Book Review: Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company

Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company by Alexander Freed, Star Wars

The bravest soldiers. The toughest warriors. The ultimate survivors.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

So far 2015 has been a blast with Star Wars books. Chuck Wendig's Aftermath, Kevin Hearne's Heir to the Jedi and Paul S. Kemp's Lords of the Sith just to name a few. Twilight Company is the first book by Alexander Freed, though he isn't a stranger when it comes to Star Wars as he has been involved with comic adaptations of the universe for quite a while now. Still making the transition from comics to a full length book isn't an easy one, but Alexander Freed shows that he knows what he is writing about. Star(t) to finish an amazing piece. Something completely different than either an Jedi or Sith inspired book, here you see the grunt forces, the sturdy backbone of the Rebel Alliance. Battles can be won with the strike of a lightsaber but there is much more involved in a war.

Twilight Company follows the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry unit of the Rebel Alliance. This unit goes by the name of Twilight Company. Twilight Company is led by Hazram Namir. Namir is well trained in the art and discipline of waging war. During a skirmish the Twilight Company stumbles upon something valuable, they get their hands on a valuable person. Even though with the promise of inside information the tide of battle isn't completely turned just yet. As Namir's superiors have different thoughts about the situation. Furthermore now that the Empire has lost a high person, there is only one response and that is getting it back. The story of Namir and his Twilight Company is one of lots of challenges, as they travel from different planets to fight against the Empire. Next to the adventures of Twilight Company there is an additional storyline that you follow, also with a "grunt force" not on the Rebel Alliance side though but on the Imperial side, stormtroopers to be exact. Here you follow SP-457 to be exact. To be even more exact, female stormtrooper. You see her story almost from start to finish and it is far from a rosy colored one at that. Added to the view of SP-457 also comes an Imperial story from higher up the chain. Showing that the tree is the more wind it catches. 

Though this might sound as a pretty short story, it's far from it. Because the point in which Twilight Company excels is being a story about war and showing everything that is related to that point. I read one tie-in war story before from Total War. I got the same feeling I got with that book as I got with Twilight Company. War is far from pretty. As a Star Wars fan you have seen a lot of Jedi and Sith fighting each other from the sake of the universe and granted there were mass battles in the movies as well, but they feel just well two armies clashing. The strength lies in how Alexander Freed tells this particular story of war. There are a lot of bad moments, realistic moments, that hit the Twilight Company hard. I was definitely impressed by the powerful story telling of Alexander Freed. The big battles that you follow are from the battle of Hoth all the way down to Sullust. High detailed and will definitely have you look differently upon those scenes as soon as you watch the movie again. 

When it comes down to characterization the focus is one a few main characters, the ones that lead the stories. Namir and SP-457. To start with Namir.  Namir's character is really one you want to have leading the squad in to battle, he knows his tactics. He is the veteran you just need to lead your people through a victory. Now don't think that everyone in his squad comes away unscathed, he tries to but it is impossible. Namir's character feels like it has been through a whole lot of battles and that he has definitely seen very terrible things. This makes his character determined to always come out on top, calculating every situation in the best possible way. added to the present day story of Namir, Alexander Freed also explores the past with several cleverly placed flashback moments. As for SP-457, I really liked her part. The stormtrooper part of the Empire has always intrigued me, where do the get so many people from! Also getting a view of how it goes about int he stormtrooper ranks was an eye opener. There is a lot more happening behind the scenes. 

As Twilight Company depicts scenes that we already have seen mostly on the screen, the world building isn't really a topic that you can say well Alexander Freed did a terrific job there. What I can say is about world "usage". That is what he did terrific, of course he had to keep true to some facts, but with depicting his own set of characters he had enough freedom to create a very good story on it's own and on the whole. As I already mentioned, with the gritty story and challenges that Twilight Company faces is one that puts you directly into the trenches of war and will open your eyes on how somethings went down in the lower ranks of battle. 

I can only recommend this book. As other reviewers have already said before me. Twilight Company put the war in Star Wars. You can't win everything with lightsabers... 


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