|From the flames of Imperial crisis comes Inferno Squad!|
"We're going to get them Gideon. We're going to make them pay."
Imperial Senior Lieutenant Iden Versio
MILD SPOILERS AHEAD...
The Empire's "Fearsome Four"- the alternate take to Jyn Erso's brave rebel Rogue One squad, led by another battle-hardened, revenge-fuelled female star just as dedicated to her own cause in Iden Versio, are showcased in a new and fast paced adventure of covert warfare from reliable STAR WARS book talent Christie Golden, linked to the official Lucasfilm/EA Games bestseller: STAR WARS Battlefront II - Inferno Squad, out this week (27/3/18) in Arrow UK paperback.
One of the few Imperial survivors of the Battle of Yavin, and the destruction of the once-thought seemingly indestructible Death Star battle station - the ultimate firepower satellite of which she was proud to be in service during her role as a TIE fighter pilot, Iden wants bitter revenge against Princess Leia Organa and the Rebel Alliance, a terror organisation which has since become more dangerous than anyone had prior realized.
Iden is disciplined, intelligent, fiery, ambitious and attractive -using all those talents to the fullest in her personal wish to bring order to chaos in the galaxy around her, whilst living the powerbase dream of galactic rule of which she is a part, having grow up under the disciplines and doctrines of the Emperor's order and via the advice and upbringing of her strict disciplinarian, seemingly compassionless Imperial admiral father. There's certainly no love lost between them as Iden's first mission as team leader for him begins, though there is a healthy respect of sorts, and efficient businesslike relations.
|Iden Versio, as seen in the STAR WARS: Battlefront II game.|
And in this newly created group called Inferno Squad, with all the latest fruits of Imperial technology and weaponry at their disposal, Iden's new leadership role will be a true baptism of fire, in charge of a unique team of four that must yield quick results and solidify the fear that the Empire must bring to insurrectionists. A team that will comprise friendly rival Gideon Hask- an older figure, and a respected lieutenant of promotion and talent, Del Meeko, who has risen up the ranks from stormtrooper grunt to Star Destroyer engineer, and new star Seyn Marana, a keen and arrogant officer with a meticulous eye for detail from Intelligence and a brilliant blaster shot!
On a quest to find a defector from Saw Gerrera's reorganized Partisan forces who has stolen important Imperial information, Inferno Squad's earliest missions are soon interwoven: retrieve said info then infiltrate and destroy the enemy group. Killing these partisans, bolder than ever with the passing of the Death Star, should be a simple idea, but it'll soon prove anything but for Iden and her team once their infiltration of 'The Dreamers' begins, as a building storm of emotion and ideological complexity begins.
One could get fatigue with the many 'teams' of heroes and antiheroes we've had within the current realms of STAR WARS films and Expanded Universe tales, but Inferno Squad remains a solid enough read, effectively carrying on the gritty feel established by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, of which this is an official sequel of sorts. Golden keeps things moving briskly, even if the characters, including Iden Versio (clearly designed as 'the next big thing' in STAR WARS female-dom) don't particularly feel all that memorable, though there is a very satisfying use of a popular and very relevant character from The Clone Wars animated series whose ultimate fate was never shown.
Thankfully, the book has a tough and satisfying conclusion, but it's not quite as ambitious a novel and adventure that I was hoping for, feeling more like a smaller scale continuance of something like Star Wars Rebels than a movie.
The idea of Inferno Squad remains a good one, and there's lots of potential for a future series of books with the surviving characters. But let's hope for more story originality, and an overall feel of action/adventure that actually lives up to this book's evocative selling-point cover art!
AFICIONADO RATING: 3 out of 5
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