A Star Wars novel is a keeper for me if it expands and /or adds depth to a character or a certain aspect of my favorite universe. E.K. Johnston does a fantastic job diving in the character of Padme Amadala in her books Queen’s Shadow and Queen’s Peril. She takes a couple sections of Padme’s life that are not featured in the films and uses them to help the reader get a better idea of the character’s motivations and life experiences. Alex Segura does the same with Poe Dameron when we meet him as a teen in Free Fall.
Poe is known as a good pilot on his home planet of Yavin 4 even though he hasn’t hit 20 yet. But it’s been hard growing up under the shadow of his deceased rebel hero mother. And his dad only wants to protect Poe… even going so far as to stifle his growth. An opportunity comes when a small gang of smugglers accepts him reluctantly into their numbers.
Much of the first part of the novel is spent with the initiation into the spice smuggling business. But as Poe’s moral compass starts spinning during each new job, he starts to wonder if this is the career for him. Another purpose of these early chapters is to meet a mercurial member of the group named Zorii. She will become a love interest and business associate, and will pop up in The Rise of the Skywalker.
We know he’ll eventually end up with the rebels… The question for the second half of the book is: How? And where do all those long stares come from in the latest flicks? What the heck is Poe thinking about? His father, his mother, his former life? Segura offers some much appreciated depth in Free Fall and makes me appreciate the character of Poe even more.
With the expansion of the galaxy, along with well-known characters and places, Free Fall is a Star Wars novel that can’t be missed!
5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, Disney Press, and the author for an advanced copy for review.