“This is how things work out here, Poe, on the edges of the galaxy. There are no black-and-white answers or simple choices. It’s all gray and complicated. You can’t just swoop in, play hero, and leave. You have to live in this world.”
It’s no secret that I’m a die hard Star Wars lover and despite my issues with TROS, I liked it a lot more than most people. One of the things I missed was more information about the fascinating, and brushed over, reveal that Poe used to be a Spice Runner. So when I saw this book I went sprinting to Netgalley to request it and I read it the day after I got accepted – and I’m so glad I did.
Rating: 4 stars!
Thanks to Disney Publishing Worldwide for the advance copy of this book, it hasn’t affected my honest review. Poe Dameron: Free Fall releases on the 4th August 2020!
Read me for the:
- Poe Dameron backstory!!
- Insight into Zorii and Poe’s relationship
- The story of Poe’s Spice Running days
- Criminal space scoundrels!
- Ridiculous Poe plans and daring escapes.
It’s been a few years since Poe’s mother passed away, and Poe and his father, who was a pilot for the Rebellion, have had more and more trouble connecting. Sixteen and with no idea what he wants to do with his life, when Poe bumps into a group of smugglers in need of a pilot he runs away to find his own place in the world – but they’re not smugglers, they’re the infamous Spice Runners of Kijimi and Poe has to decide what kind of man he wants to be.
What did I think?
I honestly, hand on heart, enjoyed this book a thousand times more than I expected. I was excited about it to begin with, but also a little wary. I’ve been stung before with Star Wars content. This book was not a letdown. It starts with Poe in trouble and I felt immediately like Alex Segura had a really good grasp on Poe’s characterisation and kept it consistent throughout the book. He’s not exactly the same as the Poe we know and love, but that’s a good thing. This Poe is sixteen, inexperienced and desperate for adventure, but I could very clearly see how he would develop into Poe Dameron, Resistance hero. After reading this one, I actually picked up my TROS novelisation and read that and it gave so much depth to the sections with Zorii and Babu and mentions of Poe’s past that I had to stop and think about Free Fall again. I love Poe and have from the start, but this novel gave me a strong and deep connection to a character that didn’t get explored so much in the movie and I loved it.
We also, of course, got our expected firefights and crazy aerial manoeuvres, blaster battles and cameo mentions of famous Star Wars characters but I liked that this was focused on Poe’s story – not one of Jedi and Sith and the Force. I liked the focus on smugglers, criminals and the New Republic instead. The Spice Runners of Kijimi are exactly as horrible and criminal as we’d expect, but their violence is softened a little for the younger Disney audience. This is the first Star Wars YA novel I’ve read where that softness is explained within the text though and justified with Poe’s internal conflict – he wants to be a part of the team but he doesn’t want to hurt people. This was perfect for characterising Poe and also had the benefit of not knocking me out of the realism of the moment. The Spice Runners, and their criminal operations, were a good background for Poe to develop and I felt like we really got to see Poe grow from a boy desperate for any kind of adventure into a man who realises that believing in the cause you’re fighting for is more important than the fight itself.
The real highlight of this book is the relationship between Poe and Zorii. They’re two teenagers growing together, finding companionship around harsh and dangerous adults and learning to be themselves. They teach each other skills and my favourite thing about it was that there were romantic tones to their interactions but ultimately they felt most like teenage friends finding comfort in each other. It explains the complicated relationship when they are reunited in The Rise of Skywalker, as well as the fact that Zorii was fast to anger and fast to forgive.
Add it on Goodreads here!
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