"Better a life of foolish hope than one of committed oppression."
It’s not often that a Star Wars author gets to take hold of a character’s entire history. The beauty of the shared universe allows a number of different writers to put forward their own take on a plethora of different characters in the galaxy, and at the end of the day, we as readers are gifted with their entire story.
But sometimes, you’re allowed to tackle each chapter in your own character’s life.
Sometimes you’re Timothy Zahn with Grand Admiral Thrawn.
And sometimes you’re Delilah Dawson with Vi Moradi.
Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire reunites Dawson with her Phasma creations Vi Moradi and Captain Cardinal (henceforth known as Archex) as they fly to the increasingly well known world of Batuu in order to set up an outpost for the ailing Resistance. The First Order has decimated General Organa’s forces on the salt fields of Crait, and a narrow escape has left the movement in dire need of allies and bases.
All in all, Black Spire is another excellent addition to the Star Wars Canon courtesy of Delilah Dawson. The story evolves naturally through the introduction of new characters alongside old favorites, and the brutal fear evoked by the First Order is perhaps better felt within these pages than any story before. As the forces of that shadowy enemy, led by the truly terrifying Lieutenant Wulfgar Kath, descend upon the citizens of Black Spire Outpost, you really get a sense for why so many worlds simply give over to their fascist regime.
The terror they inspire is practically palpable.
However, the large majority of this novel is dedicated not to the horrors of the FO, but instead to the relationships that Vi attempts to cultivate amongst the citizens of Batuu; hoping that these newfound loyalties will help swell the Resistance forces. Along the way she meets Ylena; a salvage worker at the mysterious Savi’s (yes that Savi) Salvage Yard, Dolin; a humble farmer who never dreamed of setting foot in Black Spire Outpost before her arrival, Kriki; an adorable Chadra-Fan mechanic who is just looking for someone to believe in her and protect her, and Zade Kalliday; a flamboyant smuggler who just might be the only person on Batuu who hates the First Order more than Moradi.
This eclectic cast of characters are where this book really hits the mark, and the evolution of their interpersonal connections kept me coming back for more as I blew through each chapter. That being said, the most interesting relationship in this novel easily lies between Vi and Archex. Fans of Dawson’s Phasma will remember Archex as the aforementioned First Order Captain Cardinal who tortured Vi relentlessly for information before ultimately releasing her and requiring her rescue, himself. When Vi is assigned the newly reformed Archex for her mission to Batuu, she is understandably hesitant, and Dawson deftly deals with the complex issues of forgiveness, trauma, and acceptance continuously as their bond intensifies.
Rounding out these complex relationships are somewhat simpler ones that Vi forms amongst the Black Spire locals that are already becoming commonplace to those of us keeping up with any and all Star Wars news. Oga Garra makes quite an impression on the Resistance spy, Salju provides the first friendly face Vi encounters on the planet, and Savi, himself, even adds the odd pearl of wisdom.
Vi's adventures with these characters not only serve to expand her own story and that of the Resistance, but they also ask a lot of questions we haven't seen before in Star Wars. How hard is it to process trauma? Do some scars ever truly heal? How far are we willing to go to truly forgive? Dawson's deft touch in handling all of these complex ideas sets Black Spire apart in a way that is quite beautiful by book's end. In addition to a wonderfully fun narrative, maybe you'll learn a bit about yourself along the way.
Finally, I would suggest reading the previous Galaxy’s Edge title, A Crash of Fate before diving into Black Spire as I felt the familiarity I created with Black Spire Outpost in the former extremely helpful in the latter. Additionally, fans of Dawson's Phasma will definitely be rewarded with a few deeper character moments based on the earlier novel. But readers that choose to head right into Black Spire shouldn’t have any issues, regardless.
Overall, Black Spire answers a lot of questions fans had after the ending of Vi’s last adventure and presents plenty more of its own as the last page of the epilogue concludes. The team that Vi assembles is warm, enticing, and a crew that you can’t help but cheer for every step of the way, and as I closed the back cover, I couldn’t wait for my next adventure amongst the spires.