Aug 1, 2020

Billy's Books 37: Star Wars: Shadow Fall

Here's yet another Star Wars novel, the second in the Alphabet Squadron series, Shadow Fall. Alphabet Squadron is a New Republic fighter squadron; their boogeyman is the Shadow Wing, the Empire's hot-shot fighter squadron. This book is primarily about the "good guys'" attempt to take down the Shadow Wing. Plus, you know, a lot of politics and personal feelings and stuff.

This book shows both sides' perspectives, demonstrating that in the thick of war, there are no clear "good guys" and "bad guys". One of the pilots, Chass, who just lost her beloved music collection when her ship was destroyed, gets stranded in enemy territory. In an attempt both to lay low and possibly recruit people to fight the Empire, she joins a cult under an assumed name, Maya Hallik:

She got to pick out her meals before the faithless refugees but after the four hundred cultists who'd joined up earlier than Maya; and she was welcome to sleep indoors when the ash-sleet came down.
Chass wasn't sure if the ash-sleet had just been "sleet" before the New Republic's liberation of Catadra. She chose not to ask.
In return for the privilges of being a junior cultist, Maya Hallik was expected to join the prayer songs at dawn. (She found she recognized the melodies from songs in her lost collection, but the lyrics had been changed from paeons of ancient civilizations to pabulum about community and fellowship; each morning, she grew stiff with outrage yet nearly wept at the songs' beauty.)"

She also heard the cult leader's message:

"There's no use in distress over the return of the Empire to Catadra. One oppressor is the same as another... The New Republic differs in its words, not its deeds... Imperial soldiers openly disdained nonhumans, and the ruling class did little to intervene. But how often have we heard the New Republic chancellor talk about ending xenophobia while handing out medals to all-human death squads? We've met the New Republic's troops, and it is still the humans who outnumber the rest."

A bit of circular logic there at the end, but compelling nonetheless.