main
side
curve
  1. Welcome to the new boards! Details here!

Books Alphabet Squadron: Victory's Price (book 3) by Alexander Freed (March 2021)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Ancient Whills, Aug 14, 2020.

  1. KirKanosForever

    KirKanosForever Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Hmm. I liked this one the most out of the three books in the trilogy, but that is damning with faint praise. I thought Tensent, Chass, Soran, and the Messenger were all more or less effectively told stories (even if I didn't like Tensent's progression, it was fair to the story). Kairos got a (comparatively) large amount of screen time compared to the previous two volumes and I really enjoyed her arc, although I think having her shrouded in mystery for so long cut against some of the growth. Hera had a lot of screen time to little effect - I didn't need this to be a Rebels sequel but she could have occasionally thought of one of her old compatriots or referenced a previous experience to help her out of a jam*. Wyl and Yrica's stories, though . . . they just didn't work for me. They were very close - when more people have read this I can expand on that - but both stories just missed for me in profound ways.

    I hope Tensent and his crew show up in The Mandalorian. That could be fun.


    *I would imagine Sabine and Ezra are spoken for by the TV shows, but Chopper and Zeb could have been mentioned in some way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  2. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    I thought it was a fantastic book and the best of the trilogy for sure.

    The canon Imperials are nothing like the EU Imperials.... not a shred of honor or decency among them. But that's not a bad thing, especially in a post-Cinder Empire.
     
  3. KirKanosForever

    KirKanosForever Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2008
    I think this is right, and helps frame for me why I didn't like Wyl or Yrica's story arcs. Wyl kept trying, against all possible evidence, to see the good in the Imperials and just kept screwing stuff up because of it. It wasn't endearing or even interesting. I thought when he went one-on-one against Soran as part of a distraction that he'd finally figured it out, then he goes and gives up!

    As to Yrica, I think her personal journey was decent enough - her decision about allowing Soran to destroy the database or not had real moral consequences and weight behind it - but then she gets off scott free at the end? She wasn't just complicit at Nacronis and I just don't understand how we're supposed to believe Mothma basically swept it under the rug - I didn't want her put to death or anything, but time served seemed like a pretty light slap on the wrist. I don't think there'd be that many Imperials left alive who couldn't point to her and say, "Well, maybe a year in prison? Maybe less?"

    One thing I will say to Freed's credit (the book is not bad by any means, just not top tier Star Wars for me) - he did an admirable job of putting the conclusion at the Battle of Jakku w/o trying to re-frame or re-contextualize the battle so his characters were super important to the victory (as much as I like Stackpole generally, I, Jedi's Exar Kun scenes are some of the worst of this). What Hera's battle group did was important, and they fought bravely, but it wasn't an overreach, either.
     
    Sarge, AusStig and Sinrebirth like this.
  4. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 8

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 1999
    Copy has arrived, it's a substantial book.

    Really like the bold and colourful cover designs of these too, they look great.
     
    Sinrebirth likes this.
  5. Soontir-Fel

    Soontir-Fel Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Yeah I really enjoyed
    How humanizing Wyl's attempts were to reach out the the imps, and how ultimately it was futile. Considering the world around us today, there is a valuable lesson in knowing that fascists are human, but also that a decent amount choose this, and aren't going to be swayed by words alone
     
    Sarge, Vialco, ZV-83 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Noash_Retrac

    Noash_Retrac Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Gives me hope for Ciena Ree :)
     
  7. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Received today!

    This was a sincere delight.

    Absolutely loved it.

    I didn’t expect to see Coruscant in the finale but I am happy we both saw it and we didn’t abandon the Jakku focus. I thought we had lost Wyl and Kairos and Chass at various points so that was dramatic. Very happy about the LGBT additions.

    Lots and lots of Hera, and the Ghost! So very happy.
     
  8. GrandAdmiralJello

    GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin ❉ Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque star 10 Staff Member Administrator

    Registered:
    Nov 28, 2000
    Were Yrica Quell a real person, I would be upset about the decision. However, in a franchise that regularly redeems villains without a second thought, I was actually pleased that there were consequences, it was a hard decision that warranted an extended conversation at the end of the book, and that Quell had to put in acts of service to redeem herself. It's a lot more than we see from SW most of the time, and I don't blame the story for not ending on a downer for the main protagonist.

    It's an interesting contrast with Wyl's view on Vader, right? The quintessential SW redemption -- but Wyl was not okay with it. He did not get it and did not understand why Vader deserved a cremation. I am glad the book had that scene and were Vader a real person, I would also be opposed to his redemption (I'm not all that convinced about the redemption as a character either, but it's in the DNA of SW at this point). Quell's redemption is a mirror on that: Wyl knows Quell, but I wonder what a stranger looking at this thinks about the person who committed the Nacronis genocide being let off?
     
    Daneira, Jedi Ben, ZV-83 and 2 others like this.
  9. KirKanosForever

    KirKanosForever Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Yes, the Wyl/Vader scene was so interesting to me. Wyl clearly sees Vader as a horrible person (fair), and doesn't really interrogate why Luke might have mourned him, but is happy to attempt to redeem the people who had been actively killing planets (plural) (even if none of them were incredibly well populated) (other than Nacronis). There's some sort of dissonance in Wyl that bothers me. It's fair to say that there are plenty of people like him - people that change their views not because of some principle but because it touches their life (e.g. anyone who was anti-gay and then found out they had a gay child and then decided to love their child for who they are) - but I find it a bit grating in the real world, too.

    As a stray thought, I don't know if I'd have viewed Wyl abandoning the squadrons differently if I didn't know the entire time that Jakku was pretty much it - it was too on the nose that he wanted the war to end and then bailed exactly one battle early. It was also too on the nose that he stumbled onto Blink because he was not in a fighter. Eh. I'll live.

    As to Yrica, Star Wars redemption is baked in, but are there examples where a monstrous person was redeemed and then lived? Ulic in Legends is the only one I can think of. Anakin and Ben were both redeemed, sure, but really only within the context of the Force. It's not like Darth Vader had a dope statue on Endor for people to remember his heroism of (checks notes) waiting until his son had been electrocuted for over a minute before stopping the electrocutionist. I think Freed made it clear Mothma thought about it, but I just feel like something else - a longer debrief and her helping them sort through Jakku prisoners or something where she could be useful to the newly at-peace Republic would have been more fitting.

    As a side note: what is the canonical worst thing Wyl might hold Vader responsible for? He wasn't really part of the DSI project for the most part, for example, but as the only survivor does the death of Alderaan hang on his head?
     
    Jedi Ben and Barriss_Coffee like this.
  10. SyndicThrass

    SyndicThrass Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 25, 2016
    Read it. Liked it, didn’t love it. But the Hera stuff was top quality and I hope Freed gets to do more with her in future.

    Also Kairos is utterly amazing.
     
  11. Bly

    Bly Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Some thoughts.

    1) The whole revelation of the Messengers' purpose and the databank was wild, but 100% timely. I was very interested as to what Freed would do with that, and he did not disappoint.

    2) The question of how to deal with ex-Imps. I think disenfranchisement by default unless you get your service record expunged was a very interesting solution. I'm glad the NR didn't just straight up waste Yrica Quell as an example.

    3) Quell actually showed some backbone this time around! Still a very compelling character, and I didn't find her nearly as skin-crawl inducing as last time.

    4) Wyl Lark is frustrating. The whole good-idealism-blah-blah-blah thing while tone deaf as all hell on his part I could accept until he bailed on his command just before Jakku. Not a fan of him doing that, and I really hope that that follows him in some way because it is majorly messed up.

    5) The enemies-to-romance fanfic writer in me was was hoping we would get to see more with Blink and Wyl, but what we got was very, very good and dead on. What Wyl thought he knew "Blink" as was a long way from the reality of Palal Seedia. Freed is also such an excellent writer lacing certain adjectives throughout his text to tie together the character of her ground crew persona to the KIA pilot Shadow Wing remembered her as.

    6) The NR and Imperial pilots talking on an open freq while dogfighting over Jakku got me straight emotional. Same for the chats over Cedawyn I think the planet was? I'm a sucker for across-the-lines connections like that, even if the Imperials of nuCanon are, as Jello said, a far cry from the sometimes-honorably Remnant of Legends.[/spoilers]
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  12. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016
    ;)
    [/QUOTE]
    Must...Resist....Obvious ...reference to.....animated show i like.

     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2021
  13. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Must...Resist....Obvious ...reference to.....animated show i like.

    [/QUOTE]

    I don't think anyone is that.... catty
     
  14. Chris0013

    Chris0013 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 21, 2014
    Just started and only a few chapters in...but why is everyone whining about...
    about being on a captured ISD?!?!?! That is a trade up form an Acclamator.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    Jedi Ben and Sinrebirth like this.
  15. Darth_Erebus

    Darth_Erebus Jedi Knight

    Registered:
    Aug 19, 2013
    Enjoyed it more the the previous two book I must admit.

    This must the 4th time we've experienced the battle of Jakku lol
    I'm curious to see what happens to Kairos I must admit
     
  16. EmperorHorus

    EmperorHorus Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2016
    This was great. I feel like SW novels are starting to get back on track with the latest Thrawn and Light of the Jedi was pretty good too.

    Felt a bit too much like a soap-opera at times for me, and low on the fighting tactics/combat stuff, which I wouldn't have expected coming from the author of Twilight Company. But in the end it really made the characters pop and enhanced my interest in where they all would end up. Very happy with this and hope Alexander Freed continues with a SW book a year for the forseeable future.
     
    Jedi Ben and Sinrebirth like this.
  17. Ancient Whills

    Ancient Whills Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 12, 2011
    https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/star-...phabet-squadron-book-alexander-free-interview
    Was this always intended to be a trilogy?

    Yes. One of the first things that I asked my editor was how much of a trilogy do we want this thing to be? Are we actually doing a continuing storyline here? Or do you want three standalone novels that are building on one another? I'm terribly grateful that her reaction was, “We don't do a lot of preplanned trilogies, so go for it. Make this as much of a continuing story as feels right to you." That was hugely exciting.

    Were there things that you'd always planned to be in the third book that changed for you while writing?

    I would say no. Everything that I thought was concrete going into the third book remained as it had been planned. There were some important elements that I had a notion of where they might go, but hadn't firmly committed to, and some of those did shift. But the spine of the story was pretty much what had been planned, and that's partly just my approach to writing. I find it very difficult to write a story, unless I have a very clear roadmap of where it's going all the way through. I think of it as everything I'm putting in there should be building towards something specific at the end. And I think by the end of book two, I had mentally locked myself into a certain set of things happening in book three, and I couldn't have pulled myself out of that if I wanted to.

    Was there a point where you wished that you could go back to the previous books and set something up differently, or seeded something that you needed here?

    If I needed a plot point or a subplot in book three, and I didn't feel like I had anything obvious to build that from, I could then go back to everything that I put in the first two books and look for something that had been a throwaway moment in book one, or intended as just a bit of world-building in book two, and go, "Oh, I'm going to use that as the seed for this subplot in book three, it's going to feel like a more natural progression than starting from scratch."

    So there were some surprises for you, but there were all based in what you already had and could play with.

    Absolutely, and I had a sense of what that toy box looked like. I knew that I needed to get my characters from point A to point B, but I didn't know everything that was going to be in between those points. And figuring out what that looked like and what elements I could pull in from earlier books, that was sort of the creative joy of book three.

    This trilogy has many references to other Star Wars canon, such as Vanguard Squadron [from the video game Star Wars: Squadrons]. Where did those references originate from? Do you decide to put them in, or do they come from the Story Group?

    It's really a mix. Some of it comes from Story Group. When they see the outline, or even when they've seen the final manuscript, someone in Story Group may see a moment and go, "Oh, this is a perfect point to reference this thing happening, and this other thing that we've got going on. If it feels like you can get this in there, if it's not going to damage anything else, we'd love to see something here." And they're very good about not being pushy about it, but sort of calling out opportunities for interconnectivity.

    In some cases I might throw in a reference and then, Story Group or someone from one of the other projects would call it out, and say like, "Hey, I'm glad you're trying, but this actually doesn't make any sense with the context of what we're doing, so let's cut that one." But more often it would be, "Oh, great." Or, "Hey, it'd be even better if we nudged that just a little bit to make it perfectly interconnect.”

    How did you manage to transition the action of Star Wars dogfights to the printed page?

    To my mind, that was my biggest known challenge going into it. Dogfighting in a Star Wars film is very fast. It's visceral. It's exciting, lots of intercutting, lots of jumping from one cockpit to outside the cockpit to another cockpit, and none of these things are things that books do particularly well. Prose does not handle that kind of action. So I had to figure out an approach that was going to work on the page. A lot of that was looking at what I could do in prose that couldn't be done on the screen.

    What does it physically feel like to be inside a cockpit? What are the gravitational stresses on someone as they're maneuvering? When you see one of those panels explode in sparks, how hot does that get? How uncomfortable does that get? What is it like working in the harness and trying to see behind you and communicating with your droid and doing all of that simultaneously? And that gave me a window into all of it, the experiential window, and the emotional window of what does it feel like to be doing this? What are the stakes? And that felt like they could substitute for what I would lose by not being this real-time cinematic experience.

    You also give the pilots a therapist, in the form of a re-programmed Doctor Ball [IT-O Interrogator droid].

    Our lead Quell, she's deceiving herself about a lot, and having a character in there who is going to help peel back those layers and reveal these characters to themselves, felt like it would be really important. I went through the mental catalog of, okay, so what does this therapist character actually look like? And really, the funniest answer seemed to be a torture droid. The funniest and also appropriate to a certain extent, right? A torture droid, surely, has to know something about human psychology to do his job really well. So it was a mix of black humor and, "Oh, no, this actually makes some sense and I can get an interesting character out of this.” One of the first things that I decided about that character too, was okay, this is ridiculous. I have to play it straight. He could not be a silly character.

    Can you speak to the experience of weaving in known characters like Hera Syndulla and Admiral Ackbar?

    The novels could not have had the characters that they did without a Hera-type character as a counterpoint. To put it sort of tritely, she is very Star Wars-y, and not just because she is a legacy character, not just because she has such a large role in Rebels, but because her personality, her drive really deeply tied back to the core themes of Star Wars. I got to write a version of her that was slightly different than the one that we know, and got to evolve that character, which is always delicate. Ackbar's role in Book Three is a pretty small one. The trick about Ackbar, though, is so much of Ackbar is the voice, so much of it is just the delivery of those lines, not even the lines themselves. You could take those lines and give them to someone else, and you wouldn't necessarily recognize them as Ackbar on a character level.

    Figuring out how to capture that in text was a little bit of a challenge. And to a certain degree, I'd just, I had to hope that readers would be doing the Ackbar voice in their own heads.
     
    Barriss_Coffee likes this.
  18. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Here are some more of my thoughts.

    A 1 sentence review
    "Lost Stars did it better".

    More detailed review

    This book is fine, but like every other Alex Freed book I found it a slog. Also by the end of the last battle I only liked Quell and Hera.

    These characters as just so unlikeable and selfish. Chas is the worst, I honestly wanted her to just die during the battle, when she goes on and on about sacraficing herself, my response was "Just do it all ready", either kill her or don't but stop wasting my time. The book clearly expects me to care about this unlikeable character but I don't.

    I also don't like Wyl, just leaving his people right before a major battle. I get not wanting to fight anymore, but he had responsibility to those people and he just left them hanging. Oh it's because "the empire's not hurting anyone", you mean right now right this second? These are the same people who were just doing operation Cinder 2. His efforts to talk things out weren't working. He didn't have any sign of success until after the battle, which to me seems more like some Imperials being fair weather. I do like that he stayed and helped people, but I really DON'T like that he caught that saboteur. It seemed unnecessary and also seemed like an effort to justify his choice to abandon his wing.

    Nath I liked a lot, up until he decides to sit out the battle and abandon the squadron. You might think you have done enough, but the battle isn't over.

    Kairos, was ok. Didn't really care one way or the other.

    I liked Hera, it was good to see her, and how she commanded it was nice. I thought she was great, in character and really good to see the Ghost agin as well.

    I was unsure about Quell at first, but then I learned her plan and I liked her. I am happy she didn't destroy the data. Only Justice will bring peace. While I don't think it would be practical to arrest EVERYONE involved in the Empire (though you could end up in a situation like the post Sadam Iraq, which would be interesting and contemporary), the data can be used to put the worst on warcrimes trials. Which is something that needs to happen, open and in public.

    The imp ace, is an good enemy, smart and almost understandable.

    But the themes of loyalty and how the Empire corrupts people who serve it were all done and done better in Lost Stars.

    So unless you like unlikeable people being unlikeable, I say just read Lost Stars instead.
     
    Charmbracelet and Sarge like this.
  19. Soontir-Fel

    Soontir-Fel Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2001
    I think that was kinda the point. These aren't aces, this isn't the Rogues or Wraiths, these are broken people trying to do their best in the last days of war. And failing a lot. The rebellion is made up of heroes, but not everyone is cut our to be a hero. Most people aren't.
     
    comradepitrovsky and Jedi Ben like this.
  20. Chris0013

    Chris0013 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 21, 2014
    You really hit the nail on the head with
    Wyl...he could have written that better...maybe that Wyl as messed up from his dogfight with Keize and not cleared for flight status. Maybe hobbling around on a cane. Instead of just bowing out when he is needed the most by his people.
     
    AusStig likes this.
  21. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2010
    As I said before "Lost Stars did it better".

    Most people also aren't selfish @$$ who abandon people. Most of these characters are too unlikeable for me to care about.
    it was weird and annoying to me how
    they tired to justify it, with Soren saying "he wasn't cut out to lead", when I think Wyl was doing good work, he was a decent leader, not exceptional, but not bad.

    The part of his story I liked the most, was him being home and feeling the change, though it may just have reminded me of the end of the Lord of the Rings (movie more than book, though the book has it too). But it didn't need him to leave his people in the lurch.
     
    Sarge likes this.
  22. LAJ_FETT

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

    Registered:
    May 25, 2002
    Just put the Amazon UK order in for this and the Mando Junior novel. (better than no Mando novel at all) and a bunch of other books. Should come later this week.
     
    Sinrebirth likes this.
  23. Soontir-Fel

    Soontir-Fel Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 18, 2001
    have you met most people.
    They absolutely are.
     
  24. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Lol...Got that right...if anything these are probably some of the most realistic people in Star Wars
     
  25. AusStig

    AusStig Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2010
    if that is your honest view, then I feel sorry for you.

    I do not and will not, ever believe that most or even a plurality of people are as selfish and self centred as these people are. They are abandoning people they KNOW, these aren't strangers but members of their group. These are the people we as pack animals are built to work with and look after.

    If this is 'realism' then I want no part of it.

    I have better things to do than read about selfish people being uninteresting and selfish.
     
    Sarge and JediBatman like this.