Star Wars: Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
As with the first two books in the series, I am mixed on this book and the trilogy. I like it, but didn’t love it. There are many elements I really like but overall it just doesn’t come together for me. This puts me into an unusual position. I am typically the Star Wars fan defending Star Wars from (mostly unwarranted) criticism and here with a series that is widely praised and well-received, I’m being critical!
I suspect there is just something about the author’s style that puts me off since I have felt the same way about all three books. I find it takes me a bit to get into them, the books can be a bit of slog at certain points, particularly in the first halves, and they meander in ways I don’t think ultimate pays off or helps the story. And while by the end, I do care what happens to the characters and the story, I don’t get the emotional payoff I’d expect (and that many others seem to get).
I do like the characters; they are fresh. Not retreads of Star Wars types. They are all interesting in terms of how they come to Alphabet Squadron and what happens to them while there and how they change. At the same time, I never really warmed to them in the way I did, say with the Aftermath trilogy characters. I don’t always get a sense of what their motivations where or why; in some cases, these were just told to us rather than developed through the story. There was an emotional connection missing.
The themes of this book, and the series, are also thought-provoking. Forgiveness. Consequences for one’s actions. Morality for morally compromised situations. Reconciliation after war. What war does to people at a personal level. How soldiers relate to each other and to their enemy. Like the TV show, Andor (fantastic btw!), this series brings the war to a very personal level. It’s not grand battles, it’s individuals. And Freed shows us the points of view of both sides.
There is lot to explore here philosophically. I don’t think I the themes get resolved as well as they could, though. In part this is because the themes are sometimes too explicit or too on the surface. That is, rather than having the theme work out and resolve through the plot and character action, it is imposed through dialogue. That was less satisfying to me.
As I said, a lot of Star Wars fans love this series, and I do think it’s worth a read if you are a Star Wars fan.
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