Star Wars: A Crash of Fate is by newcomer to the Star Wars universe, Zoraida Córdova. A Crash of Fate is another tie-in novel to the Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme park Galaxy’s Edge. While this is Córdova’s first novel for Star Wars, this isn’t her first publication, having published the short story “You Owe Me a Ride”, a Tonnika sisters-centric story, that was contained within the From a Certain Point of View Anthology.
A Crash of Fate is one of two (maybe three) novels published as tie-ins for Galaxy’s Edge. The most recent one was aptly named Black Spire by Delilah Dawson. There was also the enigmatic Myths & Fables book by George Mann, which was released on the same day as A Crash of Fate. And although not marketed specifically as tying in to Galaxy’s Edge, it did contain a number of short stories set on the planet of Batuu and within the Black Spire Outpost.
To give a brief review of Myths & Fables, it was an odd collection of short stories set various places within the Star Wars timeline; from the “a long time ago”, to concurrently with the sequel trilogy. These stories impacted pretty much nothing in the universe and felt, more often than not, as they were meant to be dream-like sequences. Rarely were we given names of people, and when we were, they were new people never mentioned before. It reminded me a lot like the Legends of Luke Skywalker book, which I felt the same way about. Myths & Fables was pretty bad and can be ignored, since it has zero impact on anything within the Star Wars canon.
Onwards to the the last of the Batuu/Galaxy’s Edge tie-in books, A Crash of Fate. This book was written as a YA (young adult) novel and reads much more like a YA book than many we have gotten in the recent Star Wars canon (like Lost Stars and Leia: Princess of Alderaan). The plot of A Crash of Fate focuses on a smuggler named Izzy who is requested to deliver a package to Dok-Ondar on Batuu. Izzy had spent the first six years of her life on Batuu until one day being abruptly ripped away from her home and her best friend, Jules, without a word of goodbye. Upon returning to Batuu, Jules and Izzy are quickly reunited and what began as a friendship when they were six, quickly blossoms into romance now that they are 18.
The story is strongest with its characters. Izzy and Jules are really the pride and joy of the book. The book lives or dies on their characterization and how well the reader takes it. And luckily, I found them well done. They are both broken characters trying to pick up the pieces of their lives from various traumatic experiences. More so on Izzy’s part than Jules, but Jules has his own issues to work out. Izzy’s problems actually start off the narrative of her adult life and plague her throughout the remainder of the story as well.
Since the story is based on these two characters, the story structure developed ends up being a brilliant piece of work. The structure has the chapters of the story alternate between Izzy’s and Jule’s points of view, often with the next chapter picking up right were the last one ended. It is an interesting storytelling style and one that worked really well for the book. This kept the story moving while bouncing the narrative back and forth like a game with the characters passing a baton between each other. It also allowed for the characters to be apart for much of the story and still maintain the structure.
I do have issues with the story itself, however many of my issues stem from the audiobook, which is the worst audiobook I have ever listened to (though I only started listening to audiobooks a couple of years ago). I also readily admit that this story probably wasn’t written for me as a reader. The narrative itself was great but I felt the plot dragged out to the nth degree. It felt like a short story that got expanded upon but no additional plot elements were introduced. So it ended up being a lot of love-story “eye gazing”. The parcel delivery ended up feeling like a side-note to the story, which was really a romance between these two main characters. Normally I enjoy a good romance, however as I’ve never read a teenage lit romance, perhaps this is commonplace — I am clearly not the intended audience.
The impact on Galaxy’s Edge also felt a bit weak in my opinion. With Black Spire we have the set up of the Resistance base and the eventual coming of the First Order sparking the Rise of the Resistance ride. We even get a reason for Vi Moradi, who is an actual character people can meet and interact with in the land, to be there. But besides interacting with some of the background characters from the planet, we don’t really have a draw for us. Are we going to meet Jules or Izzy at the land? If we do then that would negate my criticism here, however I don’t think that we are. We do get a rather random epilogue which takes place several weeks after the story introducing the invasion of the First Order, theoretically also sparking the Rise of the Resistance ride, but it is a tenuous connection.
My biggest gripe though was with how I “read” the story. As with the last couple of years, I listened to the audiobook of the story. And this is by FAR the worst audiobook version of a story I have come across to date. The story was read by Brittany Pressley and she was just delightful. Full of spunk when she needed to be and dour when she needed to be. She was perfect; sadly, the background noises and music were borderline horrendous. The music itself felt like it was overshadowing the characters in several scenes. And every time they were in a cantina the noises that were played were on, what felt like, a one minute look with Scooby Doo constantly running about getting attacked by a wampa. It got to the point I couldn’t even pay attention to the dialogue, the background was so overpowering. If I had to go back to this story I can guarantee you it will not be through the audiobook.
Overall, the story was alright but I think it would have worked better condensed down quite a bit. The story length did allow for the romance to blossom and seem credible, however it was a bit too drawn out for my liking. I’m sure there are people who will love this book and I don’t want to rain on their parade because it is a great story, just not for me. However, if I had to grade the audiobook separately from the novel, I would give that one failing grades. Background music and noises should not detract from the narrative and that is exactly what ended up happening, and I’m sorry if they soured my experience on the book.