When I first started this reread, I couldn’t decide if I was looking forward to or dreading getting to the Republic Commando books. It wasn’t because they were controversial in some circles of the fandom but rather because I knew they were going to kick me in the gut with feelings. Omega Squad and Etain Tur-Mukan found their ways into my heart and never left. Needless to say, I was absolutely not looking forward to rereading Order 66 but more on that later. At the end of the day though, I think I’m rather glad that I took the time to reread these four books because gosh do I still love them even if they did make me have an emotional meltdown on Twitter.
Overall, Hard Contact remains a solid action book. I actually think that it could serve as a decent starting point for someone who’s really interested in the Clone Wars. There’s not much continuity that you need to know outside of the films. Additionally, it’s only peppered with the Mandolorian culture that fills the next three books. In short, it can stand-alone and that’s a good thing in the epic Expanded Universe.
I still really like how Karen Traviss gives each of the clone commandos a distinct personality. It’s been awhile but I think that this might’ve been one of the first Clone War era novels I read that really did that. At the same time, she doesn’t shy away from presenting the mentality that the clones are raised with: they are soldiers who follow orders and they are expendable. Plus, these are the early days of the way and the Jedi and the clones are still trying to figure each other out. It’s some nice insight into that thought process.
I’ll also freely admit to loving Etain because I am a total sucker for the underdog. Heroes of the Jedi Order are great and everything but I like seeing the everyman too. (Sorry. I’ll stop giving Anakin a hard time for being the Chosen One some day. Maybe.) She’s a good kid who just wants to prove herself to the world and you have to respect that.