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Exceptionally researched but lacking in character
on 27 April 2007
Triple Zero will be a seminal work in the Star Wars universe, one that will be quoted and referenced for many years to come thanks to author Karen Traviss' development of Mandalorian culture, from customs and traditions to language.
Unfortunately, Triple Zero may not be remembered as a particularly great book.
Nothing much seems to happen over the course of 400 pages. There's a long and often confusing build-up to introduce the 16 main characters (10 commando clones, 2 null clones, 2 sergeants, 2 Jedi), and the meat of the story involves tracking nameless, faceless, motivation-less and therefore ultimately uninteresting villains. As a former reporter on the military and member of the armed forces, Traviss obviously knows her stuff and the breadth of detail is impressive, but in the end tiresome.
Which is a shame as she has proven herself very skilled at developing character. When she allows herself to do that in Triple Zero, the story starts to shine. Sadly, those moments are few and far between. The most compelling subplot [SPOILER] involves the slow unfolding of romance between a Jedi padawan and one of the clones, a pair I hope Traviss has the opportunity to revisit in the not too distant future. [END SPOILER]
If you liked Traviss' first commando novel, Hard Contact, or if you like her Wess'Har War series (recommended if you've just come to her through Star Wars), you may still not like Triple Zero.
ADDENDUM: There is a coda, of sorts, a short story called "Odds" from Karen Traviss revisiting the commandos of Triple Zero in Star Wars Insider magazine #87 (May/June 2006). In their continuing hunt for Kaminoan cloning engineer Ko Sai, the commandos discover a piece of a holo transmission showing Palpatine dealing directly with the Kaminoans to establish cloning facilities on Coruscant. There is no mention of the pregnant Jedi.