When a new Star Wars novel is announced, some of the most fun is had in the speculation phase. From the moment that the news drops articles, tweets, and DMs fly across the internet eagerly discussing plots, characters, tie-ins and more.
Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate was no different. From the initial announcement, we spun our usual quandaries about the twists and turns the story might take, but amidst all of the usual hypothesizing, one additional concern rose to the top of the online discourse:
Will this book be more than a Disney park advertisement?
After all, Galaxy’s Edge was emblazoned right there on the cover. And now, after reading the first adventure of Izzy and Jules, we ask: did Zoraida Córdova deliver more than a simple commercial for a theme park?
The answer is a resounding yes.
A Crash of Fate is a fantastic entry in the Star Wars universe that introduces us to a host of new characters and our new favorite planet. While it definitely acknowledges the excitement that can be felt in a trip to Galaxy’s Edge, the book evolves far past a simple advertisement. Córdova's story beautifully takes us back to the innocence of youth, the thrills of first love, and the edge of your seat adventures that can all be encompassed in a single day.
Recently, the Star Wars Canon has been populated with books that value the development of individual characters rather than the complex nature of an overarching plot, and A Crash of Fate is no different. While the chapters definitely contain a number of events that spur you to keep reading long after you said you were done for the night, their importance is attributed based on their significance Izzy and Jules.
Fans of Legends tales may find that the events of A Crash of Fate don’t impact the galaxy in a way that matches their preferred level of intensity, but the consequences for Izzy, Jules, Volt, and the rest of the supporting cast can’t be overrated.
In a nutshell, A Crash of Fate tells the story of Izzy and Jules, two childhood friends who were ripped out of each other’s lives far too early, and the wild adventures that reunite them on their one time homeworld of Batuu. Izzy finds herself in possession of a package that needs to be delivered to the mysterious Dok Ondar, and when that package goes missing, the seemingly star-crossed pair must enlist the help of local gangster, Oga Garra, as well as a host of new faces that populate Black Spire Outpost. Throw in the reemergence of Izzy’s old gang (which includes her ex-boyfriend, no less), and you have a fast-paced heist adventure effortlessly interwoven with a beautiful love story.
Will this plot deliver something that has never been seen before in the history of literature? Probably not. But will the story keep you turning page after page to see what will happen next to your newest galactic friends? Absolutely.
Young adult novels in the Star Wars universe are known for their exemplary character work, and A Crash of Fate continues that tradition beautifully. Córdova's writing style fleshes out Izzy and Jules throughout the novel in a way that is both exciting yet organically measured. We never find out too much about them all at once, but instead, our understanding of their lives and motivations evolve alongside the knowledge that the characters hold within themselves.
In the hands of a lesser author, Izzy and Jules could have easily resorted to uninspired character types: She’s closed off, and he’s emotional. She wants to escape, and he can’t leave. These archetypes could have been paint-by-number, but instead, Córdova uses each chapter to beautifully illustrate what our heroes are thinking and feeling as they find themselves carried through the whirlwind of their day on Batuu.
Another clever device employed by Córdova is the use of changing perspective between each chapter of the book. Every other chapter is written through the eyes of either Izzy and Jules. In some scenarios, this allows us to witness the same event from two different points of view, and sometimes, that second pass is invaluable to our understanding of the story. Occasionally, Izzy and Jules find themselves separated, and in these chapters, their longing for one another as the chapters push them further and further apart is absolutely heartbreaking.
On the whole, Zoraida Córdova has succeeded in creating two main characters that I had never met or thought of before I opened to page one and yet, I would easily die for by the time I closed the back cover. The supporting ensemble of Volt, Damar, Salju, Lucky, Dok Ondar, and Oga Garra were supremely written, as well, but at the end of the day, I cannot wait to get more Izzy and Jules in my life.
And I have a feeling their story is just getting started.
As the first Galaxy’s Edge novel in circulation, A Crash of Fate had the potential to be original in an exceedingly unfortunate way. Rather than adding purely to the narrative of the greater Star Wars universe, Córdova could have written the first Star Wars book to solely advertise for an amusement park.
Thankfully, this is not the case.
While the story of Izzy and Jules takes place on a new planet surrounded by new characters, the adventure, itself, doesn’t hold anything particularly groundbreaking - but I don’t believe it needs to. The genuine love and care shared between this book's characters shines through on every page, and within that care, Córdova avoids the anticipated trap. Each time that she chooses to highlight certain areas of Black Spire Outpost, it feels natural and effortless despite their real world inclusion in the park.
Instead of feeling like I was being pandered to by the inclusion of real world Outpost locations, my excitement for my eventual vacation increased as I realized I would be able to step foot in the same cantina that once held Izzy, Jules, and Oga. I became excited because of the Outpost rather than in spite of it, and although it may not seem like a lot of work from the outside, Córdova should be commended for accomplishing that Herculean effort.
It has been quite a while since I flew through a book as quickly and ravenously as I did through A Crash of Fate. Zoraida Córdova's writing style was described by our team as fun, fast, and light, and as soon as you begin reading, you’ll be amazed at how quickly twenty, thirty, or forty pages pass you by.
However, the speed at which you can consume the pages of A Crash of Fate does not diminish the emotional impact of the writing. The way in which Córdova describes the feeling of young love is honest, impactful, and positively endearing.
“She was a wonder, and she might be his ruin.”
“He evoked soft, beautiful lines. She felt like blaster fire and chaos”
“Izal Garsea was a thousand worlds in a single person.”
Córdova's writing never trivializes the intensity of first love, because when you’re inside it, how could you ever hope to convey that passion with mere words? Izzy and Jules are constantly expressing themselves to the fullest extent, and because we are gifted with a look inside their heads, we get to experience every wildly passionate moment.
Scenes within A Crash of Fate incorporate romance, action, humor, and adventure in a way that is seamless, effective, and fills me with the hope that we will be seeing the name Zoraida Córdova on Star Wars projects for years to come.
What a fun, wild ride this book is! From the opening chapter, you have vicious animals attacking children, a good old fashioned cantina gunfight, and a pair of lovers on the run as they attempt to track down a mysterious package. What’s not to love?
As stated above, you will be blown away by how fast the pages of the novel fly through your hands, and just as soon as your heart starts pumping with wild adrenaline, Córdova will slow you down nice and gently with a sentence on love that takes your breath away. As with many Young Adult novels that come out of Lucasfilm, A Crash of Fate is fun, exhilarating, and supremely entertaining all the way through, and I challenge you to close the cover not wanting even more.
Giving voice to the likes of Izzy, Jules, and every single other character in the audiobook of A Crash of Fate is Brittany Pressley. From the moment she spoke the prologue, I heard innocence and wonder shining through her voice, and as each chapter went by, I was continually proven correct.
Pressley’s narration and dialogue work is exemplary, with her voice softly guiding you through the spires of Batuu and her intensity ramping up appropriately whenever our heroes find themselves in more than occasional peril. Her character differentiation never takes a hit as the book goes on to introduce more characters (human and alien alike), and she employs astounding vocal variety as she creates the vibrant life of Black Spire Outpost.
In addition to Pressley’s skill, the production staff at Penguin Random House enrich the listening experience of A Crash of Fate that can only be found in Star Wars audiobooks. Every cantina is filled with atmospheric music, every blaster shot rattles through your headphones, and the music swells at the exact moment that Pressley’s voice carries the beauty of Córdova's words. This level of collaboration keeps Star Wars audiobooks at the absolute top of the industry, and when you have a story as rich as A Crash of Fate forming the bedrock, there’s no way you won’t be transported away the second you hit play.
Galaxy’s Edge represents a brand new direction for the Star Wars universe. For the first time ever, fans get to experience the actual setting for their favorite stories. In the same vein, writers get to create brand new narratives within an ever evolving (literal!) landscape.
For now, we have Izzy and Jules. Later this month, we’ll have Vi and Cardinal. And thanks to A Crash of Fate, I am no longer worried about the nature of the stories being told; rather, I am filled with ravenous excitement to visit Batuu once more. And if Zoraida Córdova happens to be telling the next story amid the Outpost, well… all the better.
May the spires keep us.