Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge - Black Spire (Book)
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 latest Star Wars novel takes us to Galaxy’s Edge for an all new adventure. More than a simple theme park tie-in, however, Black Spire delivers an action-packed (and surprisingly emotional) story set after the events of The Last Jedi. Come inside to check out our full review!
Delilah S. Dawson is back for another trip to the galaxy far, far away and bringing her memorable characters from the previous novel, Phasma, along for the ride. Resistance spy Vi Moradi is recovering from her capture/torture at the hands of Captain Cardinal (who she ultimately was able to convert to her side), but the galaxy is no better off. Having escaped her capture just in time to witness the destruction of the Republic at the hands of the First Order and Starkiller base.
The main brunt of the story picks up about four months later (after the Battle of Crait in The Last Jedi) where the Resistance is desperately seeking allies while the First Order, and Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, cement their rule/authority over the rest of the galaxy. As such, General Leia gives Vi her first assignment since being cleared for duty: establishing a base on the outer rim world of Batuu.
Used to undercover spy work, Vi feels a bit put off by the “cushy” new assignment, but things get even stranger when she learns her partner on the task is none other than her previous captor/torturer, Captain Cardinal (going by his given name Archex now). The former First Order instructor has spent the last few months on a Resistance “reconditioning” planet to help him shake off the regime’s propaganda and training. While he’s now content to work with the Resistance, he still has much to prove.
The unlikely pair embark on their journey to Batuu, but their simple mission soon proves to be anything but. After crashing on planet and losing most of their gear, Vi and Archex must find work to keep themselves alive, while still trying to complete their mission. A job offer from Black Spire Outpost’s mob boss gives Vi a much needed opportunity, but it turns out the First Order isn’t far behind. Worse, they’re being led by a ruthless commander with personal ties to Captain Cardinal…
There’s SO MUCH more going on in the story and I don’t want to spoil any of it. As such, I’ll stop there, but know that that’s really just setting up the basics for the novel’s overall story and doesn’t even touch on the many other characters you’ll meet along the way.
In terms of just the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it (I’ll go into why shortly). More than giving us new insight to the state of the galaxy in the lead-up to The Rise of Skywalker, it gives us a poignant story of hope that’s filled to the brim with excitement.
Faster, More Intense
Despite cramming in plenty of story, characters, and action, Black Spire moves along at a surprisingly fast pace. There’s no downtime to be had in the story as our protagonists go from one sticky situation to another. It pulls you along with it, leaving you breathless as you struggle to keep up with the characters and their fight to not only survive, but flourish.
Even at this blistering pace, however, smaller character moments manage to shine through. It also doesn’t feel rushed, even though events seem to pile up quickly. Black Spire manages to strike an excellent balance between it’s fast-paced story while still giving you enough breathing room to take it all in and care for the characters.
It’s a highlight of author, Delilah S. Dawson, and something her previous Star Wars novel, Phasma, featured as well. The prose is to the point and doesn’t delve into over-exposition, yet it still manages to paint a vivid picture of the action. I felt immersed in the world of Batuu, even more so than I was with this month’s earlier tie-in, A Crash of Fate.
Black Spire introduces you to a lot of new elements at a seemingly constant rate, but it never feels overwhelming. Instead, the result is a world/story that feels alive and that you don’t want to leave. This too, is a big factor in how quick of a read it is. Seriously, I blew through this in just a couple days, because I felt compelled to see how Vi and her crew dealt with their latest situation.
Even once the novel ended, my mind was churning at the possibilities of what came next for these characters and their life on Batuu. Black Spire left me wanting more, but in the best way possible.
The Tie-In Factor
Like A Crash of Fate, Black Spire is meant to work as a tie-in to the Galaxy’s Edge theme park. I gotta say, Black Spire absolutely made me want to go and see it all for myself. The immersion in the story is excellent, and hits everything from the locations/shops you can visit some of the colloquialisms of the planet.
One of the things that impressed me most, however, with the tie-in element is how strongly this and A Crash of Fate work together. Funny enough, I actually was able to read Black Spire before Crash of Fate (even though it’s released afterwards), so you won’t have to read them in any particular order to have fun with both.
That said, it’s crazy the level of cohesion there is between these books. Many of the Outpost’s regular inhabitants feature in both stories, and their representations are spot on, despite coming from different authors. The descriptions/layout of everything is the same, even down to how the locals talk to one another.
It shows a level of cooperation for these tie-in books that’s truly a step above and makes the experience all the more thrilling because of it. Reading both of these back-to-back, I felt a part of the Galaxy’s Edge experience, even though it’ll be a while yet before I can make my way out there.