By Alexander Freed
Alexander Freed is a guy that knows Star Wars. He’s written a lot of comics and video games based in the Star Wars Universe. However, this guy isn’t exactly known for writing novels. Combine the inexperience with the fact that most video game tie-in books are subpar and you may think that this book must be a massive stinker.
You would be wrong, though. This book has a lot going for it. It’s rare to get a look into the lives of Star Wars’ resident boots on the ground. We always hear about your Lukes, your Darth Vaders, even your scoundrels that turn into captains, but not much about your average joe soldier. The story primarily revolves around Hazram Namir and his rise to being a great rebel leader. The character has been surrounded by war and is understandably cynical and world-weary. Freed has written a very interesting and relatable character that is fun to read about and try to understand.
The book reaches its highest points when following Namir is the focus of the content. It’s just a shame that a few of the other characters aren’t quite as compelling. Prelate Verge and Captain Tabor Seitaron serve as the story’s main villains, which is fine. There’s nothing particularly wrong with these characters other than their limited story time, which leads to a general lack of appeal. If readers were given more of a reason to invest in these characters, perhaps they would be more interesting to read about.
The story will occasionally shift gears to another tale starring Thara Nyende, an Imperial Stormtrooper on Sullust. Her story is attention-grabbing and worthy of praise, except for the jarring nature in which her story gets squeezed in. However, their stories eventually come together smoothly, so it’s not too much of an issue.
The end of the story is decent enough, but it fails to be completely satisfying. It’s written well and events end as the probably should; though, a few characters end up doing some wacky things and making some odd choices. It’s easy to overlook some of the lamer points, especially since Namir is such a great character.
Thanks to a great character like Namir and the fun nature of the premise, this ended up being one of the better new canon Star Wars novels. Perhaps it’s not perfect, but it didn’t really have to be. It served its purpose and is miles more interesting than the video game it’s supposed to represent. That’s a truly rare feat.