Shadow Fall

Shadow Fall is the second novel in the Alphabet Trilogy by Alexander Freed. It follows the exploits of a rag tag squad of New Republic starfighter pilots as they try to take down the elite Imperial unit known as Shadow Wing. Most of the action takes place in the Cerberon system on a rundown cityscape planet called Troithe. There’s lots of character focus, some great action, twists and turns, and overall, it’s a perfect follow-up to the first book.

Throughout the book, the story does a balancing act of following the pilots of Alphabet Squadron and also following Shadow Wing’s Major Keize (who went by Devon in the first book). By showing both sides, it creates an interesting conflict of interests. On one hand, you’re rooting for Alphabet Squadron. On the other, you can completely see where Keize is coming from and you can sympathize with him. At times, I found myself wanting Keize to succeed and was torn when the two sides were in direct competition. The very fact that Freed is able to create such deep characters that can cause you to sympathize with both sides is a huge accomplishment. Keize was already developed in the first book, so the journey of his character arc in this one makes him even more compelling.

Of course Keize isn’t the only character of interest. Each of the members of Alphabet Squadron get their own character arcs which twist and turn throughout the story. Kairos, due to her not speaking much, gets the short end of the stick and still remains rather mysterious. Caern Adan, the Balosar intelligence agent, also doesn’t get as much of an arc since he’s in a leadership position with the squad. However, Wyl, Chass, Nath and Yrica get lots of attention and storytime. The events in this story push all of them to new boundaries which helps keep all of them intriguing. Plus, there’s some nice moments with Hera Syndulla sprinkled in here and there and some cameos from the soldiers of the 61st Mobile Infantry Company that showed up in Alexander Freed’s first Star Wars novel Twilight Company.

Most of the story takes place in the Cerberon system as the New Republic Forces try to take all the planets back from Imperial holdouts. There’s some fights in space and a lot of action on the ground. Meanwhile, Shadow Wing makes some attacks and searches for direction. Ultimately their path leads to Cerberon and the two forces duke it out. Freed invests a lot of time with Keize on the Imperial side, and all of the pilots in Alphabet Squadron in order built up the suspense for the conflict. The action keeps you guessing on who will win, and the development of the characters may have you wondering who you want to win.

As a follow-up to Alphabet Squadron, this book does a great job of not just keeping the readers’ interest, but increasing it. The situations the characters go through builds up the suspense, and their choices keep you on the edge of your seat wondering which way the odds will turn. The battles are chaotic and unpredictable as aces on both sides constantly change the momentum of the war. Best of all, it leads up to the final book with just the right hook to keep you wanting more. With great characters, an excellent story, and enjoyable twists, Shadow Fall earns high marks as one of the best books in the Star Wars canon. I give it a five out of five metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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