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The Clone Wars are over, but for those with reason to run from the new galactic Empire, the battle to survive has only just begun. . . . The Jedi have been decimated in the Great Purge, and the Republic has fallen. Now the former Republic Commandos–the galaxy’s finest special forces troops, cloned from Jango Fett–find themselves on opposing sides and in very different armor The Clone Wars are over, but for those with reason to run from the new galactic Empire, the battle to survive has only just begun. . . . The Jedi have been decimated in the Great Purge, and the Republic has fallen. Now the former Republic Commandos–the galaxy’s finest special forces troops, cloned from Jango Fett–find themselves on opposing sides and in very different armor. Some have deserted and fled to Mandalore with the mercenaries, renegade clone troopers, and rogue Jedi who make up Kal Skirata’s ragtag resistance to Imperial occupation. Others–including men from Delta and Omega squads–now serve as Imperial Commandos, a black ops unit within Vader’s own 501st Legion, tasked to hunt down fugitive Jedi and clone deserters. For Darman, grieving for his Jedi wife and separated from his son, it’s an agonizing test of loyalty. But he’s not the only one who’ll be forced to test the ties of brotherhood. On Mandalore, clone deserters and the planet’s own natives, who have no love for the Jedi, will have their most cherished beliefs challenged. In the savage new galactic order, old feuds may have to be set aside to unite against a far bigger threat, and nobody can take old loyalties for granted.


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The Clone Wars are over, but for those with reason to run from the new galactic Empire, the battle to survive has only just begun. . . . The Jedi have been decimated in the Great Purge, and the Republic has fallen. Now the former Republic Commandos–the galaxy’s finest special forces troops, cloned from Jango Fett–find themselves on opposing sides and in very different armor The Clone Wars are over, but for those with reason to run from the new galactic Empire, the battle to survive has only just begun. . . . The Jedi have been decimated in the Great Purge, and the Republic has fallen. Now the former Republic Commandos–the galaxy’s finest special forces troops, cloned from Jango Fett–find themselves on opposing sides and in very different armor. Some have deserted and fled to Mandalore with the mercenaries, renegade clone troopers, and rogue Jedi who make up Kal Skirata’s ragtag resistance to Imperial occupation. Others–including men from Delta and Omega squads–now serve as Imperial Commandos, a black ops unit within Vader’s own 501st Legion, tasked to hunt down fugitive Jedi and clone deserters. For Darman, grieving for his Jedi wife and separated from his son, it’s an agonizing test of loyalty. But he’s not the only one who’ll be forced to test the ties of brotherhood. On Mandalore, clone deserters and the planet’s own natives, who have no love for the Jedi, will have their most cherished beliefs challenged. In the savage new galactic order, old feuds may have to be set aside to unite against a far bigger threat, and nobody can take old loyalties for granted.

30 review for 501st

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chad Bearden

    Karen Traviss continues to be one of the best things about the Star Wars EU with this, the fourth volume in what is essentially the Clan Skirata series. As the beginning of what is basically a new, second, story arc, it lacks the emotional whallop of "Order 66", but in addition to laying the groundwork for the next series of conflicts and adventures, it also further defines the personalities of the various clones, begins to explore the myriad of relationships among the hodge-podge cast that inha Karen Traviss continues to be one of the best things about the Star Wars EU with this, the fourth volume in what is essentially the Clan Skirata series. As the beginning of what is basically a new, second, story arc, it lacks the emotional whallop of "Order 66", but in addition to laying the groundwork for the next series of conflicts and adventures, it also further defines the personalities of the various clones, begins to explore the myriad of relationships among the hodge-podge cast that inhabits Kyrimorut, peals away new and interesting layers of the Mandolorian culture, and examines the shift in atmosphere as the EU abruptly transforms from a Republic to an Empire. And all this is accomplished with an ease and grace the belies how many moving parts are grinding together to create the overall story. All of Traviss's strengths are on display here. First and foremost, her deft handling of the clones, who are an unlikely gang of diverse characters. I'm continually amused at the way she gives them all the same basic personality, then tweeks each commando so that they shine in their own peculiar way. And her grasp of their dry humor should be studied by the likes of Troy Denning, whose feeble grasps at humor never fail to yank me out of every story he's written in the last five years. Skirata's Mandos have me laughing out loud every time they slip into their deadpan banter. The other major quality of Traviss's writing that I can't ever get enough of, is her refusal to turn the Commando novels into action adventure books. Everything about her premise screams out to be written as popcorn action. But unlike a lot of the other current EU writers (I'm looking at you everybody who's writing a 'Fate of the Jedi' novel) she actually seems more concerned with character development and interpersonal relationships! I get rather tired of authors spending the bulk of their page count trying to create huge action set pieces that only serve to load the story with action. Traviss only inserts action when it serves the story, and when it's there, it is terse and cleanly written. One subtle oddity I noticed during "501st" was the fact that she rarely resorts to cliff-hanger chapter endings to manufacture cheap tension. She ends chapters on the down-beats and trusts that your love for the character will spur you into reading further. That's practically unheard of in the recent EU novels, and speaks volumes about her merits as a solid writer. The only thing that took away from my enjoyment of this novel had nothing to do with the novel itself, but with the recently circulating news that Traviss will not be writing the next book in the series. There is always the slim chance Del Rey will bring on another quality author to take over the chore of exploring the next phase of the Skirata clan's trevails. Unfortunately, we're dealing with the same publisher who entrusted the authorship of its supposedly flagship hardcover series ('Fate of the Jedi') to the likes of Chrisie Golden, who would seem more at home writing the next "Babysitters' Club" paperback. What a bunch of osik.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dale

    Of course I only find out after reading this that there's not going to be a conclusion to this series. That's seriously unsatisfying. This novel essentially cliff-hangs. Don't bother reading it - stop with Order 66. Of course I only find out after reading this that there's not going to be a conclusion to this series. That's seriously unsatisfying. This novel essentially cliff-hangs. Don't bother reading it - stop with Order 66.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    "That's how tyranny succeeds. When folks think it won't affect them. Until it eventually does." This book was selected in my Star Wars book of the month club! Plus, a good friend of mine gave me the book, which meant I absolutely had to read it! The Clone Wars has ended, and the Republic is now the Empire. Darman and Niner are stuck in Vader's 501st, Vader's Fist. Darman struggles with the events of the last book, and both long to be home on Kyrimorout with Kal Skirata, Atin, Fi, and the other r "That's how tyranny succeeds. When folks think it won't affect them. Until it eventually does." This book was selected in my Star Wars book of the month club! Plus, a good friend of mine gave me the book, which meant I absolutely had to read it! The Clone Wars has ended, and the Republic is now the Empire. Darman and Niner are stuck in Vader's 501st, Vader's Fist. Darman struggles with the events of the last book, and both long to be home on Kyrimorout with Kal Skirata, Atin, Fi, and the other rag-tags that have assembled there as a haven. Please note, spoilers from Order 66 (Star Wars: Republic Commando) may follow. I Liked: To keep myself streamlined, I will split this up into three categories: writing, characters and plot. Writing. 1.Karen Traviss' novels don't beat around the bush. They deal with big, universal themes, which this time are bigotry/prejudice, complacency, and fear. a)Prejudice permeates most of the Mandalorian characters (and the Jedi, of course). Skirata can't accept Kina Ha for being a Kaminoan and Uthan for being a scientist trying to kill his clones. The Kaminoan clones ridicule the Spaarti clones for being inferior. The rising bias against the Jedi in the Empire, the rivalry between Mandalore and the rest of the galaxy...all are potraits of prejudice and intolerance. Ny, one of the least intolerant of the group, puts it this way to the Null clones when they ridicule the Spaarti clones (page 198): "How can you dismiss them all like that when you're the first to say you're more than your genes?" We also see, in her eyes, how ironic it is for Skirata to hate the Jedi, when he happens to adopt many of the practices he criticizes in them (see page 301 for a good quote). b)Complacency is what keeps the people from revolting. Under the Empire, the galaxy has grown to not care about her galactic brothers and sisters...those on Kashyyyk, Gibad, Camaas...and many others. The quote for the review, said by Uthan on page 139, says this perfectly. c)Fear: a quote by Jusik best relays this (page 290): "Fear kept beings in line. Fear...made you mistrust and suspect everyone...and divided people didn't form up into groups to rebel." 2.Once her novel starts to roll along (particularly with the Niner and Darman scenes), you thirst for more. How are Niner and Darman going to survive in the 501st? Will anyone find out about the chip Niner has? What about the new Spaarti clone in their squad? How will the Corellian trained Ennen cope with the death of his squadmate? It was hard to put down the book in these sections. 3.Traviss again provides other Expanded Universe references, such as Jax Pavan and the Whiplash movement and Callista and the Altis' sect. Plot: 1.The story of Niner and Darman in the 501st, Vader's Fist, is definitely the highlight of the book. You get inside Vader's Fist, to see the differences between the Imperial and Republic management, the inclusion of the Spaarti clones, the distrust, and the underlying fear. Plus, they get to do a whole lot more missions, a whole lot more Jedi hunting, which means more of what made Hard Contact so amazing and what has been lacking from most of the Republic Commando books and less sitting around and bad-mouthing the Jedi. 2.Darman's personal battle of the death of Etain is particularly poignant. I feel Traviss did a good job conveying his detached self and his grieving self and I adored how Niner looked out for him. 3.This novel is set in the Imperial era, which is so undiscovered and unexplored. It's nice to see the forays out into it. 4.The fear and suspicion, mentioned in passing in the Jedi Twilight (Star Wars: Coruscant Nights I), is actually at work in Coruscant in this novel. In 501st, clone commandos can feel the growing fear, see how the Empire is coaxing people to tell on their neighbors (all I can think of is the movie, Brazil!), and basically keeping one eye open. Characters: 1.My favorite characters now include Walon Vau, Niner (who gets a point of view!! YAY!), Ny (sometimes), Commander Roly Melusar, and Maze. I've mentioned why I've liked Walon Vau before (quintessential Mando, cold, hard, calculating) and Maze too (follows orders, perfect ARC), but I will detail on the others. 2.Niner is a particularly fascinating clone. He didn't want to desert like all the others. He felt it was his duty to stay in, to fight the good fight. Only when his other brothers were going to leave, leaving him alone, did he change his mind. Through his reasonable, cautious eyes, we see the growing hatred and distrust of Jedi, his care for his brother, Darman, and how he is growing to want a life outside, yet still fearing it. 3.Nyreen is one of the few female characters Traviss has written that I actually like. Although there are still parts of her that I am not fond of (like how quickly she wants to become Mando and such), I like how she was married before, around Kal's age, independent, not so vehemently against the Jedi, and just overall being different and unique ("a voice of reason"). Through her eyes and her eyes alone, we get a balance from the Mando-heavy prejudice from the book and see how much Jedi Kal is like, how what he does really isn't much different from them. 4.Lastly, my brand-new all-time favorite is Commander Roly Melusar. Man, I can't say enough how much I like him! Here we finally get an Imperial not out for power, prestige, money, whatever, but out there to get rid of Force-users and dissenters for a reason...because he believes in the ideals of the Empire. I Didn't Like: You knew this was coming, didn't you? 1.Mandos good, Jedi bad. Highly toned down from the Republic Commando books with the balancing view off Ny (too bad she remains mostly silent on the matter to the Mandos), but still prevalent none-the-less. I could go on and on about this point, but I don't really think I need to say more. The Jedi are most certainly not perfect, but neither are the Mandalorians. 2.Good Mando wife. It sickens me to see all the women of these commando books be stripped of anything of their own, their own culture, desires, loves, hopes, and dreams and adopt without question or hesitation the Mando way. Besany was a tax auditor...and she goes to being good Mando housewife in less than 18.2 seconds. Laseema, same thing. Jilka follows the same path as Besany and Laseema by falling for yet another of our clone boys, Corr, in a gag-worthy romance. Uthan is slipping and falling for Mij Gilamar, and Nyreen appears to doing the same with Kal. Why can't Traviss create strong women who don't feel the need to drop their own personality for one their husbands can take better? Other than Parja, none of the married women have jobs outside the home (Uthan not being Mando nor married to Mij), and the one woman who didn't follow the Mando way (Kal's wife) is treated with scorn and disdain for wanting her husband to be home (I was a military kid, I could go on about this topic for a while, but I'll spare you). It's an unfair way to paint women, that they are only good if they are A) married to Mandos, B) a good, stay-at-home "Mando wife", and/or C) accept their husband's Mando ways without a qualm or thought about their own heritage and traditions. 3.Repetition. Yet again, Traviss has a few things she must make sure she says at least a dozen times in her novel. How the Nulls were saved by Skirata (as if the last three books didn't repeat that enough). How much Scout reminds Kal of Etain, how Kal hates Kaminoans and Jedi and Uthan, how Atin and Laseema can't have biological kids (which shouldn't really matter in an adoptive society like Mandalore), how hypocritical the Jedi were, how bad artuesii are, how so-and-so can't believe how "easy and quickly" she (most often she) is accepting the Mando culture, how so-and-so was surprised that she (again, most often she) wouldn't be shocked or upset if he (aka insert your Mando here) killed someone, etc., etc., etc. While I understand that new readers may be unfamiliar with the characters and history, the constant repetitions won't help them "catch up". This is not a book for the uninitiated. I figure you cut out half the extraneous repetitions, you lose about 150 pages. 4.Least Favorite characters. a)Besany, who is mostly shoved into the background (Yay!). However, there is one scene where she appears, just recently wakened and yet is said to look "glamorous". You ever see a woman just wake up? Her hair is everywhere! b)Skirata, whom I really have never liked since he appeared in Triple Zero (Star Wars: Republic Commando, Book 2). I know he loves his boys (I've heard it a billion times in between the pages), but he is overly emotional, always bawling or pouting or yelling or something-ing. c)The Nulls. All perfect Gary Stus, who can do no wrong. Plus, there are 6 interchangeable men. Maybe if it were only Ordo, I could stand them, but having six indistinguishable, perfect men is too much for me to handle. 5.Other quibbles: a)Darman's sudden change to want to return home felt out of left field. b)Kad acts way off-kilter for a toddler, even a Force sensitive one. c)Jusik having no attachment to his master? Maybe I got spoiled with the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan relationship from the Jedi Apprentice series. d)Did you hear Palpatine is a Sith? Apparently everyone in this galaxy knows. e)Too much time spent on Kyrimorout, aka "Walton's Mountain". In fact, in the beginning, I wanted to call the book "The Skiratas" after "The Waltons" because of all the time they spent at home doing homey things. Isn't this a Star Wars novel? f)No Dramatis Personae. I've always had trouble figuring out who was what and this time it was even harder than usual. Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Expect to confront the Mando curse word "fierfek". Other than that, not much. Little to none. Other than perhaps Kad being the child of a liaison between Etain and Darman and that Altis' clan take lovers, not much is made in this regard. People die in the novel, one by suicide (not to spoil too much, hopefully) and one when attacked by a Jedi. Niner and Darman see a lot of battle in this one. Overall: One hundred pages into it, I was going to throw in the towel. I just couldn't take the "At Home on Kyrimorout" any longer. This was a commando novel, where were the commandos doing something besides raising Star Wars chickens? Thankfully, the Niner and Darman story saved it and the Kyrimorout sections actually started to go somewhere besides to the barnyard. Lots of good stuff happens in this book. We get an inside view of the Empire, see Jusik wonder about his Jedi heritage, see the prejudices of the characters through a mostly unbiased eye (Nyreen), and learn more of why the Empire lasted so long (fear and complacency). Plus, there are some good Jedi chases and fights. But a lot of "filler" happens too. People talk endlessly about topics we've heard inside and out. More anti-Jedi bias. More silly Kyrimorout "happy family" scenes. And a LOT of characters (fortunately, most background). Imperial Commando: 501st is a good novel, but I would not recommend reading it unless you have read the last four Republic Commando novels. I tried to start without reading Order 66, and it was confusing. And while it has its bumps, if you don't mind a highly Mando bias (I did), you should enjoy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Iset

    All I can think is how unneeded this book was. It doesn’t feel like Star Wars and hasn’t since after the very first book in this mini-series. I didn’t find reading about the clone commandos’ snack breaks scintillating stuff in book two, and here it’s more of the same. The plot drags its heels for ages with the clones out on the homestead, where we read about growing crops and raising livestock, the women preparing meals in the kitchen, and Kal Skirata chopping logs for the fire. Thrilling. And fo All I can think is how unneeded this book was. It doesn’t feel like Star Wars and hasn’t since after the very first book in this mini-series. I didn’t find reading about the clone commandos’ snack breaks scintillating stuff in book two, and here it’s more of the same. The plot drags its heels for ages with the clones out on the homestead, where we read about growing crops and raising livestock, the women preparing meals in the kitchen, and Kal Skirata chopping logs for the fire. Thrilling. And for some reason, for a series that started out as pretty solid military fiction, the series seems to have descended into soap-opera-y nonsense. Anyone who’s single gets paired off lickety split, with the women having no problem giving up their lives and careers to completely embrace the Mandalorian way and discovering that all they ever really wanted after all was a nice strong clone and to bake bread together on a communal farm. So much of the book is centred around trivial daily events and activities, and at times it feels like Traviss is trying to write contemporary romance – I don’t know how else to explain the gas leak and the game of football in which they mull over the offside rule. By the way did you know that all of the Jedi were horrible, evil people who deserve to be hunted down by Palpatine’s agents. Sure don’t feel sorry for them! And then, to cap it all off, the series ends on a massive cliffhanger from the clone who started it all, Darman, and fans never got a sequel because it all got cancelled. Wow. Even if I was a fan of this series, that would annoy the heck out of me. Honestly it would be better to pretend these characters’ stories ended in the previous book, or, if you take my view and just don’t click with these books, just avoid the whole series. Definitely in my Top Ten Worst Star Wars Books. 1 out of 10

  5. 5 out of 5

    DC

    I love Traviss's characters, but this Commando installment is probably the weakest example of her prose. Lots of repetition. Repeating things about what Clones are like. Especially if you've read other books in this series. Stuff gets repeated. Within a few paragraphs. There's often repetition. But the characters are great. This book is also more character driven (as opposed to action driven) than her other Commando books. I'm changing my review to 2 stars instead of 3. Because the more I think ab I love Traviss's characters, but this Commando installment is probably the weakest example of her prose. Lots of repetition. Repeating things about what Clones are like. Especially if you've read other books in this series. Stuff gets repeated. Within a few paragraphs. There's often repetition. But the characters are great. This book is also more character driven (as opposed to action driven) than her other Commando books. I'm changing my review to 2 stars instead of 3. Because the more I think about it, the more obvious it is that Traviss just phoned this one in. There's all kinds of set up for how she'll wrap this all up in Imp Comm 2, but now she's not writing that book. So I'm irritated. And still annoyed by all the repetition.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rooney

    So very annoying that the series ended prematurely with this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I didn't finish this one, and I probably never will. What I did read did not thrill me. I loved the idea of seeing what happened to the clones post-Clone Wars. It was a great concept, and in someone else's hands, it could have been a great book. But this was typical Karen Traviss- filled with unnecessary romance and dripping with melodramatic emotional goo. Clone soldiers with wives and children? Weepy Mandalorians? Puh-lease. When I pick up a Star Wars book, I expect to see epic battles, politi I didn't finish this one, and I probably never will. What I did read did not thrill me. I loved the idea of seeing what happened to the clones post-Clone Wars. It was a great concept, and in someone else's hands, it could have been a great book. But this was typical Karen Traviss- filled with unnecessary romance and dripping with melodramatic emotional goo. Clone soldiers with wives and children? Weepy Mandalorians? Puh-lease. When I pick up a Star Wars book, I expect to see epic battles, political intrigue, nefarious plots and total bad-assery. Not a grown man crying over a plate of cookies. Now, if you like romance novels set in space and you think that every single flippin' character DOES need to have a spouse/significant other/mad crush, and you think it's sweet when touch guys get all teary eyed every other page, or in short, if you like Karen Traviss and you don't think she should give up and go write for Harlequin, then by all means, read this book. You'll love it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erik Hansen

    This was not as strong as the previous Commando books, and the series is starting to read like a Mandalorian ethnography. Lighter on action and intrigue, Karen Traviss has shifted the focus to personal drama and family dynamic. To be honest it's starting to feel like a soap opera, As Mandalore Turns or The Cloned and the Restless if you will. While this book was a little slower than its bretheren, I am looking forward to the next book and seeing how Darman pulls off his daring escape. Hopefully t This was not as strong as the previous Commando books, and the series is starting to read like a Mandalorian ethnography. Lighter on action and intrigue, Karen Traviss has shifted the focus to personal drama and family dynamic. To be honest it's starting to feel like a soap opera, As Mandalore Turns or The Cloned and the Restless if you will. While this book was a little slower than its bretheren, I am looking forward to the next book and seeing how Darman pulls off his daring escape. Hopefully this book was just bridging the gap between epic stories that I have come to expect from Ms. Traviss.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    Why do I keep coming back to this franchise? Maybe its because I'm a bit of a masochist who likes being hit over the head with a 2x4 of morality and ethics, or maybe it's because I want to bleed my savings account a bit more. No. The real reason is that I'm going out on limb, hoping, praying for some action sequences, moral ambiguity, and the struggle against the Empire like this novel would imply, alas I am wrong. So very, very wrong. Once more, we are given another dose of why Yoda's Jedi Order Why do I keep coming back to this franchise? Maybe its because I'm a bit of a masochist who likes being hit over the head with a 2x4 of morality and ethics, or maybe it's because I want to bleed my savings account a bit more. No. The real reason is that I'm going out on limb, hoping, praying for some action sequences, moral ambiguity, and the struggle against the Empire like this novel would imply, alas I am wrong. So very, very wrong. Once more, we are given another dose of why Yoda's Jedi Order is bad, and that there was another one all along that permits love. I don't know if I should start taking offense here, because Lucas states that he based the Jedi off warrior monks. I wonder if Traviss is aware of this? Because the way how she portrays the Jedi seem to suggest otherwise. Had she written a counter view, then this novel would be a lot better as it shows to conflicting views. But no, the entire novel is about how bad the Jedi is, it's rediculous. There are no fast paced scenes of fighting the Empire to survive, nor the fear of being hunted by Darth Vader. No. It's just talking and why Jedi are bad. Really felt like I wasted my money buying this. But hey, I've had many chances to stop, I've got no one to blame but me for getting into this.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Espresso

    This is the second disappointment of the series. In Order 66 Etain died stupidly. After proving herself intelligent and noble, she practically commits suicide. I have no problem with a character dying if it is "in character", but it was not. In this book the main problem is Darman. One must understand he has no basis for dealing with the loss of Etain, but even so he is extremely volatile and irrational, which is not at all like Darman. He decides not to desert because he thinks he can do more g This is the second disappointment of the series. In Order 66 Etain died stupidly. After proving herself intelligent and noble, she practically commits suicide. I have no problem with a character dying if it is "in character", but it was not. In this book the main problem is Darman. One must understand he has no basis for dealing with the loss of Etain, but even so he is extremely volatile and irrational, which is not at all like Darman. He decides not to desert because he thinks he can do more good in the Imperial Army then in the last segment, suddenly changes his mind. Many of the plot scenarios are left unresolved. What happens with Uthan, Ny & Skirata, Scout, Altis, Darman, Niner? This felt very slapped together. I certainly hope there is another novel on the way to rectify the last two.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    The Emperor has won and is consolidating his power. The Republic Commandos are now the Imperial Commandos. Niner and Dar are part of the 501st and their job is to track down and eliminate all Jedi. The rest of the commando brothers are trying to regroup with Skirata at their head. The favorites are back, Jusik, Fi, Ordo to name a few. I did not find this book to be in keeping with the first 4 books which I thought were excellent. Dar was just unfathomable in his attitudes and just didn't wring t The Emperor has won and is consolidating his power. The Republic Commandos are now the Imperial Commandos. Niner and Dar are part of the 501st and their job is to track down and eliminate all Jedi. The rest of the commando brothers are trying to regroup with Skirata at their head. The favorites are back, Jusik, Fi, Ordo to name a few. I did not find this book to be in keeping with the first 4 books which I thought were excellent. Dar was just unfathomable in his attitudes and just didn't wring true for me. Very distracting. The rest of the stories, essentially back stories were very good though.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tina

    Apparently I read this book instead of Order 66, thinking it was Order 66, because I'm an idiot and didn't stop to look at the cover. I guess I don't give Traviss merit as an author since I just assumed she'd just skipped over all the action that apparently occurred in the book I was supposed to read; I didn't stop to think that maybe, GASP, I was wrong. Anyway, I'm not going to bother reading Order 66 and I'm sure most of the issues I had with this novel wouldn't have been resolved had I gone i Apparently I read this book instead of Order 66, thinking it was Order 66, because I'm an idiot and didn't stop to look at the cover. I guess I don't give Traviss merit as an author since I just assumed she'd just skipped over all the action that apparently occurred in the book I was supposed to read; I didn't stop to think that maybe, GASP, I was wrong. Anyway, I'm not going to bother reading Order 66 and I'm sure most of the issues I had with this novel wouldn't have been resolved had I gone into it having read the book I was supposed to.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David

    I loved this series and hope it continues one day. I really want to see what happens to the main characters. How far will Darman go? Will Niner follow?

  14. 4 out of 5

    Uk_id

    Before I begin my review, let me first set it in its proper context. This is the first Karen Traviss/commando book I've read. Consequently, I came to 501st not knowing any of the characters or their preceding story lines. In many ways, I think this negatively affected my views of the book, for reasons I'll discuss in more detail below. Furthermore, as has been stated elsewhere, this book necessarily doesn't get a fair shake, because its sequel(s) were cancelled, thus leaving the plot and subplot Before I begin my review, let me first set it in its proper context. This is the first Karen Traviss/commando book I've read. Consequently, I came to 501st not knowing any of the characters or their preceding story lines. In many ways, I think this negatively affected my views of the book, for reasons I'll discuss in more detail below. Furthermore, as has been stated elsewhere, this book necessarily doesn't get a fair shake, because its sequel(s) were cancelled, thus leaving the plot and subplots forever unresolved. Now on to the review. Karen Traviss is a seasoned writer, so she is able to provide a (mostly) technically sound story. Aside from an instance where a character that isn’t in a scene has a line of dialogue--most likely a misprint on the part of the publisher--, I didn’t find any glaring errors in the book’s presentation. Additionally, the flow of the story moves smoothly for the most part, if not ponderously so. Even so, Ms. Traviss’s style occasionally wanders, and it rarely does so in ways that produce a literary effect. Ms. Traviss uses such instances usually to investigate deeper into character and plot points; unfortunately for me, I never got to the point where I cared enough about the characters to enjoy the tangents. (Perhaps if I had read some of the previous commando books I would have derived more utility from them, but I can only speculate on that point.) Indeed, my lack of connection and empathy for the characters often led to my skimming quickly over those parts of the book. With that said, the actions taken by the characters are causally linked to previous actions and supported sufficiently by stated motivations. This means that we the readers are not left scratching our heads trying to figure out what is going on and why, and we know how each action fits into the larger storyline. Furthermore, Ms. Traviss performed her work well enough that we understand the stakes involved; indeed, on this point I think she placed too much and too frequent an emphasis on the stakes, which had the unfortunate effect of over dramatizing them to the point of being melodramatic. Finally, Ms. Traviss worked the plot, subplots, and story well enough that the ending of the book provides plenty of promise for the (no longer viable) sequel(s). Despite the mostly positive expression above, I ultimately did not enjoy this book. I think the primary reason is my lack of familiarity with the commando series, although having not read the previous books I have no way of knowing for sure. (It may be the case that I wouldn't have liked or disliked it any more than I do now.) The first problem is the sheer number of characters Ms. Traviss throws down on a scene, either as physical participants or through mention in dialogue or thought. This problem is then magnified by the fact that several characters have numerous names. Part way through the book I wondered if I should start making a little character-web sheet just so I knew who was talking about whom. The consequent is an inability to delve into and enjoy the story, on account of constantly having to pull out of the story’s moment to try and figure out the scene's character roster. The second problem is a mismatch between expectations and reality. I bought this book expecting a slam-packed story of adventure and daring, 501st style; instead, I got a glimpse of what would happen if we were to amalgamate the 1990s sitcom Full House with All Quiet on the Western Front and Fiddler on the Roof and adapted the end result to the world of a Galaxy Far Far Away. Characters spend the vast majority of the book doing the most mundane things, like farming and talking about recipes (seriously). We’re constantly (oh so constantly) reminded that the deserter-clones and their fugitive associates are living together as a hodgepodge family. The clan is tied together through the patriarchal Skirata (the GFFA’s Tevya-cum-Chuck Norris) and the hardcore familial and warrior traditions of Mandalore. Young and old love is always there at the forefront. We the readers are supposed to immerse ourselves in these quotidian affairs and sympathize with the characters’ desire to leave war behind and live normal, peaceful lives. Moreover, we’re supposed to worry about the characters’ inability to do so, because they are wanted and hunted by the Empire and are under constant threat of attack--the clones are never able to really leave their warrior selves behind. All of that is fine for environmental texture and demonstrations of motivations and stakes, but it goes so far beyond doing so that it becomes the focus of the narrative and thus the story. For the first 100 pages of the book, we’re treated over and over again to these themes. After a brief moment of frenetic activity by the two clone troopers left behind and still serving in the 501st (literally more than a 100 pages into the book) , the narrative slows way down and again returns to focusing almost exclusively on the themes mentioned previously. Ultimately, the story suffers from a significant paucity of fist-to-face action or any physical action really. As stated at the onset, this serious disconnect between what I was expecting and what I got created an insurmountable deficit in my enjoyment of the book. (Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing necessarily wrong with the themes discussed above, it’s just that when I pick up a book about clone troopers in the GFFA, I want blasters and explosions; I couldn’t care less about their pigs, wood fences, or romantic interests.) The third problem was the preoccupation, nay, the obsession with Etain. It didn’t take more than a few pages to establish that the Jedi Knight Etain had had an illicit relationship with Darman, which resulted in the birth of a son. In the same span of pages, it was also clearly established that Etain was killed during Order 66. And yet, beat after beat in the narrative is dedicated to reminding us that Etain is dead. The characters constantly bring the focus of their thoughts or conversations to the fact that Etain is dead. One moment a clone is looking at his breakfast and the next he’s choking up about Etain being dead. One moment the clones are laughing about something and the next they’re berating themselves for joviality while Etain is dead. Yeah, we got it. She’s dead and the characters have been affected by this death. I don’t need a reminder almost every chapter that Etain is dead. Let’s move on to the blasters and explosions! In all seriousness though, there are a couple of problems with how Ms. Traviss handles this subplot. It makes sense (story-wise) that Darman would focus in on the death of Etain. Her death and their son, after all, are the foundation for his motivation. It drives his actions in the story. Thus, whenever that narration from Darman’s point of view focused on Etain’s death, I got it. I went with it. As for all of the other characters, however, Etain’s death was more a lingering shadow than an impetus or motivation for action. Consequently, once Ms. Traviss established Etain’s death and demonstrated once or twice the constant negative effect on the clones and their acquaintances, she should have moved on and focused on something else when providing us narrative from their points of view. Ultimately, Etain’s death lost almost all meaning to me, because the book’s obsession over the event gave it a very narmish constitution. In the final analysis, this isn’t the worst book I’ve read. There were some good parts. I appreciate the fact that Ms. Traviss was able to remain honest as an author by not tacitly condoning the characters’ double standards, but called them out on it in both narration and dialogue. As I said before, the book is mostly technically sound. My biggest problem with the story then is that it moves way too slow for an action novel (you can’t call a book an imperial commando novel and then not give us an action-driven story!) and it simply did not meet my expectations. No doubt many have no problem with the pace or the focus, as I did. But for those looking to read a story about storm troopers bashing down doors, blowing up buildings, and just being the terrorists they are meant to be, this book will likely disappoint.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Collin Henderson

    [email protected] 50/ 434 So kuch has been established and happened to the cast at this point in the series. Its revealed a different side of the sometimes simplistic Star Wars universe, and also delivered on mostly compelling war dramas. Its why I'm sad to say I dropped this one. I looked up the plot summary, and a lot of good stuff happens in here. The problem is that it exemplifies the worst aspects of the series up to this point. Traviss is a frustrating writer, because she repeatedly demonstrates a knack [email protected] 50/ 434 So kuch has been established and happened to the cast at this point in the series. Its revealed a different side of the sometimes simplistic Star Wars universe, and also delivered on mostly compelling war dramas. Its why I'm sad to say I dropped this one. I looked up the plot summary, and a lot of good stuff happens in here. The problem is that it exemplifies the worst aspects of the series up to this point. Traviss is a frustrating writer, because she repeatedly demonstrates a knack for looking at the fantastical elements of the prequels and grounding them with real world morality in a way that's interesting and thought provoking. She was also in dire need of a good editor, because every book past the first is bloated, with each one showing more and more of that bloat. None of these books needed to be as long as they were. It was less noticeable with previous books since they captured war time paranoia and shifting loyalties so well. Now that the empire has touched down though, it leaves Traviss to self indulge in the extreme. Skirata is more of a Mary sue than ever here. We are reminded time and time again of how he does everything for "his boys" and how unwaveringly loyal they are to him. We get such long, drawn out scenes that even David Lynch would probably say they were too long. And after reading the plot summary, i think you can skip this one. Because even though some good stuff happens in it, it's overall a setup book for a final (?) volume that we will never get. It lacks the ever buildimg dread that built over the course of three and two thirds books that culminated in order 66 and its bittersweet finale. It lacks major developments that move the story forward. It indulges in its probably too large cast of characters to a fault. And this is all in the first 50 pages. There's so much to love in this series despite its sometimes glaring flaws with its writing. In many ways, the fact that it never got an ending is extremely frustrating. But really, i would argue that you can probably stop at Order 66. There are still some loose threads left by it, but it concluded a lot of what was built up in the Republic Era books in really nice ways. If we got a second Imperial Commando book (that may have closed the series?) I may be more willing to follow through with this. As things are, and Will forever be, this book is not needed, even if you enjoyed the first 4 books in the series. It sets up a whole bunch of stuff that would have been paid off in a book we will never get. I guess these feelings summarize my experience with the series as a whole. After the positively incredible Hard Contact, the books became too long and self indulgent. The difference between those and this one is that the others at least built towards a great climax at the end of Order 66. This showcases Traviss's worst habits with little of her brilliance. And, as they say, that's all she wrote.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    Star Wars Legends Project #174 Background: 501st was written by Karen Traviss. It was published in October of 2009. This is the 5th and final book in Traviss's Republic Commando series. Her other Star Wars books include 3 of the Legacy of the Force series. 501st begins 3 weeks after the Battle of Coruscant, 19 years before the Battle of Yavin. The book features all of the surviving characters from the series so far, focusing as usual on Kal Skirata, Darman, and Bardan Jusik. The book takes pla Star Wars Legends Project #174 Background: 501st was written by Karen Traviss. It was published in October of 2009. This is the 5th and final book in Traviss's Republic Commando series. Her other Star Wars books include 3 of the Legacy of the Force series. 501st begins 3 weeks after the Battle of Coruscant, 19 years before the Battle of Yavin. The book features all of the surviving characters from the series so far, focusing as usual on Kal Skirata, Darman, and Bardan Jusik. The book takes place mostly on Coruscant and Mandalore. Summary: The Jedi have fallen and the Republic has become the Empire. Clan Skirata struggles to pick up the pieces as they begin their new life in exile on Mandalore, having sustained devastating losses in their escape from Coruscant. Kal hopes for at least a partial restoration if they can rescue Darman and Niner, left behind in the chaos and now pressed into service in the Empire's relentless push to conclude the Jedi Purge. Meanwhile, as the Imperials move to consolidate a stranglehold over the entire galaxy, Clan Skirata wonders whether they can keep from being drawn back into war. Review: I wouldn't have believed after finishing the fantastic first book in this series that I would be so happy to see it end, and end in premature cancellation. The completist in me rebels at this, but nothing good could have come of any further stories wasted on these tiresome characters. It does still rub me the wrong way that Traviss was driven to quit the series after The Clone Wars animated series unceremoniously steamrolled all of her meticulous Mandalorian world-building, but "self-indulgent" doesn't even begin to describe the melodramatic depths to which this series has sunk. The book, like (frankly) most of the rest of this series, exists as an excuse to spend more time with the characters and inch their series arc forward another few inches, and any smaller "story" that happens is almost an afterthought, stretched impossibly thin across pages and pages of filler as the same conversations play out again and again. And at this point, I just have so much contempt for these people and their values that it's almost painful. The central conflict here is that our heroes don't seem to understand that the Jedi Order has been shattered beyond repair, and are still obsessed with petty prejudice against a dwindling group of fugitives on the brink of being hunted to exctinction while the rest of the galaxy crumbles around them. Desperate Jedi keep showing up at Skirata's secret hideout, and he won't let them stay and he can't let them go. So, the characters argue and argue about what to do, and clones spout absurd lines like, "I'd willingly give my life for you, but I won't risk it for a Jedi. Not even a kind one. It makes a mockery of everything we've been through." Not only is this complete nonsense, but one of the Jedi in question is a child, and somehow I'm supposed to believe this presents a real moral conundrum as opposed to being just flatly obvious to anyone who isn't a sociopath. But of course, even when Skirata questions his own outrageous attitudes and behavior (because ceratinly none of the other characters will), they are quick to reassure him that of course he's a saint among mortals: "Am I being a bigot? About Jedi, I mean." "Well, you are a bigot, but you gave Jusik a chance. And you haven't shot Kina Ha or Scout yet." Could the bar for being a good person possibly be any lower? "You tolerate this guy who renounced the Jedi Order to worship at your feet, and you haven't murdered a child and an old woman yet (... YET!), so you're pretty much a paragon of compassion and restraint." They're actually proud of him for scraping up the literal bare minimum of civilized decency. But even this dilemma ultimately comes to nothing, as we are presented with a loophole that allows Skirata to have his cake and eat it, too. And still, his is almost a decent arc compared to some of the others. I very much want to throw Darman off of the nearest Coruscant skyscraper for the outrageously stupid 180 flip he does here. Traviss left me with no one to root for . . . why read on at that point? Even developments that felt like they might go somewhere interesting earlier on seem empty and flat here. During the last few books, some of the clones have begun movings towards having families, but "one-dimensional" is a generous way to characterize how well-developed these relationships are. Traviss even draws attention to how flat this is at one point, though I'm not entirely sure it was intentional. One of the earliest clone relationships, aside from Darman, was between Ordo and Besany Wennen. They're both fine characters, at least in terms of potential, but their relationship is as devoid of chemistry as any I've ever read. In retrospect, they ended up together almost by default, and they never seem to actually develop any sort of real connection with each other beyond the simple fact that they're married . . . for some reason. Pretty late in the novel, Besany says: "Actually, the point I was making was that I spend less time with you now than I did when you were in the army." And I was like, "Hang on a second, she's right! I don't know that they've had one other scene together this whole novel, or even a scene where either of them was particularly upset that they aren't really spending time together." And then Ordo replies, "But we're married now." ... What? Besany: "If romance isn't dead, it's certainly coughing up blood." Boy, you said it. What is this mess? And then, that's kind of the end of it. I think they resolve to do better? I honestly can't be bothered to remember, but that exchange doesn't really turn into anything. I almost think it was meant to be a bit of fish-out-of-water humor about her adjusting to the always-exalted "Mando" culture. Just . . . get me out of here. D+

  17. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    It's no secret by now that Traviss was all about the Madaloeans and their culture, but by now, five books into one series with three others that are tangentially related, it's getting a little tiresome. I enjoy the worlds and characters she created, but how many kids does Skirata have now? Fifteen? Maybe more? Extending that culture among this many novels strains some of what makes the stories and characters interesting, as the novels become repetitious. In 501st, Darman and Niner are now a part It's no secret by now that Traviss was all about the Madaloeans and their culture, but by now, five books into one series with three others that are tangentially related, it's getting a little tiresome. I enjoy the worlds and characters she created, but how many kids does Skirata have now? Fifteen? Maybe more? Extending that culture among this many novels strains some of what makes the stories and characters interesting, as the novels become repetitious. In 501st, Darman and Niner are now a part of the Imperial Commando unit, while the rest of their teammates have deserted back to Mandalore. A large part of the novel is devoted to how Darman and Niner are going to make it back to join them, and there's an additional plot involving Uthan developing a virus that will make Mandalore immune to Palpatine's biological weapon, but for the most part, nothing happens in this book. It's 434 pages of build-up for the second half of this series, which, famously, was never written. You can find a summary of what Traviss had in store for her characters on the Star Wars wiki, and it looks like it would have been a good continuation and conclusion to Skirata and his extended family. Unfortunately, it doesn't save the book from being long, tedious, repetitive, and ultimately pointless. The saving grace for this book is that people who have already made the journey with these characters through the Republic Commando novels will get one last chance to see them. It's just a shame that it comes with an unresolved ending. The previous books were self-contained stories that followed a larger arc; 501st is not. Even if the second book had been written and published, I'd still be disappointed that this book is just setup for the next one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jim C

    A novel set in the universe that we all know and love. This book is not considered canon. It is the continuation of the Republic Commando series but it is known as the Imperial Commando novel since the galaxy is now ruled by the Empire. I strongly recommend reading the previous books before this one. In this book we learn how recent events are affecting everyone and how they are adjusting to their new lives. The old adage "out of the frying pan into the fire" describes this book. This series is n A novel set in the universe that we all know and love. This book is not considered canon. It is the continuation of the Republic Commando series but it is known as the Imperial Commando novel since the galaxy is now ruled by the Empire. I strongly recommend reading the previous books before this one. In this book we learn how recent events are affecting everyone and how they are adjusting to their new lives. The old adage "out of the frying pan into the fire" describes this book. This series is not your typical Star Wars book. They do not have lightsaber duels or spaceship battles. In fact there isn't much action in this book. That being said, this is a terrific series and should be read if you are a fan of this universe. The writer does a fantastic job with the general atmosphere and she gets the most out of her characters. Even though some of the book deals with the mundane you feel for the characters and are wishing that they find peace and happiness. What I really love about this series is how she ties it in with the movies. She does such a great job giving an explanation to plotlines from these books and the movies. I absolutely love her reasoning of why stormtroopers are so inept in the original trilogy. This is one of the better series in this universe and is more character driven than action. There is a caveat though. This ends with a cliffhanger that will not be resolved as there are no more books to this series. Such a shame too!!!! Even with this I strongly recommend this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Prashanth

    Well, what happens when a science fiction book gets wholly concerned about the human part and not really anything else? This book more or less answers this question. This is my first star wars book, and I really doubt whether I will pick up another star wars book by the same author. There is no beginning, no stuff to think about the way story progresses and, certainly, there is no end - one boring journey to nowhere. To summarise: > Kal Skirata is filthy rich, he wants to protect clones > Clones wa Well, what happens when a science fiction book gets wholly concerned about the human part and not really anything else? This book more or less answers this question. This is my first star wars book, and I really doubt whether I will pick up another star wars book by the same author. There is no beginning, no stuff to think about the way story progresses and, certainly, there is no end - one boring journey to nowhere. To summarise: > Kal Skirata is filthy rich, he wants to protect clones > Clones want to belong to something. They are loyal to Kal. Some are out of jedi order and in the empire (NOT to be confused with the republic), and are ageing rapidly > There are some other humans who really don't do anything much. There is also an alien jedi who again does not do anything > No one is worried about what is happening in the big bad world/universe. Everyone worries about the next hour / day, about petty issues and are too involved in their own personal sob stories > No one gives a damn (or a cursory glance) about how technology is and where it is going. People dont have qualms about experimenting with germ warfare in their own back yard, space ships get parked in truck bay like thingies, communication across light years happens in real time > Mando guys are half-wits who aren't really out-of-place in 18th century earth. They like to (sic) kill using sharp things > All that Mando language gets on one's nerves Is this what star wars about?

  20. 4 out of 5

    William

    I am glad this series is over, but the ending of this book certainly indicated that Traviss had more to say about her Mando-inspired clones who fled from the ranks of the burgeoning Empire under Palpatine. It is too bad she had so little to say throughout the novel to begin with. There were just so many issues with this book, I don't know where to start: 1) too many characters. Every chapter seemed to introduce someone new to the plot if not the series in general. Sure, everyone likes it when an I am glad this series is over, but the ending of this book certainly indicated that Traviss had more to say about her Mando-inspired clones who fled from the ranks of the burgeoning Empire under Palpatine. It is too bad she had so little to say throughout the novel to begin with. There were just so many issues with this book, I don't know where to start: 1) too many characters. Every chapter seemed to introduce someone new to the plot if not the series in general. Sure, everyone likes it when an old character from another novel/series shows up, but not all of them. 2) pointless plot. For instance, you have most of the clones hiding away on Mandalore. And that is what they do...hide. Nothing else. Nothing. And then there is a scientist trying to develop a way to slow down the hyper-accelerated aging process in the clones, or is she? Maybe she is developing a toxin to wipe out Palpatine's clones, nope. Now it is a antidote for an earlier developed virus that has killed millions, or then again, maybe not. Who knows?? 3) too much Mando. The autesii who wrote this shabuir is not my ner vod, and can kiss my shebs!! You get my point. 4) I could go on, but to what end? May be the worst Star Wars novel since "The Crystal Star". But don't worry Karen Traviss fans, it wasn't that bad!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I normally hate reviewing books. I don't enjoy getting into the technical aspects of a story, because as I read it, thats not what I think about. I read to enjoy, not to critique. On that note, I will say that the Commando series is one that completely grabbed me by the neck and didn't let go. I felt that Traviss did an exemplary job at developing her characters, and establishing a connection with the reader. I don't think that there were any parts in the Commando series, or this continuation o I normally hate reviewing books. I don't enjoy getting into the technical aspects of a story, because as I read it, thats not what I think about. I read to enjoy, not to critique. On that note, I will say that the Commando series is one that completely grabbed me by the neck and didn't let go. I felt that Traviss did an exemplary job at developing her characters, and establishing a connection with the reader. I don't think that there were any parts in the Commando series, or this continuation of it that I was bored. Unfortunately, there will be be no closure for our still living characters, at least not from Traviss's pen. She's said on her blog (a few times now, for those of us in denial) that she's leaving the SW universe due to...I dunno, creative differences or something? but she also tells us how she would have ended everything, w/o the details that make her stories so fantastic.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rob Gould

    I thought this book was 434 pages of dr. phil, married with children, and jerry springer all rolled up under the title of Star Wars. This had nothing to do with the other books in the series except for the characters. As a book on the Republic Commando, and the last book in the series, you would have figured this novel would be chalked up with suspense and intrigue as the commandos were on the run. But no, it was a story filled with loathing and scorn for what one of the main characters had done I thought this book was 434 pages of dr. phil, married with children, and jerry springer all rolled up under the title of Star Wars. This had nothing to do with the other books in the series except for the characters. As a book on the Republic Commando, and the last book in the series, you would have figured this novel would be chalked up with suspense and intrigue as the commandos were on the run. But no, it was a story filled with loathing and scorn for what one of the main characters had done to set up his so called family on a remote planet. Maybe coupled with about 20 pages total of action and suspense. And a lot of anti-Jedi talk. Really horrible book, and I do hope that if there ever is another book in this series written, that it is not written by the same author. And I hope she never writes another Star Wars novel again.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    This book sucked. Disappointed is a good word to start with, I guess. A book called the 501st has basically nothing to do with the 501st. Instead, it's about a few clone troopers and surviving Jedi trying to convince a few other troopers to join up with them in exile shortly after the Clone Wars ended. The book is nothing but incredibly long winded, pointless dialog and settings. Detail is fine, as long as it actually means something. I don't care what these people had for breakfast, or what tha This book sucked. Disappointed is a good word to start with, I guess. A book called the 501st has basically nothing to do with the 501st. Instead, it's about a few clone troopers and surviving Jedi trying to convince a few other troopers to join up with them in exile shortly after the Clone Wars ended. The book is nothing but incredibly long winded, pointless dialog and settings. Detail is fine, as long as it actually means something. I don't care what these people had for breakfast, or what that has to do with the 501st. My disappointment is probably my own fault, because I thought this book would be solely about the 501st, and how they became Vader's feared group of mercenaries. If that's what you're hoping for, don't read this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    Easily the worst of Traviss' Commando novels. It suffers the same mind-numbing repetition as all the others, but with none of the action to back it up. There's a lot of what-ifs, and Etain manages to take a lot of their focus despite being a pile of ashes in a jar. There at so many annoyances that crop up in this book, little things that really started appearing in True Colors and just got worse as the series wore one. There's just not enough substance to make it try to work. And pairing off every Easily the worst of Traviss' Commando novels. It suffers the same mind-numbing repetition as all the others, but with none of the action to back it up. There's a lot of what-ifs, and Etain manages to take a lot of their focus despite being a pile of ashes in a jar. There at so many annoyances that crop up in this book, little things that really started appearing in True Colors and just got worse as the series wore one. There's just not enough substance to make it try to work. And pairing off every female character -- except Arla who probably would have gone off to find Mando love in the never completed sequel -- is not a substitute for character development. Despite the unresolved cliffhanger ending, I'm glad that this was the last Commando novel.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Hyde

    One of the worst books I have ever read. The author introduced way too many characters, there was no central plot, there were multiple plots that did not tie in with each other, made up words that are used that the reader is apparently supposed to know it's meaning, and too many references to are 21st century life styles. If you are a Star Wars fan and are looking for action this is NOT the book you are looking for. One of the worst books I have ever read. The author introduced way too many characters, there was no central plot, there were multiple plots that did not tie in with each other, made up words that are used that the reader is apparently supposed to know it's meaning, and too many references to are 21st century life styles. If you are a Star Wars fan and are looking for action this is NOT the book you are looking for.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Deseret

    While this book is just as well written and engaging as the Republic Commando series, the ending makes you wish you hadn't read the book at all. There is no closure for any of the characters, and the author only draws you into more characters. No closure, happy or otherwise. While this book is just as well written and engaging as the Republic Commando series, the ending makes you wish you hadn't read the book at all. There is no closure for any of the characters, and the author only draws you into more characters. No closure, happy or otherwise.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I'm glad it's her last contribution to the Star Wars universe. I'm glad it's her last contribution to the Star Wars universe.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jason Kent

    I was very disappointed with this novel. I liked the other commando novels, but I felt like nothing happened in this one. Very difficult to power through this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jalen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As a Star Wars fan, I love this book because it hits my childhood memories with twists of mixed problems and dark themes in a good way. Let me explain. SPOILERS! Star Wars Imperial Commando tells the story of refugees struggling to survive after a galactic conflict called the Clone Wars. Two stories are told at the same time in third person. One story is about a group of clone troopers and other refugees of different species surviving on the neutral planet of Mandalore, while another story tells As a Star Wars fan, I love this book because it hits my childhood memories with twists of mixed problems and dark themes in a good way. Let me explain. SPOILERS! Star Wars Imperial Commando tells the story of refugees struggling to survive after a galactic conflict called the Clone Wars. Two stories are told at the same time in third person. One story is about a group of clone troopers and other refugees of different species surviving on the neutral planet of Mandalore, while another story tells of two clones part of an elite squadron in the Empire. The twist is that one has a kid and wants to get home but is in conflict with himself after his wife was killed. This was told in the beginning of the book. Back in Mandalore, many events occur that test the group of refugees to the point of distrust in each other. The two stories coincide, existing as one but told in different chapters. Sometimes one chapter is devoted to one story, while another devotes itself to both. It’s a mix and usually keeps it’s tone when switching to one another. This dark tone that Karen Traviss creates is interpreted by the deaths and memories that are explored by the characters in an appropriate way. The back story is important to building the story, which Karen does well in Imperial Commando. Because of Karen’s story coming together well, the book established a welcoming mood and two main and broad settings that are described well by a good usage of imagery. The urban slumps of Corusant is well described as being dirty, crowded, and dangerous. This planet is the setting of the elite squadron’s role, which fits well. Karen uses the planet of Mandalore as a contrast to Corusant. It’s more organized and isn’t as crowded. As I progressed through the book, it uses a new language in certain cases. This language was called Mandalorean. Like english, it’s well known across the galaxy and is spoken a few times. I read and memorized some words that are repeated, helping me understand the context. For example, Bardi’ka meant brother and was spoken by the two elite clones. It made sense through the story because they are brothers, but it begins to be spoken more often by other side characters that come to shape the main characters of the story. The characters are another great thing about this book. Everyone is different, including the clones. Personalities are established and may even change during the book. Each character has expectations of another character when it came to their personality, which adds to the story because they try to choose their words carefully and you go through this story of family conflict. The relationship of certain characters are established well. Certain ones are romantic, others are on each other’s neck. The tension that Karen puts between a Jedi and a clone who hated them was suspenseful. Internal and external conflicts were carefully chosen to help build upon the relationship, like a doctor who worked for the bad guys and ran away. The virus she created was then used on her home planet, killing everyone she loved and knew. This was a turning point in the book that shook me up. Karen wrote a book that has great character building when the tides shifts over time. Overall, this book is a really good book and I recommend it because it will keep you stuck on the story. But, I don’t recommend to people who don’t know what Star Wars is about and know the back story of certain movies. Especially those who haven’t watched Episode 3 & 4 of the Star Wars Trilogy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LadyDragon76

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. FUCK YOU, DISNEY for stomping in and fucking Star Wars books up. This book was as good as the first 4 in the series, and I really liked it. It was intense, and had a lot of what the Twin calls, 'reader nervousness'. That thing where you can really feel that shit's gonna hit the fan, but you just don't know HOW, or in WHAT WAY, or WHO is going to come out the other side alive. Also, *slaps Darman in the back of the head*. Look, I get it. Trauma. But that boy needs his head extracted from his ass S FUCK YOU, DISNEY for stomping in and fucking Star Wars books up. This book was as good as the first 4 in the series, and I really liked it. It was intense, and had a lot of what the Twin calls, 'reader nervousness'. That thing where you can really feel that shit's gonna hit the fan, but you just don't know HOW, or in WHAT WAY, or WHO is going to come out the other side alive. Also, *slaps Darman in the back of the head*. Look, I get it. Trauma. But that boy needs his head extracted from his ass STAT. HOWEVER!!! Since there is no 6th/Final (?) book in this series, it means I can headcanon whatever the fuck I want. SO! Darman and Niner go to Mandalore, manage to ditch Rede somehow (or he clevers up and wants to be free too) and Daddy Kal gives Darman the smack from reality that he needs, and while we can't stop Death Watch, and we can't stop the empire, Clan Skirata and Friends CAN bug out and live happily ever after somewhere out of reach. Also, since they're still stuck, Vau gets Boss, Scorch, and Fixer off Corrie, find Sev (who's been living the life and helping the Wookiees) and they are safe and sound too with Kal & Co. *sage nod* That's how it goes, people. I'm not sure what more to really say about this book in particular. It ENDS before the end on a major cliffhanger the author never meant to leave hanging indefinitely. I don't blame Traviss at all for that. She can't come back and finish it even if she wanted to because the rules Disney has imposed. Maybe one day shit will loosen up and a miracle will occur, and not only will Traviss be able to, but she'll be inspired to finish the series, but until that Mythic Someday... *points up* Happily Ever After happened, even if it's just in my head. Solid rec though. Get the whole series and read it, cuz it's really damn well done, and I loved every bit of it even when I wanted to slap or shake the shit out of the characters. These books made me CARE, and I LOVE that. P.S. I found a thing Traviss wrote up on her plans for Book 6, and it basically goes hope I hoped it would with a few extra marriages mixed in. The clones get fixed, Darman returns to the family, and Clan Skirata escapes the Empire. \o/

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