Review: The Perfect Weapon

It seems like just last month that the Star Wars folks announced Delilah S. Dawson would be writing an e-short titled The Perfect Weapon. Oh wait, that was last month! Del Rey doesn’t make us wait very long with today’s release of The Perfect Weapon, one of five stories that feature the pictured beings from Maz Kanata’s castle. Bazine Netal is an efficient and lethal mercenary and spy who knows how to get a job done. When an anonymous client hires her to track down a former stormtrooper, she’s forced to trade teaching a newbie in exchange for use of a ship. And while Bazine is good, even she can still be taken by surprise on a dangerous mission…

The Perfect Weapon is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of similar stories. One of the neatest things that Legends did was flesh out background characters in scenes like Jabba’s Palace or Mos Eisley Cantina. It gave us characters like Shada D’ukal who, incidentally, is who Bazine is somewhat reminiscent of while simultaneously being her own distinct character. She’s capable as hell and has no moral qualms about what she does for a living. While she may be the perfect weapon, she’s also not infallible. Completely perfect, after all, is so dreadfully boring. Although the story mostly focuses on Bazine, Dawson does a good job with Orri, the young slicer who doesn’t have street smarts. There’s a particularly humorous scene about a third of the way through that really lets both characters shine and establish who they are.

One neat thing that this story does is help establish what the galaxy is like in the years much closer to The Force Awakens. Mentions of the New Republic and retired stormtroopers all go a long way towards setting the stage for the film. It also helps flesh out more of the galaxy including both the seedier underworld and the slightly more posh cities. The galaxy is starting to feel a lot bigger again.

Another cool thing that Dawson does is break down Bazine’s outfit in a way that the costume design enthusiasts will appreciate. Every piece has a purpose. While perhaps the explaining of this and some of Bazine’s backstory within the text felt a wee bit heavy handed, it can be excused by the shortness of the story and didn’t detract from enjoying the plot. (Oh and hey, spoiler alert for the cosplayers out there: those aren’t gloves she’s wearing.)

The only bad thing about this short story is that we don’t get more of it. Where does Bazine go after this? Another job obviously but is it a job that takes her to Maz Kanata’s castle? Is she there waiting for another job? And if this is the only bad thing about this story, then you can definitely chalk it up as a good one.

Thank you to Del Rey for providing us with an advanced copy of the story for review purposes.