Black Spire: Novel Review
This year has been a huge year for Star Wars content and that is due in no small part to Galaxy's Edge opening. With that release has come a lot of merchandise and buzz, plus some Star Wars canon material that features the planet Batuu that is featured in the attraction. Included in this batch of releases is Black Spire a novel by Delilah S. Dawson.
Dawson is already a proven writer in Star Wars canon. She already written a full novel, which was Phasma, the book that explained Captain Phasma's origins for the Journey to Star Wars The Last Jedi line, but she also wrote a short story called The Perfect Weapon a few years prior to that.
In a lot of ways Black Spire could almost be considered a sequel to Phasma weirdly enough. Two of the main characters from that book return. If you haven't read Phasma and you plan to this isn't a very good book to read first because it starts off with some spoilers from that book. If you do want to continue reading this review there will be some small spoilers for Phasma from here.
So Vi Moradi is the protagonist of this story. Vi was a Resistance Spy who acquired some information about Captain Phasma in the Phasma novel. After barely escaping that mission General Leia has another mission for Vi, to visit the planet Batuu and begin recruiting new people for the Resistance. This book takes place right after The Last Jedi and the Resistance is surviving but just barely. Her partner for her mission ends up being Captain Cardinal, a former stormtrooper who tortured her on board a star destroyer. Cardinal has now defected and has taken his former name Archex. Both characters are very beaten down physically thanks to the events of the Phasma book.
Vi spends the majority of the book trying to build up a base for the Resistance step by step. They crash on the planet and most of their resources are stolen so they are forced to completely start from scratch. Since Batuu is so far from the conflict with the First Order few people are actually interested in joining the fight. Vi really strengthens as a character in this book, more so than in Phasma because she gets a chance to lead the way. The book is mostly told from Vi's perspective, but as the group of allies around her starts to grow we get to learn more about them, and she takes a little bit of a back seat at times. It seems like an effort to build up the characters right before the climax of the book.
Archex (former Captain Cardinal) is also another welcome returning character as he struggles to commit to the Resistance despite his distance from the First Order. He and Vi have the strongest relationship in the book and Archex is very likeable despite his struggle to commit.
The villain in the story is not particularly memorable, but I have to admit I sort of liked him anyway. He's just one of those clearly evil characters that are only involved in the First Order because they crave power.
One of the complaints I've seen with this book is the effort made to set up certain areas of the theme park. I personally had no interest in the theme park from day one, so none of those efforts to promote them really registered with me. It just looked like an effort to build up Black Spire and the characters that live within it.
I really enjoyed the return to straight forward "boots on the ground" Star Wars adventure. Neither Thrawn Treason or Alphabet Squadron really gave me that this year. I really hope there is more to come from Vi in more material, because this is possibly my favorite Star Wars novel of the year to date. Although, fortunately there is still more to come.