Last seen in the novel Phasma, Resistance spy Vi Moradi returns in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge Black Spire and it’s good to have her back. Delilah S. Dawson’s newest Star Wars tale makes great use of the setting on Batuu while exploring resilience and providing insight into the rebuilding of the Resistance after The Last Jedi.
When Moradi was first introduced in Dawson’s Phasma, she was a fully fledged character and central to the narrative framing but not necessarily the focus on that story. In Black Spire, the spotlight really is on Vi. Set during The Force Awakens and then moving to after The Last Jedi, the book’s early pacing is a bit awkward. Momentum gets going, redirects, then gets cut off again by a quick info download before the story is back to taking off in its original direction.
This book is clearly written so that anyone new to Star Wars books and maybe not mired in the details of the movies either can pick it up – say, for instance, a Disney Parks-goer visiting the real-life Black Spire Outpost. And while I’m all for making Star Wars books accessible for readers to jump in anywhere, the first quarter to half of the book explains a very noticeable lot.
Once you get past all that though the pacing finds itself in a brisk trot as Lieutenant Moradi works to set up a Resistance Base outside Black Spire Outpost and find sorely-needed hands to join the cause. After seeing a fair amount of not-so-great spy work in other Star Wars media, it’s reassuring to know they’ve got a least one person trained, with the experience, and well-suited for the job. Of course storytelling often doesn’t allow our hero to stay comfortable for long and Dawson rather seamlessly explores Vi’s struggles shifting from a solo operator to a leader.
She’s joined over time by an expanding cast of characters all from differing backgrounds with different skills and levels of commitment. Their journey in coming together is a believable one as they ride the ups and downs of doing something scary and new. The man once known as Cardinal also returns from the Phasma novel while the author explores what he’s like without the armor figuratively and literally. Meanwhile Krikri, a Chandra-Fan with a deep love of technology, and Zade, a smuggler who very much cares about his clothes, were constantly locked as my new favorites. Zade’s entrance is a very obvious one, but since his arrival really starts bringing humor to flourish in the story, I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.
Technically Black Spire is a prequel to the experience of going to the real-life Galaxy’s Edge in either Disneyland or Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. It’s a harsher story than what you’ll probably experience in the park but there are a lot of elements that will enhance your appreciation for certain locations and names you’ll find there if you read this before you go. Some, like name-dropping possibly every specialty drink and many food items they’re offering in the parks, is a little heavy-handed. But if you eat that stuff up, you won’t go hungry. Others, like scrapyard owner Savi and his team of Gatherers, bring to life another way beings interact with the Force in the galaxy far, far away and make the characters sound even cooler and more intriguing than they have in the park promotional materials.
Overall, Black Spire is an engaging story regardless of whether you ever set foot in the parks. It’s a little bit Indiana Jones meets Star Wars and a lot of introspection, hope, and getting back up when you’ve been knocked down. The book is one of our first looks in the post The Last Jedi story era and gives a sound impression of how the Resistance could start to come back from their loss at Crait. There are tiny specks of answers to some of the questions you might have going into The Rise of Skywalker. And it lives in a novel that emotionally anchors its characters, bringing them into each new day without forgetting their pasts.
The publisher provided FANgirl with a copy of the book for review. As usual opinions are my own.
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