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Star Wars: Victory’s Price

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The aces of Alphabet Squadron have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy! In the wake of Yrica Quell's shocking decision-and one of the fiercest battles of their lives-the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen. Soran Keize has The aces of Alphabet Squadron have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy! In the wake of Yrica Quell's shocking decision-and one of the fiercest battles of their lives-the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen. Soran Keize has returned to the tip of Shadow Wing's spear. Operation Cinder, the terrifying protocol of planetary extermination which began in the twilight of the Imperial era, burns throughout the galaxy. Shadow Wing is no longer wounded prey fleeing the hunters of the New Republic. With its leader, its strength has returned, and its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons lurk in the darkness between stars, carrying out the fallen Emperor's final edict of destruction-as well as another, stranger mission, one Keize has championed not for the dying Empire, but for its loyal soldiers. Alphabet Squadron's ships are as ramshackle and damaged as their spirits, but they've always had each other. Now, as they face the might of Keize's reborn juggernaut, they aren't even sure they have that. How do you catch a shadow? How do you kill it? And when you're finally victorious, who pays the price?


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The aces of Alphabet Squadron have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy! In the wake of Yrica Quell's shocking decision-and one of the fiercest battles of their lives-the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen. Soran Keize has The aces of Alphabet Squadron have one final chance to defeat the darkness of Shadow Wing in this thrilling conclusion to the Star Wars trilogy! In the wake of Yrica Quell's shocking decision-and one of the fiercest battles of their lives-the remnants of Alphabet Squadron seek answers and closure across a galaxy whose old war scars are threatening to reopen. Soran Keize has returned to the tip of Shadow Wing's spear. Operation Cinder, the terrifying protocol of planetary extermination which began in the twilight of the Imperial era, burns throughout the galaxy. Shadow Wing is no longer wounded prey fleeing the hunters of the New Republic. With its leader, its strength has returned, and its Star Destroyers and TIE squadrons lurk in the darkness between stars, carrying out the fallen Emperor's final edict of destruction-as well as another, stranger mission, one Keize has championed not for the dying Empire, but for its loyal soldiers. Alphabet Squadron's ships are as ramshackle and damaged as their spirits, but they've always had each other. Now, as they face the might of Keize's reborn juggernaut, they aren't even sure they have that. How do you catch a shadow? How do you kill it? And when you're finally victorious, who pays the price?

30 review for Star Wars: Victory’s Price

  1. 4 out of 5

    Khurram

    This is an extremely emotionally heavy book. I really enjoyed this book. I am glad it is 460 pages as it was all needed for the character development. There is a lot of action in the book, but this is more the soldier's tale. I am glad the story is done this way. It is very much in the style of Battlefront Twilight Company by the same author. I would give this 4.5 stars but the more I though about it it deserves a round up instead of down. Some time has passed since the last book, and aligences h This is an extremely emotionally heavy book. I really enjoyed this book. I am glad it is 460 pages as it was all needed for the character development. There is a lot of action in the book, but this is more the soldier's tale. I am glad the story is done this way. It is very much in the style of Battlefront Twilight Company by the same author. I would give this 4.5 stars but the more I though about it it deserves a round up instead of down. Some time has passed since the last book, and aligences have changed. One of the things I did not like about the last book was I really did not understand the characters motivations for the side they chose and the choices they made. Here it is explained a lot better, however the characters are still changing and each choice opens up mor paths. I am glad Hera Sundulla had a much bigger part in this book. Personally I think it is past time she had her own book or series. The is a great ending to the Alphabet Squadren trilogy, with room to revisit some characters as well as an ending for others. It does start off slow and has a lot of characters and emotions to cover. Once I got past the first 50 pages the book got a lot more interesting. The slow burn really does fit the story well. I would like to see more of some of the survivors of this book return.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Bell

    Where to start? This is the best Star Wars Canon novel. Yeah that's where I'll start. I will likely be in the minority in thinking that. But I have never read Star Wars book that has more effectively examined the nuances of ethics and morality like this one did. And Freed explored these complex themes while also crafting original characters that, by the end of the trilogy, the reader is intimately familiar with. The best thing I can liken the end of this trilogy to, is the feeling you get at the Where to start? This is the best Star Wars Canon novel. Yeah that's where I'll start. I will likely be in the minority in thinking that. But I have never read Star Wars book that has more effectively examined the nuances of ethics and morality like this one did. And Freed explored these complex themes while also crafting original characters that, by the end of the trilogy, the reader is intimately familiar with. The best thing I can liken the end of this trilogy to, is the feeling you get at the end of Tolkien's Return of the King; You've reached the end of a beautiful journey, and while you don't want it to end, you do feel a bittersweet satisfaction for the characters you've come to know and love.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    Simply stated, Alexander Freed sticks the landing in the conclusion to his Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The time he spent over the first two books introducing us to his new characters pays off in a story that blends deep character moments with the sort of expertly crafted military sci-fi we've come to expect from Freed. Heartfelt introspection and emotional tension for the characters don't so much alternate with fast-paced action as they are interwoven with it, all as the narrative builds to an ep Simply stated, Alexander Freed sticks the landing in the conclusion to his Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The time he spent over the first two books introducing us to his new characters pays off in a story that blends deep character moments with the sort of expertly crafted military sci-fi we've come to expect from Freed. Heartfelt introspection and emotional tension for the characters don't so much alternate with fast-paced action as they are interwoven with it, all as the narrative builds to an epic conclusion. It was one of those books I hated to see end. At the same time, it made me excited for whatever Freed has in store for us next.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jim C

    This book is the third book of a series. I recommend reading them in order. This one takes place a year after the Battle of Endor. Alphabet Squadron is still nipping at the heels of Shadow Wing and what does this mean for Quell who is now a member of Shadow Wing. This was a fitting end for this series that had its ups and downs. This book and series is probably the most realistic book for this universe and I believe this will affect one's enjoyment. It doesn't glamorize war but looks into how it This book is the third book of a series. I recommend reading them in order. This one takes place a year after the Battle of Endor. Alphabet Squadron is still nipping at the heels of Shadow Wing and what does this mean for Quell who is now a member of Shadow Wing. This was a fitting end for this series that had its ups and downs. This book and series is probably the most realistic book for this universe and I believe this will affect one's enjoyment. It doesn't glamorize war but looks into how it affects the common person who is fighting it. The question is are you looking for a realistic look into war or are you looking for escapism with fantastic battles and humble heroes and dastardly villains. For me, I am looking for the latter and I think that is why this isn't my favorite series. I love the idea of the last days of The Empire and the Rebels finding the last remnants of it. I also love the concept of what happens to members of The Empire after the war. When we concentrated on these concepts I loved this book. The problem is when we do a deep dive into this book. I really don't care for the characters. Why would I care if a person is obsessed with a cult? And what is with this book and all the chatting between opposing sides during a battle? All I could imagine is Luke starting his trench run in the Death Star and Vader chasing him. Then they start talking like they are old friends while Vader is trying to blow him to smithereens. It would remove the tension of the moment. The overall arc is terrific as it leads up to Jakku. I just didn't love the characters involved in the whole book besides Hera. I was interested in the whole book but there were ideas that I just did not like. I appreciate what the author was going for with the realism but I think I look forward more to the fantasy portrayal when I read a book from this universe. I did like the whole series. It just could have been better.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    It took me 53 days to read this book, so for me that tells me the real story. Pleasure reading shouldn't feel so much like work. Freed is a great writer, and the plotting and characterizations were well done, but this just wasn't for me, nor was the trilogy on the whole if I'm being honest. To all those who enjoyed it and this more sombre reflection on the tolls the war took on the forces of the Rebellion or Empire alike, outstanding. For me this was enjoyable overall, but not storyline or group o It took me 53 days to read this book, so for me that tells me the real story. Pleasure reading shouldn't feel so much like work. Freed is a great writer, and the plotting and characterizations were well done, but this just wasn't for me, nor was the trilogy on the whole if I'm being honest. To all those who enjoyed it and this more sombre reflection on the tolls the war took on the forces of the Rebellion or Empire alike, outstanding. For me this was enjoyable overall, but not storyline or group of characters I ever feel like revisiting as it stands.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Neil R. Coulter

    Alexander Freed has done what no one else has been able to for post-Endor Star Wars in the new canon. The Alphabet Squadron trilogy is a bold, honest look at the galaxy as it deals with the aftermath of the Empire and the establishment of the New Republic. In this concluding volume, Victory’s Price, the threads of the series (and the year after Endor as a whole) are brought together in satisfying, complex ways. The Emperor’s Messenger, which has lurked in the background of the previous two novel Alexander Freed has done what no one else has been able to for post-Endor Star Wars in the new canon. The Alphabet Squadron trilogy is a bold, honest look at the galaxy as it deals with the aftermath of the Empire and the establishment of the New Republic. In this concluding volume, Victory’s Price, the threads of the series (and the year after Endor as a whole) are brought together in satisfying, complex ways. The Emperor’s Messenger, which has lurked in the background of the previous two novels, now becomes something more—and what it’s connected to is something that finally allows Star Wars to comment on current issues in the real world. (None of the new-canon books, and certainly not the sequel trilogy, has done that at all.) George Lucas originally saw a number of connections between the first trilogy of films and current events, and I suppose he must have thought he was making some statements about contemporary politics through the prequel trilogy. But since Disney took over, the series has been adrift, even where it has occasionally been thoroughly entertaining as Star Wars stories (Rogue One, Solo, Rebels). Alphabet Squadron (and, to a lesser extent, The Mandalorian) is what should have launched the Disney era. The fascinating thing about the mission that’s generated by the Emperor’s Messenger in this novel is that it is a moral quandary. It isn’t a simple good-vs.-evil narrative, nor is it a retread of any typical SW plots; it’s genuinely complicated, and any of the possible outcomes, even up to the climactic moment, seems justifiable. It’s resolved in a nuanced way that allows Quell to confront her past, skillfully blending a personal journey with something that’s also significant to the galaxy. Freed never lets his characters off with easy answers to the burdens they bear from the war. “I’ve accepted what I’ve done,” says one character. “I know the awful deeds I’ve committed and I’ve tried to move past my guilt, because it stopped being useful long ago. . . . I live with the memory of what I’m capable of every day. I need the memory to do better” (420). There are no easy answers, but there are points along the way where a person simply needs to move ahead. As Hera tells Quell, “What you deserve . . . is a question for philosophers” (440). For a lot of characters in this series, the easiest answer would be to die in battle and not have to confront what life means after the war; in fact, there were points during this novel at which I thought that by the end of the story, none of the original Alphabet Squadron ships (and maybe none of the pilots) would survive to the end—which seemed appropriate. But this is not Rogue One. Some of the characters are asked to survive and endure, which is a much harder quest. This all relates to what is perhaps my favorite thing about Freed’s perspective on Star Wars: individual lives matter. He shows us space battles, almost tempting us to get so involved in the exciting action sequences that we stop caring about the almost anonymous people who are dying. But he always reminds us that the lives of individual are exactly what’s important. Some poignant, beautiful things happen during the battle of Jakku that bring the value of life right to the forefront even while the battle continues. Alphabet Squadron is not perfect, but it’s tremendous. Some of its shortcomings: We never learn nearly enough about the perspective of Shadow Wing. I wouldn’t mind if Freed would write another book from their side of this story. Wyl Lark may be a little too perfect (and his idealistic communication attempts only just barely pay off at the end), and Kairos a little too mysterious. And I would have preferred to see Chass persist in her religious faith, rather than discard it relatively quickly, after a lot of buildup. In this final novel, I felt there is at least one epilogue too many. Especially the last one is unnecessary, but it may have been better to eliminate all of the “what happened to them after the war” segments. Let the reader stay at the end of the war and ponder the future possibilities. Those criticisms aside, this series has easily been the best Star Wars I’ve read. Freed not only crafts stories that are intriguing, but he seems to understand what it would feel like to be in Star Wars, a skill that no other current SW authors have demonstrated to this extent. He captures little moments of Star Wars that made me smile and think, “Yes, it would feel like that, wouldn’t it?” It’s like reading an author who can channel memories of how I played SW as a child, much of which I’d forgotten in all the years since. I had a great time being brought back to the wonder of the SW galaxy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liam || Books 'n Beards

    "The truth being...?" "We were murderous bastards," she said. "and being true to one another doesn't make it any better. It just means we don't stop when we figure out how bad it's gotten." This was SO GOOD. I'm gutted to be done with Alphabet Squadron - this trilogy has honestly been the most enjoyable, free and mature Star Wars fiction I've ever had the privilege of reading. VICTORY'S PRICE picks up where SHADOW FALL left off - Quell returned to the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, and the remain "The truth being...?" "We were murderous bastards," she said. "and being true to one another doesn't make it any better. It just means we don't stop when we figure out how bad it's gotten." This was SO GOOD. I'm gutted to be done with Alphabet Squadron - this trilogy has honestly been the most enjoyable, free and mature Star Wars fiction I've ever had the privilege of reading. VICTORY'S PRICE picks up where SHADOW FALL left off - Quell returned to the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, and the remainder of Alphabet Squadron - Wyl, Kairos, Nath and Chass - processing her betrayal and part in the atrocities of Operation Cinder while still on the tail of the 204th, with Shadow Wing resorting to more and more desperate strategies and tactics to survive and wipe out 'traitorous' Imperial remnants. From the very first book I have been so impressed with the maturity of Freed's characters - an enormous, galaxy spanning war would have immense fallout on those who fought in it (let alone two enormous, galaxy spanning wars in a lifetime) and while some Star Wars fiction pays lip service to the idea of PTSD or war guilt, the ALPHABET SQUADRON books have from the start been very realistic and gritty with how it has been portrayed. VICTORY'S PRICE is no exception, with the main players all grappling with their personal damage and how they cope with it - drink, hero complexes, prayer, self-loathing. Half of the book features Yrica Quell, who was pushed into defecting from the Empire after burning a planet, back with her Imperial squadron and wrestling with her newfound responsibility to the New Republic and her knowledge and care for her people. The guilt and rage that Chass and Kairos feel over the betrayal of Quell and the revelation that she was a willing participant in Operation Cinder consumes them, filling their minds with revenge and judgement. Wyl is forced into leading the squadron over Nath, but Nath has to face that he isn't a Han Solo type afterall and step up to the plate. Soran Keize, the leader of Shadow Wing, struggles with a future where the Empire is defeated and every single soldier or pilot who followed orders is hunted down by a vengeful New Republic and held to account. More than any other, the ALPHABET SQUADRON books portray Imperials as.. people. People fighting for what they believe, for their families, for their comrades - but people. Not every Stormtrooper is a heartless murderer, not every TIE pilot dreams of burning down civilian cities, and at a certain point when you have spent your entire adult life fighting for a regime, all you have left is your squadmates. Most Star Wars fiction features bombastic, exciting combat - VICTORY'S PRICE is no exception, but the combat in this final book of the trilogy takes on a far more melancholy, inevitable and pointless feel compared to the others. People laugh and cheer, but it feels hollow - Shadow Wing aren't going to surrender, Alphabet aren't going to stop - they're all circling death together, it's only a matter of who falls in first. I was very satisfied with the ending - I won't spoil anything, but the outcome feels very natural and... right for this group of misfits. As much as I would dearly love more books with this group, I think that's just my greediness talking. A fantastic end to an amazing trilogy. I can't wait to reread it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Lovitt

    Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price is an Emotionally Satisfying Conclusion to the Trilogy  (READ MORE: https://yourmoneygeek.com/review-alph...) Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price picks up right where Shadow Fall left us. Delivering the final act of a trilogy is no easy feat, and yet Alexander Freed delivers an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, and satisfying conclusion to the beloved Alphabet Squadron series.  With Wyl Lark on the cover of Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price, it’s safe to assume Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price is an Emotionally Satisfying Conclusion to the Trilogy  (READ MORE: https://yourmoneygeek.com/review-alph...) Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price picks up right where Shadow Fall left us. Delivering the final act of a trilogy is no easy feat, and yet Alexander Freed delivers an action-packed, edge-of-your-seat, and satisfying conclusion to the beloved Alphabet Squadron series.  With Wyl Lark on the cover of Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price, it’s safe to assume that his story is at the center of the novel — and it is. He also has a few close calls that had me seriously concerned about what direction this book was heading in. His journey is an emotionally satisfying one and the trauma that all of the characters have endured is mentioned, though not delved into as fully as I may have wanted to see. But there is a great note about the fact that they haven’t had a therapist aboard since Adan.  As a fan of Star Wars: Rebels, I was thrilled with how much of a prominent role Hera Syndulla had in Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price. She was a driving force of motivation for the new characters that the series introduced us to and provided the perfect anchor for those who may need external character connections when delving into the literary universes of Star Wars.  And don’t worry, Yrica Quell’s story is far from over since we last met with her. Victory’s Price delves deep into her character, motives, and actions — exploring her character arc with all of the grace and respect that should be afforded to her character.  It would have been easy for Freed to choose a path where Mon Mothma decided to make an example out of Yrica Quell’s traitorous actions over the course of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy, but instead, he wrote a path that I hope more Star Wars creators are brave enough to tread in the future. Quell’s choices are not forgotten, her actions related to the destruction of Nacronis are not forgotten, but she is allowed to live with them. Despite it all, she even gets the girl in the end.  The “Victory’s Price” segment of the novel brings satisfying closure for not only the readers, but for the characters. Readers are not left to worry about the fates of the characters they’ve grown fond of, as Freed elaborates on the “after” that they share together and independently, while smartly leaving it with the potential to revisit this chapter of the Star Wars story in the future.  Alexander Freed’s strength lays in making nuanced characters that come alive on the pages of his novels. Each character in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy has had a distinct voice, a distinct personality, and a distinct way of resonating with all of us. Whether it’s stories about duty, acceptance, trust, or victory — Freed’s unique voice has created a Star Wars story that is worthy of sitting alongside the great sci-fi classics dwelling on anyone’s bookshelf.   Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price is a fitting end to a trilogy that reinvigorated the imaginations of so many Star Wars fans. From daunting tales of piloting feats, to the human stories that resonate through every Star Wars tale, and the connections that make all of us who we are, you won’t want to miss out on the end of this story. 

  9. 4 out of 5

    TheGeeksAttic

    Star Wars: Victory's Price was written by New York Times Best Selling Author, Alexander Freed. It was published by Del Rey. Victory's Price concludes the Alphabet Squadron trilogy. Here’s my YouTube video review: https://youtu.be/HII-ohp82PY SUMMARY: After the events that took place in the Cerberon System, the New Republic has the 204th Imperial Unit Shadow Wing mostly on the run playing defense. Between each run in, the 204th strikes its judgment on select Imperial holdouts in the galaxy. Operati Star Wars: Victory's Price was written by New York Times Best Selling Author, Alexander Freed. It was published by Del Rey. Victory's Price concludes the Alphabet Squadron trilogy. Here’s my YouTube video review: https://youtu.be/HII-ohp82PY SUMMARY: After the events that took place in the Cerberon System, the New Republic has the 204th Imperial Unit Shadow Wing mostly on the run playing defense. Between each run in, the 204th strikes its judgment on select Imperial holdouts in the galaxy. Operation Cinder phase II, has begun. The New Republic, specifically the group lead by General Syndulla, is to put an end to the 204th. The mission gets tricky, as it appears there is a mole within Syndulla's New Republic ship, as well as one within the 204th! Many twists and turns entangle the opposing sides, all the way up to the epic, final battle of the Republic and the Empire - over the sands of Jakku. CHARACTERS: The cast of characters is great, I'm only picking two to discuss. Wyl Lark: He's been commanding the squadron, and he's still homesick. He doesn't have the fight in him anymore. He want's the war to end and just go home already. His relationship with his unit is on the rocks, but they still have a bond that holds them together, even by the weakest thread. Whyl is the one character that actually made me feel anger and bitter. Alexander Freed's writing is just too good. Kairos: She's always been the odd one, the mysterious female with something going on internally. She's unique, the mystery continues with Kairos. She's a hunter, which makes her an excellent tracker. Yrica Quell: All I'll say in this review, is that she surprised me. Chass Na Chadic: She's a wild one, after her wild adventure in the Cerberon system, she's left scarred and emotionally on edge. She's a bad A, with an attitude, and shows no fear of anyone or anything. She's my favorite character in this trilogy. OVERALL THOUGHTS: I liked this book. It was mostly everything I was hoping it would be. The last time we saw these characters, they were all put in really tough and surprising situations. That element continues as many of the cast goes through extreme changes and adjustments. By the time the story concludes, I found some of the character arcs satisfying, while some were left open or just a tad too awkward. Alexander Freed’s writing is outstanding. The novel feels more than just sci-fi/fantasy - it feels real. From the dialogue to the descriptions, every moment was fleshed out nicely. The way Freed creates characters and what he puts them through is just incredible. The war has changed people, there’s no easy walk in the park for anyone, the hero’s suffer. The desperation for victory or death drives the plot The book read quickly, not one moment did I feel I was wasting my precious time or drift off from boredom. I was glued to the pages all the way to end! The only negative I have to say, is there is one moment in the end that feels like a "check the box, gotta include that thing" in the story, it came across unnatural and as an afterthought. However, Overall - Victory's Price is a fast paced nail-biting conclusion to the Alphabet Squadron trilogy. Freed's brilliance and storytelling ability is just, next level. RATING: I give this novel an A.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jared Mayes

    It’s rare for a Star Wars book to feel so important. It ripped my heart out and resuscitated me dozens of times throughout the course of the story. It’s also a rarity for a singular author to pen a trilogy in its entirety; for that reason this trilogy has a tremendous continuity in story and in tone throughout. If you liked the previous two entries in the trilogy, you’re bound to love this one as well. In particular, I liked what Victory’s Price did with the Keize-Quell relationship, the elevate It’s rare for a Star Wars book to feel so important. It ripped my heart out and resuscitated me dozens of times throughout the course of the story. It’s also a rarity for a singular author to pen a trilogy in its entirety; for that reason this trilogy has a tremendous continuity in story and in tone throughout. If you liked the previous two entries in the trilogy, you’re bound to love this one as well. In particular, I liked what Victory’s Price did with the Keize-Quell relationship, the elevated role for Hera Syndulla of Rebels fame, and the adventure on Kairos’s home planet. Overall, it’s perhaps one of the best-written Star Wars books on a literary level. Freed is truly a master of characters and of emotional depth in his prose. I, for one, feel the need to see a therapist after reading this book—especially if that therapist is formerly a torture droid. . .

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    A fitting end to Alexander Freed’s trilogy about Alphabet Squadron. Asking interesting questions about loyalty and duty, and how far should retribution go in dealing with those who accepted and enforced unethical and brutal regimes. And humanizing those who were in those regimes. This whole series lives in the land of the grey, the morally complex, and ethically dubious. This was an excellent wrap up to this series, with Yrica, Wyl and Chass finding some peace after their many trials and engageme A fitting end to Alexander Freed’s trilogy about Alphabet Squadron. Asking interesting questions about loyalty and duty, and how far should retribution go in dealing with those who accepted and enforced unethical and brutal regimes. And humanizing those who were in those regimes. This whole series lives in the land of the grey, the morally complex, and ethically dubious. This was an excellent wrap up to this series, with Yrica, Wyl and Chass finding some peace after their many trials and engagements.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Halleck

    When it is available, I will by the paperback copy of this book as well to not only complete my set but to continue to vote with my money for THIS being the Star Wars that is put out into the world. I resonate so strongly with Alexander Freed’s approach to Star Wars, characters, and worldbuilding in the Star Wars universe. THIS is the empathetic, character-driven, micro-and-macro scope, well written Star Wars we all deserve. I have big thoughts and feelings that I am unsure I will be capable of When it is available, I will by the paperback copy of this book as well to not only complete my set but to continue to vote with my money for THIS being the Star Wars that is put out into the world. I resonate so strongly with Alexander Freed’s approach to Star Wars, characters, and worldbuilding in the Star Wars universe. THIS is the empathetic, character-driven, micro-and-macro scope, well written Star Wars we all deserve. I have big thoughts and feelings that I am unsure I will be capable of putting into shape soon. Suffice it to say, for now, that is the Star Wars of my heart, the one I will come back to, the creative future I want for the franchise and in my own experiments with entering the intellectual and emotional playground of this world myself. What a flimsy, awful, uninformative gushing of a review. I may update it one day to be something more encompassing and formed, but in the meantime I agree with and recommend the following (that might better exemplify WHY you should shut up and read this trilogy than I am capable of at this time): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    This was a book I was eager to devour but wanted to savor every chapter. I didn’t want to finish it too quickly, but like Freed so beautifully illustrates, all good things must come to an end, and what a spectacular end it is. Naturally, “Victory’s Price” picks up right where 2020’s “Shadow Fall” left off; our beloved Alphabet Squadron partially united but with individual priorities. One character’s shocking decision at the end of “Shadow Fall” weighs heavy on the crew and colors each of their st This was a book I was eager to devour but wanted to savor every chapter. I didn’t want to finish it too quickly, but like Freed so beautifully illustrates, all good things must come to an end, and what a spectacular end it is. Naturally, “Victory’s Price” picks up right where 2020’s “Shadow Fall” left off; our beloved Alphabet Squadron partially united but with individual priorities. One character’s shocking decision at the end of “Shadow Fall” weighs heavy on the crew and colors each of their storylines. Hera Syndulla is back leading the New Republic’s charge to hunt down the deadly Shadow Wing as they continue to wreak havoc across the galaxy and the plot culminates at the famed Battle of Jakku, the epic last stand of the Empire. What I have come to love about Freed’s trilogy is the deep character development. He’s created a cast that have never appeared in any other form of Star Wars media yet I’ve come to love them so much. The squadron and the other supporting characters are outstanding for a number of reasons. One, they are infused with relatable traits, both good and bad. In Wyl, Nath, Chass, Kairos and Yrica, we see bravery, foolishness, righteousness, redemption, regret, selfishness, forgiveness, love and everything in between. Freed makes readers feel close to them because we can so easily see ourselves in them, flaws and all. This is a group of heroes yes, but they live with the struggle of having to choose between right and wrong at seemingly every turn. Plus, the consequences are often as difficult to face as the decisions themselves, which creates a rich and resonant storytelling landscape. Second, these characters have histories and backgrounds that are distinctively Star Wars, which makes them just so much fun. Kairos’ backstory particularly was one that I was not expecting. It’s a beautiful mixture of mystery and wonder and gives readers just enough information to explain who she is while leaving much to the imagination. She easily has become my favorite squadron member (Lucasfilm/Disney, can we get a spin-off please?!). Lastly, Freed illustrates that it’s the coming together amidst differences that wins wars. It’s through diversity of background, thought and beliefs that battles can be won. It’s viewing the world from another’s perspective and making unselfish decisions that can benefit the greater good. It’s through honesty and forgiveness that true change can come about. I found myself close to tears numerous times as these flawed, broken characters go through an experience together and come out the other side changed because of it. Yes “Victory’s Price” has space battles, explosions, drama and mystery. It ultimately succeeds, however, in showing that no matter how long a life you live or what you’ve done in the past, what really matters is who you live your life with and wherever the next part of your journey takes you, a galaxy full of possibilities awaits. The Alphabet Squadron trilogy has firmly cemented itself as required reading in Star Wars canon.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Guthrie

    Alexander Freed delivers his best work yet, wrapping up his Alphabet Squadron trilogy in epic fashion. Outside of the incredible character arcs and expansive set pieces, he manages to leave readers with moving questions that prompt us to reflect on wars, relationships, and change in new and intense ways. One of the more introspective Star Wars books I have ever read. This one will stick with me long after tonight.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    **Thank you to Del Rey for providing me with an advanced copy to read and review! Well, I wrote a whole review....and then copied unrelated text over it. So...this is an inferior take 2. :( Between and betrayal and the ongoing war, the pilots of Alphabet Squadron must remember why they are fighting and what it means to be a team. Broken and tired after the Battle of Troithe in SHADOW FALL, VICTORY'S PRICE brings us one step closer to the end of the war and one step closer to peace. With the end i **Thank you to Del Rey for providing me with an advanced copy to read and review! Well, I wrote a whole review....and then copied unrelated text over it. So...this is an inferior take 2. :( Between and betrayal and the ongoing war, the pilots of Alphabet Squadron must remember why they are fighting and what it means to be a team. Broken and tired after the Battle of Troithe in SHADOW FALL, VICTORY'S PRICE brings us one step closer to the end of the war and one step closer to peace. With the end in sight, both sides are trying to figure out what it means to win and to lose, and how to move forward in a new world. For the pilots of Alphabet Squadron, what is the price of victory? ------- Freed has a strong understanding of the human condition and doesn't shy away from the complexities of trauma and the weight of war. He builds his characters in such a way that allows us to truly see who they are and what they are going though. This approach makes characters' interpersonal relationships the most meaty and interesting parts of the book. Not something you'd necessarily expect for a book that advertises it being about a group of pilots, at least not to me! So many of the conversations truly matter, not only to the characters, but to me as a reader who doesn't live in a space opera. Each character gets their due in this book, and each of them feels finds a satisfying c0nclusion to their character arc. This series ends *well*. No spoilers here, but this is to say that I felt justified in the time that I spent reading these books and getting to know and fall in love with these characters. The conclusion of this book gives me a sense of hope for the world and a sense of gratitude for Alexander Freed. In a world where it seems that so much of our favorite media doesn't stick the landing or doesn't do right by the characters they've spent so long crafting, VICTORY'S PRICE is a balm. There's not much I'd change in this book, but if I had to comment on one thing that I didn't love as much as the rest, I'd say that the beginning of the book moved a bit slower than the rest of it. It starts to hit around halfway through, and is impossible to put down once you get to part 3 (I'm serious, prepare yourself). But before that, the book is slower as it sets up this game of cat and mouse, and as we are building what the pilots' lives look like after the battle of Troithe. This isn't that strong of a criticism, I know, but it was honestly hard for me to find any! All in all, Freed has outdone himself with this one. This finale is one I'd very highly recommend to not fans of the trilogy in books 1&2, but readers who are on the fence about starting the trilogy and readers who don't quite know if they're going to finish it. It is so so worth it, if you're asking me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    ShamNoop

    This is one of the best trilogies of anything I’ve ever experienced.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Hanson

    Just leave me here in my feelings. Can't move. Only feelings. This was an amazing end to the trilogy. And I'm not just saying that because Freed absolutely upped his Hera game in this one. Every character just took me on a journey. The ending was not at all what I was expecting but it works so well and hurts in just the right way. Victory's price INDEED. Also I have never hated an Imperial the way I hate Soran Keize. I kept screaming about it out loud. I also screamed "Make better choices!" at a ra Just leave me here in my feelings. Can't move. Only feelings. This was an amazing end to the trilogy. And I'm not just saying that because Freed absolutely upped his Hera game in this one. Every character just took me on a journey. The ending was not at all what I was expecting but it works so well and hurts in just the right way. Victory's price INDEED. Also I have never hated an Imperial the way I hate Soran Keize. I kept screaming about it out loud. I also screamed "Make better choices!" at a rather large number of characters. All the feelings. ALL OF THEM.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ben Briles

    Very good. I'm stunned but in a good way. Just wanna read the whole trilogy again. Very good. I'm stunned but in a good way. Just wanna read the whole trilogy again.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zan

    Freed has really accomplished something special here, capping off a fantastic trilogy looking at the damages of war, trauma, genocide, and the drive to fight. It never holds from asking tough questions, but always does so while exuding charm and just a brilliant drive towards action. There's not much I'd change. The characters are fantastic, the questions it asks are compelling, the story is nearly perfect. Recommend for anyone remotely interested in military fantasy, whether Star Wars or not. E Freed has really accomplished something special here, capping off a fantastic trilogy looking at the damages of war, trauma, genocide, and the drive to fight. It never holds from asking tough questions, but always does so while exuding charm and just a brilliant drive towards action. There's not much I'd change. The characters are fantastic, the questions it asks are compelling, the story is nearly perfect. Recommend for anyone remotely interested in military fantasy, whether Star Wars or not. Easily some of the best Star Wars novels there are and beyond - this is simply up there with the best in the genre.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Where Alphabet Squadron had a very rough takeoff, only to smooth out with some turbulence in Shadow Fall, I expected Victory’s Price to have a rough yet satisfying landing. Instead of a landing, however, Victory’s Price crashed and burned after deliberately nose-diving straight into the ground. It’s difficult to pinpoint how disappointed I am since the first book hadn’t exactly won me over. The second one was a little better than the first, so it understandably gave me hope that this last one woul Where Alphabet Squadron had a very rough takeoff, only to smooth out with some turbulence in Shadow Fall, I expected Victory’s Price to have a rough yet satisfying landing. Instead of a landing, however, Victory’s Price crashed and burned after deliberately nose-diving straight into the ground. It’s difficult to pinpoint how disappointed I am since the first book hadn’t exactly won me over. The second one was a little better than the first, so it understandably gave me hope that this last one would really pack a punch and, in the end, make me appreciate the trilogy as a whole. But where Shadow Fall took two steps forward after Alphabet Squadron, Victory’s Price decided to take four steps back. It was like being back at square one with the first book except worse since it’s the final book of the trilogy. Where Yrica became interesting in the second book, she lost that here. She was just bland and boring as she was in the first one. I was disappointed with Chass na Chadic and how she was handled in Shadow Fall, and that disappointment only grew with Victory’s Price. I was sick and tired of her attitude, with her selfish actions. When it comes to this particular series, Chass is officially the character I can’t stand and dislike the most now. Out of all the characters, the only ones I cared about were Nath Tensent and Hera Syndulla. Their scenes were the best, the most enjoyable ones for me to listen to and read about. I wish the two got the spotlight more than they did, but at least they were there. Honestly, I think part of the reason I persevered through this was just so I knew what happened to Nath at the end since he’s my one and only favorite of Alphabet Squadron. There were, however, a few scenes that I did like which didn’t involve Nath and Hera. One of those moments was when Wyl Lark talked about the celebration on Endor. I thought that was a nice touch to get an outsider’s perspective of that scene at the end of Return of the Jedi. (view spoiler)[I’m also a little lost on why the title is Victory’s Price when the whole of Alphabet Squadron survived? The main characters, that is. I expected at least for there to be one death of a main character, if not two or three more. Instead they all survive. What’s worse is how the epilogue doesn’t even have the five main characters reunite all together. It wasn’t just a pointless epilogue, wasn’t just a waste of paper and time, but it’s one of the most unsatisfying and unwanted epilogues ever. (hide spoiler)] When it comes to the audiobook, I was glad it was performed by one of my favorite narrators when it comes to Star Wars: January LaVoy. It still is funny to me, though, how this trilogy had a different narrator for each audiobook rather than sticking with a particular one for all three books. I should have just dropped it once I got to the halfway point but, as it’s the final installment of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy, I felt compelled to see it through to the very end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Neil Hepworth

    A two part review: Part 1: The reason that Alexander Freed is the best Star Wars author right now is because he feels like the culmination of all of us '70s and '80s kids all grown up. His writing is measured and mature. His characters are thoughtful and gray. His philosophies have significant weight, and genuinely consider two sides of a conflict in a way that no other Star Wars medium has. I know that he isn't going to appeal to younger readers, and I know that his stories aren't stuffed with f A two part review: Part 1: The reason that Alexander Freed is the best Star Wars author right now is because he feels like the culmination of all of us '70s and '80s kids all grown up. His writing is measured and mature. His characters are thoughtful and gray. His philosophies have significant weight, and genuinely consider two sides of a conflict in a way that no other Star Wars medium has. I know that he isn't going to appeal to younger readers, and I know that his stories aren't stuffed with fan-theory-confirming Easter Eggs and grand explanations to fill in movie plot holes, but dammit, I feel like an adult when I read his novels. Star Wars Publishing, don't let this man go. Part 2: Dear Disney, About a year ago I wrote a review to you explaining how your publishing house had really lost its way, a combination of filler novels while you figured out (or failed to figure out) what you were doing with the sequel trilogy, and of sub-par writers badly writing inconsequential Star Wars assignments. So it only feels fair to write you another review now that my feelings on the matter have very much changed. I loved most all of the stories you've published the last year, and the current batch of writers have been mostly outstanding. However, it seems to me that the reason for this resurgence is also due in large part to all y'all finally having figured how much Star Wars to publish. You have a wide variety of TV shows coming down the pipe, you have YA novels and adult novels and kids novels being published at least once a month, you have a strong comic scene, and the launch of the High Republic era has finally untied your creators' hands to craft to stories of substance. It's not an overwhelming amount of content, but it's enough that when something doesn't land for me (sorry Thrawn series), I don't nearly as upset as I might have in the past because I know there is more out there. Hm. This seemed much more profound in my head. Oh well. In summary, keep the content coming, let the universe keep expanding, and good heavens give Alexander Freed all the time and money he needs to keep writing more books. Or even a TV series or two. ~Neil

  22. 5 out of 5

    Haden

    i've been trying to be more selective about the pieces of star war i engage in and i almost didn't get this one--the first in the series was great but the second left me more lukewarm than i'd wanted, but man. MAN. sw being what it is, and being a disney property in its current iteration to boot, i never expect it to deal with Big Subjects in anything close to meaningful nuance, but victory's price manages to do so pretty well, and not just compared to the rest of the franchise. i spent the last i've been trying to be more selective about the pieces of star war i engage in and i almost didn't get this one--the first in the series was great but the second left me more lukewarm than i'd wanted, but man. MAN. sw being what it is, and being a disney property in its current iteration to boot, i never expect it to deal with Big Subjects in anything close to meaningful nuance, but victory's price manages to do so pretty well, and not just compared to the rest of the franchise. i spent the last third of the novel emo as hell about all these flawed people in perilous situations facing tough choices. i kiss every member of alphabet squadron on the mouth.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Cormican

    Well done, Freed, well done. I gave lower scores for the first two books in this character driven trilogy, but this ending perfectly tied them together. As a complete unit, I would give the trilogy a 4.5 out of 5. Character development and storyline was wholesome and intriguing. The elusive "bad guys" were interesting and complex, to say the least without spoiling anything. If anyone is starting this trilogy, know that this book makes it all worth it. Well done, Freed, well done. I gave lower scores for the first two books in this character driven trilogy, but this ending perfectly tied them together. As a complete unit, I would give the trilogy a 4.5 out of 5. Character development and storyline was wholesome and intriguing. The elusive "bad guys" were interesting and complex, to say the least without spoiling anything. If anyone is starting this trilogy, know that this book makes it all worth it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eric Fritz

    A fun ending that got where I hoped it would, but this series just isn't a squadron series. Everyone is constantly more interested in getting out of combat or away from their squadron than they are in flying together. I found Quell's part of the ending so completely unbelievable that it was hard to take seriously. The rest was a lot of fun but I really want to go back and re-read the original X-Wing series now. A fun ending that got where I hoped it would, but this series just isn't a squadron series. Everyone is constantly more interested in getting out of combat or away from their squadron than they are in flying together. I found Quell's part of the ending so completely unbelievable that it was hard to take seriously. The rest was a lot of fun but I really want to go back and re-read the original X-Wing series now.

  25. 4 out of 5

    RG

    A great conclusion to this trilogy. Wish all star wars novels were this good

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    A fun book that's written better than the average Star Wars novel. Notably, it focuses much more on character and psychology; this means that the story beats hit harder, but in my experience this resulted in less adrenaline than, say, the Allston and Stackpole X-WING series that is this trilogy's spiritual predecessor. If you liked the first two you will almost certainly find this to be a satisfying conclusion. A fun book that's written better than the average Star Wars novel. Notably, it focuses much more on character and psychology; this means that the story beats hit harder, but in my experience this resulted in less adrenaline than, say, the Allston and Stackpole X-WING series that is this trilogy's spiritual predecessor. If you liked the first two you will almost certainly find this to be a satisfying conclusion.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This review of Star Wars: Victory’s Price: An Alphabet Squadron Novel by Alexander Freed may contain minor spoilers. The final book in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy was released this week. Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed brings to a close the story of a disparate group of pilots, known collectively as Alphabet Squadron, fighting the remnants of the Empire in the days and months following the Rebellion’s victory at Endor. In Victory’s Price, Wyl Lark graces the cover and takes center stage, jus This review of Star Wars: Victory’s Price: An Alphabet Squadron Novel by Alexander Freed may contain minor spoilers. The final book in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy was released this week. Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed brings to a close the story of a disparate group of pilots, known collectively as Alphabet Squadron, fighting the remnants of the Empire in the days and months following the Rebellion’s victory at Endor. In Victory’s Price, Wyl Lark graces the cover and takes center stage, just as Yrica Quell did in Alphabet Squadron, and Chass na Chadic did in Shadow Fall. Although focus lands predominately on Wyl, the circumstances of the other characters don’t receive short shrift. Victory’s Price picks up not long after the events of Shadow Fall, and Yrica Quell has presumably deserted Alphabet Squadron for a return to the Empire and the 204th Shadow Wing, and to her mentor Soran Keize. The circumstances surrounding Quell’s departure leave her former cohorts angry and confused. In particular Chass na Chadic and the enigmatic Kairos as they pursue Quell seeking revenge for her betrayal and participation in the Emperor’s deadly final order, Operation Cinder. Wyl Lark is the new leader of Alphabet Squadron, but he’s increasingly disillusioned with the ongoing conflict. Wyl is weary of war and deeply homesick. He feels pulled in directions that would take him away from Alphabet. This eventually leads to conflict with Nath Tensent, and risks as Wyl tries to arrive at some resolution with Keize and Shadow Wing. Under Soran Keize, and with Yrica Quell at his side, the 204th plays a game of cat and mouse across the galaxy with the New Republic forces led by General Hera Syndulla, as it deals judgement upon Imperial holdouts and continues with Operation Cinder. Victory’s Price does not lack for adventure and thrilling action worthy of Star Wars, but it really shines in the quieter moments shared between the characters, people who have been through so much and bear the wounds. The relationships feel deeply personal and honest. Quell is still trying to find her place, and Kairos, her identity. Wyl longs for home, while Nath feels unease at being called a hero. Chass looks for understanding of herself, beyond the influence of the Children of the Empty Sun cult. The final chapters are highly satisfying, and the conclusion is filled with forgiveness, mutual respect and admiration, and absolution of self and others. Each member of Alphabet Squadron has a fully developed arc. Writing these characters and imbuing them real emotion, courage, and complicated natures seems to be a special strength of author Alexander Freed. The unabridged audiobook presentation of Victory’s Price is read by January LaVoy. She’s an effective narrator and keeps the pacing consistent with that set by the book. (Both book and audiobook were experienced for this review.) Overall, the quality of the audiobook is on par with the highest of standards. Select musical cues from the Star Wars films are used effectively, as well as some original music likely created for this production, accentuate the action and the interpersonal exchanges. There’s always a bit of trepidation coming into the conclusion of a trilogy. Will the payoff be worth it? Will it resonate emotionally with the reader? Will it be satisfying? Yes is the answer to all these questions when applied to Victory’s Price. Outside of a quibble or two on the part of this reviewer, the conclusion of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy sits very well while leaving the reader with a desire to see more from these characters in the future. (Ahem, Kairos….) Rating: 4.5/5 Thank you to Del Rey and Penguin Random House Audio for providing copies for review purposes. https://coffeewithkenobi.com/book-aud...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Unseen Library

    One of the best Star Wars tie-in series comes to an epic and impressive end, as Alexander Freed presents Star Wars: Victory’s Price, the amazing third and final entry in the awesome Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The Emperor and Darth Vader may be dead, and the second Death Star destroyed, but the war is far from over. Nearly a year after the battle of Endor, conflict still reigns in the galaxy between the forces of the New Republic and the remnants of the Empire. In nearly every battlefield, the Emp One of the best Star Wars tie-in series comes to an epic and impressive end, as Alexander Freed presents Star Wars: Victory’s Price, the amazing third and final entry in the awesome Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The Emperor and Darth Vader may be dead, and the second Death Star destroyed, but the war is far from over. Nearly a year after the battle of Endor, conflict still reigns in the galaxy between the forces of the New Republic and the remnants of the Empire. In nearly every battlefield, the Empire’s forces are in retreat and disarray, apart from the notorious pilots of the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, better known as Shadow Wing. Led by the dangerous Imperial TIE Fighter ace, Colonel Soran Keize, Shadow Wing continue to bring death and destruction to the Empire’s enemies, slipping away when their vile deeds are done. However, despite their skills and strategies, Shadow Wing is in constant danger as New Republic forces, under the command of General Hera Syndulla, are pursuing them. Syndulla is determined to end the threat of Shadow Wing utilising the ragtag pilots of the unique unit known as Alphabet Squadron, each of whom has a score to settle with Shadow Wing, to lead the fight against them. However, the members of Alphabet Squadron, Wyl Lark, Chass na Chadic, Nath Tensent and Kairos, are still recovering from their last traumatic encounter with Shadow Wing on Cerberon, as well as the revelation that their former leader, Yrica Quell, was an active participant of Operation Cinder, the Emperor’s genocidal last order to destroy multiple disloyal planets. As Hera and Alphabet Squadron attempt to find their prey, they begin to discover just how dangerous the cornered Shadow Wing has become, as their opponents begin to enact a new version of Operation Cinder. Worse, Alphabet Squadron are shocked to discover that Yrica Quell is still alive and has re-joined her old comrades in Shadow Wing. As the two forces engage in battle again, the loyalties of Alphabet Squadron will be tested like never before while Quell attempts to determine just whose side she is truly on. The conflict will finally end above the skies of Jakku, as the Imperial and New Republic fleets engage in their final battle. Can Alphabet Squadron finally put an end to the evils of Shadow Wing, or will Soran Keize’s master plan change the entire galaxy forever? Now this is what all pieces of Star Wars fiction should be like. Victory’s Price is an exceptional and impressive novel that had me hooked from the very beginning. Not only does Freed do an amazing job of wrapping up the Alphabet Squadron trilogy but he also provides the reader with fantastic action sequences and some outstanding characters. This is easily one of the best Star Wars novels I have read in ages and it gets a full five-star rating from me. To see the full review, click on the link below: https://unseenlibrary.com/2021/04/18/... For other exciting reviews and content, check out my blog at: https://unseenlibrary.com/

  29. 4 out of 5

    Billy Jepma

    "The war ended a year ago. It’s time to walk away." A thrilling, intelligent, and moving end to a consistently excellent trilogy. Freed has written a fitting, often beautiful, occasionally painful, and always empathetic conclusion that respects its characters enough to let them face real consequences with all the messy, misguided honesty that befits them. It thrilled me, it moved me, and it's one of the most thoroughly satisfying Star Wars novels I've ever read. And I've read a lot of them. I "The war ended a year ago. It’s time to walk away." A thrilling, intelligent, and moving end to a consistently excellent trilogy. Freed has written a fitting, often beautiful, occasionally painful, and always empathetic conclusion that respects its characters enough to let them face real consequences with all the messy, misguided honesty that befits them. It thrilled me, it moved me, and it's one of the most thoroughly satisfying Star Wars novels I've ever read. And I've read a lot of them. I love how Freed takes his time in this book. He's always shown an aptitude for introspection, but he outdoes himself here. This book is borderline slow, but that slower pace is crucial to the book's success. Every character arc and plot thread is addressed, reckoned with, and resolved in a way that feels, as all good conclusions should, like an end and a beginning. And he does it all so deliberately that every piece of the puzzle fits snugly into its proper place. I do hope it continues to find a lasting audience in the future, because unlike many of the books in the Star Wars canon, this trilogy could function just as well outside of it as it does within it. I could honestly ramble on and on about how much I loved this book and its characters and their tragedies and their bravery...but I’ll settle for saying that this series meant a lot to me, more than I could’ve predicted, and it’s going to stick with me for a good long while.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colt

    The Alphabet Squad trilogy breathed an emotional complexity and remarkable sense of nuance into the war that's driven and affected the entire Star Wars franchise. It does so by bringing it's lens downwards and examining the basic grunts we've seen cut down to a mind numbing degree by rebel leaders or Jedi masters or ace pilots. In Alphabet Squad, you'll be spending nearly all your time with the people who, if they were in film or video game, would've been faceless goons only existing to rack up The Alphabet Squad trilogy breathed an emotional complexity and remarkable sense of nuance into the war that's driven and affected the entire Star Wars franchise. It does so by bringing it's lens downwards and examining the basic grunts we've seen cut down to a mind numbing degree by rebel leaders or Jedi masters or ace pilots. In Alphabet Squad, you'll be spending nearly all your time with the people who, if they were in film or video game, would've been faceless goons only existing to rack up a kill count. That's the biggest strength of Alphabet is it's attention and care to the cogs of the war machine and not those who "drive" it. There's an intentional lack of the moral binary the Original Trilogy ran with, here most your space nazis are less inherently vile and more victims of how propaganda dehumanizes and makes it so much more tolerable to commit atrocities, the protagonists aren't insufferably earnest fighters who just won't be kept down, they're also traumatized war criminals or opportunists or deeply troubled thugs who can only function when driven by conflict. And in these dynamics is where the remarkable nuance Alexander Freed pulls out of his ass comes to full display. Humanizing both factions to such a degree can lead to easily falling in the pits of political fence sitting, fortunately, Freed manages to demonstrate the importance of fighting for causes larger than you while also exploring the moral complexity and capacity for horrible actions everyone is capable of, and avoiding an eye rolling "don't join any cause". And no character captures this moral nuance more than the primary antagonist Soran Kieze, who's unironically one of my favorite Star Wars villians currently. Soran isn't a merciless killer or Nazi tyrant, but Soran is a leader who cares sincerely for his soldiers, and in this caring comes a complacency to corruption and rejection of consequences. It's remarkably compelling when the grand villian scheme is destroying evidence of war crimes not for himself but so the soldiers below him can lead normal lives after the inevitable defeat of the Empire, and Freed yet again doesn't take the easy way out by framing the soldiers as cartoons who were born ready to slaughter. Instead framing the soldiers as guilt ridden or victims of propaganda. It's a great exploration of the cost of war and how consequences and suffering force necessary growth and change, growth and change that Soran fought to stop out of complacency in a fascist regime and overwhelming loyalty to his soldiers.

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