Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Review: Victory's Price by Alexander Freed

The Alphabet Squadron trilogy has been an emotional experience to read. I first encountered Freed in the book Battlefront, so I was aware of his ability to bring the grittiness of boots on the ground war to the world of Star Wars. This theme continues with the AS trilogy but through the cockpits of various ships that have inspired Star Wars fans for years.

The emotional landscape of the members of Alphabet Squadron resonated with me in various ways especially since I read the second book Shadow Fall during the height of the pandemic. These characters pains and struggles have resonated with my own fears and hopes, and the ending of Shadow Fall left me gutted and a tad hopeless in a time that I really didn't need to feel that way. 

As an author Freed always manages to make me feel that I am a witness in his stories, there is a sense of not being in control that is invigorating as a reader. So although I didn't know where Victory's Price would take me I was ready for the experience.

Before even starting Chapter One I had many hopes and fears, but also the knowledge that a solid conclusion would be my reward. This story plays out on two fronts. First there is the greater conflict at a whole which statistically seems to be an inevitable win for the New Republic. The second front is the after effects of Yrica Quell's actions in Shadow Fall and how it effects the remaining members of the team. 

Operation Cinder still continues across the Galaxy and as Rebel forces move to stop it's destruction the battered remnants of AS must face Keize and his re-energized forces. I had so much expectations for this novel. From fears over my beloved Wyl to experiencing equal part anger towards Quell while longing for her to make a change to utter love for Chass for bringing humor when it was desperately needed, and just being herself. 

I  started to feel this unfurling of Hope as the story reached it's crescendo. A hope that was rewarded and once again reflects my own life as I return to the workforce after a tough year.

I finished this book deeply satisfied, a little weepy, and laughing at Chass.  I also had all my potential Alphabet Squadron "ships' thoroughly destroyed and I loved it! 

Representation in fiction can  take many forms and at it's best it is a reflection of what exists, and is presented without excessive fanfare, but genuine emotion. It was a joy to see different relationships portrayed in the series.

Overall one of my most beloved characters in this book has a line that I think fully reflects the reality of the time frame of this series. A time when  Victory against the Empire isn't without cost, uncertainty and pain  "It's getting better", "It's still hard". I have enjoyed Alphabet Squadron for filling in information between the two major trilogies and giving us new characters to share the journey with.

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