With the Resistance rattled, and the First Order closing in, Leia sends her most trusted spy to rebuild a new foundation on Batuu in Black Spire.
This article contains plot points from Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire.
Delilah Dawson makes her return to the Star Wars galaxy with her newest contribution, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire which dropped on August 27th. I purchased the Barnes&Noble edition which comes with a fold-out map of Black Spire Outpost on one side and the concept art on the other. Black Spire is an all-new story that features the two main characters from Dawson’s previous novel, Phasma, and gives a closer look into how the embattled Resistance founded a new base on Batuu.
Black Spire begins just before the Hosnian cataclysm. Leia has assigned her best spy, Vi Moradi to search for a new Resistance base and recruit new members. As Moradi is preparing for her voyage to Batuu, Leia calls her back and cancels the order. Hosnian Prime has been destroyed by the Starkiller base.
The War Has Just Begun
The first two chapters can be considered a prologue before the story really begins. From here on the story picks up after the events of The Last Jedi.
After the Hosnian Cataclysm, the Resistance was thrown into utter chaos. And after the Battle of Crait, it was nearly destroyed.
Black Spire serves as a prequel to the Galaxy’s Edge theme park as it stands now so if you decide to read Black Spire (which you totally should), it will add to the experience because you’ll know more about the history between the Resistance and the First Order and their presence on Batuu.
Black Spire Goes Down Easy
Black Spire is an easy read, which may sound insulting, but It’s not. In fact, it’s a refreshing quality; one I wish more books possessed. Each of the characters Vi encounters is memorable, and Dawson presents them in a way that makes you care for them because they all have relatable qualities.
Crafting an easily digestible novel makes total sense because Vi’s assignment is straight- forward as well. Arrive on Batuu, set up camp, head into Black Spire Outpost (BSO to the locals) and recruit new members without alerting the First Order. Simple right? Not so fast. General Leia has one requirement for Vi: bring the person who has caused you more pain and anguish than any other: Captain Cardinal, now known by his real name, Archex, the former First Order officer who tortured Vi in Phasma.
Archex has since turned away from the First Order and is now helping the Resistance, but can he be trusted? Mostly. Archex is a broken soul. Death nearly claimed him at the hands of Phasma, only for him to be saved by Vi Moradi. In Black Spire, Archex has denounced the First Order but isn’t entirely drinking the juice of the Resistance either. Dawson clearly demonstrates Archex’s reluctance in the following passage:
“So what do we do now? Can you contact your general for orders?”
It’s not hard to notice that Archex referred to Leia as Vi’s general, not theirs. Archex hates the First Order, but he misses the functionality of it, the structured day-to-day lifestyle. He woke up every day, knowing what he had to do without question. With the Resistance, Archex no longer has that guarantee. And for a guy who needs to feel useful; have a purpose, the Resistance life isn’t easy. Staying behind in a support role droid-sitting Pook (a service droid with the personality of a sarcastic Eeyor) isn’t what Archex considers helpful.
Vi’s buyback plan
As Vi makes her way through BSO, she encounters Oga Garra, the owner of Oga’s cantina and the godfather of BSO. Oga comes across as a no-nonsense businessman whose sole concern is Black Spire. He doesn’t care what anyone does as long as it doesn’t harm his outpost and brings him a profit. While approaching Batuu Vi’s ship is attacked by smugglers. Vi, Archex, and Pook crash on Batuu. Scavenger’s working for Oga raid Vi’s ship while the crew is unconscious, stealing several essential items needed to secure a base.
In the process of searching for her items, Vi meets Ylena, an employee of Savi of Savi’s workshop and gets a job so Vi can buy back her stolen equipment from Oga. Vi quickly learns that Ylena and Savi know about the Force, which is significant because the citizens of BSO intentionally close their eyes to the outside world, which is making recruiting new members a problematic task.
It’s Not a Problem if You Don’t Look Up
Straight forward as Vi’s mission might appear, in reality, it has its challenges. The most prominent one; convincing a populace that has lived comfortably for generations to change their lifestyle to fight a war they haven’t experienced first hand. It’s human nature to want to keep your head down. If everything in your immediate care is right, then all is well. It’s not easy to risk everything you know for a problem that seems so far away. Until it’s not so far away anymore. And that’s the situation facing Vi.
And just as Vi warned, the First Order arrived looking to rough up any Resistance sympathizers. Dawson doesn’t hold back on how evil the First Order is. There isn’t any grey area here folks. First Order stormtroopers resort to the lowest of lows: physically abusing elderly women to get information on Vi’s location. Vi witnesses their abuse and feels guilty that they voluntarily withheld information despite getting their teeth literally knocked out. Vi feels guilty not only for that but also for bringing the First Order to their peaceful world. Being a Resistance spy is not all fortune and glory.
Kath is a Hound
Leading the stormtroopers is Lieutenant Wulfgar Kath. A large, burly, muscular officer with an ego to match. Kath is a former friend of Archex, but since Archex’s defection, Kath has made it his personal goal to capture the traitor and Vi as well, and he won’t stop until he has accomplished this goal. Kath is as evil as they come. He relishes in inflicting pain when torturing Vi. There are some real cringe-worthy moments like when Kath runs a needle through Vi’s eyelid. The only person Kath fears is General Hux and rightly so, Hux ain’t no saint either.
Kath meets his end at the hands of Archex when Kath’s ship explodes after takeoff from Batuu. Courtesy of a timed explosion. Archex had such a beautifully tragic arc. He is a man who saw the evilness in the First Order, walked away from it to join the Resistance and despite his questioned loyalty, proved himself to be who everyone thought he was: a good soldier, a good man.
Judge Kriki by his Size You Should Not
Kriki, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Kriki is Muftak looked upon by the rest of the galaxy as a bipedal pet bat. Kriki’s self-image is shaped by this terrible stereotype and his former employer, an unappreciative brute of a man who treated Kriki like a slave. Underneath this umbrella of shame, Kriki was a master computer tech. Vi knew this; the problem is Kriki didn’t.
“I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t think I’m strong enough. I’m just too scared.”
Vi responds like the leader Leia knows her to be:
“You’re strong. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not strong enough. There is no such thing as strong ‘enough.’ There’s just you, doing the best that you’re able. I’m scared too. I’m scared all the time.”
What’s touching about this response is that Vi has the same insecure feelings about being a leader and accomplishing what Leia asked of her. Perhaps Vi was speaking to herself as much as Kriki.
Vi’s Supporting Cast
The character Salju, which first appeared in A Crash of Fate makes appearances throughout Black Spire. Salju is said to run the filling station at the port in Black Spire. A Crash of Fate takes place approximately 5-6 months after Black Spire. Two more notable characters are Zade and Doran, who are very different from each other but the one aspect they have in common is the sense of what’s right and wrong.
The Adventures of Lor and Savi
It’s revealed that Savi is a longtime friend of Lor San Tekka, which is a neat little nugget. Perhaps someday if Marvel decides to extend their Galaxy’s Edge comic series, we’ll get stories about Savi and Lor San Tekka, searching for Jedi artifacts dealing with folks like Dok Ondar, Hondo Ohnaka, or Doctor Aphra.
Vi also deflected any interest in men or any romantic relationships. Her sexuality or sexual preference is never overtly stated; however, it’s been speculated that Vi might be Ace which means Vi’s not sexually attracted to any gender.
Speaking of Dok Ondar, his name is spelled with a hyphen in Black Spire (Dok-Ondar). I’ve not seen this type of spelling in any other format. Not sure if this is a typo or not but it’s noteworthy anyway. We also learn that Vi Moradi is from Chaaktil, where they have lots of Chaakrabbits, Chaakrats, and Chaakroaches. So apparently every animal is the name of the planet, then the animal name. Just like Lothwolves and Lothcats. Maybe it’s a way of identifying specific species by naming their home planet?
Coming back to Ylena. Ylena represents the person who looks further than their immediate surroundings. Ylena doesn’t hold herself back by solely focusing on what she can see, she looks at the larger picture. She knows about the Force and about Leia’s use of the Force when she was propelled into space. Ylena brings up an excellent point in that with her Force abilities, Leia never once used it to influence the decisions of the Senate. That’s strength in restraint.
Ronto Wrap Up
Overall, Black Spire is a joy to read and what’s best is that it’s successful in opening-up the experience of Galaxy’s Edge. When visitors see or interact with Vi Moradi, the Resistance X-wing, Savi, or First Order stormtroopers they now know how each arrived on Batuu. It’s not a stretch to say that Black Spire is one of the best Star Wars novels to be released this year, and hopefully, it won’t be too long before Delilah Dawson pens another Star Wars novel. To hear Dawson speak about her novel Black Spire listen here. Whether or not a trip to Galaxy’s Edge is in your future, I highly recommend Black Spire.