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BLACK STAR RENEGADES Is a Love Letter to STAR WARS (Review)

BLACK STAR RENEGADES Is a Love Letter to STAR WARS (Review)

Michael Moreci loves Star Wars. You can clearly see his Rebel Alliance tattoo in his author photo, and not too long ago, he put an anthology of Star Wars fan fiction comics out into the world. The man clearly has a deep, rich appreciation of the events that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It’s no surprise then that his debut novel, Black Star Renegades, reads like very much like a love letter to Star Wars. That sense of wonder, excitement, and galaxies beyond our imagination is perfectly captured in Black Star Renegades, but that’s not all that this science fiction adventure has to offer.

Black Star Renegades opens fast, with brothers Cade and Tristan on the run, and it rarely slows down. The brothers go from street rats to warriors of The Well, an ancient order tasked with protecting the galaxy. The pace is relentless and that’s a good thing. The curse of science fiction and fantasy is often the genres’ tendency to get bogged down in the details. World building can easily become an info dump. Black Star Renegades avoids this pitfall with its blistering pace. You get what you need, and the story rockets forward. It works remarkably well and keeps you engaged from start to finish.

While Moreci embraces space opera tropes left and right, he does so with a group of misfit characters with attitudes that ride somewhere between swashbucklers and punk rockers. Cade, our hero destined to save the galaxy, is more Peter Quill than Luke Skywalker. He’s filled with self-doubt but also cocky and often a total dick, in the best possible way. It’s these characters in Black Star Renegades that elevate the book beyond a Star Wars homage. Moreci doesn’t hide his influences, but he also has no problem turning those influences on their heads and, at times, smashing them to pieces.

Many readers know Michael Moreci as a comic book writer. He’s responsible for stories like Roche Limit, Hoax Hunters, and Burning Fields as well as work on properties like Superman and Planet of the Apes. As good as his comic book work is–and it’s all pretty damn good–Moreci’s prose is a step above. His voice is clear and bright. Reading a chapter from Black Star Renegades is like having your best friend excitedly tell you about a fight he got into with some dudes who call themselves Fatebreakers. Moreci writes with energy and life; you can feel his enjoyment in telling the story on every page.

This book really, truly feels like the next big thing. It’s not a shocker that combining Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Lord of the Rings, and classic pulp would result in an awesome story, but it is surprising at how Moreci is able to take all those elements and make them into something that feels fresh. If you like any of the franchises we’ve mentioned in this review, you’ll like Black Star Renegades. If you’re into kickass space operas filled with action, humor, and heart, you’ll love Black Star Renegades. This is the start of something big and there are more battles to be fought in this world, more treasures to be found, and fun to be had. We’re definitely ready for the next chapter.

5 out of 5 Space Burritos

Images: St. Martin’s Press

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