Video game tie-in novels are, for the most part, overlooked on my part. It’s a subgenre of book you rarely hear much about, and what you hear always seems to border on “okay.” And then came Alexander Freed’s Battlefront tie-in, Twilight Company, that’s caused some stir in the community. Not only does it canonize the battles we see in the Star Wars: Battlefront game, but it’s a decent novel throughout.
The first thing that stood out to me upon reading this latest adventure in the Star Wars universe was the fact that it felt incredibly different in both style and tone to anything I’ve read from the franchise to date. And I mean that as the greatest compliment. It is one of the freshest takes on the galaxy far far away you’ll ever experience. It doesn’t have the hope inherent in the films or other novels, where you follow morally righteous and good individuals. It doesn’t feel like a filler book either, as it takes place over a long period of time. This is a war novel.
And with war novels you generally get depressing characters. Characters without hope; characters that have nothing to live for but the fight. Our primary protagonist Hazram Namir fits the bill, and we watch his journey throughout the grueling war the Rebels face against the Empire. But with many self-destructive characters, they often become their own worst protagonist. Maybe not to the detriment of the tale, but certainly in regards to their mental state. His allegiance isn’t to the Rebel Alliance, but to his company, and it’s interesting watching this neutral character react to life on the front line of battle.
His company, Twilight Company, is a fragile, often shattered group of individuals that fight alongside him. Despite Namir’s lack of enthusiasm for the Rebel’s cause, Twilight Company as a whole is a group that truly wishes to cripple the Empire. They’re constantly thrown into the battlefront, heading the dirty missions that High Command sends their way.
And the novel has a lot of death. War isn’t just a concept in Star Wars. We see the ramifications, the sacrifices plain as day. But because of the constant numbing nature of the narrative, it’s hard to ever feel for characters before or after their parting. There’s little time, beyond ceremonial sessions, where we dwell on those who pass, and this is the biggest shame. One character, near the end of the novel truly did deserve an excellent sendoff, but we were robbed of that moment. It really would have taken the book to another level if we would have seen more of that.
The multiple POVs helped give the novel some scale, certainly, but at the end of the day they prove no more essential to the plot then had they been absent altogether. Had the author merely stuck to two, and worked within those confines of good vs bad perspectives, it’d be the stronger narrative for it. I will say that Tabor Seitaron’s perspective from a more Imperial conservative side was really intriguing.
Overall, this is an excellent novel, worthy of any fan’s time. If you’re worried this will feel like a video game, have no fear. I forgot this was about a video game, because it felt so real. Don’t miss this one.