I was disappointed in this one, considering how much I’ve enjoyed Freed’s other Star Wars stuff. Up until I read this book, I might have even told you he was the most talented Star Wars writer working today (Claudia Gray being a very close second). His Rogue One novelization was a piece of art. The short story he wrote for A Certain Point of View was extremely poignant. But Alphabet Squadron was just okay. There was really nothing special about it at all. Maybe I was just holding him to way too high of a standard, or maybe he just does his best work with other people’s characters. I don’t know. Is there any way to condense the rest of this review to the word ‘meh’?
This book takes place soon after Return of the Jedi, when the New Republic is trying to stabilize the Galaxy, and the remnants of the Empire’s power are still around causing trouble. Our main character is Yrica Quell, a very recent ex-Imperial who is recruited to help track down her old Imperial Squadron. Yrica was a frustrating character. I always felt removed from her emotionally (I felt removed from the other characters as well, but she was the worst offender). She clearly regretted a lot of her actions while she was with the Empire, but for most of the novel she is alienated from everyone around her, and her inner monologue is morose.
It just wasn’t very entertaining to read, and I didn’t feel that hook, that intangible thing that invests you in a story, until nearly the end when the ragtag squadron started to bond a little. The most excitement I got from the book was when Hera Syndulla (from Rebels) showed up. She was a tertiary character at best, so that says a lot, that she was my favorite part.
I felt at the end of this book the way you’re supposed to feel at the beginning, which was irritating. I mean, the book was fine. Really! I just expected it, wanted it, to be a lot better than “fine.” Perhaps if I read the second book, I will get more enjoyment out of it than I did this one, but I don’t know if I want to do that, for how little I really liked this one. I guess we’ll see.