'Poe Dameron Free Fall' by Alex Segura is more than just a story of a young man coming of age under the rule of the New Republic.. more than the story of one of the greatest pilots to grace the stars. The title to me.. sometimes referring to a very literal sense.. but also in the midst of an emotional free fall.
At sixteen, he's already full of hunger for adventure and challenge.. but after numerous arguments with his father, former Pathfinder.. Kes Dameron and a close friend of the family.. L'ulo L'ampar, he's desperate to get out and see what he can do. Happening across a group of scoundrels at a local bar who are in even more dire need of him than he thinks he is of them, he takes a leap of faith that will change the course of his life completely.
With his mother, A-Wing pilot Shara Bey, already lost to him.. he's a boy on the verge of adulthood who feels little more than distance between he and his father. He's struggling to decide what kind of man he's going to be.. what kind of man he wants to be.. torn between the memories of a woman he sees as a hero and the realities of his farmboy life on Yavin 4.
It's hard to say I blame him for taking the kinds of chances he does. In his position, anyone might strike out on their own with little thought to the cost of their actions.. yet deep down there's a consistent pull visible within him to do the right thing. Even caught up as he becomes, fearful at times, he makes an effort to be a good man.. and the decisions that so much as walk that morally gray line, are choices he revisits. He makes second guessing himself into a hobby at times, but I got that. The uncertainty in his own ideals.
There are definitely glimpses here in his youth.. of the man he would yet become. The seemingly fearless pilot and hero in his own right known for pulling half-baked plans out of thin air that actually usually work.. is already beginning to develop in this story.
I enjoyed getting to know how he found himself amongst the Spice Runners of all things, since they certainly don't hold the same moral codes he obviously does. Though, what I love about Poe is he isn't afraid to get a little gray if need be.. there are just limits to how far he's willing to go.
He's already a hothead and that gets him into more than his fair share of trouble, but it also just further endears him to me. After all, he's not so unlike that 'other' famous pilot in the Star Wars universe.
During his adventure, we get to meet a young Zorii as well. A character who clearly had some kind of serious history with Poe when she appeared in The Rise of Skywalker, it was exciting to get to experience her backstory firsthand. I loved learning not only where she came from.. and how she came to be who she was.. but also what they were to each other and what her motivations might have been in the film.
The book is filled with page-turning action, vividly described space chases, and battles great and small. Segura did an amazing job of allowing the reader a peek behind the misdeeds of the spice runners to the people beneath.
What a great addition to the Star Wars canon. I can't wait to read more..