#StarWars #RepublicCommando by Karen Traviss mini review
The first in the series of Republic Commando novels from the Star Wars universe sees a group of commando troopers thrust together due to the unfortunate circumstances of war. Each being the sole survivor of their original teams, they find themselves thrust into a new squad of strangers and sent to infiltrate a new chemical research facility and extract the leading science officer from the world of Qillura.
As they crash land upon the planet, one clone trooper is cut off from the rest of the group, convening with Jedi Padowan Etain Tur-Mukan; a self confidence lacking student Jedi who is struggling to stay alive after her Master was killed on the planet. She and clone trooper Darman develop an interesting relationship in the book. It's not one of romance, but of mutual respect. Darman helps Etain to bring out her inner confidence and leader whilst Etain comes to understand Darman not simply as a clone, but as an individual. The entire subject of the morality of using clones for an army makes for an intriguing basis for a story, one which Travis uses well throughout her novel.
The gangs of ruffians employed by the chemical scientist Uthan to protect both her and the deadly toxin she is developing, are led by Ghez Hokan; a traditional Mandalorian with the values we have come to expect - as respect for war, ruthlessness, leadership and honor. His leadership changes when Uthan encourages him to become more independent. He rids himself of many of his old team, to be replaced mainly by expensive battle droids. His loathing of the clones and how they could've been constructed from the genetic instructions of Jango Fett is apparent throughout, and his determination right up until the bitter end of the story makes for some exciting tactical writing and battle scenes.
With a range of interesting characters, an exciting story and quality writing throughout, this makes for a very entertaining read from the Star Wars universe and is more like a traditional war novel than it is a Star Wars book. Whilst the force and Jedi do come into it, there is no reliance on this at all, and the story is more focused around the military tactics of the clones and their advisories.
The only reason this falls down a little for me, is that half way through the pace seemed to completely drop and felt a little stagnant. That said, once it picked up I was page turning rapidly right up until the finish and I'm very much looking forward to the next Republic Commando novel. I will also give Hard Contact on the Xbox another go after this. Ace read.