My judgemental bitch review of “Phasma”, a new Star Wars novel

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I’ll admit right now that I’m one of those fans that freaked out when it was announced that the Star Wars novels I’d loved over the years were no longer going to be canon. I practically threw a temper tantrum.

It was rather impressive.

After all, these were the stories before, during, and after the saga that expanded the universe and gave me hope. I cosplay Mara Jade and still ship her and Luke (and will to my dying day). Grand Admiral Thrawn made me fear a genius intellect in an Imperial uniform. Chewie’s death affected me so profoundly that I actually halted reading the expanded universe novels for a couple of years. But those became my world. To have this world suddenly relegated to “non-canon” felt like a piece of my soul had been ripped away. But after watching “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” I was willing to give this new world of Star Wars novels a chance.

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The most recent one that I finished is “Phasma” by Delilah S. Dawson. I’ll try to provide a review without any spoilers for those who are planning to ready it. This book is a lead up to “The Last Jedi” and I thought it would explore a character that caught my attention in Episode VII. The book takes place in the present as well as in the past, mostly 10 years prior and is about a First Order officer interrogating a Resistance prisoner for information about Phasma. This information is relayed by the prisoners through stories that she has been told.

Right off the bat I was thrown by the author’s use of present tense during the “present time” scenes. It may just be personal taste, but I cannot stand when a novel is written that way when there’s no justification for it. It swaps to past tense during the “flashbacks” which was a relief but not for long. The sections set in the past are then occasionally interrupted in their flow by a line thrown in by the present tense prisoner. A description will suddenly have “as I’ve told you” worked into the sentence, as if the reader needs reminding that this is in the past and is being relayed by another telling. This happens a few times and it threw me out of the actual story each time.

The story itself is less than captivating. I was expecting to discover more about the female officer and while it did delve into her past, it provided no real insight or additional revelations about her. Instead I felt as though I had just read a long work of fan fiction, and not even outstanding fan fiction. This is not to disparage fan fiction. I have written my share and read plenty, both good and bad. And unfortunately this novel felt like mediocre fan fiction through the writing style as well as the story itself.

While I don’t think this novel is as abysmal as the “Aftermath” novels by Chuck Wendig (I had to force myself through those), it’s not one that I’ll bother to re-read the way I do any of the Star Wars Legend novels or the new “Thrawn” novel. It doesn’t provide me with hope for the new wave of Star Wars novels. Of all that I’ve read, only “Thrawn” has been worth purchasing, re-reading, and loving. I did enjoy “Rogue One Catalyst” but it’s not one that I feel the need to own right away. I am grateful that there will be a second Thrawn novel in the new canon released in 2018 and I’ll still try the other new novels (I’m working through “Rebel Rising” at the moment), but overall…..

I’m feeling let down.

Perhaps more Star Wars authors from the Legends series need to come out and write new stories in the current canon. Perhaps the new authors need to read through the best of the Legends novels to truly get a feel for excellent Star Wars writing. Perhaps I’m too harsh on the new authors.

But if I want fan fiction, I can find better on the internet.

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~ by rumielf on December 6, 2017.

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