REVIEW: A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Cordova
While a wonderful book and a super fun ride, this book was certainly not the spiritual successor to Lost Stars as many were hoping. Since it didn't follow two lovebirds through scenes and situations that we were already familiar with, it wasn't able to bring out the same amount of surprise and nostalgia. Regardless, I very much enjoyed this novel and it gives us some insight into what is going on in the galaxy months after The Last Jedi.
And, most fascinating of all, it provides us with a vivid and in-depth look into the world of Batuu (Galaxy's Edge) right from our couch!! Which is awesome because I don't see myself going there any time soon (way too much money for me).
So a few post-The Last Jedi facts:
-We already knew that Hondo had the Millennium Falcon and was running
Ohnaka Transport Solutions out of Batuu. But this fully shows his operation
working as an everyday part of Batuu life which was really cool.
-The First Order has become a staple part of life throughout the galaxy,
including on Batuu, and many people have rallied to their side of things in
hopes of law and order. Oga Garra, the Blutopian ("a gathering of pink tentacles
sticking out of the hood of a cloak", thick brown skin) who owns the Black Spire
Outpost Cantina and essentially runs the Outpost, uses thugs and devious
manipulation to rule and many are ready for a real government.
-The Resistance has set up shop in the caverns/ruins outside of the Outpost and
they are super secretive about their presence. We see the beginnings of this
base in Black Spire by Delilah S. Dawson which takes place pretty much
directly after The Last Jedi. So cool how the two books connect like this!!
And as for the story, a boy named Julen Rakab and a girl named Izal Garsea were best friends on Batuu when they were about six years old. Izzy still carries a ring around her neck that Jules gave her back during those simpler times. Izzy unfortunately got swept up by her parents in the middle of the night and carted off to another planet to escape...well...something...and the two are left separated for over a decade until Izzy returns as a smuggler and runs into Jules at Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities. The two then begin a quest to discover what happened to Dok as he is nowhere to be found and they run into consistent trouble along the way. Eventually of course, the two star-crossed lovers fall in love, but will they be able to stay together?? Or will the stars keep them apart forever??
The story definitely felt young adult, unlike Lost Stars, but it was still very well-written and immensely enjoyable! I definitely was intrigued by the disappearance of Dok and the various obstacles the two ran into along their journey. Except for one small bit in the beginning, the entire book takes place on Batuu so it is a very insular story, but that allowed Cordova to really dig into the essence of Black Spire Outpost (BSO) for those of us stuck at home.
So, what did we learn about Batuu?
-It has 3 suns and 2 moons.
-The landscape includes "jutting rock spurs of petrified trees and jagged cliffs."
-Outside of BSO is the Surabat River Valley.
-Surabat grain is harvested here on Kat Saka's farm. Purple Surabat grain is
sweeter than the regular kind.
-Savi's junkyard provides the goods for Savi and Son Salvage.
-Bubo Wamba's milkstand, bantha milk
-Cookie Scruggs (the cook from Maz's castle!!!) has set up shop in the spaceport
with an eatery selling fried Endorian tip-yip and moof juice (sweet and
-Some locals call stormtroopers "white masks."
-Golden lichen grows on the spires and is extremely valuable, the harvest of
which is controlled by Oga herself; it tastes like burnt honey.
-Dok-Ondar's word carries a lot of weight around the Outpost. His "antiquities"
include "everything from metal reliquaries to the supposed bones of Jedi to
crown jewels of destroyed worlds to a dianoga in a tank." A taxidermic wampa
and sarlacc in a tank are also on display. There's a metal chandelier hanging
from the ceiling and Ithorian wind chimes that constantly tinkle in the wind.
He has an "ancient astromech droid that had been retrofitted to vacuum, JC-
284." He's over 200 years old!! His shop can be found on Merchant Row with a
big statue of a Jedi priestess out front.
-Other merchants include "Jewels of Bith," "Kat Saka's Kettle," "The Wooden
Wookiee," and "Bina's Creatures."
-Salju runs a refueling station and mechanic's shop.
-Oga Garra runs the cantina...and BSO for that matter...she prefers to speak in
Huttese. R3X (Rex) isn't the only music at her cantina as local bands play there
also. Fuzzy Tauntauns, Carbon Freezes, and Bespin Fizzes are drinks served
here, as well as a drink in a round fish bowl with a real fish garnish. The cantina
has "wear and blaster marks on one wall" probably from Anakin and Thrawn!!!
See Thrawn: Alliances--love this!!
-The wishing tree--"Around the slender wood were dozens of ribbons and scraps
of cloth. They ornamented the tree, tied any place there was available bark. The
loose ends moved in the wind like leaves. 'It's the wishing tree," [Jules] said. 'You
take a piece of string or cloth or whatever you want and tie it up here. When it
breaks off by itself, your wish has been granted.'"
-A lesbian Karkarodon (the sentient shark species--think Riff Tamson from "The
Clone Wars") supervises Ohnaka Transport Solutions!!! Her girlfriend is a
-Smuggler's Alley, a dangerous place ruled over by Oga that contains many parts
for ships and the like.
-Various food stalls sell nuna jerky.
-Topato stew is a food served here by the locals.
-The Galma vicinity, bad things happen here including unsanctioned fighting
and droid death matches.
-Bioluminescent creatures cast a soft light in the cenotes (as defined in our
world: "a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone
bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath") in the outlying land when
-People rub "the obelisk" for good luck.
New creatures (a number of old favorite sentients were mentioned which made my heart glow, but here are some new ones to add to the lore):
-"part feline and part lizard, with a splotchy coat of fur and yellow split-pupil
eyes […] tiny sharp teeth." non-sentient found on Batuu
-Ketzalian, small sentient with reptilian-faced, filmy purple wings, "humanoid
head with lizard features and waxy feathers for hair"
-Urusida, non-sentient that eat lots of fish
-Summer spire flies
-Loralora bird, a rare hybrid from Ketz (see below), large and purple with a
reptilian tail, imprints on people
-Batuuan rats and nightsnakes
-Spiran fireflies, found on Batuu
New planets (again, a number of old familiars were mentioned but we get a well-spring of new ones as well):
-Actlyon: rusty skies
-Linasals, a tropical moon
-Eroudac, a small Mid Rim world with an academy
-Toledian, a mining accident occurred here that destroyed its main city
-Urajab, the jungles were reduced to weeds because of an accident involving the
wrong shipment (a shipment of worms)
-Ketz, a jungle moon
-Haneli, a flower grows here that potent tea can be made from, a drought made
it nearly impossible to find said flower
-Raysho, a planet in the Hosnian system
-Chibbier, a forest planet whose every tree was cut down
-Ielo, a small ice moon
-the Risso hot springs moon has spa retreats, thermal waters
And finally, my favorite quote of the book...because Rodian descriptions seem to always be the most poetic, "The Rodian chuckled, and it had a strange resemblance to bubbles." Love this!!
So TONS of new information on Batuu, new species, and new planets. So incredibly much to take in!! This was a brilliant book for learning more about Galaxy's Edge and it also provided a fun story along the way. Certainly not the equivalent of Lost Stars, but a super fine book regardless.
My score: 8/10
I am so excited to have joined the Beyond the Blast Doors Star Wars conversation! As a person who is deeply passionate about every aspect of the galaxy far, far away, I'm always looking for ways to spread my Star Wars joy and love.
I've spoken at cons and written articles on a variety of topics but one of my biggest passions is the canon literature. I hope to help you find your way through the Maelstrom because what is out there is truly amazing!