Review: Star Wars: Shadow Fall (2020)

Alphabet Squadron’s hunt for the most dangerous TIE fighters in the galaxy continues in this STAR WARS adventure! Available in Hardback, paperback and digital now.

STORY

News of the New Republic’s victory still reverberates through the galaxy. In its wake, the capital ships of the newly legitimized galactic government journey to the farthest stars, seeking out and crushing the remnants of Imperial tyranny. But some old ghosts are harder to banish than others. And none are more dangerous than Shadow Wing.

Yrica Quell’s ragtag Alphabet Squadron still leads the search for Shadow Wing, but they’re no closer to their goal—and the pressure to find their quarry before it’s too late has begun to shake them apart. Determined to finish the fight once and for all, Quell works with New Republic Intelligence’s contentious Caern Adan and the legendary General Hera Syndulla to prepare the riskiest gambit of her starfighting career—a trap for Shadow Wing that could finish the chase once and for all.

But in the darkness, their enemy has evolved. Soran Keize, last of the Imperial aces, has stepped into the power vacuum at the head of Shadow Wing, reinvigorating the faltering unit in their hour of need. Once adrift in the aftershocks of the war, Keize has found meaning again, leading the lost soldiers of his unit through to safety. The only thing standing in his way? The most mismatched squadron in the New Republic Navy, led by his former mentee: the traitor Yrica Quell.

AUTHOR

Alexander Freed is the author of Star Wars: Battlefront: Twilight Company, as well as many short stories, comic books, and videogames. Born near Philadelphia, he endeavours to bring the city’s dour charm with him to his current home of Austin, Texas.

REVIEW

As Shadow Fall is book two in a trilogy of books focusing on the Alphabet Squadron I feel you need to have read book one ‘Alphabet Squadron’ to fully grasp what is at stake in this book. Alexander Freed does a great job at explaining previous events without going into too much detail to bore returning readers but if you haven’t read the first book this is written in a way you could just about get by going straight into the series, but I don’t think everything would make sense. If like me you did read the first book then I think you will thoroughly enjoy being back in this part of the Star Wars universe. 

Set following the events of Return of the Jedi we find ourselves in a similar timeline to the TV series The Mandalorian. Much like the TV show this gives the Star Wars universe a great opportunity to expand on the worlds and species without the reliance of the force and Jedi. This is what works incredibly well for this book series, the familiarity of Star Wars through planetary names but telling new and interesting stories. This is about a group of military fighter pilots and the bureaucracy of modern warfare and how it affects the personal lives of these people who literally put everything on the line for their cause.

I found this book to have a nice flow and balances the action and the politics well. The book starts with a flurry of action as you feel like you are inside the X-Wings or B-Wings as they are on a dangerous mission. The ending also finishes on a bang as the action and the consequences really step up. The impact of this is built steadily throughout the book as we learn how decisions are made and the good or bad intentions behind them. Not being a visual format, it’s easy to forget this book is actually a Star Wars story as it’s more of a standard military novel. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing because it allows the book to create its own identity but something to be wary of if you are a fan of the movies and are expecting something similar. 

Book One Star Wars Alphabet Squadron was released in December 2019. Book two Alphabet Squadron in hardback was released in November 2020 and in paperback on 25th February 2021. The final chapter Victories Price is due out in hardback on 2nd March 2021. 

I read this via an advance preview copy issued by Penguin Random House/ Del Rey and received no incentive to review this book.

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