October 4, 2023
Star Wars Inquisitor Rise of the Red Blade Book Review

Star Wars: Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade was exhilarating and brilliant in its writing. Plus, we delve into new Force Facts!

Star Wars: Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade was written by Delilah S. Dawson (who has quickly become a fan-favorite Star Wars writer) and stars a mysterious Inquisitor whose name was never revealed and the story never expanded on (in the Charles Soule Darth Vader comics). Her name is Iskat Akaris, and she is a red-skinned humanoid whose species was not known to the Jedi Archives.


First off, I want to tip my hat off to Delilah. She dedicates this book to neurodivergent individuals and bravely reveals that she too is neurodivergent. Neurodivergent usually means that a person is on the autism spectrum. Or has a mental illness that causes their brain to process information differently. Delilah knows how to write this sort of character. And it could be argued that Iskat is neurodivergent as she feels isolated from her peers at the Jedi Temple. And other Padawans whisper about her being dangerous and weird. As someone, who was frequently ostracized by his peers, I feel for Iskat at the beginning.

Even her Master doesn’t seem to connect with her, and a terrible incident in her youth involving a pillar collapsing was the impetus for her peers rejecting her and haunts Iskat to the present day. I like how Delilah really built this event up for several chapters and reveals it midway through the novel. It would be so cheesy and stereotypical to have it be revealed at the end, and I like that it doesn’t adhere to that formula.


In a classic, in the Background but not seen motif, Iskat is one of the several hundred Jedi deployed to Geonosis to rescue Obi-Wan Kenobi. She is in a group of Padawans, led by her Master’s master. And together they infiltrate the Geonosian hive to make their way to the arena we were so famously introduced to in Episode II. Along the way, one of Iskat’s peers dies. Iskat retaliates by killing the Geonosian warrior who dealt the fatal blow. At first, she feels remorse for this alien being. He was perhaps a father or son or friend or lover to someone and Iskat erased him from the galaxy.

However, as if in a trance, Iskat begins a dance of death, cutting down a whole group of Geonosian warriors, and remarks to herself that perhaps, she is good at killing?! This disturbed me greatly and was an excellent literary choice by Dawson to show that Iskat, while a good being, had a darkness in her that could be very dangerous if it gets out. Iskat loses her Master at Geonosis and is left with her Master’s cryptic apology to some unknown individual for not training or “helping” Iskat. She asks her mentor’s Master for details but he tells her to forget it and move on. He is clearly hiding something.

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Let’s talk about grief. Iskat feels the possible-worst feeling a person can feel with the sudden loss of her Master. Even though she was cold and distant, she had created a routine for this young woman. And now she feels lost and abandoned. To make matters worse, all the other Jedi can say is to rejoice in her return to the Force. Like many pesky religions here on Earth, loved ones of people who died are told that their loved one is with Jesus or Allah or Jehova, etc. It’s supposed to give comfort but I agree with Iskat, that it only sparks anger. Such silly words cannot stymie the cauldron of pain in her heart.

Once Iskat arrives home she is promoted in a impromptu Knighting ceremony to Jedi Knight. The book seamlessly connects with the same event (but from a different point of view) of the early events of Brotherhood by Mike Chen. (A book I also highly recommend). Iskat is shocked that she has been Knighted, as she felt Mace Windu never truly liked her like her peers. Mace is a cold fish and my feelings for him are usually negative as I feel a lot of his actions are what led to the Rise of the Emperor. And in keeping in step with this, Mace, I feel is cold and uncaring to Iskat, viewing her as a potential problem that needs to be stopped from getting too powerful. At least, that’s what’s in Iskat’s head and the evidence does seem to point in that direction.

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However, the seeds of darkness begin to grow in Iskat throughout The Clone Wars and she becomes angrier and more hurt as she feels the Jedi are against her and hiding the identity of the being her Master spoke of as she died. Her only emotional outlet is when she befriends a Selonian droid technician, Heezo, who works at the Jedi Temple. Heezo is sympathetic to Iskat and acts almost as her therapist, allowing her to vent to perhaps the only being in the universe who doesn’t judge her. Heezo also connects with her as he felt isolated during his younger life.

This is because he rarely met any Selonians out in the galaxy when he left home. Iskat’s species was unknown for the longest time. And it is heartbreaking to see how Delilah parallels the struggles of humans on Earth who often grew up never seeing someone who looked like them in the media.


As the war goes on, Iskat becomes darker and darker. More of her empathy and conscience are whittled away as Yoda, Mace, and other Council members continue to scold her for how she does things and push her further and further away from being proud to be a Jedi. I won’t spoil too much about the Inquisitor parts. Just know it was quite chilling to see her transformation into one. And I so admire Dawson’s talent in crafting this.

The moral of the story is very much a double-edged sword, as parts of it are positive but the other half is negative. Iskat should not have been shunned by her peers and teachers because she was different. Mace’s approach to her education was cruel and demoralizing. Iskat was clearly BROADCASTING a call for help throughout the entire novel and nobody cared enough to see that. Yet, for the other half, Iskat did have darkness in her and sometimes people cannot change who they are. Maybe she would have still become a dark force user if the Jedi were more tender with her. She clearly loved combat and regarded killing as her “strength”. Yet, why couldn’t she have found another facet of her training to cultivate? She was never directed and she was never helped. If you see someone “weird” struggling lend a helping hand. Society does indeed, create monsters.



Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade was exhilarating and brilliant in its writing and I give it a 4 out of 5. My only criticism (if any) is that some of Iskat’s missions were a little “dull” in terms of Star Wars action. But that may be a testament to the writing, focusing on Iskat’s feelings, personal growth, and character development. Either way. Do not pass on this book!

Star Wars Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade


Are you still with me? HEAVY SPOILERS BEWARE. I am doing a new segment at the end of my book reviews (and possibly TV reviews) called Force Facts. Force Facts are my personal reactions to certain parts of the story and focus more on interesting observations about the galaxy’s culture and history. Which I jot down as I read. These notations are extremely spoiler-heavy so do NOT read them until you finish the book.

1.) Geonosians are People Too!

Iskat’s first impression of the Geonosians is that of unfamiliarity as they are not like other beings she has seen before. Iskat is a humanoid with a mammalian-familiar face and the Geonosians are insectoid. When she encounters them, she feels a brief sense of xenophobia as they don’t feel like beings she has been around since her early days. This speaks volumes to Social-anthropology as the Geonosians were instinctively seen as more “alien” than say a Twi’lek or a Zabrak. Perhaps, the Republic has a true species hierarchy on what looks normal or not. Like you would probably never date a Geonosian if you were human. It’s just…weird. Oh, and Geonosians have yellow blood. Yuck!

2.) Anakin Emo-walker

Iskat’s impression of Anakin Skywalker is …. interesting (to say the very least). She feels his aura is that of moody and distant and stormy. She barely knows him of course. But the fact that elicits those feelings off the bat shows that perhaps Anakin was not revered in the Temple and displayed many signs of his mental illness. Most likely had a borderline personality disorder and since the Jedi don’t really believe in psychology – it’s even more on them that Anakin became the monster we all know and love.

3.) Biomes

Star Wars is consistently teased for having unrealistic planets with one climate and topographical feature. But Iskat briefly remembers visiting planets that “represented every biome imaginable.” So this means, planets like our own DO exist in the galaxy. We just don’t see them that often.

4.) Road trip!

Another criticism Star Wars faces is the inconsistency of travel times in hyperspace. Often in the original trilogy, the characters seemed to reach new worlds within several hours. In this book, Iskat is in transit for several days before he reaches her destination. Of course, it could be argued that every ship has faster and slower hyperdrives like engines here on Earth. But sometimes you see things like how fast Obi-Wan got to Tatooine in the Kenobi series or the Emperor from Mustafar to Coruscant, and things get confusing. My headcanon is that travel is largely determined by how the hyperlanes are set up. Planet A may be closer to Planet B “physically,” yet Planet C has a more direct route in hyperspace so you get to it quicker.

5.) The Chancellor is not a bad man, Obi-Wan

Iskat briefly meets Chancellor Palpatine and escorts him from the landing pad to the Jedi temple. Her brief time in the elevator with him is quite chilling, as she feels he gives off the air of one of the kindest most open people she’s ever met. Palpatine strokes her ego by complimenting her and saying that the Republic needs more Jedi like her. The fact that he can mask his inSIDIOUS nature so eas what a master manipulator and dark-side devotee this guy is. He had literally EVERYONE fooled and when he complimented Iskat, it was surely the darkness inside her he was complimenting.

6.) Spies like us

“I’ve had spies planted in the Temple, watching for promising adepts who might thrive among our ranks”
These are the true words of Palpatine, as spoken to Iskat years later when the ruse is over and the galaxy was his. Like the best chess player in the universe, Palpatine always had the idea to form the Inquisitors (in addition to making Vader his apprentice). And it’s so scary that many of these plans were formed from the observations of spies in the Temple. How many spies did Palpatine plant? How did they determine who to spy on? I would love a novel or comic touching more on this in the future.

7.) Order 66

Major spoilers here. Toward the end of the novel, Iskat and two of her peers fall victim to Order 66. But the commanding clone suddenly calls a ceasefire and brings out a holoprojector to play for Iskat. Its Palpatine. He has personally interrupted his own Order to speak with Iskat and offer her a position in his new Order. When that business is taken care of he orders Captain Spider to resume Order 66. This is probably one of the biggest open mysteries in the Prequel Trilogy.

It would seem obvious, that in Revenge of the Sith, he contacted Commander Cody personally and then had the other Jedi killed by mass holo-message (kind of like a CC’ed email). But this throws a wrench into it. He clearly knew that Captain Spider was Iskat’s officer and he went out of his way to speak to Iskat. I always knew in my heart, he got rid of Obi-Wan personally as a way to gloat and eliminate the most positive influence in Anakins life. But now that I read this book, I have more questions. How many Jedi did Palpatine have personally killed if (more than the 2 examples) any at all? Fuel for the Mind.


Star Wars: Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah S. Dawson is available to buy now.






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