Definitely one of the more interesting tones of a Star Wars book that I’ve read so far.
This is the story of Namir, a sergeant in the Rebellion’s Twilight Company. We follow him and the company as the rebellion are getting pushed back after the events of A New Hope. It starts shortly before Empire Strikes Back and moves on past it, though it has little to do with the movies except for a bit at Hoth.
Namir is young, we’re not quite sure how young, but he’s from a small planet and has been fighting for most of his life. He comes across as a lot older due to his cynicism and battle weariness. The side character’s aren’t the most fleshed out I’ve come across but they stand out enough though some of the other soldiers do blend a bit. It’s all pretty much from the POV of Namir, though there are a few short chapters from the POV of a Stormtrooper and an Empire aristocrat. Chalis, the defecting governor was very interesting and I would have loved a few chapters from her.
What let it down for me was the nature of the story, or lack of it. It went from one fairly random engagement to another and I found it hard to distinguish between them until the end. I don’t think this is the author’s fault, though it is his first novel, probably more to the nature of the tie-in to the video game. It was fairly relentless, and though I love a good military fiction book, there wasn’t enough down time to balance.
However what I did love was the tone of it. Think more Rogue One than A New Hope. It’s pretty dark, pessimistic, and the characters don’t change too much from the start to the end, maybe a little more optimism but they’re not singing down the yellow brick road. The empire as we know is not a very nice place but life in the rebellion is not much better either, most are basically cannon fodder, and though some are driven by idealism, most are there for revenge or just to escape from where they came from. I can see why the author was drafted in to write the Rogue One novelisation (which I haven’t read yet) and I am very much looking forward to trying the author’s new trilogy where he won’t be as limited with a direct tie-in.
3.5 stars rounded up