Top positive review
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The FSFH Book Review says:
on 10 March 2006
The main body of this book takes place a year after 'Attack Of The Clones' and deals with unauthorised counter-terrorist black ops at the very heart of the Republic, on Coruscant.
If you want a feel for what this book is like, then imagine all the gritty realism and grim humour of 'Hard Contact' mixed with that sense of an unorthodox team from the Wraith Squadron novels.
Perhaps this book's best element is the diverse range of characters that form the Republic team (even though most of them are clones). There's Omega Squad, of course, but also Delta Squad, fresh from the second campaign of the 'Republic Commando' game. Representing the Jedi are the eager-to-please Bardan Jusik and Etain Tur-Mukan, both now Jedi Knights and Generals. Etain plays the important role of being the one who is constantly trying to find the balance between necessity and morality and questioning how that fits into the Jedi's understanding of the dark side. Oddly the character that endeared himself to me the most is the ordinary infantry clone, Corr, who finds himself caught up with the commandos. The most interesting new characters are the Null ARCs, a group of super-clones who aren't entirely stable and who only answer to their father figure, Sergeant Kal Skirata.
Skirata and the other Mandalorian trainer, Walon Vau, were the only thing that I didn't love about this book. We are constantly bombarded with positive feeling towards Skirata and negative towards Vau, but when it came down to it I found the former entirely unlikeable and the latter easy to respect. Whenever you're starting to like and understand Kal, he vents a furious attack on Etain which is unfair and unjustified.
Traviss is a very canny author, so it's more than likely much of what I felt about Kal was deliberately provoked, but I just didn't feel the character lived up to the hype provided by the clones.
Nevertheless, this is another excellent book exploring the less palatable side of war in the Star Wars galaxy, which never loses sight of the human cost involved.
And as a bonus, the short story 'Omega Squad: Targets' is included, set between 'Hard Contact' and 'Triple Zero' (and, oddly, containing a Kal Skirata that I did like).