“We grow so accustomed to our speeders, our ships, our hyperdrives. To be in a world where only your feet can move you, centimeter by centimeter through infinity…let’s just say there’s a reason Phasma wanted off that rock.”
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Category: Star Wars, Science Fiction
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The Boba Fett of our generation, Captain Phasma is an unknown but powerful figure in the Star Wars universe. Phasma is about her past and how she came to join the First Order. Resistance spy Vi Moradi is captured and interrogated by as an imposing stormtrooper clad all in red, Captain Cardinal. Phasma is his political rival so he seeks information that he can use to take down his fellow storm-trooper, Phasma.
Vi herself has never met Captain Phasma and so has no first-hand knowledge of Phasma’s life. But she did hear her backstory from a woman named Siv on the planet Parnassos which so happens to also be Phasma’s home planet. And Vi’s ship logs show that she has recently been in the Parnassos system so Cardinal is convinced that she knows…something.
So our backstory is told by a spy to her enemy and that spy says she heard it from someone else.
First off, this thirdhand mode of storytelling felt flimsy all on its own. Second, as Vi is a spy for the Resistance and notices that her enemy does not seem to be very adept at this whole interrogation thing, she could be lying about what she is telling Cardinal. But it doesn’t matter because he isn’t fact checking her anyway. She tells him this long story and the whole time he is just sitting there giving her food and water. So yeah, this just doesn’t make sense, at least in part, because:
a) She could be lying
b) The person she heard it from could have been lying
c) Why after ten minuets of sitting there listing to her, did Cardinal not shock her so much (as he was already doing) that she skipped straight to the point?
Most of the story that Vi tells has zero bearing on the overall thing Cardinal wants. He wants something to get rid of Phasma. That something (as thin as it was) could have been summed up in one sentence. When we finally got that “big reveal” it fell pretty flat and rendered most of the book kind of extraneous.
Cardinal is also a programmed solider from the time he was very little. His character was interesting because we saw multiple sides of him. He is a leader in the First Order with his primary duty being the running of the training program for the new recruits. We frequently see his devotion to his cause but at the same time he is a good person and sometimes comes off a lot nicer than you would think a First Order Captain would. It is strange though because he is oddly nice to his captured Resistance spy.
At this point you probably think we don’t like this book. For the most part, that’s true. There was however some great world-building that was used. The world of Parnassus was a post-apocalyptic world where Phasma’s people are living on the edge of extinction. The idea of having to survive on this planet, with beetles that attack even the smallest drop of liquid, is both scary and interesting.
Phasma is suppose to be the focus here and while we do get to see her ruthlessness, we don’t learn anything new about her. She is smart and plays for the team that will help her the most. For now that is the First Order, but will it always be? Intriguing concepts but as what was suppose to be a look into her backstory, we got very little in who Phasma is.
I love Star Wars and was excited to read this but in the end it was disappointed. Phasma is still really cool and cold-hearted. At the end of the day I wish I got more from this character. The world was the bets part but at the end of the day there are enough plot holes around to make a sequel to the movie Holes. Unfortunately, not a fan.
My biggest disappointment here was Phasma.
Okay, so we got to see this really cool world of Parnassus and it was well-done and everything, yeah sure.
But I came into this wanting to know more about her. Phasma is such a mysterious character in the Star Wars movies because she is so obviously different from other stormtroopers but we get absolutely no information on her. I thought that this book was our chance to get to know her.
You know what I know about her after having read this book?
Spoiler alert: Phasma is a bad guy.
Why? I dunno…she just is. She is just one of those people that is born cruel and faithless and with no redeeming qualities. She makes all this noise in the book about “saving her people” but when push comes to shove, cares only about herself.
I really could have extracted all this myself from what we have seen in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. I did not need a 370 page book to tell me this.
What I am saying is that I came to this wanting to explore a character and instead got to read about walking across a wasteland. Which can be cool but devoid of interesting character development just doesn’t do anything for me.
I also found myself frustrated by the whole Siv thing. First off, the whole thirdhand narration was so flimsy that I was convinced that there would be a plot twist about it at some point.
Unfortunately, what you see is what you get.
And then Vi interrupting the story every often to go “Siv doesn’t know what that is but I do so that’s why I am saying it” (i.e. chrome, explosions, vehicles, etc.). It was kind of annoying. I knew that Vi was telling someone else’s story, I didn’t need the interruption.
The one thing that I did like in this book was Vi and Cardinal’s back and forth at times. At the beginning of their interactions, it is apparent that they are both attempting to manipulate one another and I was really interested in seeing how that panned out.
Sadly though, that was the one truly bright spot for me in this book. As books in the Star Wars EU seem to be more miss than hit for me, I think I will be taking a break from Star Wars novels for a little while.