Star Wars: Phasma is an original origin story written by Delilah S. Dawson as part of the ‘Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘ series. The purpose of the book was to tell the backstory of Captain Phasma, to help develop her character in preparation for the release of The Last Jedi.
Deep inside the Battlecruiser Absolution, a captured Resistance spy endures brutal interrogation at the hands of a crimson-armored stormtrooper—Cardinal. But the information he desires has nothing to do with the Resistance or its covert operations against the First Order.
What the mysterious stormtrooper wants is Captain Phasma’s past—and with it whatever long-buried scandal, treachery, or private demons he can wield against the hated rival who threatens his own power and privilege in the ranks of the First Order. His prisoner has what Cardinal so desperately seeks, but she won’t surrender it easily. As she wages a painstaking war of wills with her captor, bargaining for her life in exchange for every precious revelation, the spellbinding chronicle of the inscrutable Phasma unfolds.
©2017 Delilah S. Dawson (P)2017 Random House Audio
First of all, if you are looking for a story full of Kylo Ren and Snoke encounters then this isn’t the story for you. There are brief mentions of characters from The Force Awakens but don’t expect a lot of name dropping or appearances. The focus of the story is solely on fleshing out Phasma’s backstory and character before she put on the chrome armour. The story takes place in two different time-frames, ten years prior to the events of TFA and shortly before the attack on Tuanul on Jakku.
The present focuses on a captured Resistance spy called Vi Moradi, a mash-up of Han Solo and Poe Dameron. This new character was pretty likable and felt like a well crafted Star Wars character. As for her captor, another new character, Cardinal is desperate to obtain Phasma’s past for his own gains. Cardinal does not believe that Phasma is the poster child that the First Order makes her out to be. He is a well worked villain who, like Vi, gets plenty of development during the story. These characters are that strong, I would actually like to see them crossover onto the big screen down the line, Vi especially.
Very early on, there is a real Mad Max: Fury Road feel to the story. While not going into spoilers, her home planet of Parnassos, in the outer-rim, is a harsh and ruthless planet, where it is very much a case of kill or be killed. The planet is populated by various tribes fighting over limited resources and positions of power. Blasters and laser cannons are replaced by more primitive melee weapons which adds an intensity and gritty edge to the story. Here we see the brutality and resilience of Phasma in all it’s glory. Oh and you know ‘that thing’ Phasma so easily did in TFA? This book makes sense of that decision and you get the reasons why.
One of the story’s key plots revolved around Phasma and Brendol Hux, the father of Armitage Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Brendol entices Phasma in to aiding him on his journey and Phasma is taken in by the many opportunities that the First Order could bring. The dynamic was respectful but strained, and by the conclusion of the book you are left feeling extremely satisfied with how the story panned out. In was a perfect story arc.
The author, Delilah S. Dawson is given plenty of creative licence to craft her story and she does an excellent job in the process. Her characters are well constructed and the well-paced story allows for plenty of character development, especially with Phasma. Dawson does not rely on nods and winks to the Star Wars Universe, which has been a pitfall in previous SWEU publications. What you get in Star Wars: Phasma is a unique and extremely engaging original story, of which the strongest aspect is the characters.
As always with audiobooks, the narrator has a key part to play. No matter how good the story may be, if you have a bad narrator it can have a negative impact on the enjoyment of the experience. Thankfully, Star Wars: Phasma has enlisted the voice talent of January LaVoy. LaVoy has previous experience with Star Wars audiobooks, most notably in the Star Wars Legends series. Her performance, as always, was impeccable and having her on board made for an incredibly immersive listener experience.
Star Wars: Phasma is made up of unique characters and a perfectly written interwoven story. The story is gripping, exciting and at times extremely moving. Jokes can be made about her outing in TFA, but in this story we get the Phasma we always imagined. Powerful, ruthless and terrifying.
Star Wars: Phasma is available to buy on Audible UK.