Alphabet Squadron
On the verge of victory in what seemed an endless war, five former rebel pilots transform from hunted to hunters as they strike out against the vestiges of Empire. Set after Return of the Jedi, Alphabet Squadron follows a unique team, each flying a different class of starfighter as they struggle to end their war once and for all.

Alphabet Squadron Details

TitleAlphabet Squadron
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 11th, 2019
PublisherDel Rey
Rating
GenreMedia Tie In, Star Wars, Science Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

Alphabet Squadron Review

  • Bria
    January 1, 1970
    You think you’re ready for this book. You’re so not ready. (I’d say I’d do whatever I had to in order to protect Yrica Quell but she’s never let me and I love her.)
  • ♠️ TABI ♠️
    January 1, 1970
    yeah I love Star Wars with an immeasurable passion but tbh I'm mostly adding this because of that FIERCE cover mkay
  • Stephen
    January 1, 1970
    When we look at Star Wars, it’s all too easy to see the heroes and the villains in the original trilogy. In the prequel era, those lines became less clear. Instead of it being a story of black and white, we were introduced to the element of gray. Anakin Skywalker is the good guy who saves the day time after time, yet he’s the hero who’s tragic fall leads so many to death and misery. And yet, he’s the one who kills the Emperor and brings about the beginning of the end for the Empire. When looked When we look at Star Wars, it’s all too easy to see the heroes and the villains in the original trilogy. In the prequel era, those lines became less clear. Instead of it being a story of black and white, we were introduced to the element of gray. Anakin Skywalker is the good guy who saves the day time after time, yet he’s the hero who’s tragic fall leads so many to death and misery. And yet, he’s the one who kills the Emperor and brings about the beginning of the end for the Empire. When looked at as a whole, Star Wars is not such a simple story of heroes defeating villains. In that vein, Alexander Freed weaves a tale that is both complex and illuminating. Sure, in the broad sense it’s about the forces of good fighting the forces of evil, but who are the people on both sides of the conflict? What happens to those who try to leave the Empire and forge a new life for themselves? What happens to the heroes who have to live with the casualties of war? Alphabet Squadron dives into those themes, and many more, as it explores the consequences of war and the choices we make.First and foremost, Alphabet Squadron is a book that centers on its characters. There’s the Imperial deserter, Yrica Quell, who is recruited by New Republic intelligence to hunt down the Empire’s infamous Shadow Wing. Through her, we see the Rebellion through the eyes of the Empire. She’s been shaped by the propaganda of the Emperor, fought against the Rebels, seen the horrors of war, and through that hardship, has found herself now on the other side hoping to right a wrong. But fighting for the New Republic isn’t easy when no one trusts you. Alongside her is another Imperial defector, Nath Tensent. Unlike Quell, Nath deserted early, but that doesn’t make him a saint. He’s lived for himself over the years, by whatever means necessary, and often breaking the law in pursuit of credits. For all his charm, his fellow squad mates know he can’t be trusted entirely. Then there’s Wyl Lark, the most noble of the bunch. A talented pilot who yearns to return home now that the Empire has been mostly defeated. Yet events keep happening that keep him in the fight. Chass na Chadic, while lacking nobility, is certainly in it to fight the Empire. Her care free nature leads her to a love of music while blasting TIE’s out of the sky. However, her recklessness is a danger to everyone in her sights as well as those on her team. Kairos is one of the most mysterious characters in the book, let alone the members of Alphabet Squadron. She is a warrior hidden behind a mask who doesn’t speak. Her cryptic nature instills curiosity among her squad mates, but her actions often illicit fear with the brutality she’s able to administer. Rounding out the team is Adan Caern, a member of New Republic intelligence who forms Alphabet Squadron in order to hunt down and neutralize the threat of Shadow Wing. But Adan is not some clear cut good guy out to do what’s right and heroic. Sure, he wants to stop the Empire, and yeah, Shadow Wing is a threat, but this is also an opportunity for him to show how important he can be and perhaps a chance for him to climb the ranks. A victory against Shadow Wing would help him secure a promotion, more assets, more authority, and if he has to coerce and manipulate some ex-Imperials to get the job done, so be it.With this rag tag assortment of characters, flaws and all, this book builds a story around an intriguing cast. Each character, aside from Wyl who is pretty much a solid good guy, has their downsides as well as their heroic moments. They’re all complex characters who give the reader plenty to chew on and discover. Slowly, as the story progresses, you learn about their personalities, their backstories, their baggage and goals, and you see them progress as they work together and encounter new obstacles. Some of them you will continue to learn about throughout the book as they have secrets to keep. And while there is a story beyond the characters as they fight in battles and eventually hunt down Shadow Wing, it’s the characters that drive the story along and make the whole thing interesting. Alexander Freed does a great job of creating investment in the characters, slowing revealing some of the mystery around them, exploring their flaws and motivations, and showing them build a relationship with each other as they form into a squad. Oddly enough, you might not even like all the members of the squad as there will be times when you love them, and moments when you hate them. But in the end, you’ll grow attached to them because you know them. You’ll see their struggles, you’ll see their points of view, and one way or another, you’ll be able to emphasize. That delicate balance is one of the biggest joys in reading this book and it helps make the characters feel so real and believable.Aside from Alphabet Squadron, there are other characters in the book. Nearly halfway through, General Syndulla shows up and sticks around as the commander of the fleet Alphabet Squadron gets attached to. While she’s not a main character, she gets some page time and it’s something Star Wars Rebels fans will certainly enjoy. The villain of the story is Colonel Shakara, aka Grandmother, the commander of Shadow Wing. She’s an Imperial trying to keep the Empire alive despite the changing tide of the war. There are other characters and plot threads at work that keep the story interesting, as well as the general exploration of what happened after the battle of Endor. The book touches on Operation Cinder and the Emperor’s post-death wrath. It explores the weaknesses of the New Republic and the challenges before them. There’s also a nice little thread that reminds us of the heroism of Rebel heroes like Jyn Erso. But even with all of that, there’s always a character focus at play.If you’re not a fan of space battles and plot heavy tomes, then fear not, Alphabet Squadron may be just what you’re looking for. Yes, there are space battles, and there is a great story woven through the 416 pages in this novel, but all of that fails in comparison with the deep, intriguing character exploration that is at this book’s core. With an even handed approach to characters on both sides of the conflict, this story dives into the motivations, flaws and heroism that resides in us all. In the end, Alphabet Squadron tells an intriguing story, and builds up a solid cast for the books that will follow. I give it a five out of five.
    more
  • Danny
    January 1, 1970
    I can't wait to talk to all y'all Star Wars people about this book.
  • Peter Hale
    January 1, 1970
    Kathleen Kennedy: My apprentices: the galaxy has been shaken by their feelings of betrayal over the new canon. They have started a Rebellion; an Alliance to Restore the Expanded Universe. We must build a battle station the destroy the--Alexander Freed: Hold on, uh, just a minute, Empress, er, Emperor Kathleen, just a minute: why don't we just copy the old books?Kathleen Kennedy: Wasn't that Aftermath trilogy to the Thrawn trilogy? We already tried ripping off that!Alexander Freed: Uh...how about Kathleen Kennedy: My apprentices: the galaxy has been shaken by their feelings of betrayal over the new canon. They have started a Rebellion; an Alliance to Restore the Expanded Universe. We must build a battle station the destroy the--Alexander Freed: Hold on, uh, just a minute, Empress, er, Emperor Kathleen, just a minute: why don't we just copy the old books?Kathleen Kennedy: Wasn't that Aftermath trilogy to the Thrawn trilogy? We already tried ripping off that!Alexander Freed: Uh...how about Stackpole's X-Wing novels? Kathleen Kennedy: ...Alexander Freed: Corran Horn? "Piggy"? Kathleen Kennedy: ...Alexander Freed: Mirax Terrik, for God's sake?! Kathleen Kennedy: Ohhhhhhh. I remember. Yeah, you do that, my apprentice. Alexander Freed: Yessir![Alexander leaves.]Kathleen Kennedy: This will be a day long remembered.Now, for Episode IX...
    more
  • Nathan
    January 1, 1970
    I can’t take this book seriously with this title.
  • Camille Pum
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in the giveaway! Awesome story and wonderful writing!
  • Unseen Library
    January 1, 1970
    I have never made it a secret that I am a huge fan of the Star Wars extended universe, having devoured several of the books and comics in the last year. After reviewing the first 2019 entry into the Star Wars extended universe, the young adult novel Queen’s Shadow, last week I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the upcoming books in the franchise. There are three Star Wars novels being released in the next four months that I am very much looking forward to. These three novel I have never made it a secret that I am a huge fan of the Star Wars extended universe, having devoured several of the books and comics in the last year. After reviewing the first 2019 entry into the Star Wars extended universe, the young adult novel Queen’s Shadow, last week I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the upcoming books in the franchise. There are three Star Wars novels being released in the next four months that I am very much looking forward to. These three novels represent a very interesting spread of stories across the Star Wars timeline, and each have some very intriguing story premises.One of these books is the ultra-exciting-sounding Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed. Alphabet Squadron, which is set to be released in early June, is the first book in a new original Star Wars trilogy, featuring New Republic pilots in the post-Return of the Jedi timeline. Freed is another established Star Wars author, having written two books in the current canon, Twilight Company and the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story novelisation, as well as a series of Star Wars comics in the now defunct extended universe.While I was always going to get this book no matter what, the moment I noticed that some of book's plot summaries mentioned Hera Syndulla, of Star Wars Rebels fame, I knew I would move heaven and Earth to get this book. I absolutely loved Star Wars Rebels and I am extremely keen to read anything that explores the fates of any of the characters from the show. Aside from the presence of Hera Syndulla, there are so many other cool elements of Alphabet Squadron that make me really want to check it out. First of all, the focus on a fighter squadron has so much potential for action and adventure, and I am anticipating a ton of awesome dog fights and wonderful examples of ship-to-ship battles in space. I am also looking forward to the requisite training and analysis of the various flying techniques that tend to follow those sorts of stories, and a squadron made up of one of each of the Rebel Alliance’s iconic ships sounds pretty damn awesome to me. Finally, I am excited to see the start of a whole new, original Star Wars series, focusing on a whole new bunch of characters. While the Star Wars books that focus on the characters from the films, shows and games are really cool, it will be interesting to see an extended universe book whose plot is not as closely linked with the overarching story of the movies and televisions shows. I have a feeling that this might be the Star Wars book I enjoy the most in 2019, and I have high hopes for it.To see what other upcoming Star Wars books I am excited about, check out the link below:https://unseenlibrary.com/2019/04/03/...
    more
  • Craig
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 on a Star Wars Book Scale, mileage will vary otherwise, perhaps 3.5ish if into general sci-fi stuff, 3 if not. Freed writes the best SW books around these days. For the record, reviewing this on a "Star Wars" book scale and not an "I'm just a regular person scale." If you don't like Star Wars, you can likely skip this, though I DO like that this book takes a lot of our modern worries on terrorism, fanaticism, and what it means to be a "good state" and "good warrior" and crams it into a Rogue 4.5 on a Star Wars Book Scale, mileage will vary otherwise, perhaps 3.5ish if into general sci-fi stuff, 3 if not. Freed writes the best SW books around these days. For the record, reviewing this on a "Star Wars" book scale and not an "I'm just a regular person scale." If you don't like Star Wars, you can likely skip this, though I DO like that this book takes a lot of our modern worries on terrorism, fanaticism, and what it means to be a "good state" and "good warrior" and crams it into a Rogue/Wraith-esque story.Goods:1) Neat Ideas (Chasing thru hyperspace, the final planet's problematic nature). I really think the "hyperspace chase" of the dare would have been a template that could have made TLJ's chase a bit more plausible/fun. Too bad it didn't exist yet.2) Well-written characters and female characters that can call out the "heroic savior male" and tell him to fuck off. All characters have their own issues and goals and most of those haven't even been fully sorted yet.3) Well-formed Imperials characters4) The right balance of realism with Star Wars-y-ness heroics5) Good sense of combat actions and what's going on during battle6) A lot of nods to various "new canon" things. I don't give a flying fuck about BFII, but those Sentinel droids are endlessly creepy and the "Operation Cinder" actions the Rebel Alliance has to deal with after Endor are a bit more interesting that the initial post-Endor old EU canon (IMHO). 7) It's fun seeing the Imperial propaganda vs. Rebel Propaganda (like the history of the Jedi, etc.)Bads (which are actually kind of goods, depending):1) Not necessarily bad, but it's totally an origin story and you go through all the "we need to gel as a team" stuff that's always going to come with that. I'm excited that things have gelled now and really, really just want to get to a hopefully next book where they're they're a fully-settled off kilter team of conflicting and sometimes volatile personalities.2) I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want to know more about Kairos and don't get to know here3) Somewhat low stakes I suppose, but I also dig that they didn't find a third Death Star4) I've lost track of a lot of the modern alien species in the newer canon, so I had to look up like 75% of the aliens I encountered in the book to get a visual picture in my head.
    more
  • Joseph Born
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of Alphabet Squadron is simple. The burgeoning New Republic needs a special task force and assembles an unlikely group of pilots, each flying a differing model of starfighter (hence the name), and assigns them with a tough mission... to track down and eliminate the deadly Shadow Wing TIE fighter squadron of the Empire.Alexander Freed writes military sci-fi well, and Alphabet Squadron was no exception. The space battles are described wonderfully, and the book immerses the reader in th The premise of Alphabet Squadron is simple. The burgeoning New Republic needs a special task force and assembles an unlikely group of pilots, each flying a differing model of starfighter (hence the name), and assigns them with a tough mission... to track down and eliminate the deadly Shadow Wing TIE fighter squadron of the Empire.Alexander Freed writes military sci-fi well, and Alphabet Squadron was no exception. The space battles are described wonderfully, and the book immerses the reader in the military world of Star Wars. The characters fall into some common tropes for military characters, but Freed manages to make them interesting and stand out. I was happy to have two aliens on the team too. The story is engaging, and the ending is very unexpected and will leave you ready for book 2. The story drags in some parts, which isn't surprising given this was supposed to be a standalone novel but was extended into a trilogy however this extra focus helps flesh out the story Freed is carving and expands on his characters as well as Shadow Wing more. Overall I recommend this for Star Wars fans, especially if you want more post-RotJ content or like the military aspect of the franchise.
    more
  • Chris Evans
    January 1, 1970
    Alphabet Soup is kind of silly gimmick I'd expect from a high schooler fan fiction that doesn't understand how a squadron of ships is supposed to function (let alone that they don't have enough fighters to be called a squadron). The book does little more than make me miss the Rogue Squadron book series.Hey, remember when a new Star Wars book advanced the universe, timeline and characters in a meaningful and impactful way? You might not since this book falls into the exact same trap as every othe Alphabet Soup is kind of silly gimmick I'd expect from a high schooler fan fiction that doesn't understand how a squadron of ships is supposed to function (let alone that they don't have enough fighters to be called a squadron). The book does little more than make me miss the Rogue Squadron book series.Hey, remember when a new Star Wars book advanced the universe, timeline and characters in a meaningful and impactful way? You might not since this book falls into the exact same trap as every other Disney Canon book, where side characters have a side adventure against side threats. Can't have anything important happen in a book in case they want to make a movie or tv show about it. -_-Anyone considering reading this should just go to Wookiepedia and look at the list of characters. Notice that all but one of them either has the (First appearance), (First mentioned), or (Mentioned only) label, Hera from rebels being the only previously established character to appear. Same goes for Events and even Locations, they can't even do the bare minimum to tie things together.My one praise for it, is at least it's not set between Ep 3 and 4. (all thought 4 ABY is getting pretty crowded at this point too.)
    more
  • Skye Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    This was an enjoyable read, though it definitely has some flaws in its execution. There were a few scenes where I could see what the story was trying to do, but it just didn't manage to resonate with me.Yrica Quell is a great protagonist and I loved being inside her head. She's able to uniquely understand the viewpoints of both the Empire and the New Republic, which makes her the perfect perspective to carry this story. At its core this story is really about how the two factions struggle with ad This was an enjoyable read, though it definitely has some flaws in its execution. There were a few scenes where I could see what the story was trying to do, but it just didn't manage to resonate with me.Yrica Quell is a great protagonist and I loved being inside her head. She's able to uniquely understand the viewpoints of both the Empire and the New Republic, which makes her the perfect perspective to carry this story. At its core this story is really about how the two factions struggle with adjusting to their new roles in the war (the rebels haven't yet learned how to win, and the imperials are getting sick of pretending that they aren't losing), and the way that that's explored through and personified by Yrica was very well done.Unfortunately I didn't connect at all with the rest of Alphabet Squadron, and for me all of them fell somewhere on a spectrum between bland and irritating. Since the middle third or so of the book was dedicated to exploring the relationships between the squad members, it really dragged on for me. Things picked up again for the climax, and the final confrontation was particularly well-written, so it managed to earn its four stars in the end.
    more
  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    Oh this book hit everything that I loved about the X-Wing books. No big fancy powers, just a story about a bunch of messed up people struggling to do what's right and work out what that even is. And Hera plays a role, which leads me to wonder if they wrote this specifically for me. (Though umm could someone please explain who's looking after Jacen, it's bothering me!)The X-Wing books shone because they had some of the strongest character work out of all of Legends and this book is truly a worthy Oh this book hit everything that I loved about the X-Wing books. No big fancy powers, just a story about a bunch of messed up people struggling to do what's right and work out what that even is. And Hera plays a role, which leads me to wonder if they wrote this specifically for me. (Though umm could someone please explain who's looking after Jacen, it's bothering me!)The X-Wing books shone because they had some of the strongest character work out of all of Legends and this book is truly a worthy successor. And about time they realized that if a book is truly about people you might want to put one on the cover lest potential readers be turned off thinking the story is only about space battles!I love all the new characters. Chass might be the current contender for favourite among the squadron, but Yrica is compelling, Wyl's a sweetie, Kairos is a mystery and... okay Nath probably isn't in the running for favourite, but I still love this squad.I also quite enjoyed the look at the new challenges that arrive when you suddenly start... winning.
    more
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    A rag tag band of pilots, all lone survivors of their units, band together to help the New Republic. The main character is Yrica Quell, a defector from the Empire. The premise was good, but the execution was lacking. First of all, the book was too long. It took a long time to get to the point -- in fact I almost gave up. For all that set up, I didn't think the characters or their back stories were explained very well. I think the author was going for suspense, but I was confused. The last battle A rag tag band of pilots, all lone survivors of their units, band together to help the New Republic. The main character is Yrica Quell, a defector from the Empire. The premise was good, but the execution was lacking. First of all, the book was too long. It took a long time to get to the point -- in fact I almost gave up. For all that set up, I didn't think the characters or their back stories were explained very well. I think the author was going for suspense, but I was confused. The last battle scene was pretty cool, but I frankly didn't understand the beginning battles (who was on what side, who the characters were, who survived the battle). Some of the characters were aliens, but the physical descriptions didn't reveal that until hundreds of pages in. I want to know what happens, but I'm not sure I can read 2 more novels like this.Also, the Marvel graphic novel preview was inserted in the middle of a sentence - it definitely could have been at the end of a chapter.
    more
  • Haden
    January 1, 1970
    me: i love post-endor early new republic stuff and i LOVE fun pilot squadron family dynamics but i cannot STAND corran horndel rey: [slides this book across the table]@ every member of alphabet squadron: i would die for you.
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 — My full review can be found here: https://www.coffeewithkenobi.com/book...
  • Judah-Ben Morales
    January 1, 1970
    I keep saying it: Alexander Freed is the perfect choice for this kind of "war novels". He did an excellent job with his two earlier works in current SW canon, and in this, his latest (and not last) work, he also wrote a truly unforgettable story.A few highlights: first and foremost, the description of several new worlds. That is kind of a soft spot for me. I get tired of seeing, if not the same planets repeated over and over again, the same environments: a desert planet, a snow planet, a forest I keep saying it: Alexander Freed is the perfect choice for this kind of "war novels". He did an excellent job with his two earlier works in current SW canon, and in this, his latest (and not last) work, he also wrote a truly unforgettable story.A few highlights: first and foremost, the description of several new worlds. That is kind of a soft spot for me. I get tired of seeing, if not the same planets repeated over and over again, the same environments: a desert planet, a snow planet, a forest moon, and every now and then, an aquatic world. In this book though, the author unleashed his creativity depicting new worlds. I am happy to say I cannot remember all the new planets mentioned in the story, but I do remember those relevant to the story, and they are simply beautiful, each in its own way: Nacronis, Vernid, the dreadful vicinity of Pandem Nai, and the horrifying Oridol Cluster (exactly the kind of physical anomalies to be expected in a big galaxy like this one).Another highlight: it is said that this book is a companion to the ongoing TIE Fighter comics, but I enjoyed a lot more how it relates to Shattered Empire and even to the Battlefront II game storyline. Perhaps as the TIE Fighter comic continues and ends I will see that relationship more clearly. But this is not a negative thing at all. On the contrary, it bridges all those stories, expands and enriches them.Yet another highlight: how the story shut the mouth of those criticizing the book's title. The in-universe explanation is simple and logic. Whether it was written right from its inception, or as a last-minute fix to fan uproar, I don't know. I only know it serves perfectly and also gives the story a nice, humourous touch. I also read some criticism before the book was released regarding the fact that five ships of absolutely different configurations, capacities, and specifications could conform a cohesive squadron. Again, the plot accurately explains that apparent flaw.Of course, not everything is perfect. The very same ability the author has of describing battles in detail also punishes the length and rhythm of the story. Five whole chapters are dedicated to narrating the climactic battle. That is not bad in itself, but this time, I feel the author could have compressed things a little bit more to keep suspense and action truly balanced.As of character development, the author did an acceptable job. He knows he has two more books to deal with that, so decided to keep things simple, revealing only the necessary information and leaving the rest for the remainder of the trilogy. Whether anyone will develop a connection with any of the characters greatly depends on the reader's imagination and not necessarily on the writer.Four stars! And I will be awaiting for the sequels with great expectation!
    more
  • Kelvin
    January 1, 1970
    More or less 2.5** but I'll round it up to 3.This isn’t my first Star Wars novel from Freed, so I knew from the start that I’d end up with yet another strange feeling in my gut in regards to this book. It took me a moment to capture that weird feeling of satisfaction and feeling underwhelmed. And then the perfect analogy popped in my mind: Alphabet Squadron is like having a brand-new Farrier—but you can’t drive it because you misplaced the key. Review For one, the worldbuilding is excellent, as More or less 2.5** but I'll round it up to 3.This isn’t my first Star Wars novel from Freed, so I knew from the start that I’d end up with yet another strange feeling in my gut in regards to this book. It took me a moment to capture that weird feeling of satisfaction and feeling underwhelmed. And then the perfect analogy popped in my mind: Alphabet Squadron is like having a brand-new Farrier—but you can’t drive it because you misplaced the key. Review For one, the worldbuilding is excellent, as I find it in most of Freed’s Star Wars novels. He can really give you the grit and realism, the taste and smell of the world to the point that you can actually see what’s going on. However, while the worldbuilding is great, the characters leave so much to be desired. You will read this book from cover to back and I can guarantee you won’t remember more than 2 main character names. The characters are so one dimensional and nonexistent that it makes me wonder why Freed even bothered putting them in the story at all. This story could have been told from a protocol droid’s perspective and more than likely would have ended up the same way. In fact, Yricka Quell, the MC, is just two breaths away from being a droid.The other characters I didn’t much care for, but there is one character, who is randomly shoehorned into the story midway through the book, that was the most interesting out of the entire cast. You’ll know him when you see him.Unfortunately, the book doesn’t get interesting until halfway through. I didn’t find the first half particularly interesting. Lots of character introspections that go nowhere, lots of board meetings about the same subject over and over again. Lots of filler, really. But I love reading Star Wars novels that feature characters that aren’t well known in the universe. This was one of the reasons I picked this book up to read.Now the things I enjoyed about this story is in its placing in the SW universe. It really sets up what mindset the empire is in at this point. With Palpatine dead, the empire is running on fumes and desperation. I like the dynamic of showing how far a regime will go to retain its authority over people. I enjoy seeing the Empire as a genial threat rather than the bumbling Stormtroopers with bad aim.Welp, I’m keeping with my Star Wars Disney Canon read. I'll be heading over to Master and Apprentice shortly.
    more
  • Tait Sougstad
    January 1, 1970
    These characters are flatter than the paper they are printed on, and the plot dragged on like I was listening at x0.5 speed.There's the jaded Imperial turncoat, trying to earn some justification from her former enemy; the bureaucrat playing spy; the interrogator droid turned therapist; the guy with a good heart who lost everything, and the comrade who resents him for saving her; the other maverick turncoat who cares only for himself; a cameo from a very important canon character. Somehow, nearly These characters are flatter than the paper they are printed on, and the plot dragged on like I was listening at x0.5 speed.There's the jaded Imperial turncoat, trying to earn some justification from her former enemy; the bureaucrat playing spy; the interrogator droid turned therapist; the guy with a good heart who lost everything, and the comrade who resents him for saving her; the other maverick turncoat who cares only for himself; a cameo from a very important canon character. Somehow, nearly a third into the book, these people finally assemble. Chips from their shoulders assault the reader's face. Allusions to homosexuality are inconsequentially made to ensure the book meets the inclusivity quota.The mcguffin of the story is the search for the illusive 204th Imperial Fighter Wing. Why? Well, because they are... really tough. Super tough. They shoot down all the ships. But, for some reason, they are also really hard to find. If they can find them, maybe they can shoot them down before they shoot more others down, and save the day. We kind of barely get to see a little about them, but mostly they are ominous, nameless, faceless baddies, not really worth getting to know, I guess. But we have a chip on our shoulder about them!I can't believe this is the setup for a trilogy. It has no consequence. Characters barely develop. Even the space battle action is described so sparingly that I couldn't ever get a good picture in my mind of what it was supposed to look like and what was happening. Lots of time describing how angsty everyone is, and how big their chips are. So disappointing.It would be nice (I'm talking to you Disney!) if this mega money-making machine of a franchise would get it's act together and produce some content that stands up on it's own, rather than diluting it with fluff. It's like the novels are glorified back-story articles or pen-and-paper game plots rather than polished stories.There are a few canon nuggets in here, and hints at the direction of the final movie. People who are really into that kind of thing really seem to like this book. People looking for a decent story in the Star Wars universe continue to be disillusioned.
    more
  • Jonathan D
    January 1, 1970
    What a fun read. I thought Freed's "Battlefront: Twilight Company" was ok, but not great. His adaptation of "Rogue One" is still my favorite of the movie adaptations. This book lines up more with his Rogue One level of storytelling.Alphabet Squadron, while the name is silly at first, is actually a great read and awesome start to the trilogy. Freed sets up a great cast of characters in Quell, Tensent, Chadic, Lark, and Karios. Freed used plenty of mystery style storytelling famous in the Zahn and What a fun read. I thought Freed's "Battlefront: Twilight Company" was ok, but not great. His adaptation of "Rogue One" is still my favorite of the movie adaptations. This book lines up more with his Rogue One level of storytelling.Alphabet Squadron, while the name is silly at first, is actually a great read and awesome start to the trilogy. Freed sets up a great cast of characters in Quell, Tensent, Chadic, Lark, and Karios. Freed used plenty of mystery style storytelling famous in the Zahn and Stackpole stories. He kept me guessing about multiple things throughout the book. I'm still guessing about a few things and am really interested in reading book 2.While being marketed by Del Rey as being like the X-Wing novels, it takes the more serious aspects of Stackpoles books, the "rag-tag" aspect of Allston's books, and the epic, trilogy fomatting that Zahn, Anderson, and Wendig developed(although Alphabet Squadron is a much better start to a trilogy than Aftermath was for Wendig's trilogy).I had trouble following some of the action, especially the dogfights, but that is expected in any military science fiction novel/series. However, most of this novel was character driven(which I love) and the manuvering of forces and politics behind the action was what kept me engaged.Most of all, I loved all the tie-ins. There were dozens and dozens of points where Freed would reference a previous Canon(and even Legends) events, characters, or ships, or even random easter eggs. They worked in such a way that if you didn't understand them all, it didn't take you out of the story. I loved this because it rewarded me for reading the Aftermath trilogy, the Battlefront books and games, the Shattered Empire comic, Rebels, and many others. I think more canon authors need to start following Freed's example and include more references.Overall, very solid opening to the trilogy. Alphabet Squadron has some small flaws, but overall was fun, interesting, compelling and had "edge of your seat" action. 8.5 out of 10. Great work Freed! Here's to book 2!
    more
  • Marcus
    January 1, 1970
    This book functions really well as a corrective to some of the shortcomings of the Aftermath trilogy, and of the Battlefront II campaign story.Big parts of the canon post-ROTJ world had kind of a clunky introduction, wrapped up in the controversies of Aftermath. It became hard to separate your perception of Operation Cinder from your overall perception of the Aftermath books. I'm not even such a huge Aftermath hater myself and I still feel sort of weird when I see references to loyalty officers This book functions really well as a corrective to some of the shortcomings of the Aftermath trilogy, and of the Battlefront II campaign story.Big parts of the canon post-ROTJ world had kind of a clunky introduction, wrapped up in the controversies of Aftermath. It became hard to separate your perception of Operation Cinder from your overall perception of the Aftermath books. I'm not even such a huge Aftermath hater myself and I still feel sort of weird when I see references to loyalty officers in canon, for example.I feel this book does a great job of engaging with plot elements (like Cinder) that felt a little tainted by Aftermath's controversies, and giving us interesting, thoughtful perspectives on them. I like how the characters truly struggle to accept the idea of Operation Cinder, sort of how I did when it was first revealed. Freed's take on this period in canon is intelligent and deftly handed; the character's emotions about the shifts in the galaxy are realistic and steeped in a very compelling sense of tension. It helps to revitalize the narrative potential of this moment in the canon timeline, which feels more dynamic and well-thought-out thanks to this book than it had been before.The other corrective function toward a controversial earlier work is in providing a contrast to the story of Iden Versio. This is a good book for any who felt the defection to the Rebels in the Battlefront II campaign felt too sudden, insufficiently explored, and too easy. Here, defection is anything but.I've only started getting into Star Wars audiobooks recently and have come off a string of Marc Thompson narrations. I did miss him here at first and had something of a struggle adapting, but I settled in eventually and enjoyed Maarleveld's voices.
    more
  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    The core story arc focuses on the formation of a new squadron in order to hunt down an elite fleet of Tie Fighters. The 204th is still out there doing the dead Emperor’s dirty work.I’ve got a list of things I loved:1. A fully fleshed-out cast of five pilots. What brought them to the rebellion… and what are their motivations to join the Alphabet Squadron?2. Space dog fights… a plethora of different ships… A, B, Y, X, U- Wings!3. Favorite Quote: ‘… but there was truth to the idea that the Empire v The core story arc focuses on the formation of a new squadron in order to hunt down an elite fleet of Tie Fighters. The 204th is still out there doing the dead Emperor’s dirty work.I’ve got a list of things I loved:1. A fully fleshed-out cast of five pilots. What brought them to the rebellion… and what are their motivations to join the Alphabet Squadron?2. Space dog fights… a plethora of different ships… A, B, Y, X, U- Wings!3. Favorite Quote: ‘… but there was truth to the idea that the Empire valued squadrons and the Rebellion valued pilots.’4. Some excellent cameos from past SW stories. I don’t want to give up any spoilers, but I think Freed does a great job integrating some less-heralded characters into the mix.5. The last battle. I was riveted for the last quarter of the book. Most of my favorite SW films and novels come down to a creative battle plan.. and there’s a distinct difference between a Rebel plan and an Imperial plan. Freed shows that difference, proves it on every page.6. New droids. In the first chapter, we meet an Imperial interrogation droid named IT-O who has been reprogramed into a psychologist of sorts for the defectors. And a couple new X-Wing mechs to help out in the midst of battle… also, a straight-up eerie dark side robot…7. Storytelling: Every character is given a chance to tell his/her story, and Freed’s storytelling changes nicely between the confessional or disinformational spills…Highly Recommended for those looking for a multi-layered exploration into the grunts of the Star Wars universe.For my full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2019/06/19/al...For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog
    more
  • Steven Shinder
    January 1, 1970
    I find that these military-focused novels of the new canon just haven't really done much for me, whether it be Battlefront: Twilight Company, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, or Alphabet Squadron. Out of these three books, I found that the characters fell the flattest in Alphabet Squadron. And on the flip side, I've been having a hard time getting to know the members of Shadow Wing in the TIE Fighter comics (which do NOT take place at the same time as this novel). I did love having Hera in this bo I find that these military-focused novels of the new canon just haven't really done much for me, whether it be Battlefront: Twilight Company, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad, or Alphabet Squadron. Out of these three books, I found that the characters fell the flattest in Alphabet Squadron. And on the flip side, I've been having a hard time getting to know the members of Shadow Wing in the TIE Fighter comics (which do NOT take place at the same time as this novel). I did love having Hera in this book, but it feels weird that her son Jacen is not mentioned at all. Where is he? I'm not allergic to having a completely new cast of characters. When I read the first Aftermath book, the new characters all really stood out to me.In terms of the era, Alphabet Squadron feels like a bit of a step back since it takes place between Return of the Jedi and Aftermath. I just want to get further into the time period between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. And, for better or worse, the premise of Alphabet Squadron feels similar to Inferno Squad, in that the titular teams have to go after a specific small military threat. Themes repeat in Star Wars, and that's fine. But the fact that I can't say much about this book other than how it compares to other books really says something. I did love Freed's novelization for Rogue One, but this one doesn't get close enough to that level. And I think I might even prefer Twilight Company a tiny bit over this one. It's been a while, so I don't really know for sure. I can't say that I'm super excited to return to the characters of this book in the other entries of this trilogy, but hopefully they will be more exciting.
    more
  • Rick
    January 1, 1970
    I read the Kindle edition of this book.4 ABY The Emperor and his henchman, Darth Vader, are dead. The Second Death Star was destroyed at the Battle of Endor. The Rebel Alliance has reformed itself into the New Republic, and are trying to clean up the remnants of the Imperial Navy.Alphabet Squadron centers around Yrica Quell, a Tie pilot turned New Republic analyst, and four other New Republic pilots, as they try to take down the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, i.e. the Shadow Wing.Each member of ou I read the Kindle edition of this book.4 ABY The Emperor and his henchman, Darth Vader, are dead. The Second Death Star was destroyed at the Battle of Endor. The Rebel Alliance has reformed itself into the New Republic, and are trying to clean up the remnants of the Imperial Navy.Alphabet Squadron centers around Yrica Quell, a Tie pilot turned New Republic analyst, and four other New Republic pilots, as they try to take down the 204th Imperial Fighter Wing, i.e. the Shadow Wing.Each member of our little band is here for a reason. Can Yrica put aside her Imperial tendencies and bring the Squadron together.The Star Wars fandom was first introduced to Alexander Freed with Battlefront: Twilight Company, and then with the novelization of Rogue One. Alphabet Squadron follows these two books, and feels more like a war story set in a Star Wars galaxy. For that reason alone, this book is worth reading.More important than that, this is the first in a trilogy, which will start to fill in some of the gaps between EP VI and VII.Recommended.
    more
  • Mark Vallone
    January 1, 1970
    I was both disappointed with the book and myself. I just would lose focus throughout. I am also embarrassed to admit it took me until around two-thirds of the way through to realize I had combined two characters into one. They use first and last names interchangeably and it confused the heck out of me. It didn’t help that only one of the names was marginally traditional. Space battles are difficult to follow and I don’t know if that is my lack of imagination or listening skills. I would get lost I was both disappointed with the book and myself. I just would lose focus throughout. I am also embarrassed to admit it took me until around two-thirds of the way through to realize I had combined two characters into one. They use first and last names interchangeably and it confused the heck out of me. It didn’t help that only one of the names was marginally traditional. Space battles are difficult to follow and I don’t know if that is my lack of imagination or listening skills. I would get lost trying to imagine what the setting looked like.I really enjoyed the villain and much of the character development. The four primary pilots (X, Y, B, and A) are well developed and have real personalities. I did have trouble relating with them though. Many of the side character where hit or miss.The twist sucked, they shouldn’t have put in that plot line and just added a chapter at the end of the book. With all that said, I only started getting into the story around the last quarter after I fully began to understand the characters. I would be up for reading a sequel since I now know who everyone is and their motivations.UPDATE: I re-read the book right after I finished it (at like 2x listening speed) and caught a bit more. I stand by my original 3 star rating. I liked it but it wasn’t close to being in my top ten books of the year.
    more
  • Jay Gabler
    January 1, 1970
    As did Claudia Gray's superb Lost Stars (2015), Alphabet Squadron plumbs the psyche of a proud Imperial pilot who joins the Rebels (or, in this case, the fledgling New Republic) but has a hard time shaking years of indoctrination.While editing the original Star Wars, George Lucas famously used footage of aerial dogfights to stand in for the starfighter combat sequences being created by his pioneering effects team. Alphabet Squadron evokes that spirit; you could easily imagine swapping Warhawks a As did Claudia Gray's superb Lost Stars (2015), Alphabet Squadron plumbs the psyche of a proud Imperial pilot who joins the Rebels (or, in this case, the fledgling New Republic) but has a hard time shaking years of indoctrination.While editing the original Star Wars, George Lucas famously used footage of aerial dogfights to stand in for the starfighter combat sequences being created by his pioneering effects team. Alphabet Squadron evokes that spirit; you could easily imagine swapping Warhawks and Thunderbolts in for the book’s starfighters, and you’d have a story about battle-scarred Allies mopping up in the South Pacific after V-J Day.I reviewed Alphabet Squadron for The Tangential.
    more
  • Canadian Reader Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    I got 17% into this book, 17% took me ten days. Then at roughly 17 percent we have what has become a normal thing for Disney`s star wars is to force in LGBT scenes or romances that not only are out of place in this franchise but are stagnant and do nothing to enhance or progress this story forward. I do not pick up star wars books for romance nor do I pick them up for Heterosexual Love scenes, Being a heterosexual male why the hell would I want a homosexual romance in my read? Just because liber I got 17% into this book, 17% took me ten days. Then at roughly 17 percent we have what has become a normal thing for Disney`s star wars is to force in LGBT scenes or romances that not only are out of place in this franchise but are stagnant and do nothing to enhance or progress this story forward. I do not pick up star wars books for romance nor do I pick them up for Heterosexual Love scenes, Being a heterosexual male why the hell would I want a homosexual romance in my read? Just because liberals feel "Obligated" to read lgbt and other things that they have no interest in and then will slam a 5 star rating as they don't want to appear homophobic. Its getting out of Hand in North America today. Liberalism is destroying America Canada! We can`t enjoy a comedy show because it has to be vetted to ensure a god damn joke wont offend anyone. Can`t speak got to be sure someone wont be offended. My friends no matter what you do someone will be offended and 90% of the time its going to be a WHITE LIBERAL! #FIREKATHLEENKENNEDY #ENDLIBERALISM #SMASHFEMINISM!
    more
  • Anna Catherman
    January 1, 1970
    Alphabet Squadron is a bit of a wild ride. I honestly picked this up using an Audible trial just because we'd recently finally finished up watching Rebels and I wanted more Hera Syndulla (and, of course, Jacen). At the beginning, I was very underwhelmed by its somewhat slow, bumbling start, confusing plot, and slightly lackluster stakes. But eventually, it turned around and lived up to the hype, delivering a good bit of Hera (although, sadly, no Jacen), space battles that didn't feel stale or h Alphabet Squadron is a bit of a wild ride. I honestly picked this up using an Audible trial just because we'd recently finally finished up watching Rebels and I wanted more Hera Syndulla (and, of course, Jacen). At the beginning, I was very underwhelmed by its somewhat slow, bumbling start, confusing plot, and slightly lackluster stakes. But eventually, it turned around and lived up to the hype, delivering a good bit of Hera (although, sadly, no Jacen), space battles that didn't feel stale or hard to follow, and plenty of good character moments. Indeed, what really makes the book work are Alphabet Squadron's pilots---Yrica Quell, Nath Tensent, Chass na Chadic, Wyl Lark, and Kairos---all of whom were intriguing characters, and the new droids, especially IT-O and C1-T5. I'm optimistic for the rest of the trilogy and very curious as to how things will go.
    more
  • Jeremy
    January 1, 1970
    So far 2019 has been 0/2 in Star Wars cannon. This book is so long with so little to actually say. It's almost a mirror for the aftermath series where the characters are unlikable or just not interesting enough, the story feels empty and the writing seems to focus more on the feelings of the pilots while they are in battle then what is actually going on around them. I also thought story jumped around too much and when the characters told their "story" it felt pointless. Unlike Aftermath, I can't So far 2019 has been 0/2 in Star Wars cannon. This book is so long with so little to actually say. It's almost a mirror for the aftermath series where the characters are unlikable or just not interesting enough, the story feels empty and the writing seems to focus more on the feelings of the pilots while they are in battle then what is actually going on around them. I also thought story jumped around too much and when the characters told their "story" it felt pointless. Unlike Aftermath, I can't say I'll purchase anymore of this series. Star Wars/Del Ray needs to figure out the stories they want to tell. Jumping around in different time lines and telling events that don't matter isn't justifiable. I get they don't want to talk about the big 3 for the most part and that's ok, but it feels like there is no real direction with their books.
    more
  • Michael Hicks
    January 1, 1970
    Look, I struggled with this one in audiobook form. A lot. I'm not sure if it was the writing, the narration, or my headspace at the time of my daily commutes, but I just couldn't connect with this one at all. Every time I started playing Alphabet Squadron my mind would wander and I'd find myself either arriving at home or at work, having completely spaced out for forty to 60 minute increments at a time. I'd have to force myself to check in and listen, only to start asking myself "who the hell ar Look, I struggled with this one in audiobook form. A lot. I'm not sure if it was the writing, the narration, or my headspace at the time of my daily commutes, but I just couldn't connect with this one at all. Every time I started playing Alphabet Squadron my mind would wander and I'd find myself either arriving at home or at work, having completely spaced out for forty to 60 minute increments at a time. I'd have to force myself to check in and listen, only to start asking myself "who the hell are these characters again?" Even though my Audible app says I'm finished, I don't think I could tell you anything about this one. I really did try, though! And I probably should have DNF'd it for something else early on instead of thinking I could play catch up. So, no rating for now. I'm going to have to give this another shot at a later date.
    more
Write a review