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Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

Learn more about the dashing hero from the new Star Wars films! Telling a story hinted at in The Rise of Skywalker….

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. Not sure what he wants to do with his life, teenage Poe runs away from home to find adventure, and to figure out what kind of man he is meant to be.

Author: Alex Segura
Cover artist: Phil Noto
Publisher: Disney–Lucasfilm Press
Release date: August 4, 2020
Pages: 352
ISBN: 9781368051668

Today sees the release of Alex Segura’s debut Star Wars novel, Poe Dameron: Free Fall. The book takes us back to the early days of Poe Dameron’s youth and gives us the story of how he got involved with Zorii Bliss and the Spice Runners of Kijimi from The Rise of Skywalker. It serves to largely streamline the backstory we had gotten for Poe in previous Expanded Universe works with his scandalous past introduced by the film.

If you’re one of the many people who didn’t like what The Rise of Skywalker suggested about Poe’s backstory, for whatever reason, I’m not sure that this book will be enough to win you over. That said, I didn’t much like what the film said either, and I thought this book did a pretty good job of bringing me around on it. It’s a lot more complicated than Poe just running spice because he wants to (now that I think about it, I’m not sure the book even has any actual spice in it), and I appreciate how Segura squared Poe being a criminal with what we knew about him and his parents already. The end result more or less fits everything together for me. Segura clearly did his research on all of Poe’s previous appearances in the EU because references abound.

The book opens on Yavin 4, years after Poe’s mother Shara passed away, leaving him and his father alone with Poe yearning for more than the life of a farmer. It’s a straightforward story and one that feels very familiar. It hits all of the beats you would expect a coming-of-age story to hit, especially a Star Wars one, but Poe and the writing are endearing enough that it doesn’t end up feeling too derivative. There’s plenty of good banter and character development, and it’s nice seeing Poe as a teenager after having so many stories of him more grown-up.

The early chapters on Yavin 4 are probably my favorites of the book. I do think the plot gets a bit more messy as it progresses and the third act especially could have used another pass. It just feels a bit rushed and sudden, I think it could have used a little more development before the final sequence kicks into action.

Another noteworthy thing about this book is it’s our first real story during this time period, almost exactly halfway between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. As a result, there’s a lot of worldbuilding about both the state of the New Republic and the state of the criminal underworld. It’s pretty cool to finally get some insight into that time period and I’ll be interested to see if other stories set around this time in the future will link in with some of the teases here.

Overall, it’s a charming enough backstory novel for one of the best characters to come out of the sequel era. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy it, but I think a lot of people will, and I hope it can help some other people come around on those elements introduced by The Rise of Skywalker. Even if it can’t change opinions on the film itself, redeeming controversial elements from the movies is a time-honored tradition of the Star Wars expanded universe, and one that I think this book does a good enough job achieving.

Written by guest reviewer Numinian Prime.
@numidianprime 

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Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall
  • Hardcover Book
  • Segura, Alex (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 08/04/2020 (Publication Date) - Disney Lucasfilm Press (Publisher)