants to get rich while doing so, preferably while gambling and avoiding real work, but he's a good guy nonetheless. The seeds are there and it's fun to see the beginnings of this good man and badass guy.
A really fun trilogy, if a tad short as some sci-fi books were at the time, more often than not. I really enjoyed, and Highly Recommend, this trilogy.
*Lando Calrissian and the Mindharp of Sharu* (Vol. 1) - 4/5 Stars
*Lando Calrissian and Flamewind of Oseon* (Vol. 2) - 3.5/5 Stars
*Lando Calrissian and the Starcave of Thonboka* (Vol. 3) - 5/5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars.
What I loved the most though was Lando's epic friendship with his droid, Vuffi Raa. Awesome bromance!
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