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Books Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed

Discussion in 'Literature' started by GrandAdmiralJello , Oct 5, 2018.

  1. my kind of scum

    my kind of scum Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2002
    finally finished this one this week - kind of savored it as I was enjoying it so much. I really think that Freed is becoming my favorite SW novelist. I've read Twilight Company three times and I can see myself returning to this one as well. I love his complex characters, his world-building, his dark tone that still manages some sublime humor from time to time... This one isn't as fun as the old X-wing series, but it is still so good. (Honestly, I would love to see new canon have their own sort of reboot of the X-wing line and have Freed write this alongside, potentially with some crossover...)
     
  2. EmperorHorus

    EmperorHorus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2016
    I really like his unique take on some characters. Like in Twilight Company the main soldier was largely ignorant of the galaxy at large, technology etc. but was just a real pro at soldiering. It was a refreshing change in a universe where it seems at times that every character is a technological genius and pro pilot.
     
  3. Jedi Master Scorpio

    Jedi Master Scorpio Star Wars Television star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Here is a question That I have:

    I can't recall what chapter exactly, but I recall Grandmother mentioning that when she first encountered the Messenger, it took blood from her? I found that rather odd and has me curious as to why that would need to be done? Anyone else catch that in the book?
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2019
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  4. TheAvengerButton

    TheAvengerButton Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 11, 2011
    Blood was also taken from the message's intended recipient in Shattered Empire if I'm not mistaken, and it's purpose was for verifying the recipient's identity.

    Sent from my XT1635-01 using Tapatalk
     
  5. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 I Am Speaking in Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    I started this earlier today and so far it looks like it’s going to have some great insight into both the building of the New Republic and the deflection of former Imperials.
     
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  6. EmperorHorus

    EmperorHorus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2016
    Actually TIE fighters don't have deflector shields
     
  7. beetzello

    beetzello Jedi Grand Master star 2

    Registered:
    May 17, 2002
    I skipped all previous posts so I could post this - I need some encouragement to keep reading this book. I am halfway through, and so far, there are only two things that are keeping me going (Hera’s involvement, and the possibility of learning more about Operation: Cinder), but then I saw Freed interviewed on the Star Wars Show and learned this is going to be a trilogy, which doesn’t excite me at all. Does anything interesting happen in the latter half of the book? I’m getting bored. Do we get more Hera? More insight into Operation: Cinder? I’m struggling to think this could be a trilogy.
     
  8. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 I Am Speaking in Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    I’m at about the same point and I’m having issues as well. Quell is somewhat interesting as a character and I always love seeing Hera, and I do want to find out more about Operation Cinder. But I do need the book to pick up speed.

    And obviously I meant “defection” earlier, LOL.
     
  9. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Without going into details, the book has a fairly exciting third act.
     
  10. Delta-7

    Delta-7 Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 24, 2002
    I'm surprised more people arnt talking about this book. It's easily my favorite one since Lost Stars.
     
  11. anakinfansince1983

    anakinfansince1983 I Am Speaking in Four Realms star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Mar 4, 2011
    I finished it last night. Good book overall.

    The positives:

    War is hell. No one is pretending otherwise.

    Quell has to earn trust. “Oh, you defected from the 204th after Endor, but you’re saying you planned to join the Rebel Alliance all along? Uh-huh.” There is no automatic love and acceptance after, “Hey, I flipped sides!”

    I liked the way Quell compared the efficiency of the Empire’s fighting style with the more chaotic Alliance style, and saw the advantages of both—the Empire got **** done but the Alliance actually humanized its pilots. I could tell she wanted a intersection of both, which would have been my reaction.

    Chass ‘ admiration of Jyn Erso. Made me like her immediately.

    Wasn’t a new species introduced with Adan?

    The negatives:

    Slow start.

    I would have liked more about Hera, when she became a General, where Jacen is now.


    7/10
     
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  12. Daneira

    Daneira Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2016
    Adan is a Balosar, like the guy that tried selling Obi-Wan death sticks in AOTC.
     
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  13. Commander_Andersen

    Commander_Andersen Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Apr 10, 2004
    She's appointed as a General just before the attack on Lothal in Rebels Season 4.
     
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  14. SWpants

    SWpants Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Does anyone know if the audiobook is any good?
     
  15. Jedi Master Scorpio

    Jedi Master Scorpio Star Wars Television star 4 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Never listened to the Audio book. But I enjoyed reading my hard copy that I got.
     
  16. Old Rex

    Old Rex Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Apr 28, 2015
    While I think the characters, specifically the members of Alphabet Squadron and those connected to them, are some of the best in canon, the plot was fairly weak. I'm looking forward to the sequels, though, as I think the plots could be much more engaging now that the legwork of setting up the characters is done.
     
  17. Wrinty

    Wrinty Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 8, 2007
    I liked it.
     
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  18. darthcaedus1138

    darthcaedus1138 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 13, 2007
    Loved this one, oddly it took me a long time to read because I hadn't been in a particularly readerly mood but whenever I dug into it I always enjoyed myself.

    Freed digs into the really chewy aspects of this franchise, the kind of big ideas that inform how people see the world and make them into interesting characters. The book starting on Traitor's Remorse, and having Quell dealing with her own sins is just a great anchoring point for this much more serious story, and her doubts in herself and the Rebellion/NR linger throughout. I loved his take on similar military sci-fi in Star Wars in Twilight Company, and the weightier concepts present in Tyrant's Test as well...he just gets at the spirit of what makes this franchise so appealing. I liked the rest of the squadron, they're all pretty fundamentally broken people but when they come together to accomplish something it's a sight to behold. I'm glad this is a trilogy because this very much feels like an opening act of a deeper more complex story and I wait with bated breath for more installments. Top tier use of the Messenger droids too, Freed is just brilliant at getting at the heart of these concepts.

    9/10
     
  19. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Like you, I was lacking readerly mood and took my time but the book is absolutely worth it and great. It had a slow beginning but constantly delivered good stuff and once hooked never lets you off. I loved how he not only presented a book about pilots and the war but spiced it up here and there with all kinds of lore. A Jedi temple here, space phenomenons there, ancient myths here, etc. and enriched it and also added to the characters well there. The use of Hera instead of Wedge or Ackbar as senior leaders at first I thought they forced her in but I was wrong there. She fit nicely into the motherly role of a leader and remembered me a lot of Rebels. She knows how to put together a crew and really felt like she had grown since her Rebels role too. NR Intel is as usual important but has its own agenda, remniscient of any intelligence agency ever.

    I wonder what the next books in the trilogy will be about. One can guess a little bit from the setups and yet unresolved storylines woven in, but overall he kept the larger narrative mysterious for a reason I guess. Maybe tying into other upcoming material too.

    9/10
     
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  20. Xander Vos

    Xander Vos Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2013
    My issues with Freed from Twilight Squadron seem to be extending to this book. I've struggled for a way to verbalise my issues with him and I think it settles as..

    He spends A LOT of time in character heads. Which in and of itself is not an issue, but when coupled with the fact that the majority of his characters think in the same way (very ponderous, verbose, grim outlooks on the world), it makes it very hard to differentiate and identify individual characteristics. When this is then coupled with vague descriptions of action scenes (a good example from the opening chapters is a bomb going off and it is treated in a very mild way, as if it's just part of the flow of the scene) at times, makes it very hard to realise what's going on, before all of a sudden you've lost complete grasp on the scene.

    Of course feedback to this may be that I need to pay more attention to what I'm reading, and perhaps that's true, but I think there is a bit of an onus on the author to give each character individuality so that this doesn't happen. I think another issue with him is the general lack of identifiable locales or characters - every planet is something I haven't heard of previously (this may change as the book progresses?), the majority of species are new - which doesn't help with the difficulty of following the plot.

    If we had, say, an establishing scene on Corellia, or Kashyyyk, or Naboo, or Hosnian Prime, I genuinely think that helps, because suddenly the locale is easier to visualise. Having a bit more dialogue, and less ponderous internal monologue would help push the scene forward. I think this is why I enjoyed his Rogue One book because we could already instantly visualise what was going on, which helped come to grips with his writing style far easier.

    I don't mean this to be a bash of Freed, as I think his writing style is actually great, in terms of his prose and use of language, it's just that sometimes less is more, and breaking up his scenes a bit more with dialogue, humour, or distinct characters/locations, would help make the plot easier to follow.

    I dunno, am I alone on this?
     
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  21. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 24, 2013

    I agree there, this is what took me long to get through the first part of the book, the rest flowed fast and easy then.
     
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  22. Xander Vos

    Xander Vos Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2013
    I do get that sense, that it's the setting the scene that is going to take me the longest to get through.
     
  23. ColeFardreamer

    ColeFardreamer Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Also, the character names are not as good as Legends ones I think. Character naming is a form of art not all are good at. Legends had some names inspired by real world mythology, or variations of real world names that sounded fictional and new and yet were rooted in old familiarity and meaning. Those usually were the best and most memorizeable. Some authors naming conventions are random or gibberish and do not work as well as those other names. Which is why I have a hard time getting used to some characters if the name does not fit their personality or if the name is just not iconic enough.

    Freed's names are not bad, not at all, but they are not top level either. I like some names he has for the characters even but it needed getting used to them and they were no instant hits.
     
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  24. Xander Vos

    Xander Vos Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 3, 2013
    That's 100% part of the issue.
     
  25. LAJ_FETT

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Yeah, I found the scene-setting a bit of a slog. Once the group are together things pick up.
     
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