(2019) Delilah S. Dawson, Century, Ł20, hrdbk, 381pp, ISBN 978-1-780-89990-9
Walk the ancient streets, meet the colourful 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 colourful 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.
Here we go again, with another Star Wars book from the new timeline novel, in a series of novels that revolves around all the Star Wars movies, be they part of the trilogies or standalone films. Here, Black Spire is situated between The Last Jedi and
Dawson is pretty much at home in the Star Wars universe and the plot gathers momentum from a slow start to being told in short snappy chapters from multiple viewpoints as we reach the end of the 57 chapters, plus an epilogue, that makes up Black Spire. Two plus points are that parts of the novel take place during the time of two of the movies - guess which ones? And if you have read Phasma, you will be pleased to see the return of some familiar faces from that novel - some with old scores to settle, some that have switched allegiances, namely Vi Moradi who is a Resistance spy and Captain Cardinal who is now calling himself Archex. Whether their adventures will have any connection to The Rise of Skywalker only time will tell, but some of the settings on the planet Batuu have been replicated at the Galaxy Edge attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In fact there is a lot of world-building going on here, but these are worlds that can now be visited, thus Disney conquers a galaxy, far, far away by creating attractions and having writers incorporate those attractions in their novels and readers will be able to buy goods mentioned in this novel, visit places, meet characters and do things that they have read about here.
Cynical marketing ploy, or genuine Star Wars novel? You pay your twenty pounds and then decide whether to visit a Disney resort, or not. While this is a well-written book, with attention-grabbing pace at times, none of the characters really stand out well enough to make me care if I see them again in future titles, as for this book, it doesn’t really add anything of importance to the Star Wars canon.
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