Cover Image: Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

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Member Reviews

If you were curious about Poe's spice running days, this is the book for you. Segura did an amazing job giving us a backstory that aligned with Poe's personality and history while undoing some of the wtf you may have experienced learning that fact on Kijimi.
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Not my cup of tea. So much emphasis placed on Zorii, who I didn't really care about considering the movies neglected the characters they already HAD (Rose, Finn, etc) and instead introduced new ones for approximately ten minutes. This story was pretty boring for me.
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It's a fun and thrilling adventure story that doubles as Poe Dameron's origin tale. While parts of the exposition and backstory laid out could feel over-explanatory, it doesn't come off that way in Alex Segura's hands, and it does a great deal into shaping Zorii into a tangible character.
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I have been waiting for this book for a long time. I think Poe is the most well rounded of the new sequel trilogy characters, and even though I feel his character development was undercut slightly by The Rise of Skywalker, this novel (in addition to Resistance Reborn) really helps flesh his character out further.

But one of the big things this book manages to achieve is to give life to the character of Zorii Bliss. I got whiplash from how quickly she went from trying to kill Poe to helping him out, but fortunately, this isn't the case in Segura's story.

In fact, the entire plot felt like it had a nice flow. No rushing. No dragging. Just a fun Star Wars adventure; the way it should be.
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This book provides a wonderful insight into beloved character Poe Dameron. I loved seeing him as a teenager and learning more about his upbringining. It fills in many gaps to who he is, and made me feel even more connected to him.
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I love that thanks to Netgalley & Disney Publishing Worldwide I get to share these advance reader copies of books about some of our favorite Star Wars characters come to life with my teen who is a HUGE fan. 

Poe Dameron is a character we've had a lot of love for over the years, and we were thrilled to see him get a stand alone title to read, learning about his teenage years before he joins the rebellion. As expected, there was lots of action and adventure as Poe runs away from home to find his own way in the world. 

While it wasn't quite as amazing as we were hoping for, this was still a solid 4 star read for us. Fun, quick-paced adventure, how could we not love getting some more in the Star Wars universe?!
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Wow! What a blast! Alex Segura wrote one of the most thrilling and dynamic Star Wars books I've read. It just doesn't stop. From the opening pages, Segura throws us into an action packed adventure with Poe Dameron. The book is constantly jumping from set piece to set piece, staying true to the Action/Adventure serials that inspired Lucas' vision of Star Wars. 

Segura does an incredible job taking elements from the Poe we've seen in different formats (books, movies and comics) and reconciling them into this book. I could just picture Oscar Isaac portraying every movement, dialogue and moment. Furthermore, by taking elements from other Origin stories in Star Wars (Han, Luke and Leia specifically) Segura tells an original, yet familiar origin for Poe. The book manages to tell a compelling story for a character we have already met in different formats, without it ever feeling like a checklist of things that we already know. Through Poe, we learn about the themes of found family, the importance of staying true to our moral code and the cost of wanting to live a life of constant thrills. All these theme are true to the story that began in 1977. 

Throughout the book, we meet new characters, as well as encounter familiar faces. I was more than satisfied with the writing of familiar character's like L'ulo, Kez and (of course) Zorii. Segura manages to stay true to the characters and the version's we've seen before, while also taking a dive into them and further fleshing them out. 

My only real criticisms for this book is that, though it is true to the nature of Lucas' vision, the action and adventure are sometimes too much for its own good. At times, it was hard to tell when a moment ended and the next begun. Additionally, because of theis, it was confusing to follow the passing of time throughout the book. Furthermore, the book introduces an antagonist through Trune. The character's drive and backstory are beyond interesting. However, we do not spend enough time with her in order to fully flesh out these elements. 

Overall, Segura delivers an incredible book. The thrill and action sometimes make the book hard to follow, and some of its most interesting elements could've been further explored. However, these never takes away from the smaller character moments and the larger themes presented throughout the book. It is a must read for any Star Wars fan.
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I received a free advance copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for this review.

If you’re a Star Wars fan it’s a real best-of-times/worst-of-times situation these days. We’ve gotten some great new stuff, but also a couple of real duds. Plus, much like how the worst thing about capitalism are the capitalists, the worst thing about Star Wars fandom turned out to be Star Wars fans.

So I wasn’t exactly dying to pick up a new young adult tie-in book, but I’d recently read Alex Segura’s first crime novel, and I thought Poe Dameron was an interesting but underused character in the latest movies so decided to give it a shot. And it turned out to be a fun Star Wars story.

This starts out with teenage Poe living on Yavin 4 with his father. Both his parents fought for the rebels against the Empire, and his mother was a great pilot who taught him to fly before she was killed while on a mission for the New Republic. Now Poe’s father just wants to live a quiet life as a farmer, and he’s kept Poe from leaving for the adventure he craves. Hmmm… a young man dreaming of space adventure who is trapped on the family farm…. I wonder why that sounds familiar..?

Anyhow, after Poe pulls a knuckleheaded stunt that lands him in hot water with the authorities and leads to a blowout argument with his father, he impulsively takes a piloting job for several shady characters looking to get off Yavin 4 quickly. It turns out that these people are Spice Runners of Kijimi, one of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the galaxy, and a zealous New Republic officer with a personal vendetta is hot on their trail. Poe wanted excitement, but he’s uneasy with his new role as a criminal. However, his growing relationship with the mysterious young lady Zorii makes him hesitant to leave.

Segura takes an interesting approach to this one because it plays out in a series of stories that often begin with Poe in the middle of his latest job gone wrong with the Spice Runners that then fills us in on how it came about. The time jumping helps build a complete narrative arc that leaves Poe with some gaps that could be filled in later (Something the Star Wars franchise loves doing.) while also giving us the depth and backstory that the movies never did. One of the few things I liked about Rise of Skywalker were the hints to Poe’s past, and that fleshes that out.

Since it’s a short YA novel we’re not getting the kind of deep dive into Star Wars lore that some nerds demand, but overall I found it to be a fast, fun, and enjoyable adventure. It’s obvious that Segura is a fan who knows the universe well, and he brings a young Poe to life with energy and enthusiasm.
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I loved learning so much more about Poe’s background and all of the Zorii content! It really fleshed out references from the films. The book may begin a little slowly, but the payoff at the end is just amazing!
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This book was a difficult one to review! It's a book that I might have liked in another universe, but part of the problem with Poe Dameron: Free Fall is that it's fundamentally a book that exists to provide a backstory to some lines of dialogue in a film. Is that a bad thing? No! That's what movie tie-in books do, and there are plenty of great examples of this in the Star Wars franchise.

The problem with Free Fall is that it almost feels like there are two Poe Damerons: the Poe Dameron that we met in the initial films and the Poe Dameron of the latest film and this novel. We had stories about Poe's parents and about Poe's career before The Force Awakens to get to know the character and where he came from. 

The book tries its hardest to square those two backgrounds, and I think the earliest scenes in the book were some of the strongest for dealing with Poe's family background. But ultimately it's trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. This is no fault of the author's -- I think Alex Segura told a great story -- but the premise was ultimately a challenging one to work with and that marred the story. 

Setting aside the issues with Poe, the story is enjoyable enough on its own! It was just unfortunately very hard for me to separate that from the story. Other readers who are less attached to previous Poe background stories may very well feel differently.
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When Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker was released last year, one line of dialogue that raised a lot of eyebrows was the revelation that Resistance hero Poe Dameron was once a spice runner. The YA novel Poe Dameron: Free Fall by Alex Segura, released last week, covers this period in Poe’s life and attempts to have it make sense in the wider context of Poe’s life.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall opens with a sixteen-year-old Poe living with his father Kes on their Yavin 4 farm. Poe, much like Luke Skywalker years before, yearns for more than life on a farm. Worse, Poe has grown up listening to tales of the heroics his father (Rebellion soldier Kes Dameron) and mother (Rebellion pilot Shara Bey) got up to during the Galactic Civil War and he is desperate to prove himself. However, since the death of his mother, Poe’s father has become overly protective of their only child, meaning the teenage Poe feels suffocated on the small moon where everyone knows who he is. That’s why, when he finds a bunch of smugglers in need of a pilot sitting in a local tavern, he offers to fly them off-world himself, anything to get away from Yavin 4.

It’s only after their daring escape that Poe discovers exactly who he has fallen in with. No ordinary bunch of smugglers, Poe is now a pilot for the notorious Spice Runners of Kijimi, a relatively new gang making the best of the power vacuum left behind by the collapse of the Empire. Poe’s loyalties are immediately at odds with one another. He knows he should return home to his worried father and that becoming a Spice Runner is the opposite of what his beloved mother would have wanted for him, but here is an opportunity for a lifetime of adventure and daring that he could barely have dreamed of.

And then there’s Zorii Wynn, a teenage girl who forms part of the team Poe met on Yavin 4. Zorii seems wise beyond her years and the rest of the hard-boiled crew are oddly protective of her despite her obvious lack of experience. As Poe and Zorii’s relationship develops, he finds it increasingly difficult to walk away from the Spice Runners, even as their missions become darker and ever more deadly, forcing Poe into moral choices that often turn his stomach.

The book climaxes as Zorii’s secrets are finally revealed, forcing Poe into a final showdown where he will finally have to make a choice between two very different futures.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall is a book that has clearly been written out of necessity in order to explain away the backstory that was dropped bombshell-like into the final film. Author Alex Segura has had to write something that explains how a son of Rebel heroes could wind up working as a Spice Runner and then, equally difficult, how he could have escaped from that life. After all, notorious criminal gangs are not known for letting people simply walk away from them if they change their minds. The result is a book that feels forced and, unfortunately, struggles to work.

Poe’s initial decision to join the Spice Runners was probably the most believable part of his journey. Rather than a conscious choice to fall in with a bad crowd, Poe is simply an impulsive teen who takes an opportunity to get away from his responsibilities without really thinking through the consequences—something I’m sure most of us can relate to. However, the longer he stays with them, the less that rationale holds water. As Poe witnesses and even participates in more and more criminal undertakings, the more he becomes complicit in them and no amount of painful ruminations after the fact can alter that. In fact, the endless moral dilly-dallying became annoying after a while. Poe knew full well that he was in the wrong but continued finding reasons not to leave and my sympathy for him as a kid who made a poor choice wore away to almost nothing by the end.

There were, of course, good points. The inclusion of the adorable and hilarious Babu Frik in several scenes was a natural highlight—how could it not be—and new droid character EV-6B6 was a delight. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if, given the events at the end of the book, we eventually discover that she and BB-8 have more in common than simply belonging to Poe. I’m not a huge fan of pilot-themed books but reading about some of Poe’s more imaginative maneuvers was also a lot of fun, even if it did take some significant suspension of disbelief to accept they were pulled off by a cocky teen who hadn’t flown anything beyond a beaten up A-Wing before the start of the book.

I do also feel the need to talk about Poe’s relationship with Zorii. Ever since the release of The Force Awakens, fans immediately began shipping Poe with his fellow Resistance hero Finn, something actor Oscar Isaac would have been happy to see progress in the later films. Naturally, that never happened, and there have been mutterings that Poe’s relationship with Zorii in The Rise of Skywalker was specifically added in to derail those theories and make the film more palatable to less LGBTQ-friendly markets. Free Fall explores this relationship in more detail and it is clear that Poe does have feelings for Zorii. However, it is also made clear that having grown up on the backwater of Yavin 4 with almost no others of his own age around him, this is Poe’s first experience of anything even vaguely romantic and both his and Zorii’s actions can best be described as fumbling. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that there is nothing in Free Fall that precludes Poe from being bi or pansexual, and thus nothing here that could prevent StormPilot from becoming canon one day in a future book or comic. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

Taken with a pinch of salt, Poe Dameron: Free Fall is a fun adventure novel and I’m sure younger readers and fans of movie-Poe will enjoy it. For those of us hoping it would fix the canon issues raised by The Rise of Skywalker, I’m not sure it does. I was hopeful at the beginning but Poe’s journey throughout this book didn’t work for me and left too many issues for me to feel fully satisfied. This is one I probably wouldn’t recommend to anyone beyond die-hard Poe fans and Star Wars canon completists.

GeekMom received a copy of this book for review purposes.
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This is a great book to get backstory on one of the most popular new Star Wars heroes and learn about the tribulations of his youth.
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2020 is the year of Star Wars for me. I finally started watching the movies on New Year’s Day (thanks Disney+ for finally giving us a way to watch all of them in one place!). Poe Dameron quickly became one of my favourite characters of the franchise, so when I saw this book about a young Poe, I was intrigued. The Rise of Skywalker movie left me with so many questions - Poe was a spice runner? What was his history with Zorii? - and I was glad to have the opportunity to get some of those questions answered.
 
Since the death of Poe’s mother several years before, Poe’s dad has tried to quell Poe’s desire to be a pilot and seek more than a life as a farmer on Yavin 4. Poe longs for the type of adventure his parents experienced when they were fighting in the rebellion, but he knows he’ll never find it under the watchful, overprotective influence of his father. His life of adventure comes in the form of helping a stranded group of ‘smugglers’ off Yavin 4, but he gets more than he bargained for when he realizes he’s just offered to be a pilot for the infamous Spice Runners of Kijimi.
 
As a newbie to the expanded universe and origin stories, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Free Fall. It was interesting getting a look at Poe as a headstrong teenager, and seeing his character fleshed out a bit more. Like many, I wasn’t thrilled about the whole ‘Poe was a spice runner’ reveal in The Rise of Skywalker, but knowing the details made me feel better about it. You could really feel the conflict within young Poe - his desire to return home warring with his desire to stay loyal to the spice runners, especially to Zorii, with whom he’d formed a connection. He ultimately realized that while he wanted a life of adventure, he wasn’t cut out for the violence, thievery, human trafficking, and other horrors that came with being a spice runner. His misadventures were necessary to show him what he did want and that there were safer and more noble ways to get the adventure he craved.
 
While I mostly enjoyed Free Fall, I had a few issues with it. The pacing was off, I was often confused about the passage of time, the relationships were very flat, and the ending was abrupt and not very satisfying. Overall I found myself wanting more. More of a connection to the characters, more depth, more emotion. While I did feel Poe’s conflict, I wanted to really connect to him and feel more emotion from him. This book felt like a tiny piece of a snapshot and I wanted the whole picture, or better yet, the whole album.
 
Poe had lived such a sheltered existence and here he was thrown into this life of crime and violence, but we got more action scenes than actually seeing how it all affected him. And while we did get the history between Poe and Zorii, I wanted to know more about Zorii herself other than the one-dimensional impression we got of her having no morals and being driven by anger and a misguided sense of loyalty to the spice runners. I was also hoping for more depth in Poe and Zorii’s relationship; we were told they’d formed a connection and had moments of intimacy but other than a few brief on-page scenes, we didn’t see much of it. We were told the important bits and then shown the action.
 
Mild potential spoiler: A friend of mine knows I ship Poe and Finn, and she sent me an article a few months ago about how this book appeared to keep Poe’s sexuality open in subtle ways. In the book, the author used neutral phrasing that would definitely leave Poe’s sexuality open to interpretation, for example, “He’d cared for people before - felt the flutter of excitement at something new with someone, only to see it dashed” and “He’d messed up relationships with people before”. The use of ‘people’ rather than a specific gender is subtle and I’m sure it’s as much as Disney would allow, but it gives me some hope that maybe somehow, someway, someday, we’ll get more.
 
While I didn’t love this book, I’m glad I read it. If you love Poe Dameron and want to know more of his back story and his history with Zorii, Free Fall makes for an interesting read that answers some of the questions raised by The Rise of Skywalker.
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Alex Segura did a very good job with the plot and idea he was given. Overall, I thought it added a lot to the Spice Runners and he did a good job with Poe's inner turmoil as the book went on. I would have liked a little more to the end. However, the time jumps were jarring at best and made it hard for there to be any deep dives into characterization.
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https://whatsnewonjakku.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/poe-dameron-free-fall-review/

Poe Dameron: Free Fall is Alex Segura’s newest novel and first novel within the Star Wars franchise. I thought this book was a well-rounded telling of Poe’s earlier years, and the time he spent as a spice runner. I am elated that Star Wars had a Hispanic author tell Poe’s story.

A lot of people compare Poe to Han Solo but I think this novel shows you exactly how dissimilar the two characters are. They are both wise-cracking pilots with questionable pasts but their demeanor and morals are very different, as well as their story. Finding out that Poe’s mother (Shara) was a pilot in the Rebellion and that she was friends with General Leia brings new meaning to the relationship Poe and Leia had in the Sequel Trilogy.

If you want to know more about Poe and Zorii Bliss, this book is a great resource.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an e-arc in exchange for an honest review!

FREE FALL follows a teenager Poe Dameron and his struggle to break out from his sheltered life and discover his true calling in the galaxy. To escape his home, he joins a crew of spice runners and meets Zorii (yes, his friend from The Rise of Skywalker) and they soon become close. However, their competing loyalties and values force them to re-evaluate their decisions. 

This was a rather fun read! Poe is one of my favorite characters from the new trilogy and I enjoyed this deep dive into his character. His struggle to break out from an overbearing parent is definitely something universally (haha) relatable. While the younger Poe is vastly different from his older movie-counterpart, his core traits are still very much present.

Overall, another great Star Wars book!
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This fills in the backstory from The Rise of Skywalker when everyone finds out Poe used to be a spice runner. I liked how he fell into the work because of his longing to leave home and find adventure. And I liked how he felt trapped in this path because of his choices and the fact that his new "friends" would probably kill him before they'd let him just leave.

Lots of potential here, but it didn't come together for me. I didn't love any of the characters. My favorite relationship was probably the one between Poe and his dad, which has a Prodigal Son feel to it, but that was a really small part of the story. The middle of the book dragged for me. It seemed to serve to cement Poe more into this group to make it harder for him to leave, but beyond that it didn't add to my understanding of the character. When it's all said and done, I know about events that happened, but nothing deeper than that.

Big SW fans and Dameron fans might enjoy this because of the focus on this "surprise" backstory. But if you are looking for a rich character-development sort of Star Wars tale, this might not be a great fit for you. (Light romance, typical Star Wars-style violence)
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Alex Segura’s Poe Dameron: Free Fall illustrates the background of Poe as he, in an effort to escape his boring life on Yavin 4 jumps at an opportunity to be a pilot of what he believes are smugglers, finds himself falling into a seemingly inescapable void of joining the Spice Runners of Kijimi.

The main theme of this book deals with choosing to do what is right, no matter the consequences. This is something Poe struggles with throughout the story, and it’s especially difficult when his selfish and discontented desires get in the way. For example, while it is completely understandable why he would want to go out on his own and escape his (rightfully so) helicopter father, he quickly learns there may have been a better way to do it as he finds himself by accident in a life of crime.

Segura demonstrates a flawless characterization of every single role in this story, especially the lead. His words and descriptions provide the sarcastic, clever, stubborn, and impulsive Poe Dameron fans know and love from the films. Throughout the book, the reader will constantly see the wit and problem solving skills as well as the sass the character develops.

Fans will remember the first hints of Poe’s past in The Rise of Skywalker when he (begrudgingly), along with Rey, Finn, BB-8 and C-3PO, head to Kijimi, running into Zorii and Babu. In the book, readers experience the young pilot’s interactions with not only these but other characters that appear throughout the books and games of the Star Wars universe, such as BoShek, Caryn, and Tarand Crowe, to name a few.

Zorii is a crucial interaction for Poe, and one could argue she is the antagonist in the story, pushing him to change as he goes on his journey as they both strive for the same thing but go about it in different ways. Hinted in the movie, they have a past together with a deep relationship. Not only do we witness their banter, teamwork, and chemistry, but there are moments of reminiscence that are only made stronger and more powerful in the film with flipped perspectives. As an example, Poe suggests they run away together in the book, and in the movie, Zorii brings up the idea. In addition, readers also get a crystal clear idea as to why Zorii would kill Poe when she first spots him.

This story seems to provide additional background to specific moments in The Rise of Skywalker. For example, Poe is shoved into the hot seat to try the risky move known as hyperdrive skipping, and through Segura’s narration it is made clear how dangerous and deadly it can truly be. Another instance is the reasoning and history behind Zorii’s outfit, specifically her helmet.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall is a roller-coaster, perfectly paced read, filled with fun and suspenseful moments. If you’re a Star Wars fan, this is a definite must-read.
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A Star Wars novel is a keeper for me if it expands and /or adds depth to a character or a certain aspect of my favorite universe. E.K. Johnston does a fantastic job diving in the character of Padme Amadala in her books Queen’s Shadow and Queen’s Peril. She takes a couple sections of Padme’s life that are not featured in the films and uses them to help the reader get a better idea of the character’s motivations and life experiences. Alex Segura does the same with Poe Dameron when we meet him as a teen in Free Fall.

Poe is known as a good pilot on his home planet of Yavin 4 even though he hasn’t hit 20 yet. But it’s been hard growing up under the shadow of his deceased rebel hero mother. And his dad only wants to protect Poe… even going so far as to stifle his growth. An opportunity comes when a small gang of smugglers accepts him reluctantly into their numbers.

Much of the first part of the novel is spent with the initiation into the spice smuggling business. But as Poe’s moral compass starts spinning during each new job, he starts to wonder if this is the career for him. Another purpose of these early chapters is to meet a mercurial member of the group named Zorii. She will become a love interest and business associate, and will pop up in The Rise of the Skywalker.

We know he’ll eventually end up with the rebels… The question for the second half of the book is: How? And where do all those long stares come from in the latest flicks? What the heck is Poe thinking about? His father, his mother, his former life? Segura offers some much appreciated depth in Free Fall and makes me appreciate the character of Poe even more.

With the expansion of the galaxy, along with well-known characters and places, Free Fall is a Star Wars novel that can’t be missed!

5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Disney Press, and the author for an advanced copy for review.
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I really enjoyed this book even though it is geared towards younger readers. It is a great story on its own or to fill in a few gaps and add to Star Wars lore. I had almost as much fun reviewing this book as I did reading it.
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