Book Review: Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson

Published: August 27, 2019 (US); August 29, 2019 (UK)
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Cover Artist: Darren Tan
Publisher: Del Rey (US); Century (UK)
Formats: Hardback (400 pages), eBook (380 pages), Audiobook (777 minutes)
Timeline: 34 ABY

The synopsis;

Walk the ancient streets, meet the colorful characters, and uncover the secret history of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the upcoming expansion to the Disney Parks experience!

After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower―and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.

A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.

To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu―before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.

The review;

There is only one cover available for Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire and it is very striking. It has quite a painterly feel, and the blend of bright colours next to more muted tones really makes the cover pop. Resistance spy, Vi Moradi, looks appropriately ready for action, sporting a baton very similar to Jyn Erso’s preferred weapon of choice. Then, rather fittingly, the shady denizens of Batuu are only suggested by shadows in the background.

Black Spire works as a standalone story even if you haven’t read Dawson’s previous novel Star Wars: Phasma, because although there are returning characters, the impacting plot points from that book are explained throughout this one. However, it does help if you’ve read the previous title because you can understand some of the characters’ motivations and actions better.

Most of the events in Black Spire occur after The Last Jedi, with General Organa sending Vi Moradi to Batuu in order to set up a Resistance base and recruit new members for the cause after their crippling defeat on Crait. Dawson really delivers a story about hardship, setbacks and pushing through regardless, which are all challenges fans face in the real-world that make this story so relatable.

Obviously, this novel is meant to be an advert for the new Galaxy’s Edge world at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, but the first few chapters do seem a little forced. This is because Vi is led around the outpost by one of the locals, visiting every location fans can, and the tour guide approach advertises the attraction well but does seem to slow the plot. Thankfully this doesn’t last long, and the other Galaxy’s Edge references are included a lot more subtly throughout the book.

The first third of the novel is gorgeous world-building by Dawson as she describes the bustle of Black Spire Outpost, the old ruins bordering the town and the surrounding peaceful rural villages. As a reader it’s easy to imagine these places due to the amount of details provided. By even having colloquialisms unique to the locals, along with myths about the spires, there is an authenticity about Batuu that Dawson adds to throughout the story.

Vi’s mission to Batuu was never going to be easy and the plot really starts to pick up the pace once the First Order arrive, led by Lieutenant Wulfgar Kath, to hunt down her and any Resistance base. Reading this story, you really do feel for Vi as she battles through each hardship thrown her way, proving the strength of her character. She has to earn back all of her stolen equipment, play a game of cat and mouse with Kath, and learn to lead her new recruits. Her character-arc where she goes from working as a reckless lone-agent to a mature leader has similarities to Poe Dameron’s from The Last Jedi.

Along with returning characters there are a cast of new ones as Vi finds people willing to join the Resistance. They could be described as a motley crew, from a dashing smuggler to a genius Chadra-Fan tech, and each has their own specialty within the team. As they learn to work together there is some friction between them to begin with and this does make for entertaining reading as the characters squabble. Although they might all be very different, what every main character shares in Black Spire is that each has been through trauma and is trying to deal with it in their own way. This is a very emotional subject that Dawson writes extremely well by giving her characters a brief spotlight exploring the profound effects of their past.

Throughout Black Spire there are three main points-of-view; Vi, Archex (a.k.a Captain Cardinal) and Kath. However, nearing the end as Vi’s crew prepare for the final battle against Kath and his troops, each supporting character gets their own short chapter devoted to their viewpoint. It’s interesting to read their hopes and fears, and really ups the stakes for the ending.

Said ending is full of twists and sacrifices yet is rather open, probably to tie-in with events in the park itself, so although it finishes this particular story it does begin another. Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire is a good read if you want closure following the events of Star Wars: Phasma, and if you are actually preparing on visiting the park then this book will only build the anticipation for your trip.

Availability;

Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire was released on 29th August 2019 in hardback and is available at all good bookstores and through online retailers including Amazon with a RRP of £20. It is available in hardback, eBook and audiobook formats.

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Kat Rees-Jauke
It was LEGO that got Kat into Star Wars in 2015. After spontaneously buying the LEGO 10188 Death Star set, she finally decided to watch the Original Trilogy and from then on was completely absorbed into a galaxy far, far away. On a very early December morning, Kat got to see her first Star Wars film in the cinema and The Force Awakens still holds a special place in her heart. With this new era of content also came her favourite character – Kylo Ren.