Cover Image: Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

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Member Reviews

Free Fall is just fine. It's neither the rousing back story that Poe deserves, nor is it a complete dud in the
Sequel Trilogy's expanded universe, but it could have been so much more. 

Free Fall focuses on a 16 year old Poe after he falls in with a group of Spice Smugglers, and attempts to give clarity and life to an underutilised storyline from The Rise of Skywalker. The problem is, Free Fall spends too much time on a handful of Poe's missions with said Spice Smugglers, without any real interesting or satisfying arc running throughout. Yes, it introduces Zorii, Poe's old flame from The Rise of Skywalker, and it digs a little deeper into his parents back stories (which is great if you've read Shattered Empire), but it doesn't ever do much with these characters. Remembering that Spice is essentially space drugs, it would have been a great way to give Poe an edgier backstory and made him feel less like Solo 2.0. Instead, Free Fall is a collection of fun but ultimately forgettable dogfights with little to no weight to them. 

Remembering however, that this is a young adult novel, it's well written fiction and absolutely serviceable throughout, but it never hits the dizzying heights of many of the novels that make up the new Canon.
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If you enjoyed Poe Dameron’s mysterious past being partially uncovered in The Rise Of Skywalker, then Poe Dameron: Free Fall will give you a more in-depth into his past.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall seemed to be aimed at more the Young Adult age group form the writing style; but don’t let that stop you from a good background story book. In the sequel Star Wars trilogy, Poe always came across to me as a clean cut guy who was honourable and always did the right thing. Then in The Rise of Skywalker we find out that before he joined the Resistance, he was not the clean cut guy that he seemed to be.

Poe is 16 in Free Fall, but at time he did not act like a typical 16 year old would. But then again I do not have the ability to travel around the galaxy as freely as they are able to so it is possible that they mature quicker than me. That being said it felt like there was forced conflict for conflict sakes and not because there was a driving force for what needed to occur.

While this is a fun and very easy read, I wish that there had been more substance to this story. It just felt like it was missing something, which just might not have been able to be explored in the Young Adult genre. Poe is such an interesting character in the movies and I hope that more books about him come out expand on his background.

Overall an enjoyable read that most will enjoy.
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Some years after the demise of the Galactic Empire, trouble brews in a galaxy far far away.

Sometimes, novels offer the opportunity for fans to explore and discover the stories of their favorite movie characters beyond what’s shown in films. In this case, it fell on Alex Segura, a crime fiction author, to write the origin story of Poe Dameron, the rugged and dashing pilot of the Rebel Alliance from the Star Wars franchise.

“We meet Poe as a 16-year-old kid with dreams of exploring the galaxy,” Segura says. “But feeling stranded on his home world of Yavin 4. When he meets a band of mysterious travelers, Poe sees his chance to escape his backwater home planet and his father—who he loves, but who Poe feels is being overly protective in the wake of his mother’s death. Early on in his journey with the group, Poe discovers they’re actually Spice Runners—and he must grapple with his desire for freedom and the price it comes with, namely, working with a band of criminals that go against everything he was raised to stand for. It’s a story about growing up, choosing your destiny, and the weight of legacy, through the eyes of one of the best characters to come out of the Star Wars mythos. In short, it’s a rollicking crime novel in space.”

Continue reading in The Big Thrill...
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This felt like general Star Wars happenings with Poe Dameron kind of shoehorned into it. It felt uninspiring in terms of Poe but interesting in the way that Star Wars has always been interesting. 

The character development just fell completely flat.
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In Alex Segura’s debut Star Wars novel, the early life of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron is explored, further explaining his family and shady life as a spice runner.

Ever the impulsive and headstrong pilot we’ve grown to love in the sequel trilogy (is it even possible that a teenage Poe might be more-so?!), Free Fall was a super fun read! As a giant lore nerd who loves to learn more about the state of the galaxy, I was definitely pleased by the way Segura gave insight into the different facets of Star Wars society. From the New Republic to the sketchy streets of Kijimi, a very cinematic lens was used to describe action and detail, even giving fun nods to prior movies and comics. In continuation of pre-existing media, I also loved seeing Poe’s interactions with Zorri Bliss. I loved their interactions in the newest Star Wars film, and am excited to say that their teenage interactions made me even more of a fan!

For fans of Solo and action-packed YA, I totally recommend this read! Not only did it scratch the new Star Wars content itch, it also left me content with Poe’s characterization post-Rise Of Skywalker.

Thank you so much to the publisher, NetGalley, and the author for giving me this opportunity to read such a fun new adventure!

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Oh boy. I don’t know why we needed this book or who it's for but here we are!

Free Fall is the story of 16 year old Poe Dameron who, longing for adventure and running away from his problems, joins a band of spice runners only to discover spice runners are bad. It’s basically just Solo, with Poe finally becoming the Han Solo 2.0 many thought he would be. There really isn’t anything to this story and you can tell it was only told to tie in with The Rise of Skywalker. And if you are looking for any connections to the Poe we see in the comics or in Resistance Reborn, you won’t find that here.

What gets me the most is that it feels like the story never got out of the “idea” stage. It’s almost written like a script, and is so exposition and battle heavy that I think the author forgot to give it any heart. All the characters came off as robotic versions of themselves and it was impossible to sympathize with any of them.

It makes me sad that this is the first thing we got with our sequel trilogy cast after TROS, like they are just trying to retread everything to make it fit better with the film. Like TROS, this book is empty, heavy handed, and made me worry that this is all Star Wars is going to be now. I’m giving it 1 star because it was rushed, poorly written, and in no way stands up to the other new canon books.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
Poe Dameron is tired of the small, backwater moon where he lives. He's tired of being kept from adventure and excitement-especially after hearing tales of his parents' adventures during the rebellion. But ever since Poe's mother died, his father has worked to keep him safe.  Now, at sixteen, and freshly in trouble (and quite upset with himself) after crashing his mother's ship, Poe finds himself unwittingly joining up with a group of spice runners.  At first, he's simply filling in for a pilot, but then he becomes part of the crew and helps with various jobs. 
It's been a few days since I finished this book, but beyond remembering the ending-when Poe happens to see a prominent rebellion/New Republic figure making a speech-this was mainly just a book of Poe running around and having adventures.  I haven't been as interested in the current/recently finished trilogy, so a lot of the characters didn't really matter to me (I'm assuming that Zorri might have been an important person in the trilogy).  
Anyway, it's an okay book, but I just didn't really enjoy it the way I have other Star Wars books in the past.
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Poe Dameron: Free Fall is a solid adventure tale that presents an interesting look at the Star Wars galaxy's criminal underworld during an under-exploited time period. Unfortunately, it isn't quite up to par with the other largely-excellent YA Star Wars books from Disney Lucasfilm Press.

The writing feels closer to middle-grade than YA and the narration fluctuates often between confusing and redundant. The biggest single issue here is Segura's over-reliance on in media res when beginning a new chapter; once or twice this can be an effective way to capture (or recapture) the reader's attention but when the book almost immediately flashes back to the current event's backstory it just means that I often lost track of whether I was reading the thing that was actually happening or a flashback to earlier that day/week/month, and by the time I did get back to the present I'd forgotten what was happening in the first place. That disorientation is compounded by a tendency to underline the significance of a given moment or statement by expanding the POV of the narration into the future, i.e. "words that would haunt Poe Dameron for the rest of his life." It created the impression of simply being told an event is important to someone rather than doing the work to make it feel important organically.

All that said, there are some very strong aspects of the book. Poe and Zorii are very well-developed and consistent, and even as someone who wasn't wild about them being romantically involved I bought into it here. Poe's gift for banter is also captured very well. I can forgive a lot if a book makes me laugh and that was often the case here--only the final section on Kijimi really lost me. Segura uses a great mix of new and preexisting characters and I often found myself wanting to know more about what they were up to and what happened to them after the narration had moved on, which I suppose is both praise and criticism given the writing's overall tendency to elide a lot of detail in favor of keeping things moving. While I was surprised that the story ended as abruptly as it did I appreciated the choice to leave the the climax of the Spice Runners plot a little vague--this is Poe's story, and with few exceptions, Segura sticks to him like glue. While more information would have helped in some cases, I respect the underlying intention there.

In conclusion, I would say Free Fall is worth reading if you're interested in this backstory or just want to spend more time with Poe and/or the Spice Runners, but DLP has set a very high bar for themselves over the last several years and I can't say they quite reached it here. A full reaction piece is forthcoming at Eleven-ThirtyEight upon the book's release; it will focus on the role the underworld plays in the post-Empire Star Wars galaxy and Poe's complicated status as both a criminal and a hero.
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[Short version in English, long version in Italian below]
In Poe Dameron - Free Fall, author Alex Segura manages to bring a faithful and intriguing teen version of Poe Dameron on the book pages. Poe in unsure (but never completely) of his future and about the man he wants to become. 
However, the well-done character introspection for Poe, Zorii, and also Poe's father Kes and family-friend L'ulo Lampar, comes together with a repetitive storyline that does not intrigue the reader to continue reading. Segura's style is fluid and enjoyable, and the best moments of the novel are for sure Poe and Zorii's dialogues.

Le informazioni centellinate ne L’Ascesa di Skywalker su Poe Dameron dovevano portare qualcosa e quel qualcosa è il nuovo romanzo Young Adult Poe Dameron – Free Fall di Alex Segura! Non ci ha sorpresi dunque il suo annuncio di qualche mese fa e finalmente il romanzo canonico edito da Disney-Lucafilm Press arriva tra due giorni nelle librerie oltreoceano.
Abbiamo avuto modo di leggere il romanzo tramite una Advanced Review Copy qualche mese fa (grazie mille a Disney Lucasfilm Press) quindi tuffatevi con noi nella recensione senza spoiler!

Sono passati alcuni anni dalla morte della madre di Poe (Shara Bey, ndr) e Poe e suo Padre, un tempo soldato della Ribellione, hanno sempre più difficoltà a connettersi. Non sapendo cosa fare della propria vita, il giovane Poe fugge dalla sua casa in cerca di avventura, cercando di capire che tipo d’uomo è realmente.

Cosa mi è piaciuto

I personaggi
C’è poco da dire: Alex Segura è riuscito a portare sulle pagine del romanzo una versione credibile e fedele del Poe Dameron di Oscar Isaacs, pur mostrandolo come adolescente di 16 anni. Il carisma e l’ironia che conosciamo bene sono perfettamente rappresentati e i momenti migliori del romanzo non sono forse le battaglie spaziali o gli scontri tra contrabbandieri, ma quelli più intimi dove Poe e Zorii (e gli altri  spice runner di Kijimi) si interfacciano.
Proprio di Zorii vale la pena parlare: dopo essere stati catturati dal suo sguardo magnetico ne L’Ascesa di Skywalker conoscere qualcosa di più sulla ragazza è stato interessante. Il personaggio si è svelato deciso e sicuro di sé, una specie di mentore – anche se ugualmente giovane, e forse per questo più facile da seguire – per lo stesso Poe Dameron.
La caduta libera del titolo, però, non è imputabile solo alle cattive compagnie del giovane Poe: i suoi dilemmi interiori percorrono l’intero romanzo, anche se non convincono mai del tutto. Forse è così perché siamo abituati a pensare a Poe come un ragazzo esuberante ma dal cuore d’oro, e forse perché – alla fin fine – ci viene presentato sempre così anche nel romanzo.
Gli altri personaggi, a parte per Kes Dameron e l’amico di famiglia L’ulo (già visto nella serie a fumetti Poe Dameron) sono invece abbastanza dimenticabili.

Cosa non mi è piaciuto

La trama e le motivazioni
Per quanto l’approfondimento sui personaggi sia valido, le vicende vere e proprie di Poe Dameron – Free Fall non trainano particolarmente la lettura. Dopo un inizio abbastanza scoppiettante, con Poe Dameron che fugge da Yavin 4 proponendosi come pilota per gli Spice Runners, la trama si trascina da un colpo all’altro, senza che il lettore sia davvero interessato alle vicende in merito: ammetto di aver desiderato di arrivare al più presto alla “conversione” di Poe, al suo rinsavimento, che tanto ero sicuro sarebbe arrivato.
La scrittura di Segura scorre abbastanza, quello che manca è proprio una motivazione a continuare e, purtroppo, questa sensazione si è mantenuta per quasi tutto il romanzo.

In Poe Dameron – Free Fall,  l’autore Alex Segura riesce a riportare una versione fedele e intrigante di un Poe Dameron adolescente, incerto (ma mai per davvero) sul suo futuro e sull’uomo che vuole diventare. Alla buona introspezione sui protagonisti, Poe e Zorii e di alcuni secondari (il padre Kes e l’amico L’ulo Lampar), si accompagna però una trama ripetitiva e non molto esaltante, che non motiva il lettore a proseguire la lettura. Segura scrive in modo scorrevole e piacevole e i momenti più tranquilli di dialogo tra Poe e Zorii sono decisamente i punti più alti dell’opera.
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3.5 stars

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Poe Dameron: Free Fall piqued my interest due to my love for the character and interest in his backstory, particularly since it also involved Zorii, who we were introduced to in Rise of Skywalker. While I’m a staunch FinnPoe shipper, I was willing to be swayed as to the viability of Poe and Zorii as a potential pairing if their history was compelling enough. 

Poe’s story on his own is compelling. I liked learning about his origins prior to joining the Resistance, and how his parents’ role in the prior Rebellion against the Empire impacted him. 

And there are some interesting things done with Zorii’s character too, in terms of giving her a bit of a complex history and past of her own. A secret about her was revealed that I did not anticipate, and I enjoyed the way it was grappled with, to an extent. 

However, I didn’t think much of their relationship, even as friends. I never got the sense they truly connected, not in the way that Finn and Poe did, even with them being apart for the majority of both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. That could just be my bias coming through, but their friendship felt very shallow, and there wasn’t a real sense of depth there. 

This is still a fun book, and it will excite other Poe fans who were upset that he wasn’t given that much to do in the sequel trilogy.
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In The Rise of Skywalker leerden we dat Poe een ”Spice Runner” geweest is, wat in de Star Wars wereld inhoud dat hij een drugssmokkelaar was. In Poe Dameron: Free Fall lezen we hoe die vork in de steel steekt, want dat komt natuurlijk niet direct overeen met de voormalig New Republic Navy piloot die zich bij de Resistance aansloot en zijn leven keer op keer op het spel zet om het sterrenstelsel een betere plek te maken. Het boek vertelt hoe Poe op jonge leeftijd een aantal leden van de Spice Runners van Kijimi leerde kennen en zich bij hen aansloot. We leren een hoop over Poe’s leven en familie, maar vooral ook over het leven van Zorii. 
Poe’s moeder Shara Bey was een piloot in de Rebel Alliance, ze vocht onder anderen tijdens de slag om de Tweede Death Star maar nam afscheid van het hectische en gevaarlijke bestaan toen ze samen met haar man Kes Dameron en hun zoontje Poe op Yavin IV ging wonen. Jaren later sterft Shara, wat de levens van Kes en Poe compleet op hun kop zet. Kes is er helemaal kapot van en kan maar moeilijk bevatten dat hij de rest van zijn leven zonder zijn vrouw moet doorbrengen en wordt daardoor extra beschermend over Poe. Iets wat de zestienjarige Poe verre van op prijs kan stellen. Deze tiener wil niets liever dan vrijheid, vliegen en avonturen beleven. Na een zoveelste ruzie met zijn vader loopt Poe een aantal ongure types tegen het lijf die opzoek zijn naar een piloot die ze van Yavin IV af kan krijgen wat voor Poe de uitgerekende kans is om onder de beschermende blik van zijn vader uit te komen en eindelijk het universum te gaan verkennen. Zonder zich al te veel te realiseren wat hij doet sluit Poe zich aan bij de Spice Runners van Kijimi.

Het boek is een snel doorlopend avontuur waar achtervolgingen, vuurgevechten, verraad en een vleugje romantiek zich op rap tempo afwisselen. Segura weet het tempo goed vast te houden, wat mede komt doordat we enkel de daadwerkelijke missies meekrijgen waar Poe en zijn vrienden op uitgestuurd worden. De weken of zelfs maanden die tussen die missies in zitten worden overgeslagen, waardoor het tempo hoog blijft en het verhaal zich niet vast graaft in onnodige expositie.

Segura zet een Poe neer die trouw is aan zijn personage in de films. Hij is impulsief, koppig, overmoedig en bluft zich een eind in de rondte, maar wat vooral naar voren komt is zijn grote hart. De impulsiviteit zorgt ervoor dat Poe zich zonder aarzelen bij de Spice Runners aansluit, wat hem lijnrecht tegenover de idealen van de New Republic, en waar zijn ouders voor vochten, zet. Dat hij hiervoor kiest en zich niet inschrijft als kadet bij de New Republic Navy is een punt wat niet helemaal overeen lijkt te komen met Poe’s persoonlijkheid, iets wat het boek zelf ook duidelijk maakt omdat Poe toch regelmatig met zijn beslissing worstelt. Maar zijn loyaliteit aan Zorii wint het van zijn twijfels. 

De sterkste punten van het boek zijn niet zozeer de Spice Runners, die in dit boek helemaal niet met Spice in aanraking komen trouwens, maar de momenten tussen Poe en Zorii. De twee tieners krijgen een hele hechte band en zijn elkaars steun en toeverlaat, rolmodel en maatje. Die hechte band verklaart de manier waarop Zorii met Poe omgaat in The Rise of Skywalker. Hoe ze hem eerst tegen de grond werkt en haar blaster gereed heeft, om vervolgens zonder al te veel moeite overgehaald te worden om hulp te bieden. En Poe zelfs het medaillon geeft dat haar enige weg naar vrijheid kon zijn.

Al met al leest Free Fall fijn weg en zijn er maar weinig saaie momenten. Er is genoeg actie om van te genieten maar de echte kracht van het verhaal ligt in de emoties van de hoofdpersonages. Segura bouwt een goede brug tussen de Poe die we kennen en de duistere implicaties die The Rise of Skywalker over hem geeft. De cover art van Phil Noto is zoals we van hem gewend zijn ook weer een knap staaltje werk. Oh, en Babu Frik komt ook een paar keer tevoorschijn en net als in The Rise of Skywalker steelt hij ook hier weer de show!

Free Fall is een leuke aanvulling voor de collectie waar menig fan, ook de jongere fans onder ons, zich prima mee zal vermaken.
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Hello Gemmies! I have a new book review to share with you today. Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review. 

Poe Dameron Free Fall by Alex Segura is a wonderful back story novel of everyone's favorite spice runner turned resistance hero Poe Dameron. Get ready for a fast paced, non stop, fun thrill ride. There is no shortage of blaster showdowns, firefights, and of course...... hyperspace/light speed skipping! Free Fall is a great entry into the Star Wars literary universe. We get a look at Poe's life as a teenager before he joined the resistance. Alex Segura does a wonderful job of capturing Poe's characteristics. He felt authentic, dynamic, and relatable. The world building is also so much more than I was expecting. We visit numerous planets, including Yavin and Kijimi. And there are creatures galore. We meet Gen Tri's, Zabrak's, Twi'lek's, Klatooinian's, Zualjinn's, Kyuzo's, and Moraysian's just to name a few! Alex really went deep into Star Wars cannon territory. I had to consult Wookipedia to refresh myself!

Now what really made this book shine for me was the relationship between Poe and Zorii. I cannot tell you enough how much I love their interactions. Zorii battles inner turmoil as she develops a shaky relationship with Poe while trying to remain committed to the Spice Runners. These interactions were really well done and I need more Poe/Zorii adventures in my life. After learning more about both of them, I want to re-read the sequel trilogy novelizations. If you are a fan of Star Wars, gritty criminal underworlds, blaster fights, family drama, friendship, and aliens then go read this book! This gem published by Disney Lucasfilm Press is set to release August 04, 2020, and is available for pre-order from all major booksellers. I give Poe Dameron Free Fall 4 out of 5 gems. I loved this book and hope we got more stories like this set in the Star Wars universe. Happy Reading!
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I was underwhelmed by the character arcs, plot lines. Poe Dameron is one of my favorite characters from the Star Wars franchise, and I was excited to read about his origin story, but it was not nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. I expected a full description of Poe's relationship with his father, and a true "origin story" type story, but these elements are scrapped in favor of action sequences that seem illogical and out of place.
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Star Wars fans rejoice! We have a backstory on one of the best pilots in the Galaxy...Poe Dameron. This story takes place when Poe is 16. We learn a lot about how he became a Spice Runner. This book has a lot of in depth details about how he became who we see in the Star Wars movies. The plot was good and the pacing not bad. I got into the character and felt like I was flying right along with Poe.
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In "Poe Dameron: Free Fall," Alex Segura shines a light on a part of the charismatic Resistance pilot’s life we only get our first hints of in The Rise of Skywalker. A character with a shady becoming a hero for the good guys isn’t new territory in the franchise (a certain other charismatic pilot had done the same thing a generation earlier, after all). But some were taken slightly aback by the film’s revelation that Dameron had spent time in the galaxy’s criminal underworld and had a hard time squaring that with the character they already knew. But in revisiting a trope we know well in Star Wars, that of a frustrated young man eager for adventure, Segura draws a clear arc through Poe’s development. From a restless adolescent, through a not-quite-convinced member of a criminal enterprise, to a young man who finds his true calling, we find out how Poe got from the frigid Thieves’ Quarter of Kijimi to his place as one of the leaders of the Resistance. The author does a beautiful job of capturing Oscar Isaac’s portrayal of the character, nicely sets up things we see in the films, and provides just as much – if not more – backstory about the Kerri Russel’s enigmatic Zorii Bliss.
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"Poe Dameron: Free Fall," gives us a glimpse into the life of a teenage Poe, and answers some lingering questions about him. Poe, the son of two Rebellion heroes, longs to follow in his parents' footsteps and dreams of becoming a great pilot. After his mother dies, his father is reluctant to let go and let Poe find his own way. A group of criminals looking for a pilot becomes his ticket off his home planet and into the excitement he longs for. Poe quickly finds out that the life of a spice runner is a heavy prospect.

Many of the characters are quite compelling, but Zorii Bliss is top shelf in this story. She looked so cool and was so intriguing in "The Rise of Skywalker" and I wanted to know more about her.! The chemistry between her and Poe makes for a fun read, and it manages to feel very relatable even in this setting. If you're looking for an exciting and humorous read in the Star Wars universe, this is a good book to grab. It's neat!
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Star Wars Poe Dameron: Free Fall

To be as honest as and forthright as possible: I love this book.

It is a perfect "origin" story for Poe. Poe felt overshadowed and overprotected at the same time and that pushed him right into the arms of the Spice Runners and Zorri Bliss. His growth as a Spice Runner helps him become the General we know and love.

Honestly, its not what I expected from Poe's father knowing his history but after reading the story it makes perfect sense. 

This book is a must read! 

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The family dynamic between Poe and his dad, Kes Dameron, was interesting to look into during the beginning of the book. It was cool how it starts off in space, in the action, and dives into why Poe loves flying so much. But after Poe faces off with his dad, he runs off with a group of he just met in search of adventure. Little did he know they were spice runners and among them he meets Zorii. It’s interesting how the two meet, and I liked how their interactions throughout the book added some context to their dynamic in The Rise of Skywalker. Although it was nice learning more about Poe’s backstory, I found it difficult to stay focused on the story when the plot seemed less engaging at times. If you’re a Poe Dameron fan and want to learn more about his backstory or if you’re into reading up on the latest canon and looking for a quick read, this is the book for you!
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As a huge Star Wars fan, it was great to get to read more from the new canon. Poe Dameron is the best.
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One of the recurring complaints I heard coming out of The Rise of Skywalker was that Poe’s backstory had been changed from the New Republic turned Resistance hero pilot to the backworld spice runner turned Resistance hero pilot. So naturally, when I heard that Poe would feature in his own novel, I was very interested to see how that would fall into place.

Granted, some of that probably came from the weird place Star Wars had been in since a couple years before, where many were actively looking for things that were wrong. Still, though, my main questions when reading Free Fall by Alex Segura were two-fold: does it bridge that gap in Poe’s backstory, and is it fun? Let’s jump into the review and answer them both.

Let’s start with what I consider the less important of the two questions. Yes, I feel Free Fall adequately answers how Poe can be both a spice runner and later a respected New Republic pilot. Why do I find this to be less important of the two questions? It’s simple, really. There was no reason from the start the he couldn’t have done both, and essentially, this novel just establishes that.

But if continuity and canon and retcons are supremely important to you, I think this novel will do well in easing those fears.

Now, on to the good stuff. Is it fun?

For me, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” Remember that this is a young adult novel, so at times some plot points feel a little convenient or the dialogue a little simple. But for a young adult novel, this is pretty stellar.

It starts with a very restless Poe on Yavin 4, wanting very much to break free of everything that he feels is holding him back. His mother, Shara Bey, is dead, and he misses her terribly. His father Kes is overprotective and Poe, as any 16-year-old would, has difficulty dealing with that. So he sets out with the Spice Runners of Kojimi. What ensues are a series of close calls, action-filled encounters with other pirates and gangs, all while running from the New Republic.

Along the way, Poe meets Zorii Bliss (who goes by Zorii Wynn for a good portion of the novel), and this is really their story. So all that tension in The Rise of Skywalker? It has context now. And it’s very well done. Their first meeting in Episode IX has so much more meaning for me now, because I know what went down and it was written in such a way that it feels like it ties perfectly into how Zorii feels when they are reunited.

Zorii and Poe aren’t the only familiar characters that make an appearance in Free Fall. Babu Frik is back, and fans of the comics will also remember L’ulo L’ampar. And the fun of recognizing characters and names doesn’t stop at those two. The planet Sorgan is a main stop along the way, a place we’ve seen in The Mandalorian. It was also fun to see the Guavian Death Gang make an appearance.

I really couldn’t help but equate a lot of this story to Solo. Very much like what happened with Han in that story, this is Poe’s coming of age tale, mixed with a compelling love story and great use of the pirates and criminal enterprises of this galaxy. I think that’s one of the elements that made it such a fun read for me. And if Solo is a film you enjoy for those reasons, I think you’ll enjoy this novel as well.

My only real complaints about Free Fall are tiny little nitpick things. For example, the name “Spice Runners of Kijimi” is pretty bland. When you’re used to things like the Pyke Syndicate, the Hutt empire, or even the Guavian Death Gang, something as simple as “who they are and where are they from” isn’t quite as original as I’d hope for. Also, as much as I love seeing Babu Frik, his Basic is just a tiny bit too good. He seemed to know barely enough of it in Episode IX, but in Free Fall, he’s able to string sentences together pretty effectively. It’s far easier to read than Anzellan, that’s for sure, and for a young adult novel I can understand that need.

But with those really being the only elements of this novel that I feel I can gripe at, I have to say that means it’s a success. And it really is. I read this novel front to back in the span of about 3 days, which is not the normal for me. It helps that it’s an easier read, but it also helps that it’s just a well-written novel that captures the essence of the characters I wanted to know more about. Alex Segura did remarkably well on this novel, and I’d love to see him work with these characters again in some capacity in the future.

Free Fall by Alex Segura releases August 4, 2020 wherever you buy books. We hope you check it out!
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