Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade

By Delilah S. Dawson

Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade, a novel by Delilah S. Dawson
Book details Books in the series About the author

You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. For years, the Jedi have been considered a paragon of virtue, everything that is good to the Sith’s bad. But there must be a reason so many Jedi fall. The path to the Dark Side is not pathed with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, but with the impudence to ask questions or the crime of caring if one of your fellow Jedi has just been killed. In Delilah S. Dawson’s Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade, the reader is given an insight into how the closed nature of the Jedi Order itself may have aided in its own downfall. 

Ever since joining the Jedi Order, Iskat Akaris felt like she was different. Not only is she the only member of her race that anyone has ever met, but she is also more sensitive to her environment, willing to question and explore. These things are discouraged by the Jedi and Iskat is given special training, but rather than making Iskat the model Jedi, it enforces her outsider mindset, a mindset that will one day lead down the darkest of roads. 

We are in a place in time that IPs have become so established that an author can explore the mythos knowing full well that the reader will follow. Inquisitor is the book that many Star Wars fans have been wanting, a book that has a central character that opening questions the Jedi Order. This is not the Sith looking from without, but from the perspective of a Padawan from within. Anakin Skywalker went through similar tribulations as Iskat, but this novel follows the character over several years from naïve Padawan, to Knight, to Inquisitor. 

No matter what role Iskat is put in, what makes her such a good character is that she remains herself. Iskat feels like she does not fit in with the Jedi, but that does not mean that the Inquisitors will be right for her. This is a personal journey of discovery for one character. Whilst learning about herself we also go on a ride through one of the most turbulent periods in Star Wars lore – the fall of the Jedi and the rise of the Empire. 

Told from the point of view of one character makes this an insular novel in places and Dawson uses the book to explore some of the issues with the Jedi. Iskat is not all wrong in what she thinks, but that does not make her actions right. Why are the Jedi so obsessed with excluding love or knowing who your parents are? So many Jedi must have fallen because the Order had not flexibility. The rigidity of the Order is one of the reasons that it fell. In the later part of the book one hunted Jedi even suggests that there may be a third path between Light and Dark that will allow all types of people to flourish in the Force. 

This is not the world that Iskat finds themselves in. Instead, she is oppressed by one group or another, never achieving the freedom she so craves. Between her internal plight are some great action set pieces and some of the best insight into what it is like to be part of the Inquisition that I have read. But at its core this is a book for the hardened Star Wars fan who wants to delve deeper than just the action set pieces. Inquisitor is a character study, but also explores the nature of the Jedi Order, some readers may find themselves more in tune with the Inquisition than they would imagine. 

Written on 31st July 2023 by .

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