“No one in the galaxy knows your name.” – Pall Gopal
Ah, young love…
If that isn’t your cup of caf then you probably won’t get too much out of this story. This is VERY MUCH a Star Wars romance, a bit like Claudia Grey’s Lost Stars.
So first of all, I’m not a teenage girl.
But I do have one…
But at the same time, I’m a grown-ass man who believes in love. Have you seen my wife? I know what it’s like to look into someone’s eyes and feel like we can take on the whole galaxy! If you ain’t about that life, this book ain’t about you. If you are, however, Zoraida Cordova brings us the ultimate Batuu romance!
If you end up listening to the audiobook version, as per usual the performance by Brittany Pressley is stellar. This one also has a great soundtrack of unfamiliar (to me) music! Just like Alphabet Squadron having a new soundscape to draw me in was something I really loved about the audio production!
The book is fun and really uses the Black Spire Outpost setting well. A lot of these Galaxy’s Edge stories are being unfairly criticized for being some sort of “cash grab” (probably by people who haven’t actually read them.) I don’t see these as any more or less of a “cash grab” than any of the other publishing programs like “The Journey to The Force Awakens” or the upcoming “Journey to The Rise of Skywalker”. The way I see it is, in the end, these programs all connect the pieces, or have a common thematic element, but like most Star Wars media, everything stands on its own. If you wanna be real, every Star Wars story is a tie-in. This book is no different. It’s pretty much a teenage romance that just happens to take place on Batuu. If you enjoy romances or Galaxy’s Edge then this might be for you!
SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Farmboy and his Dreams
Julen Rakab like most farmboys we meet from a galaxy far, far away is a dreamer. He lives out his days on Batuu while dreaming of traveling the stars. Jules is smart and witty and I really enjoy seeing him finding his way through his life and the practical way he steps toward his dreams.
Jules is surrounded by family and friends but always has his head in the clouds.
The Smuggler Princess
Izal Garsea is fiercely independent and out among the stars fighting to make a name for herself. By herself. An up and coming smuggler (we know the type) she’s always on the lookout for creds and relishes in the freedom of that life. We begin to see the price of that freedom is the solitude. Her journey so far from home leads her to a place where she almost doesn’t really have one anymore.
Izzy flies free across the stars but always in solitude.
Antiquities and Side Jobs
Picking up extra work with Dok-Ondar seems to be a thing to earn some extra spira in Black Spire Outpost. While Dok-Ondar isn’t in the book a whole lot his presence is definitely felt throughout. It’s clear he’s one of the forces behind the way things run at the outpost. There seem to be many forces in balance that keep the outpost civil and Dok looks like one of them.
Oga Garra’s Hustles
In addition to owning a successful cantina, Oga is the crime boss here on Batuu. She a no-nonsense boss and keeps business moving. Out of all of the Galaxy’s Edge media, this is the one in which her character has the biggest part. She wields much power and influence but like Dok-Ondar, she too respects the balance that keeps Black Spire Outpost in relative peace.
As a visitor to Batuu, the location itself is a character in these pages. Cordova weaves in the details in such a way that I can really picture every location. It’s all so familiar that it’s like reading a story set in the city you live in. Predictably much of the story takes place at Black Spire Outpost where many of us have spent plenty of credits, but there are also pieces that take place beyond the outpost. The Saka farm and community, the Surabat River Valley, and beautiful bioluminescent basins out by the ruins. Some of these settings were just as fascinating as much of the spire which I’ve actually been to. While I can only speak from the experience of being there, the picture Zoraida paints of the locations are stunning. It’s breathtaking to see Batuu through her eyes.
Bits and Pieces
Details and moments are what make Star Wars. This book included many cool things like a bossy Karkarodon, conversation with “Cookie” Tuggs, complimentary moof juice, Ohnaka Transport solutions, the Den of Antiquities, locals joining the First Order, Salju the mechanic, Oga’s back rooms, the Trilon Wishing Tree, Chandrilan jackets, climbing the spires, swimming on Batuu, whispers of Resistance, a Zygerrian, radio DJ R-3X, the ruins of the ancients, tip-yip for the win, a fierce fyrnock, the Cataclysm, and a human-twi’lek smuggler!
Like most young adult books this one is just as direct and moves much more quickly than the intricate paths of the bigger novels. Like I said before, this is a love story, which to be fair is rare in Star Wars storytelling. These books really fill in a lot of life and color of Black Spire Outpost and Batuu in general. While there aren’t really any far-reaching or epic connections to the larger galactic scale story, this is a great self-contained book that brings Batuu and it’s people to life.
And maybe our own teenage Lizzy will get her Izzy costume after being inspired…
– Sal P.
“You must always know your roots if you are to know how sturdy the tree will grow.” – Oga Garra