By Ioana Balas
Shadow Fall is the second and latest installment in Alexander Freed’s Alphabet Squadron trilogy, serving as a sequel to the first book and continuing the story about Alphabet Squadron and their search for Shadow Wing.
For a bit of backstory, I should remind you that Alphabet Squadron was formed after the Battle of Endor, by Agent Caern Adan, led by Yrica Quell. The team is unique in its own way, every pilot having a different class of starfighters, that being a great strategy for a small team searching for the Imperial Shadow Wing.
We do catch a glimpse of one of the starships in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and I’m more than sure we will see more of those characters in the upcoming Electronic Arts video game Star Wars: Squadrons, so by the time of the release of Shadow Fall the author probably knew how important his characters would become.
Oh, and how important indeed! Reading Shadow Fall was a delight and I must admit I really took my time with it because I didn’t want it to end. I don’t know how the series will end so I can’t say that this is the Empire Strikes Back of the series yet, but in many ways, mostly structure-wise when it comes to story, it does have some Empire Strikes Back beats. This is one of the reasons the book is this good, but it’s not the only one.
Every character, every pilot, doesn’t matter how important they are, but they are massively fleshed out. Freed has enormous attention to detail and it shows in the best way.
Characters are quirky, even a torture droid(yes, you’ve read that correctly) and it’s also a great book for Hera Syndulla fans. You get A LOT more Hera here than in Alphabet Squadron. She and Adan prepare a risky trap for Shadow Wing, but of course that their enemy, Soran Keize, one of the last Imperial followers, doesn’t let them have it easy.
I’ve been asked a good question about this series. Someone who didn’t enjoy the X-Wing series from the Legends era asked me if this series is similar, and now I can say that it focuses way more on characters so it’s a totally different read.
Did I mention Hera Syndulla? Oh well, I’ll mention her again, because this General totally is someone to follow and I love so much what the author did with her in this series, especially in Shadow Fall. Oh, how I love my strong Star Wars women when they are written this good!
I also feel that this book could not appear at a better time. The New Republic internal organizing is a bit unstable and the ex-Imperials are still sometimes in denial over being the side that lost the war, like we’ve seen in previous books too (Aftermath comes to my mind) and it’s a chaotic time in Star Wars history, pretty much echoing our lives right now.
I only have one problem with this book, but I’m probably nitpicking at this point, or let’s face it, I can blame it on my memory. There are many characters, way too many, and them being in constant action sometimes made me come back to previous chapters to be sure I’m on the right track.
That’s why I recommend re-reading Alphabet Squadron before Shadow Fall, which I did. And I had a blast, so thank you mister Freed, I am eagerly waiting for the last book in this awesome trilogy. The book came out in hardcover and audiobook on June 23, so what are you waiting for, dear reader?