Audiobook Review: Star Wars Adventures Introduce the World of Galaxy’s Edge

Audiobook Review: Star Wars Adventures Introduce the World of Galaxy’s Edge

Ever heard of Black Spire Outpost? The locals call it BSO. It’s on the planet of Baatu, out on the edge of Wild Space. That was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…but you can go there if you find the right wormhole in a Disney park.

As soon as Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, fans started dreaming of the theme-park possibilities. Those have now come to fruition with Galaxy’s Edge attractions at Disneyland and Disney World. Early reviews have been fairly rapturous, citing the attractions’ immersive quality.

Star Wars has been part of the Disney park experience dating back to the debut of Star Tours in 1987. That motion-simulator ride was pretty cool for the time, but its greatest-hits approach to the Star Wars saga is way too cheesy for our highly nerd-savvy times.

Although Galaxy’s Edge has a few features that anyone who’s ever seen a Star Wars movie will recognize — yes, that’s the Millennium Falcon parked at the BSO spaceport — Lucasfilm made the crucial decision not to base the attraction on any location appearing in a film so far. Instead, Galaxy’s Edge brings you into the Star Wars universe by generally evoking the “used universe” space-opera aesthetic that’s been a touchpoint for a dozen movies as well as TV shows, toys, and books.

Speaking of books, three new titles are now available in print and audio form for trufans to study up on the lore and layout of Black Spire Outpost. While it’s not taken from a movie, Baatu is not generic: it has its own official corner of the carefully curated Star Wars canon, a corner that’s quickly expanding thanks to the authors of Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, A Crash of Fate, and Star Wars Myths & Fables.

Delilah S. Dawson’s Black Spire is the BSO Bible, a detailed account of how Resistance spy Vi Moradi journeyed to Baatu to establish a base of operations on the determinedly neutral planet. The story is set between The Last Jedi and the upcoming Rise of Skywalker, so the Resistance is in dire straits and no one’s available to support Vi when the brutish First Order lieutenant Wulfgar Kath lands with a squad set on tracking Moradi and her compatriot, the erstwhile stormtrooper Archex.

(If any of those names sound familiar, you’re well-versed in Star Wars lore. Moradi and Archex starred in Dawson’s 2017 novel Phasma, which tracked their transition from combatants to wary allies. Then, readers dropped in on Baatu during last year’s Thrawn: Alliances and Pirate’s Price.)

Black Spire is a decidedly adult and sometimes brutal read, featuring a torture scene and an extended fistfight between Moradi and the sociopathic Kath. By contrast, Zoraida Córdova’s YA novel A Crash of Fate is a relatively breezy love story about a young man and woman who grow up together near BSO, then separate and reunite when they’ve both grown older, warier, wiser, and hotter.

Both novels, along with a couple of stories in George Mann’s franchise-spanning collection of Myths & Fables, establish the essential landmarks and notable characters of Black Spire Outpost. Operating beyond the functional jurisdiction of either the First Order or the Resistance, the outpost is run by Oga Garra, an alien gangster who’s certainly not beneficent, but not particularly malignant either.

Oga runs the local cantina, and both novels set fans up for a menu of drinks dusted with gold flakes harvested from the petrified spires that give the outpost its name. She has a professional rivalry with Dok-Ondar, the surly hammerhead who runs an antiquities shop that provides the setting for much of the Crash of Fate action. You’ll also be ready to spot the Trilon Wishing Tree, the workshop that employs Vi and where you can build a lightsaber at Galaxy’s Edge. (Owner Savi’s access to kyber crystals is hinted in Black Spire.)

If you want to dive even deeper into the world of Galaxy’s Edge before and/or after making your visit, fear not: there are also comics, a cookbook, and a forthcoming traveler’s guide. In the meantime, the next-best thing to poking your head into Smuggler’s Alley is listening to the audio editions of Black Spire, Crash of Fate, and Myths & Fables.

The short Myths & Fables is a relatively no-frills audio experience; forsaking the lavish illustrations of the hardcover does keep you guessing a little longer, for better or worse, regarding the stories settings and characters. Black Spire and Crash of Fate, on the other hand, bring you to Baatu with immersive soundscapes, John Williams music, and authentically jaw-rattling sound effects.

Black Spire is narrated by audiobook legend January LaVoy, whose even and inviting style is supplemented with various voice effects. She has particular fun with Oga, who sounds like an Eastern European dockworker sucking on an oyster. For Crash of Fate, Brittany Pressley brings a suitably wistful touch to the story of star-crossed lovers; regular bursts of electronic dance music played by the local radio station provide a youthful boost.

They’re not the most compelling books in the Star Wars canon, but they get their most essential job done: setting the scene for you to go and create your own Black Spire story.

Jay Gabler