Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed

Twilight Company is an odd book. While set in the Star Wars universe, and even set during the time frame of the actual movies, it rarely feels like it belongs there. Rather, it reads more like a book about (space) marines with most of the trials and tribulations that come with that genre. This does not make it a bad book for any means, just an unexpected one.

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The plot follows the Twilight Company, one of the many rebel battalions fighting against the Empire. The main POV is through the eyes of a gruff sergeant, originally from a backwater planet of low tech and his subsequent rise to leadership. During the story we see the rebels go from offensive to an effective rout (as per ‘Empire Strikes Back’). As with many of the modern Star Wars books both the rebels and the Empire are given more shades of gray and this gives the story a more realistic view. We have a secondary POV of a young stormtrooper servicing the Empire, becoming more disillusioned with her job but the author never paints the empire as a pure glob of evil – most who serve are serving the established rule and believe they are doing the right thing. We have a token mustache twirling Evil Dude to remind us why the Empire acts like it does, but the people under him are just people.

My personal peeve with most Star Wars books is that they make the universe feel tiny. We visit the same planets and the same characters keep popping up. In movies it is understandable as no budget allows for an infinite amount of new planets but it is inexcusable in books. This books does the thing right and while not every planet is new, there is a sufficient amount and the whole war is given sufficient scale to fit a battle over a galaxy. Perhaps even too much – the rebels here are an army of millions, which does not quite match what we see in the movies (though cleverly explained by stating that in all the key elements in the movies what we see is just a small section of the rebel army, not its entirety).

The characterization is not the best and it’s a bit hard to get invested into any of them, though we do not really have any offensive characters either. Perhaps the biggest loss of the book is that the story seems to meander along rather aimlessly, and even the end seems to mostly fizzle away. While it does match the main characters confusion on exactly what he should do and what is the overall rebel plan, but it does not make the story a compelling read.

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