AN: Republic Commando: Triple Zero

Where does slavery end and living begin?

Cover Art By: Greg Knight
Written By: Karen Traviss

“It was electric. It had never happened before, and it would probably never happen again. And they went hunting. – Kal Skirata

I recently took a long sabbatical from the world of Star Wars. I’m confident that Karen Traviss has benefited the most from my time away from Star Wars. I didn’t dislike Miss Traviss’ work prior to my sabbatical, but I did find myself greatly at odds with the way she went about implementing her worldview into her books. Some of that still remains, and I will get to that later, but for the most part I find myself enjoying Miss Traviss’ novels much more the second time around.

The characters are the key to Republic Commando: Triple Zero. Miss Traviss takes the clone troopers and gives them their own distinct personality. She explores the contradictions of their existence, the reality of their slavery, and the way that other characters react around them. By the time I was done with Republic Commando: Triple Zero I felt like I had formed a deep connection with Darman, Ordo, Etain Tur-Mukan, Kal Skirata, Bardan Jusik, and the rest of their merry band of soldiers. The world they were in felt fully realized and the reason for that I believe was because of how fleshed out the characters were.

Another important element in making Republic Commando: Triple Zero such a page turner was the action prose of Miss Traviss. She somehow managed to take very boring logistics meetings and lots of tedious military double talk and make it very interesting. There were no real still moments in Republic Commando: Triple Zero, even the aforementioned logistics meetings had an air of tension about them. The tension and suspense mounts and mounts until it reaches a palpable level, and then it breaks and just like the characters the reader is finally allowed to exhale.

There were some problems in Republic Commando: Triple Zero. The easiest and most obvious one being the inclusion of the shape-shifting Jinart. There was no logical reason for her to be in Republic Commando: Triple Zero. She serves no purpose to the story being told in Republic Commando: Triple Zero, in fact the only reason I can deduce for her being in the novel is for an easy out to the pregnancy plot line and the fact that she is a Karen Traviss creation.

Then there is the issue of Miss Traviss’ anti-Jedi sentiment. Like usual I agree with her take on the Jedi. I cheered when Ordo told Etain that he felt sorry for her because she had parents and they gave her to strangers. I loved seeing Bardan function perfectly well as a Jedi while forming attachments and being reckless. I was especially fond of the way that Miss Traviss tackled the inherent flaw in the idea of a light and a dark side as it pertains to good and evil.

Yet, I still had problems with the way Miss Traviss went about exploring her anti-Jedi sentiments. She piles on the Jedi so much, and in contrast glorifies the Mandalorians so much, that her points are ultimately diluted. A telling scene is the pregnancy confrontation between Kal and Etain where Etain is taken to task for being a Jedi despite not having done anything wrong or even anything inherently Jedi-like. There weren’t a lot of those moments in Republic Commando: Triple Zero, but they were present and I did have issues with them when they popped up.

Though there were a few blemishes they did not take away from the great experience that I had reading Republic Commando: Triple Zero. The action is intense, the quieter moments are just as intense, if not more. The characters are real and fleshed out, and they give Miss Traviss’ novel a level of camaraderie that I haven’t found in many other Star Wars works. Republic Commando: Triple Zero is another great entry in the Republic Commando series, one that every Star Wars fan needs to go ahead and recee.

Rating:

B+

Cheers,
Bill

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