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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 30 September 2013
This is one of Karen Traviss' later Star Wars books, but will please fans of her Republic Commando series as here she does what she does best - takes a bunch of unknown characters including Jedi knights, clone troopers, a battleship captain and a spy, and chronicles a very short span of their activity in the clone wars, where the good guys are supposed to be the Republic and the bad guys are the separatists. Yes, OK, we do have Annakin Skywalker, his Padawan Ahsoka and clone Captain Rex from the animated movie, but this isn't a formulaic adventure featuring characters we already know. Instead it's Karen asking hard questions again - about identity, human rights and the nature of love. (See her Star Wars: Republic Commando series for more hard questions.)

Spy, Halena, secret lover of Gil Pallaeon, captain of newly refitted assault ship, Leveler, is sent to the planet Athar to gather information about any proposed separatist activity and a potential threat to remove the current republic-friendly government by the downtrodden masses. Unfortunately she's not given enough information and the invasion is already underway. Rumbled almost immediately she requests extraction and Pellaeon and the Leveler happen to be the closest vessel. Unfortunately the refit hasn't been entirely successful and they're on a shakedown cruise with civilian engineers on board who are trying to fix a computer glitch which has taken their most effective weapons offline.

Added to that Annakin Skywalker has sent Captain Rex with Ahsoka and half a dozen fresh-out-of-training clones to familiarise themselves with Leveler's upgrades - that's the theory, but in fact he's just trying to get Ahsoka out of his hair and buy himself a bit of time with Padme - at this point in the Star Wars story arc they are secretly married and Annakin is suffering enormous guilt for forming an attachment. Add to this Master Altis' Jedi sect which allows marriage and children and you have an interesting mix of characters who are going to start questioning a) why Yoda is so keen that the Republic's Jedi knights be kept so strictly single and celibate, b) how and why the Republic knew that a clone army would be needed, c) whether the Republic has the right to treat clone troops like slave soldiers whose individual lives are not important and d) whether the Republic is actually the right side to be fighting on.

This is a simple get-me-out-of-here caper. What makes it interesting are the questions. Annakin and Ahsoka come up against Altis' Jedi sect and begin to question whether attachment will turn a Jedi to the Dark Side as Yoda insists. Halena questions her activities as a spy and whether she's on the right side. But it's the clones who raise the most questions. Karen always has great sympathy for the common soldier, portraying them as complex individuals, even the ones straight out of basic training. Grown to maturity in half the time it takes for an uncloned human, the clones are children in a world that values them only for their expendability. Their camaraderie is as uplifting as it is heartbreaking.

An excellent novel, and not just for Star Wars fans.
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on 31 August 2017
Strong characters, exciting plot and fits in perfectly with the star wars canon. Definitely worth a read for star wars and action fans!
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on 10 January 2011
I was a bit unsure about these Clone Wars books which have been born from the cartoon as I thought they might be aimed at the younger generation but I found it very entertaining!
Well written and gives a good insight into the clone troopers.
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on 17 January 2014
Another book for my sons ever growing library of Star Wars Books both hardback and paperback. Arrived as expected no problems experienced
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on 15 August 2013
The books just get better this book is set in the clone wars and is about how the republic is struggling to fight the sepretist
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As I've mentioned previously with Karen's work you fit into one of two categories, either you love her, or you cannot stand her. It is a real shame but she does do first person warfare pretty well and in the Clone War's series, it is a damn good thing that she does. Whilst her characterisation is a little hap hazard at times, the fact that when it comes to the nitty gritty of down in the mud entrenched warfare, there's very few who bring the scene to life in quite the same way. That said the novel is quite short which lets the novel down quite a lot as we know that she has to rush a lot of the things that we feel would build the universe up to a greater height.

Perhaps Karen should branch out on her own and create a universe that she can get behind to take the time to produce the type of book that many of her fans are crying out for. After all, were she to develop characters to their full potential and back it up with her style of warfare, the result would win a legion of additional fans to take on the Sci-Fi genre on their own.
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on 4 July 2014
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on 8 July 2010
Having read, and very much enjoyed, Karen Traviss' novelisation of the Clone Wars film I was eagerly anticipating her latest addition to this mini saga.

However, I sadly felt this book lacked the excitement, pace and humour of the Clone Wars novelisation. I found it as hard going and difficult to visualise as I did her Republic Commando books. There wasn't much of a plot and what little there was wasn't at all captivating.

I have said many times that I like Karen Traviss and think what she has brought to the Expanded Universe is excellent, especially her work with the Clones and Mandalorian culture. My problem with her is that I find her writing very dull. It's easy to fall asleep during chapters and I can never figure out who anybody is. This book was no different.

It did have its good points. As much as I hate the train wreck that was "Planet of Twilight" by Barbara Hambly, I did like the way Traviss filled in some of the holes regarding the Altis Jedi group and this might make her books slightly less painful if I ever dare to pick them up again - which is highly unlikely. Callista is a good character and the subtle hints we got as to what would become of her were written well. Including other well known characters like Pellaeon was also good. I like reading new books that bridge gaps between older novels and deal with clearing up some inconsistencies brought on by the prequels. Traviss handled this very well.

So what is my verdict? Well I'd say that it is probably worth buying if you are a real fan of the books but it's definitely not one of the best.
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