My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was an interesting tale on the Origins of Phasma. She came from a dying planet and basically betrays everyone she’s ever loved to get inducted as a Stormtrooper in the First Order. Her need to advance and rise above everyone else is portrayed as a Machiavellian concept, specifically “the end justifies the means” and we see exactly how ruthless Phasma is.
One thing that was a bit disappointing with the book is that it was mainly told as a flashback story in what I imagine is third person present tense verse and was a bit peculiar to read at first.
The story unfolds through the eyes of a Resistance member, Vi Moradi. After a brief conversation and new orders of a short mission from General Leia Organa, Vi speeds off in hyperspace to spy on some First Order ships.
Vi’s ship is quickly captured by a tractor beam from a First Order ship called the Absolution. Vi is removed from her ship and detained by the mysterious red armored Stormtrooper, Cardinal.
Cardinal brings Vi to the deepest recesses of the Absolution without orders or permission, goes rogue, interrogates and tortures Vi into giving him information that will reveal some weakness or incriminating evidence that Phasma is not all that she appears to be.
Cardinal has some personal beef with Phasma and feels she is replacing him and making him obsolete. Cardinal was recruited to the First Order by Brendol Hux (father of Armitage Hux) and rose through the ranks of the First Order. Starting out as just another Stormtrooper, Cardinal became a Captain and was given special red Stormtrooper armor to raise his status higher than all the rest of the Stormtroopers.
Cardinal also ran the Stormtrooper training program for all the young children the First Order “rescues” and recruits. When these Stormtroopers are old enough, they are transferred to Phasma’s training program to turn these soldiers into true killers, something Phasma excels at.
Most of the book covers Cardinal’s interrogation of Vi. Vi tells Cardinal the story of Phasma, starting some 10 years ago on Phasma’s home planet of Parnassos. This is the main setting of the book. It covers events that show us how Phasma as a child betrayed her parents and her tribe. In secret she made some pact with the Scyre people to defeat her tribe and kill her parents all so that she could join the ranks of the Scyre.
In doing this, she maimed her brother and shoved him off a precipice where he would be injured but not killed. Phasma must have perceived some value in Keldo because he is the only one she sacrificed when she betrayed her people. Phasma sides with the Scyre people and eventually her and Keldo rise to co-lead the Scyre.
Vi also tells Cardinal how the Scyre people, including Phasma witness a shooting star falling from the sky. This is Brendol Hux’s ship crash landing on Parnassos. This event leads to a split in leadership in the Scyre between Phasma and Keldo, where Phasma branches off with a small contingent of her people to pursue the ship.
These events lead up to Phasma meeting Brendol Hux and the plot then turns toward a race for the different Scyre and other factions on Parnassos to get to Brendol’s ship. Phasma’s goal is to get off world. The other factions see the ship as a way to get supplies and continue their fruitless existence on their dying planet.
After many more story elements, everything leads up to a battle at the crash site of Brendol’s ship. (Which, incidentally happens to be Palpatine’s old Naboo Cruiser). In the ensuing events, we learn how ultimately Phasma betrays the Scyre people too, murdering her brother Keldo and leaving the planet to start a new life in the First Order with Brendol Hux as her benefactor.
The events that shape Phasma into what she becomes in the First Order are somewhat long and drawn out in the story, but it does it in a way that makes you either love or hate Phasma in the end.
The story eventually comes back to the present where we see Cardinal confront Armitage Hux and eventually Phasma.
The story leaves some loose ends, so I’m curious to hear about the fate of certain characters, including Cardinal.
Overall this was a fine Star Wars story. If you are into origin stories and you really like the character Phasma, then this book is one you must read.