My most recent Star Wars read was Zoraida Córdova's A Crash of Fate! It was a really good story, that totally drew me in. It was also (almost) very disconnected from the bigger conflicts that we're familiar with in the Star Wars films and focused more on its own original characters, as well as the Batuu location that we know and love. I'd highly recommend it- it's interesting, Córdova develops the characters and story nicely, and it's pretty perfectly paced. It was hard to put down! If you like Star Wars romance stories like Lost Stars or Dark Disciple, then this is definitely another book to put on your list!
Spoilers ahead for A Crash of Fate by Zoraida Córdova!
First, I have to talk about the main characters of Izzy and Jules, the dual protagonists of the story. I thought both were really well written! Córdova clearly really thought out these characters and how their different life experiences would impact them and change who they are as a person by the time that they meet in the book. We have Izzy, who's hardened, closed off and protective of herself due to growing up with parents on the run... but also who is desperate and afraid of loneliness after losing them both. Then there's Jules, who's life of hard work among the close-knit community he has on Batuu makes him honest, kind, helpful and eager to please... but he holds himself back from achieving big dreams of leaving for adventure because he's grown so attached to Batuu and hopes for Izzy. They both develop a lot throughout the book too. Izzy learns to soften, and also how to trust herself more. Jules gains the courage to take the plunge and buy a ship so he can journey out into the galaxy just as he wanted to- now with Izzy by his side.
Speaking of, the relationship that is built between the two characters is very nicely down. Recently reunited long-lost childhood friends who are forced into dangerous and stressful situation after dangerous and stressful situation is a great recipe for a Star Wars romance in my opinion. While the journey they go on in the book takes place over such a short period of time, you can really see how the foundation set as children makes it so easy and natural feeling for the pair of characters to be together. I thought that they had really great and believable chemistry, and their character arcs worked so well as they brought out the best in each other and their differing attitudes and skills really created a nice balance. Izzy and Jules definitely make a very nice Star Wars pair.
The story of the book was the most interesting and compelling part of it. Izzy Garcia was the daughter of a bounty hunter (though she thought her mother was a smuggler until close to the end of the book) always on the run. They had settled on Batuu for a while where Izzy and Jules became very close as young children. Unfortunately, Izzy's family had to abruptly leave when danger came knocking, scarring both of them. It isn't until they're both young adults, when Izzy is abandoned by her smuggling crew and given a package to deliver to Dok Ondar, that they reunite again on Batuu. However, the package delivery is much less simple then it seems, sending both of the characters chasing around the outpost trying to deliver it properly. While doing so, they meet Oga, discover truths about Izzy's mother, and get help from friends (and less-than-friends) to thwart a scheme by the crew that so recently abandoned Izzy to blow up Batuu's farms and hurt Jules' older sister, the only family he has left. It was a really compelling story that left me feel like I was closely following the characters on their mad scramble to complete their objective- and of course, save the world.