It’s no exaggeration to say that Star Wars novels have become quite the minefield of late, as for every promising concept there has been, well, Star Wars: Aftermath. Ever since murdering the Expanded Universe, Disney has had incredible difficulty finding its footing, but Twilight Company is a definite step in the right direction.
Set during the Galactic Civil War’s darkest hours, the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry Company mounts a fighting retreat across multiple worlds. However, as they fall back from one battlefield, Hazram Namir’s squad stumbles upon a surprising defector. One who could finally allow them to truly hurt the Empire…
In many respects Twilight Company can be seen as an examination of the Rebellion. While backed by a solid story, a great deal of the narrative goes into how their forces are structured, how they operate and ultimately the problems of keeping a force of idealists and former criminals trained, fed and equipped. The first five chapters alone paint an extremely varied depiction, going into some surprising detail about their recruitment methods and the problems the Rebellion faces in protecting certain species. There’s a surprising streak of realism despite the science fiction setting, and it retains tone which would better befit a Gaunt’s Ghosts novel than a Star Wars tale.
Even among Namir’s own unit the reader is given a definite sense that not everyone among the Alliance’s military is a hero, and each side is far greyer than they would like to believe. It’s seen as much in the Empire’s military as their own, with the book offering some thankfully positive depictions of Stormtroopers and the like.
This said, while offering some fantastic moments, many of the book’s elements seem extremely roughly written at times. There’s never a sense of solid connection to any battlefield or vibrant description of the setting, and its strongest moments come from the slow attrition of the war than any single furious fire-fight. In its effort to depict the war as a whole, it seems to have missed out many of the individual moments which can make a novel so memorable. The same goes for its characters unfortunately, many of who seem all too much like archetypes than individuals, representing ideas of the Rebellion more than themselves.
It’s no X-Wing series, not by a long shot, but this is nevertheless a promising start for a new saga. As a new entry into the setting, it serves as a vibrant look into the lore backed with a solid story, showing the best and worst of both sides in this war. It’s easily the best book of the Disney owned universe so far, so take that for what it’s worth.
STAR WARS: BATTLEFRONT - TWILIGHT COMPANY/ AUTHOR: ALEXANDER FREED / PUBLISHER: CENTURY BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 3RD (KINDLE), NOVEMBER 5TH (HARDCOVER)