Book Review: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge – Black Spire
After you walk into Galaxy’s Edge, there’s a moment when you forget you’re in a Disney Park.
As a guest in Anaheim or Bay Lake, you’re so immersed and the story of the land and it’s attachment to the greater Star Wars universe, it’s easy to believe you’ve been whisked away to the edge of the galaxy.
That’s what you get when you pick up the book Black Spire.
Sure there’s a whole lot of exposition regarding “Star Wars Land” but the full tome is entirely worth your time.
And that stands true whether you are a big Star Wars fan or simply someone who wants to learn more about Batuu’s Black Spire outpost in Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland or Walt Disney World.
Read It: Black Spire
Truth be told, thanks in part to the literary work necessary to set the table, it took me at least two tries to get this book rolling (in my vocationally-addled) brain and the real impetus to plow through the volume was my first walk through “Rise of the Resistance” in Walt Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge.
That ride, Smuggler’s run, the Droid Depot, and Savi’s workshop all got me thinking about Batuu pretty consistently.
And those mental gymnastics continued between my first (October) and second (December) trips to Black Spire Outpost (in Hollywood Studios) and through until now (waiting for a trip in March).
The first specific reason I would recommend the book is the complete connectivity to the theme park land’s theming. There are direct correlations to spots — and characters — all over Disney’s Batuu.
From Ronto Roasters to the X-wing, to Oga’s Cantina, my next trip to Walt Disney World will include moments of pure pause where I realize that I am standing in spots where my heroes in the book toiled.
Those heroes now include Vi Moradi (first introduced in author Delilah S. Dawson’s Phasma).
The second specific reason — the real reason I love the book — is that I was able to mentally extend my holiday vacation.
The immersion in the park is similar to the immersion I felt while listening and reading the book via Audible and Kindle. While that escapism is not unusual at Walt Disney World (or while you’re watching a Star Wars film on the big screen), I’ve rarely felt the same while reading a Star Wars book.
Black Spire is a fun book. And the second half really makes it hard to put down (or hit pause).
Furthermore, the book has me wanting to re-read Marvel’s Galaxy’s Edge comic as well as A Crash of Fate – all parts of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge media project.
I would work in Bina’s Creature Stall and help people select the perfect pet. When I visited, I bought a puffer pig, and it is honestly the best money I’ve ever spent. It makes the most wonderful noise, and I squeeze it at least once a day and smile. I would eat at Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo, talk to Cookie and try whatever new thing he’d created — gluten free, of course. And I’d stay out of Dok’s way, because nobody wants to be on the Doklist.”
Delilah S. Dawson on how she would live each day on Batuu
The bottom line: If you have any inkling you’ll be in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge sometime soon, or if you have gone and would like to re-examine what you saw, pick up this book (even if it makes no clear mention of Hondo Ohnaka or his business).
Black Spire – An Excerpt
As posted on StarWars.com:
Vi shifted on the crate, her back aching. Leia was right—she’d taken a beating on her last assignment, and although most of her wounds had healed, her body wasn’t getting any younger. Leia had sent her to a forgotten planet called Parnassos to gather intel on the First Order’s Captain Phasma, which was challenging enough. But on her way home, Vi had been captured by a different First Order officer, Captain Cardinal.
Instead of interrogating her through official channels or turning her over to Kylo Ren or General Hux, Cardinal had secretly taken her to a dank chamber in the ship’s lower levels and tortured her for the information she’d collected on his rival in the First Order, Captain Phasma. In the end, Vi had managed to manipulate him into letting her go, and Cardinal had gone out to face Phasma in combat. Vi made it out of the enemy ship and back to the fleet, and for the last few weeks she’d struggled to process all that had happened to her and heal in body and mind. But despite what she’d told Kalonia and now Leia, was she really ready to go back to work?
Well, was anyone ever ready to move on from trauma?
It would never leave her, but she couldn’t stay still any longer. It wasn’t in her nature.
“I’m ready,” she told Leia, putting the full force of conviction in her words.
“Good.” Leia’s smile returned. “Should the First Order succeed in their attack, or should they find us here on D’Qar, we need two things most of all: allies and places to hide. So I’m looking for suggestions on a place so out of the way that the First Order would never even think of it, a place where we could set up camp and put down roots. Specifically, we need an inhabited planet with an active port and resources, but not anything big, not anything the First Order would find advantageous.”
“Castilon isn’t safe anymore,” Vi thought out loud. “Not Pantora. Nowhere in the Core or Mid Rim, or any place where we’ve had a base before. Definitely not Parnassos.”
“Definitely not. Think, Magpie.”
Vi raised an eyebrow; Leia was not in a patient mood. “Batuu, maybe? I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never been there. It’s out on the edge of Wild Space. The main settlement is called Black Spire Outpost. It’s rough. Primitive. Seedy. Exciting. Smugglers consider it a good place to hide or hop a ship that can’t be tracked.”
At that, the general nodded. “I knew I could count on you. Batuu is perfect.” She chuckled. “Han told me all about it.”
The official synopsis reads:
Walk the ancient streets, meet the colorful characters, and uncover the secret history of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the upcoming expansion to the Disney Parks experience!
After devastating losses at the hands of the First Order, General Leia Organa has dispatched her agents across the galaxy in search of allies, sanctuary, and firepower – and her top spy, Vi Moradi, may have just found all three, on a secluded world at the galaxy’s edge.
A planet of lush forests, precarious mountains, and towering, petrified trees, Batuu is on the furthest possible frontier of the galactic map, the last settled world before the mysterious expanse of Wild Space. The rogues, smugglers, and adventurers who eke out a living on the largest settlement on the planet, Black Spire Outpost, are here to avoid prying eyes and unnecessary complications. Vi, a Resistance spy on the run from the First Order, is hardly a welcome guest. And when a shuttle full of stormtroopers lands in her wake, determined to root her out, she has no idea where to find help.
To survive, Vi will have to seek out the good-hearted heroes hiding in a world that redefines scum and villainy. With the help of a traitorous trooper and her acerbic droid, she begins to gather a colorful band of outcasts and misfits and embarks on a mission to spark the fire of resistance on Batuu – before the First Order snuffs it out entirely.
My good friends at Star Wars Explained did a trio of videos on the book.