Imperial Commando: 501st

October 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

501Imperial Commando: 501st by Karen Traviss

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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.

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