This review contains mild spoilers for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire and Star Wars: Phasma, both by Delilah S. Dawson.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah Dawson is part of a series of tie-ins not only to the films, but also to the Star Wars themed land, Galaxy’s Edge, at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The book in many ways serves as a guide to Black Spire Outpost — to the citizens, the shops, the eateries, and the local color in general. However, it’s also a really good story!
Vi Moradi, a spy introduced in Dawson’s book Phasma, is sent by General Leia Organa on a mission to set up a base for what’s left of the Resistance after the events of The Last Jedi. She’s also charged with finding recruits to the cause, those sympathetic to the Resistance, or those simply tired of living under the threat of the First Order. Assisting Vi on her mission is a PK-Ultra worker droid, nicknamed Pook, and Archex — better known as Captain Cardinal, also introduced in Phasma.
If you’ve read Phasma, you know Vi and Cardinal have a complicated past. He was her captor and torturer when he was still part of the First Order. As the events of Phasma unfolded, Vi was able to make her escape and she saved Cardinal in the process.
Reverting to his given name, Archex is held by the Resistance as he recovers from injuries inflicted by a confrontation with Captain Phasma. As a result of their recent experiences, Vi and Archex are broken people, each carrying deep wounds both physical and emotional. Perhaps working together to build a Resistance base could help heal them both.
Things get off to a bumpy start for the team when they crash land onto Batuu. While unconscious, their ship and supplies are looted by locals, leaving Vi, Archex, and Pook with very little to build from. Vi realizes she needs to earn money to buy her stolen supplies back from local crime boss, Oga Garra. Vi finds employment with Savi, friend of Lor San Tekka and proprietor of a scrapyard. In Savi, and a co-worker, Ylena, Vi finds souls who are sympathetic to the Resistance, and are believers in the Force.
After a rough beginning, things finally start looking up for Vi and her mission. Until the First Order arrives on Batuu, and everything changes. The locals who thought the dangers of the galaxy were far from their peaceful existence are suddenly confronted with real tyranny. Vi is being hunted, and everything her team has been building for the Resistance is in jeopardy.
Black Spire is a well-crafted story. A spy yarn at its heart, with all the action you’d expect from Star Wars. Vi Moradi and Archex are fascinating, and the supporting characters are well-defined. I enjoyed getting to know them, even the unseemly ones. The true standout for me, however, was Archex.
Vi rescued Archex because she saw something good in him, beyond the terrible things he put her through. She saw potential, and a heart, and she was right. Through Archex, you really see the cruelty and the cold nature of the First Order. They take people, good people, and twist them into something unrecognizable. Of course some are true believers, but many in the First Order were brainwashed from the start into believing. The former Captain Cardinal is one such person, and in Black Spire we see the heart of the man and come to understand why Vi would take the risk of saving her torturer. It also speaks to the content of her character as well. She did the hard thing, because it was right thing.
I mentioned earlier that Black Spire also serves as a guide of sorts to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. At the time this review goes live, I will be at Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I imagine I’ll have a feeling of “coming home” after reading Black Spire. There’s a real sense of getting to know the outpost and those who dwell within. I suppose it could’ve just come across as nothing more than a marketing tool for the park, but Dawson’s solid writing took it beyond that point into something much more meaningful.
My rating: 5/5
You can order your copy of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson now from Amazon.
Thank you to Penguin Random House for proving a copy of this book for review purposes.Powered by Sidelines