Retro Reviews: ‘Twilight Company’ by Alexander Freed

August 11, 2020 at 5:42 am | Posted in Books, Reviews, Star Wars, Star Wars Books | Leave a comment
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Battlefront: Twilight Company is an adult novel written by Alexander Freed. It was released in November of 2015.

Depending on who you ask, this can either be considered a fantastic story, or a rough and terrible story. I happen to think it’s somewhere in the middle. I personally love the plot of the book, and Alexander Freed does a good job writing his main character, Namir. However, for being an ensemble book, it does have difficulty fleshing out the other major characters.

That being said, Gadren is one of my favorite characters in the book, despite his few pages of “screentime”. He takes the place of the tough, big guy who’s really a softy at heart. I think that there are ample opportunities to use him more, whether it be comics, novels, or short stories.

My personal favorite character of the book was Everi Chalis. Going into my reread, I knew I had read her name before (other than this book) and was delighted when I found out she was a character in John Jackson Miller’s short story “Bottleneck”. I thought Freed did an excellent job with her and I was excited to read about her every time she was on the page. I really hope that someone utilizes her in another book, because she is interesting, funny, and surprisingly compelling as a character.

Brand and Roach were decent characters, but they mostly took a back seat during the book. I really think that Freed did a much better job balancing all of his main characters in Alphabet Squadron, and even a little better in Shadow Fall. I think that Freed’s inexperience as an author is shown here since this was his first book that he wrote. If he improves in future books like he did here, then Freed will definitely be an amazing author one day.

The plot of this book is what is most fascinating to me. I loved first capturing Chalis, then taking her to Hoth, and then coming up with a strategy for what to do next. In fact, the plot of this book really could have been split up into three books and it still would have been great. Freed could have taken the time to flesh out the characters more and develop the story more. Nonetheless, its still really action packed and it doesn’t have too many slow moments.

The villain of this book was unfortunately a little too much “paint by numbers”. In fact, when reading the villain’s scenes, it felt a little too much like Shadow Fall’s villain. I think that this is one specific area that Freed really does need to work on more than others. That being said, the secondary antagonist, Prelate Verge was excellent. Had he been the main antagonist, I think the imperial side of the story would have been much more interesting. Verge’s fascination with Palpatine and his almost cult-like worship of Palpatine was really funny and thought provoking. It actually reminded me a little of Kylo Ren’s hero-worship of Darth Vader, although Kylo had more time to develop than Verge. I think that characters like Prelate Verge should be more forefront in classic era and sequel era stories of Star Wars.

I really liked all the references to Count Vidian (as he’s my favorite canon villain) and thought that Freed tried to use as much previously written material as possible. I also liked the sly reference to Tseebo from Star Wars Rebels. You can tell that Freed is not just a fan of the films, but an overall Star Wars fan because he utilized references and characters and events that had already been written. I hope that after his Alphabet Squadron trilogy is done, he can write a book that ties together a lot of the canon characters. He would be a good author to take on that kind of responsibility.

The one thing that I haven’t talked about thus far is the connection to the 2015 video game Battlefront. That’s mainly because….there aren’t really any connections. On a technical level, several of the weapons from the video game are used by the main characters, and some of the planets from the game, such as Hoth and Sullust, make an appearance in the book. Unfortunately that is it. That’s due to the fact that Star Wars Battlefront (2015) had no characters, no story, and no “meat” to it. Freed wrote a good novel in Star Wars, but it’s not a good game tie-in, but that’s really not his fault. I understand why they branded this as a connection to the game (for marketing purposes), but I just don’t think it was necessary and I can actually completely support it as a book with no connection to the game and simply think of it as “Twilight Company”.

Small problem that I have, but the cover depicts certain characters present at the battle of Hoth. For marketing the book, it makes sense. However, some of these characters never set foot on Hoth in the book, much less take part in the battle of Hoth. However, that’s a small issue and doesn’t reflect much on the story and characters of the book itself.

Overall, this is a good Star Wars book. I hesitate to call it a great book, because I felt like it needed more in certain areas. However, I still enjoyed it and can totally tell why certain people love it. It’s not Freed’s best work, but it’s certainly not his worst (looking at you Shadow Fall). So I’ll give Battlefront: Twilight Company 3.5 out of 5. Good job Freed!

Next up is The Force Awakens novelization. I really didn’t like it my first go around, so lets hope that I enjoy it more this time.

Written by Jonathan Koan

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