“There’s something comforting about hyperspace. Running to or from trouble, it’s always the same.”
One of the most cunning and merciless officers of the First Order, Captain Phasma commands the favor of her superiors, the respect of her peers, and the terror of her enemies. But for all her renown, Phasma remains as virtually unknown as the impassive expression on her gleaming chrome helmet. Now, an adversary is bent on unearthing her mysterious origins—and exposing a secret she guards as zealously and ruthlessly as she serves her masters.
Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.
What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds. But this knowledge may prove more than just dangerous once Cardinal possesses it—and once his adversary unleashes the full measure of her fury.
What I thought:
I’m going to start this by admitting I’m not a giant Star Wars fan. I’ve seen the films and enjoyed them but it’s just not my fandom. It is something that should be my thing but I never watched them as a kid and just feel like it’s something that passed me by.
Therefore although I had heard really good things about Phasma it wasn’t something I was desperate to read. But once I started it I found myself really enjoying it. There were clearly things and references that went over my head but it wasn’t obvious that I was missing them if that makes sense. I wasn’t reading bits going “that probably means something” or “should I know what they are talking about?” which is the way a fandom book should be. Clearly written for the fans but not assuming everyone is hard core and know the ins and outs of the politics of each and every planet.
It’s written as a story within a story, which is a style I enjoy but doesn’t happen that often and is difficult to get right. Vi Moradi is telling the Cardinal what she has learnt about Phasma’s past as well as how she learnt it. It is interspersed with moments of ‘current time’ of her torture or him asking how different things are relevant in the answer to his questions. This allows a breather from Phasma’s tale and reminds you of where the story is set and how it fits into the Star Wars universe, pus it allows for massive time jumps – something that is can only be useful. As a reader we don’t always have to know how someone got from A to B only that the two things have happened, there is only so long we can read about people walking across a desert. Unless things are happening. Which is the case for a large chunk of this book, walking across the planet to try and reach safety and watching as Phasma becomes more and more part of the first order and loses the society and culture she was from.
It also has everything you want from a generic sci-fi book and Star Wars, you’ve got droids (both mad and otherwise), Stormtroopers, laser fights, and First Order propaganda. There are also loads of bad ass women just taking names and not allowing anyone to hold them back. In fact a majority of the characters are female and none of them could be considered weak.
I don’t want to short change this book, I enjoyed reading it although at times I did find it a bit of a push. But that as because this isn’t my fandom and as much as I enjoy Star Wars I’m not a geek about it. Once I put it down I wasn’t desperate to pick back up again but once I’d picked it up I didn’t want to put it down, not quite a paradox but close.
Why I read this book:
As a non-Star Wars geek it could (understandably) be weird that I’ve read this book, let alone that I own it. But it was a Christmas present from one of my best friends – who is a Star Wars geek. I’d been talking to him about it as I’d seen all the good reviews and so he got it for me specifically because he knew it fit into a category. 🙂
It jumped up the TBR because it was a gift but also because I knew that I would maybe struggle with it and didn’t want to leave it hanging.
It’s an enjoyable read and one that I’m glad I have read, even if I wouldn’t normally pick it up. With awesome female leads and with the protagonist on the other side of moral and looking out for number 1, it provides a different and interesting read.
I’m glad I read it but I’m not sure I’ll read it again. I am however looking forward to re-watching Star Wars knowing about Phasma’s past and what it took for her to get to where she is when we first meet her.
Would I recommend: If Star Wars is your thing then definitely. Phasma is underused in the films and this provides an awesome back story and makes her a credible threat. If Star Wars isn’t your thing, but you still enjoy a good fun science fiction, then I would suggest giving it a go anyway. You might not get everything but you’ll have fun.
If you don’t like Star Wars at all then you should probably give this one a miss.
Popsugar: Book about an antihero/villain, given as a gift, set on a different planet,
Read Harder: Sci-fi with a female Protagonist + Female author.
As always please leave a review.
Thanks for reading,