A Crash of Fate is a Star Wars book released to promote a Disney theme park. Right away, you forget you’re being marketed to — the story is just that good.
I was not excited to read this book when it first showed up on my doorstep.
It’s hard enough to judge a book without reading it anyway. So picking up a book on release day knowing it’s part of a major marketing campaign for a theme park you may be lucky enough to visit once in your lifetime isn’t all that encouraging.
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But you can’t judge a book by its marketing. So per usual, I gave Zoraida Cordova’s debut Star Wars novel a chance. And I was blown away by what was inside.
A Crash of Fate is part of the Galaxy’s Edge tie-in material, which means it takes place on Batuu and highlights specific locations and characters at those locations. When you leave it at that, it doesn’t sound promising. Thankfully, the story has a strong enough beginning that you almost instantly forget you’re technically being marketed to — and it only gets better from there.
It’s completely acceptable to be skeptical of a new Star Wars title, especially one like this. What I did not want was a stale, trying-too-hard, 300-page advertisement for Galaxy’s Edge. What I got — what we all got — was a story about two people trying to find their place in the galaxy, who end up finding each other. Awww.
Izzy and Jules are childhood friends separated by galactic conflict (there are a lot of wars in this galaxy, it turns out). When they meet again on their home planet, they have one day to figure out who they are to each other now that they’re all grown up. And also, there’s smuggling involved.
I said smuggling, not snuggling, but there might be some of that too.
There are some spoilers coming up, so watch your step.
Admittedly, I’m a YA lit fanatic to the core. But there are plenty of tropes I don’t stand for, like love triangles and frustratingly “present but useless” parents.
This book doesn’t touch those. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t address other cliches … by tricking you into thinking you know what’s going to happen next, and leaving you speechless.
YA novel tropes you’ve encountered time and again show up in this book and end in twists that sets the whole story apart from those that have come before it.
Example (also, spoilers): Izzy and Jules are pretty sure they like each other. A lot. It’s dark. They’re alone. It’s first love between old friends. You know what happens next, right?
That’s where you’re wrong. Because instead of getting busy, OOPS, THEY GET CAPTURED. GOTCHA.
This book is, when it comes down to it, a different kind of love story. And a different way of looking at the Star Wars universe.
There’s actual character development. You see both characters learn to trust each other again. They’re grown up now. They have jobs to do. And maybe a galaxy to save.
And even though there is conflict throughout the galaxy, this book shows us what that’s like in one central outpost on one planet on the edge of Wild Space. It may seem small — insignificant, even. But to the people in the story, it’s life or death. And that’s what keeps you hanging on after every page.
One thing I love about books like Lost Stars and Bloodline (both Star Wars books written by Claudia Grey) is their character-driven storylines.
This is the ‘Wars — there needs to be action and adventure, risk-taking and suspense. And battles big or small. But what makes a Star Wars story good is how much you are or aren’t rooting for certain characters. If you don’t care about the characters, the warfare is just noise.
You might begin this book not caring at all about Jules and Izzy. They’re strangers to you. But fairly quickly, Cordova is going to give you more than one reason to love them. This goes for the side characters, too. They’re all important — and interesting — in their own ways.
Is this book a love story? Yes. But it’s about more than the love between two people. It’s about the love between families, neighbors, friends. It’s about embracing where you came from, and accepting your place in the universe.
In other words, it’s a story for everyone, that everyone can relate to. It’s well-written, entertaining without trying too hard, and, fun in the way Star Wars should be.
Also, if you’re into things exploding, there’s some of that too. Can’t have Star Wars without things going boom.
In terms of how important this book is to the overall story of Star Wars, for now I would classify it as “definitely read eventually, but take your time getting to it.” It doesn’t involve major characters from the films, and doesn’t even really tie into the larger saga until the very end.
It is a wonderful book even if you don’t generally gravitate toward YA. But if you’re behind on Star Wars books (or books in general, or you know, just life overall), leave it in the “to read” pile for a month or so.
I’m warning you though: Once you start reading, you’re going to have a hard time stopping. It’s a page-turner, an “I can breeze through this in a weekend but still enjoy it” kind of read. Save it for a rainy day. But do give it a chance. There’s bound to be something about it that captivates you, if you’re hungry for more Star Wars while we wait for the next book.
What’s your favorite Star Wars book of all time? Tell us what you love about it (and what you want to see more of from Lucasfilm Publishing and Del Rey in the future)!