Black Spire

Black Spire is a book tackling a couple objectives in one go. On one hand, it’s a tie-in to Disney’s new Galaxy’s Edge attractions at Disneyland and Disney World. It explores Black Spire outpost, the shops and even the inhabitants. On the other hand, it’s a sequel to Delilah S. Dawson’s previous Star Wars novel, Phasma. In this book we see the next step of the journey for Resistance spy Vi Moradi and the recently converted Captain Cardinal who now goes by Archex. Leia sends them on a mission to setup a Resistance base on Batuu. With the book taking place after the events of The Last Jedi, in begins the transition between films with the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker. While it tackles all these threads, it does so with some mixed results. It’s not a bad book by any means, but the integration of all these elements doesn’t really lend to a great book either.

The story centers on Vi Moradi and her mission for Leia. Her and Cardinal head out to Batuu with all the supplies they need to setup a base, including a droid to do all the hard labor. However, when they get there, they get shot down, crash, and lose all their stuff. For the rest of the book, Vi is trying to get her stuff back so she can try to scrape together a base for the Resistance. She goes to town and gets to know the locals, she gets a job to earn credits so she can try to buy some of her stolen goods back. She does odd jobs for Oga, the local gangster, in order to get some of the more expensive items back. During this early phase of the novel, it’s a little heavy with the Galaxy’s Edge part tie-in factor as it takes us on a tour of the shops and the things you can do at the park. There’s the toy maker, the junk shop that collects Jedi artifacts, the food vendors, the cantina, etc. Later on, the First Order arrives and Vi and her allies stand off against them. The book ends with a climatic battle against the First Order’s initial task force.

Aside from the tie-in factor being a little heavy handed, one thing that felt odd about the book is how the tone shifts in the story. It starts out very light hearted. Vi is hanging out with her one time torturer Cardinal who is now redeemed and helping the Resistance out. They’re exploring Batuu and even though they got shot down by pirates and robbed, they’re trying to make the best of it by doing little tasks getting jobs. Vi goes around Black Spire Outpost making friends. They recruit some locals to their cause, and she even goes on a little adventure into some nearby ruins. But later on, the tone of the story shifts. They’re no longer knocking out stormtroopers and running away, but killing the members of the First Order. Vi gets caught and tortured, again, and things get dark, violent and grim. It’s a radical change. By the end, the book feels a lot like the tone of Phasma. It caught me off guard when reading the book, and the transition didn’t feel natural or seamless. It’s not just a shift when the First Order arrives, but more of a shift once Vi recruits the smuggler Zade. Unlike Vi, he doesn’t take prisoners, and it seemed like as soon as he started playing for keeps and killing First Order troopers, Vi started doing the same.

The stakes in the book are fairly small and inconsequential. Vi sets up the beginnings of a base on Batuu, the First Order learns about it, thus compromising its usefulness, and there is a skirmish between her and some First Order officer Cardinal knows. While Rey and Kylo get mentioned, they don’t appear in the book. There’s also no real importance to Batuu, other than it being a theme park, so it’s not like the book sets up some desirable follow-up story. There’s no epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order, and there’s no changing of the scales in the war between them. It doesn’t really add much to the story that the movies are telling. The problem with all of this is that it’s kind of a throw away story. It adds a little to Batuu for anyone who plans on going to the park, but that’s about it.

As a tie-in to Galaxy’s Edge, Black Spire isn’t an essential read but it is an option for people who want to get a little more out of the park. It’s also not an essential read for the fans of the films as it doesn’t add much to what’s going on between Episode VIII and IX. At most, it’s something fans of the Phasma book might want to check out if they were big fans of Vi Moradi and Cardinal’s roles in that novel. Since Phasma is seemingly dead, she’s not in this book at all. But you do get to see what happens to Moradi and Cardinal as their lives continue. In the end, Black Spire was an enjoyable read, but it wasn’t great book. As such, I give it a three out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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