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Reviews Books The JC Reviews Special: ALPHABET SQUADRON: VICTORY'S PRICE (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by The2ndQuest , Mar 26, 2021.

  1. The2ndQuest

    The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth star 10 Staff Member Manager

    Jan 27, 2000
    Alphabet Squadron: Victory's Price by Alexander Freed

    Provide a rating score on a scale of 1 to 10. You may include a review with your post, but leave in-depth discussion for the main Alphabet Squadron: Victory's Price discussion thread.

    Please do not post a review score unless you have read the entire book.
  2. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 9

    Jul 19, 1999
    Huh? Surely some mistake? OK, fine, I'll be first.

    9.5 out of 10

    One point that was strange about this book was how its story played out relative to what is on the dust jacket, which suggests a fully restored Shadow Wing and Empire, but the actual story is never really that. Instead it plays out rather differently and it is far, far more interesting too.

    More than any other, far more than the Aftermath trilogy, this series gives answer to the harder questions that surround the post-Endor aftermath- Why forgive the Empire? Why have Operation Cinder at all? Why not attack Coruscant? And it doesn't give easy, reassuring answers either. It delves headlong into all the moral complexity that SW' structure of a civil war enables yet rarely explores. Possibly because those depths are rarely pleasant, but that's why they should be explored too.

    If you want a rarely seen side of SW, one that does take a more adult approach to the moral matters in it, this trilogy is very hard to beat and this is an excellent finale.
    VexedAtVohai likes this.
  3. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Loving Tyrant of SWTV, Lit, & Collecting star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    As war rages on the stakes often grow ever higher and higher, which often leads to a higher price paid for one side to attain victory over the other. Commanders and soldiers alike will often be pushed to the absolute limit in their pursuit of that victory, and will likely lose a part of themselves even after an ultimate win. The pilots of Alphabet Squadron have been through hell and back in their campaign to hunt down and destroy Shadow Wing, and with the Galactic Civil War about to come to an explosive finish, each of them is put to the test, and not all of them emerge unscathed.

    The last book was analogous to The Empire Strikes Back with most of the squadron broken up for most of the book, so it was nice to have them all together again here as the war winds down. And even though Yrica has rejoined Shadow Wing, she’s been on the other side long enough to know that this band of Imperials has to be taken out, so in spirit her goals are aligned with her Republic compatriots’. Indeed it doesn’t take long for them to warm back up to her once they’re reunited; there’s a lot of gritty depressing reality in this trilogy, which is a strength of Freed’s but it can also make reading these stories a rollercoaster of emotions, so every member of Alphabet Squadron not only surviving the war but all basically given happy endings was a nice treat, even though some of them are permanently scarred from their final battles. I also liked that they played a small but vital role at the Battle of Jakku; Freed definitely tools cues from Aftermath with his depiction of the wild desperation on both sides, which made this unseen aspect of the battle all the more tense. Even Hera’s role saw her face great danger in the final round against Shadow Wing, pushing her to the limit just as much as her troops. And even though the day is won and Yrica redeems herself in the eyes of her squad mates, it is a costly victory that irrevocably changes the dynamics between them all.

    While the character arcs were the strongest element of the book, I did enjoy the two major offensives between the Alphabets and Shadow Wing, as well as Yrica’s solo mission against Keize. I feel Freed almost wanted a whole book for the Chadawa campaign, but I think he did good enough introducing it then wrapping it up in time for the focus to shift to Jakku. He did manage to make it relevant with the inclusion of Shadow Wing using the Chadawan radioactive clouds at Jakku, which helped make the Jakku portion of the story stand out more from some previous depictions of the battle. And then Wyl’s decision to abstain from the fighting led to an interesting dynamic aboard Hera’s ship, as his presence ultimately paves the way for the final defeat of Shadow Wing. That left Yrica and Keize’s more personal struggle to round out the back half of the book, which was a strong conclusion for both their character arcs, as well as Kairos’, who finally got to shine in this book.

    As the capper for this trilogy Victory’s Price does an excellent job of building on what came before and guiding us to logical destinations for the eclectic pilots of Alphabet Squadron. Freed has a knack for telling the stories of the little guys caught in these expansive galactic conflicts, so it’s no surprise he managed to deliver an entire trilogy about some messed up normies fighting little fights in such an epic war and still make it highly entertaining and enthralling.

    I give this a 9.25 out of 10 for a very satisfying conclusion to this starfighter trilogy about quirky pilots and their quirky battles.
    VexedAtVohai likes this.
  4. Vialco

    Vialco Force Ghost star 5

    Mar 6, 2007

    Aside from a few mildly interesting passages, this book was an drudge to get through. It’s very much a side action to the Battle of Jakku. The best part was the return to Coruscant but even that was just a tight-knit story that bit felt lacking. Overall, this is one of the few Star Wars books I regret buying. And I’ve bought the Crystal Star.

    It just felt like this was a military story that just happened to be set in the Star Wars universe. Freed had a chance to do some real world-building here and really missed the mark.
    Sarge likes this.
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Chosen One star 10

    Oct 4, 1998

    The only character I didn't actively dislike in the first two books was Wyl. He was the only reason I took a chance on the 3rd book. And what does he do? SPOILER He turns his back on his friends, and the people he's responsible for, and leaves them to fight and die without him, just because he doesn't want to get his hands dirty. Not cool, Wyl.

    Also, the final battle when everyone is naming the people they've lost, that's just dumb. It was a dogfight, and it is critically important to maintain clear and succinct channels of communication so that allies can cooperate and protect each other. IRL, there are no needless transmissions, because every time somebody is transmitting, they're preventing everyone else from speaking. How many pilots died because the wingman trying to say, "Gold Six, break left" got interrupted by somebody trying to tell everyone the name of his brother-in-law's best friend's roommate twice removed? They desperately needed Red Leader to tell them to cut the chatter. IRL, the old joke is that a fighter pilot wingman (#2) should only ever say three things: "Two," "Lead, you're on fire," and "I'm buying.".Srsly, that took me out of it so bad I would have thrown the book across the room, except I was reading it online.

    I might have rated the book as high as 7, but those two story points knocked it way, way down for me.
    Vialco likes this.
  6. AvarandElzarsittininatree

    AvarandElzarsittininatree Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 13, 2021
    I give it a 4 out of 10 Just because it was the third book of the series and I was curious how these characters stories would end.

    I honestly just have a difficult time getting into Alexander Freed's writing. It has been the same experience with every Star Wars book he has done. He definitely has a storytelling style that is distinct from most Star Wars authors.