Tag Archives: Alexander Freed

Review: “Star Wars–Battlefront: Twilight Company” by Alexander Freed

Title: Battlefront: Twilight Company
Author: Alexander Freed
Series: Star Wars (Official Canon)Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Del Rey, 2015

Not going to lie, I am insanely excited for the new Battlefront game. Nevertheless, video game tie-ins are always a touchy proposition. For every Halo: The Fall Of Reach there are a dozen that don’t work nearly as well. This one? This one manages to be not only a great tie-in, not only a great Star Wars novel, but a surprisingly solid military novel in general.

In a galaxy torn by war, few have seen more death and destruction than the troops of Twilight Company. Every time there’s a dirty, dangerous job to do, it seems Twilight draws the short straw. Twilight has its fair share of ideologues, same as any unit in the Rebellion, but that’s not Sergeant Hazram Namir. Namir doesn’t fight because he believes in the Rebellion, he’s not even sure he believes the Rebellion is fundamentally different from the Empire. Namir joined Twilight because fighting was all he’d ever known, and the Rebellion was as good a cause as any. Now he fights for his brothers in arms, his adopted family. Lately, however, Namir can’t shake the feeling that Twilight deserves better than he can give it….

This is not your average Star Wars novel. Instead of mythic heroes waving lightsabers in the face of capital-E Evil, Alexander Freed offers up a tale of ordinary men and women wrestling with that age-old question that eventually occurs to every soldier: just what is worth fighting—and dying—for? The result is a remarkably mature and nuanced entry into a franchise more often known for stark moral divides. The bodycount is high, which on the one hand accurately reflects the game it’s hyping, but on the other hand is odd for a Star Wars novel. Like I said, though, this is far from a typical Star Wars novel. This is a gritty, bloodstained war story that has more in common with Saving Private Ryan than it does the mythic tones of most Star Wars stories. At the same time, though, this is still pure Star Wars. It’s just that here we take the spotlight off of the more mythic characters and focus on the ordinary men, women and aliens living and dying around them in the background. If you’re after a light, cheerful read in which Good triumphs over Evil with only minor setbacks, you should look elsewhere. Bottom line: If you’re more interested in an examination of the cost of war on those who fight and die in the mud, then this is well worth the cost of admission.

CONTENT: Strong violence, occasionally gruesome, and with a massive bodycount that includes a not insignificant number of the named protagonists. Mild profanity. Mild sexual innuendo.

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Mini-Review: “Star Wars–The Last Battle Of Colonel Jace Malcom” by Alexander Freed

Title: The Last Battle Of Colonel Jace Malcom
Author: Alexander Freed
Artist: David Rabbitte
Series: Star Wars (Legends canon)
Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Titan Magazines, 2012

Once again, I offer up an exclusive short story from the pages of Star Wars Insider magazine! This time, Alexander Freed gives us a tale from the era of the MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic featuring the seriously-badass Col. Jace Malcom. You don’t know Col. Malcom? You might have met him without realizing it, if you watched any of the cinematic trailers for the game. If not, that’s okay, I’ll introduce you. So far as I know, the only place to find this tale is in the pages of Star Wars Insider issue #137, so you may have some trouble finding it, but its worth the trouble if you have any interest.

Okay, background. Like the game it’s tied to, this story is set about three and a half millenia before the films we grew up on, in an age when the Old Republic is locked in an eternal struggle with the resurgent Sith Empire for dominance in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Interestingly, the design aesthetics of the Sith Empire are the same as those favored by Palpatine’s New Order, reinforcing once again his political mastery–he managed to turn the Old Republic into the Sith Empire, complete with their imagery. Now, either this is intentional and the citizens of the GFFA are complete dunces who are ignorant of their history (unlikely, since this is a millenia-long intermittent conflict that would be a gold mine as a setting for entertainment holos) or the designers on The Old Republic are really lazy. I could give you the whole historical basis for the conflict, but you don’t really need it to enjoy the story. Bottom line: the Old Republic is locked in battle with the Sith Empire across the galaxy, and ‘ a stalemate. Oh, and Col. Malcom? He’s a hardened soldier fighting for the Republic. Again, I could give you his history, but I think this gives you all the information you need….

That’s right, this is a guy badass enough to attack a full-blown Sith Lord with a knife. Not a lightsaber-based knife–a regular steel knife. Not somebody I want to mess with….

The mission is simple, yet vital–destroy an Imperial airfield in preparation for a renewed Republic offensive on the barren world of Kalandis VII. Col. Malcom and his Spec-Force troops have done it a hundred times on a hundred planets….but this time it’s different. This time, it’s the last battle of Col. Malcom’s personal war against the Empire. And he’d like to go out with a bang….

The story was fun, and stands on its own fairly well. The galactic political and strategic situation aren’t that important to understanding what’s going on, because this is war on the smallest scale possible–we go here, and blow this up. We do our job, everyone else does theirs, and the Sith Empire gets a bloody nose. I’d seen Malcom in action in the cinematic trailers, though I didn’t know his name at the time. (He also appears in the Return trailer, here) He’s a fascinating character, and I look forward to finding out more about him as I read and play more of the media set in this era.

The Old Republic is the sole remaining producer of Legends-grade canon material, with everything else switching over to the newer official canon. This tale falls squarely in the former category, set three thousand six hundred and forty-one years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV–A New Hope. That’s 3,641 BBY, for my fellow Star Wars geeks. For more Malcom, check out the trailers I linked, the novel The Old Republic: Annihilation, and of course, the game itself.

CONTENT: I don’t recall any profanity, but any that appears would be minor. Some violence. No sexual content.

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