Go/No-Go: Battlefront: Twilight Company

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed. Not only is it a tie-in to the game that can stand on its own but it’s the new canon’s first real foray into serious military science fiction. But how did it go over with us? To mission control for the verdict!

Bria: When they first announced it, I didn’t think that I was going to care about Twilight Company. And then I read the excerpt. And then I read the summary. To say I was excited would be an understatement. This sort of military take on the Star Wars universe is what I’ve been desperately missing since Order 66. (The book not the event.) Twilight Company sugar coats nothing about the daily lives of those on the front lines of the war against the Empire. Jedi? Princesses? What are those? Freed does a fantastic job of showing us a side of the Rebellion that we really haven’t seen before and does so with an impressively diverse cast and a series of battles that manage to never feel repetitive. It’s gritty and real without feeling like it’s Hollywood’s version of DARK AND GLOOM. Above all, I really appreciated that this was something different. Also? HOLY CRAP BRAND IS SO COOL. I enjoyed the heck out of this book and it gets a strong GO from me.

Nanci: I really wanted to like Twilight Company. I’m a fan of military science fiction as a genre (full disclosure: I write it, too), and I’d heard good things about it from my fandom friends. Unfortunately, I never fully connected with the book. That’s not to say it’s badly written; there were characters I really enjoyed, and the prose is good. I really hope we get to see more of Freed writing in the Star Wars universe. My main problem was the pacing, and I didn’t think the book really picked up until about three quarters of the way through. I felt like the big military campaign should have been introduced way earlier, and even been the focus throughout. Either that, or cut 100 pages. Another problem I had was with the main character, Namir. I really liked reading about Chalis, and Tamor, and Roach, and Brand. But even though I spent the most time inside Namir’s head, I never felt like I really knew him outside basic facts and characterization. I had a hard time caring about him compared to the other characters. I’ve always been more of a fan of following one squad or squadron than a large group of characters, so perhaps this just wasn’t the book for me. Or perhaps I’m so obsessed with The Force Awakens right now, Twilight Company had a hard fight ahead of it when it came to my attention. Either way it doesn’t get a full endorsement from me, but I can’t give it a No-Go, either, because it’s not a bad book. I’ll say GO but with a caveat–if you enjoyed the Republic Commando novels or other military science fiction, and you want more of a layman’s view of the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War.

Shoshana: In general, Twilight Company felt a lot more like Republic Commando, or even Old Man’s War, than it did the X-Wing books, more gritty and more, well, more infantry-based than we usually see in Star Wars. It took a few chapters for the book to suck me in but when it did, man, was it hard to put down. I became very attached to the characters before I knew it and parts of the book felt like my emotions were on a roller coaster. Namir’s perspective on the Galaxy Far, Far Away was different from what you usually see from a Star Wars protagonist and the particular aspects of the Rebellion that the book focused on were refreshingly different than I’ve read about before. I give this book a GO for anyone looking for military sci-fi.

Flight Director’s Ruling: Twilight Company is GO for launch!