This week I had planned to do a mini book haul but due to being super busy, unwell and having technical difficulties I’ve instead decided to bring you the best of the stream I did on Twitch on the evening of Day Five of Star Wars week for those of you that missed it. The plan was originally to just play Battlefront but the rig I was using couldn’t quite play it while also streaming so after a break I switched out to Mass Effect 3, one of my absolute favourite games! I apologise for the not quite up to standard editing but my hearing is a little out right now and I was unable to film any kind of intro. I hope you enjoy it all the same and I’ll promise I’ll have a book talk for you next week. *technology permitting.
Inferno Squad by Christie Golden.
Published: July 25th 2017 by Del Ray
“You know what they say, live in hope, die is despair.”
The Rebellion may have heroes like Jyn Erso and Luke Skywalker. But the Empire has Inferno Squad.
After the humiliating theft of the Death Star plans and the resulting destruction of the battle station, the Empire is on the defensive. In response to this stunning defeat, the Imperial Navy has authorized the formation of an elite team of soldiers, known as Inferno Squad. Their mission: infiltrate and eliminate the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s Partisans. Following the death of their leader, the Partisans have carried on his extremist legacy, determined to thwart the Empire—no matter what the cost. Now, Inferno Squad must prove their status as the best of the best and take down the Partisans from within. But as the danger intensifies and the threat of discovery grows, how far will Inferno Squad go to ensure the safety of the Empire?
The way I picked this book to read wasn’t my usual method. I decided to try out a free trial of the Battlefront II and after playing barely an hour of the story driven campaign mode I knew this game was for me. When I decided to buy the game the same site recommended Inferno Squad, a book about Iden Versio and her team whom I’d just spent an hour playing as and interacting with, I was mildly interested but wasn’t sure, I had so many other books on my TBR right now. Then I saw it was by Christie Golden, one of my all time favorite authors and that sealed the deal. Golden has written pretty much every one of my favorite Warcaft novels and I adore her story telling.
Inferno Squad is a prequel to the story we can play in campaign mode in the video game Battlefront II so I wasn’t expecting huge things from the story, maybe just a little world building and backstory and we did get that but we got so much more as well. Although you can tell from the way the book end that there is certainly more to come it’s still a good, enjoyable whole story. Inferno Squad takes place not long after the first Death Star is destroyed, which, being one of the only survivors we see from Iden’s point of view. Due to the time line I did find this book was a little more enhanced having watched the Rouge One film as the Partisan’s were originally led by Saw Guerra from the film, it’s not essential to enjoying the story but it just adds an extra dimension (and pain!).
Being a Christie Golden book I was pleased to find the writing was just as great as I remember. Inferno Squad features different points of view from the four team members and I was pleased to find that each POV was almost immediately distinguishable. Events flowed together well and it was a nice change to find that I was very rarely jolted out of the narrative. There are some fantastic lines of dialogue to be found in this book and I made a note of a lot of quotes but sadly most of them are too spoiler entwined to post. One of my favorites as done so well though that it felt like a literal punch in the gut.
Each of the four team members of the Inferno Squad are introduced well, easy to visualise and get a feel for almost straight away. Through their interactions with each other and the members of the partisan’s, the phrase “The best lies always hold a grain of truth” or something to that effect is used a lot and you can really see the team come through even while trying to infiltrate the enemy. They, like the Partisan’s themselves are very easy to become attached to and although they are agents of “The Empire” they are still for the most part, good people which leads to some fantastic scenes of moral dilemma, some of which are utterly heart wrenching.
Recently (especially after Phasma) I’ve quite enjoyed reading books from the Imperial/First Order side of things. Quite often a lot of these characters just want peace and feel that if they do the hard/dirty work others won’t have to. It’s quite strange seeing the good aspects in those on the side of “the bad guys” but it seems to be a running trait in almost every Star Wars book I’ve read so far and a part I enjoy. The idea that not everyone is just good or bad and the very real notion that good people can do bad things for what they feel is the right reason and vice versa. The Partisan’s as well are characters that are mostly very likable as well. We get to see a lot of these people when they are at their most vulnerable, we learn their passions and their weaknesses which make you feel very close to them, thus adding to the moral dilemma that I feel is completely central to this story.
This story feels less about the actual events that happen then about the progression and growth of it’s characters. The events are interesting and help to give this book their “Star Wars feel” but I think it’s the journey that every single one of these characters go on and the way you feel about each of them at the end that really makes this a great book, for me personally at least. The book on the whole is fantastic, it’s entertaining, engaging and thought provoking, I love any book that can do that easily and not at the expense of good character development. Although I feel I may have preferred the actual “story” of Bloodline, I don’t think I’ve become this attached to a group of characters in Star Wars outside of the films and even then maybe even more so in some cases. I look forward to playing the rest of the campaign and finding were Inferno Squad ends up at the end of it all. I would also like to request that Christie Golden write more books set in the Star Wars universe please!
Scrolling through Twitter aimlessly when I was meant to be writing a blog last night I came across a tweet from someone who’s daughter had been crying because she wanted to wear her Star Wars top to school the next day but was worried she would laughed at for liking “boy stuff” so her mother asked people retweet and comment to show her how awesome girl Star Wars fans are. At the time of writing that tweet has been retweeted 2,711 times, received 4,472 likes and 946 comments from people all over the world including other parents, cosplayers, astronauts, voice actors from the Star Wars TV shows and authors including Christie Golden who has written for Star Wars among many other fandoms and so many more all backing this seven year old fan. It is by far the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on Twitter and I welled up reading through all the amazing responses. It got me thinking about how much the women in Star Wars mean to me and how many amazing women there actually are in Star Wars and although today was meant to be another review I thought I’d take the opportunity to list some of the best ladies that the Star Wars universe has to offer.
This one is probably an obvious one but Leia Organa is in my opinion one of, if not the best female character in Star Wars. She was involved in Politics from a young age like her biological mother and went on to become instrumental to the Rebel Alliance, she watched her home planet as it was destroyed but still remained fiesty and witty as ever even as she was being “rescued” after having been tortured. She learns the man who destroyed her planet and her adoptive family was her biological father but still offered comfort to her brother. The Princess becomes a Senator as well as a wife and a mother and then goes on to become the General of the Resistance, all the while remaining firm in her beliefs and loyal to her allies. Leia is smart, brave, a warrior and a diplomat.
Rey has a strong moral core, helping those she finds in need without question. Growing up alone on Jakku she learned how to survive and make the best of her situation. She is fierce, loyal and a fast learner, picking up fighting with a lightsaber and using the force relatively quickly. Rey is a fighter and fights for what she believes in and those she cares for. On top of all that she’s a pretty awesome pilot too!
A madalorian warrior who forged her own armor and became a bounty hunter when she decided the Imperial academy wasn’t for her. An expert with weapons of all kinds (but a certain knack for explosives!) Sabine is also one of the first known members of the Rebel Alliance.
As a loyalist leader Mon Mothma was one of the first people to openly oppose Palpatine and helped to forge the Rebel Alliance itself. When she becomes ill about six years before the events of “The Force awakens” and is unable to lead the Republic the Senate is thrown into disarray and unable to agree on anything.
After her mother was killed and her father kidnapped, Jyn was raised by a Resistance fighter, the leader of the Partisan’s, Saw Gerrera. Jyn became a child soldier for the Partisan’s but after she was abandoned she made her own way and eventually joined the Rebel Alliance to track down Saw who held vital information concerning the battlestation known as “The Death Star”. After retrieving the information Jyn and others formed the team “Rouge one” who sacrificed themselves to retrieve the Death Star plans revealing it’s weakness and leading to it’s ultimate destruction, thus making Jyn an especially important character in the the Star Wars universe.
The heart and Leader of the “Star Wars: Rebels” as well as the pilot of The Ghost, Hera is an Optimistic and fair leader. Trusting in her team and guiding them when they need it Hera fights along side Leia and Lando for the republic.
The Star Wars universe tells us that no one in unimportant and that is certainly the case with Rose Tico who gets an unfair amount of negativity. Rose is a true believer in the cause and even after losing her sister she still willingly gives up her only reminder of her to help accomplish her mission for the Resistance. She is smart and stronger than people give her credit for, she may not have a mask, a lightsaber or amazing fighting moves, she’s a ship maintenance worker and she has so much heart. Her line “That’s how we win. Not by fighting what we hate. Saving what we love” is one of my absolute favourites. Not to mention my hair totally sticks out just like hers!
Elected as the Queen of Naboo at just fourteen Padme served two terms as Queen and went on to hold a position as Naboo’s representative in the Galactic Senate. She was a leading member of the Loyalist committee whose goal was peace between the warring Republic and Confederacy of Independent Systems. Her views were often controversial among the senate but she stood by them through everything. She married a Jedi Knight in secret and when he turned to the dark side while she was carrying their children she travelled to a volatile volcanic planet to try and convince him to come back to the light. She may not be a big fighter in the traditional sense but she is determined and not afraid to do the hard thing.
Not all the amazing women of the Star Wars universe fight for the Rebels, the Resistance, the Republic or the Jedi order. Captain Phasma worked her way up from the sister of a primitive clan leader on a forgotten planet filled with dangers to the most recognisable and highly ranked stormtrooper in history. In charge of training the older recruits Phasma is completely merciless and will let absolutely nothing stand in her way, weather that be her brother or her superior. She is beyond strong and adept with many weapons with which she continuously trains. Her special armor was created especially by her from the wreckage of a Naboo yacht that had once belonged to Sheev Palpatine (more commonly known as Darth Sidious, the Emperor) she pried the chromium off the ship herself.
Iden served the military of the Galactic Empire, was a TIE pilot in the Starfighter Corps, was one of the only survivors of the destruction of the first Death Star (among those, Vader himself) and was named Commander of an elite task force called “Inferno Squad.” She is immensely well trained and disciplined, although she can appear quite intense Iden can also be compassionate towards civilians and friendly, yet professional with members of her team.
I know there are still many more I haven’t mentioned here and Ashoka Tano, Amilyn Holdo, Aurra Sing, Kor Sella and Aayla Secura all get honorable mentions but this post needs to have an end point somewhere even though it’s been so much fun to write. I’ve loved remembering all these great characters and why I love the Star Wars universe so very much. I hope anyone out there who still thinks Star Wars is only for boys will take a look at all of these awesome ladies on this list and think again.
Edit: I also realise there are a ton of awesome ladies in the now non canon legends universe too but it was hard enough to narrow down the cannon candidates, let alone if I included the ladies from Legends as well. Plus Mara Jade would probably kick their butts anyway.