Dragged a bit in places but definitely continued with the premise of the first book (in a good way).
Set not too longer after the events of the first book, Alphabet Squadron are now in proper fighting shape and working as a team. The New Republic is engaged with Imperial forces over the planet of Troithe and is being dragged into Urban warfare on the planet itself. In addition, Adan, Quell, and Hera are trying to lure Shadow Wing into a trap on the planet but they have a new/old commander in place who has plans of his own.
This definitely wasn’t as smooth reading as the first book. There was just a lot of nitty gritty engagements that seemed endless and I wonder if that’s what the author was trying to convey. You’re really starting to see how the apparently endless war is affecting everyone, from the New Republic fighters, to the old Empire forces and ordinary civilians who are still caught in the crossfire. I’ll be honest parts of this really resonated with me with what is going on in Ukraine and showed how soldier’s priorities can cause so much misery and damage, no matter how sympathetic they may come across as your read their viewpoints.
There’s a few subplots going on, what with Quell’s secret known to Adan and Nath, and Chass having a massive crisis of faith in the middle of the book. More backstory is revealed of all the characters and we get a lot more time with Shadow Wing from Soran’s POV. Parts of it were actually surprisingly emotional. There is a very random section towards the end with a Sith tower or something that really threw me. It involves Quell, Adan, and IT-O and was just very unexpected.
This took me a while to finish and felt very heavy and slow in places but overall I’m really enjoying this series and the direction it’s taken. Definitely different to the rest of the new canon I’ve read and I’m looking forward to the concluding part.