Book Report: Black Spire by Delilah Dawson

Ashlyn E. Inman

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Welcome back to Star Wars School, I'm your neighborhood nerd who spends most of her time in antique shops or used bookstores hunting for old copies of Star Wars Literature. You know, like an adult.

This week's book is extremely modern in the Star Wars universe, and it takes place within the new trilogy's canon. Which I guess is technically still part of the greater accepted Star Wars canon. At times, the book feels like a publicity pitch for the Disneyland Star Wars area: Galaxy's Edge. The book provides the backstory on how the Resistance outpost was started at the Black Spire Outpost on Batuu (which is where "Galaxy's Edge" is). However, it is a fun story that gives great insight to heroes in the Star Wars universe that aren't featured in the movies.

As usual, I'll give you a quick rundown of the details of the book and give you the opportunity to purchase your own copy before diving into the spoilers.

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Vi Moradi at Galaxy's Edge

Published: 2019 by Del Rey Press
Legend or Canon: Canon!
Time Period: Between Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. The beginning of the chapter coincides with the Hosnian Cataclysm.
Setting: The hidden Resistance base on D'Qar for the first couple chapters, but most of the action takes place on the planet Batuu. Batuu is right on the edge of "Wild Space," and is extremely out of the way from the core worlds.
Characters You Already Know: General/Princess Leia Organa! Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron, Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Captain Phasma are all mentioned, but not seen.

Synopsis: Resistance spy Vi Moradi is sent to the faraway planet of Batuu by General Leia Organa to establish a Resistance presence. Reeling from the Hosnian Cataclysm and personal trauma, Vi is less than thrilled about her new mission's seeming simplicity. To make matters worse, she's paired up with a First Order defector and a grouchy droid. As soon as they arrive on Batuu, everything that can go wrong does go wrong. After a crash landing, most of their gear gets stolen and Vi is forced to work at one of the scrapyards in order to earn money to buy her gear back. Most of the people on Batuu don't even believe the First Order is real, so attempting to sway people to the cause proves even harder than Vi imagined. Will Vi be successful in building a new outpost for the Resistance?

After the following picture, I'll be going into details about the action in the book! So if you want to save this article for later, give me a follow and go read Black Spire!

Ready?

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Unattributed art of Vi Moradi

Okay, the coolest thing about this book was how modern it was. The characters weren't all humans or human-like species--I actually had to use Wookiepedia multiple times to look up what various species looked like. A few of the new species I learned about while reading this book include Chadra-Fan, Blutopians, and Talpini. Of course, there were plenty of species I already recognized like Twi'lek, Wookies, Toydarians, and Rodians. All of that to say that Dawson going out of her way to recognize so many canonized sentient species felt like she was making a point about our diverse planet here on Earth. Especially in context with how the Resistance accepts all species and The First Order is more likely to enslave non-humans. Or at least the bad guys look down on all non-humans as lesser creatures. The First Order defector even mentions how they don't accept non-humans as stormtroopers because "they wouldn't fit the gear."

The main character, Vi, is also different from traditional Star Wars heroes we've seen in the past. She has the same spirit as all the other Resistance fighters, but it was really nice to have the book center around a non-white woman who is strong and powerful even if she doesn't wield a lightsaber. She wears a wig, she knits, she has a gay brother, and she's tough as nails. She might even be asexual. At one point in the novel, the third-person narrator states "She'd never cared for anyone like that, men or women, never had such urges, but he didn't need to know that now."   Can we get a slow clap for representation?

How exactly did we learn about this? The First Order Defector, now known as Archex, attempted to kiss her. And at first, when this happened I mentally groaned. Not because I don't like romance, but because Archex was once Captain Cardinal of The First Order. And prior to the novel, Captain Cardinal tortured Vi for Resistance information. And although he had become a part of the Resistance, I was not about to follow a narrative where our hero falls in love with her past tormentor. But Vi is extremely understanding and explains that he's been deprived of touch for too long and he has to relearn social cues. So thank you again, Delilah Dawson. You are absolutely wonderful and I can't thank you enough for not taking that road.

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Unattributed art of Archex as Captain Cardinal

Naturally, no planet is safe in the Star Wars world, and The First Order arrives on Batuu. The lead officer is a particularly nasty guy named Wulfgar Kath who is immediately dislikable. Like you have to at least admit that Kylo Ren has redeemable qualities, but this guy had absolutely NONE. He was a power-hungry germophobe who was unnecessarily cruel and had his troopers beat up locals unnecessarily. He conducts a horrific interrogation of Vi where he physically tortures her in ways I don't really want to get into, but I was very thankful when that chapter came to a close.

Along with Archex, Vi, and their droid Pook, the rag-tag group of rebels includes a farmboy named Dolin and his boar Waba, a tech-savvy Chadra-Fan named Kriki, and a suave smuggler named Zade. Zade gave off massive Hondo vibes but with the charm turned up to 1000. His charisma leaped off the page and I would love a spinoff featuring his adventures in smuggling.

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Unattributed art of Oga's Cantina

Even though I haven't had the chance to explore Galaxy's Edge at Disney yet, I feel like I got a tour of the outpost while reading this book. I'm extremely excited to eventually have the chance to go to the places referenced in the book--especially Oga's cantina where they serve a variety of drinks with fun names. Well, at least they do in the book. I'll be very sad if I find out I can't actually order a "Spice Runner." The novel also made reference to Savi's collection of "artifacts" that fleshes out the existence of his lightsaber workshop. Honestly, the book just made me want to pack up and go to Disney so I could be a basic but knowledgeable fangirl.

Have you read Black Spire? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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I grew up in a small town in rural California, and earned my B.F.A. at Coastal Carolina University in Myrtle Beach, SC. After graduating, I moved to NYC where I lived for three years before relocating to Nashville. And that brings us to date! I've worked a variety of jobs from being on a farm to being on a stage to being in a cubicle. In short, I've lived the big city life, the small town life, the southern life, the northern life, and you get the idea. I'll be writing about entertainment and lifestyle topics for the most part because I have a background in theater, live in Music City, and also work for a fitness company! (Check out @WeightingForWarriors on Instagram!) ​ When I'm not writing you can probably find me reading, baking, crafting something, or screaming at a football game on TV.

Nashville, TN
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