Mia's Reviews > Hard Contact

Hard Contact by Karen Traviss
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Apr 25, 11

bookshelves: tie-in, space-fantasy
Read on April 25, 2011

As a person who is not a huge fan of tie-in books and very picky about my Star Wars extended universe material I must say I was pleasantly surprised as how much of a fun and multi-layered read this was. Star Wars is a universe of Jedi Knights and Sith Lords... or at least that's what most of the material picks up on. And while some of it is pretty great, the concept does get a bit old after a while (especially in a literary medium, where you don't have the advantage of being distracted by great graphics and interesting visual details). Star Wars: Republic Commando - Hard Contact is a different focus. There are Jedi (particularly one affecting Jedi Padawan who is in way over her training), but the focus of the story is on a group of Republic Commandos, eventually Storm Troopers... basically Clones.

This isn't only a book focusing on the non-Force sensitive soldiers, but specifically the clones who seem to be considered by everyone but themselves barely a step above artificially intelligent droids. Traviss builds a fascinating world (though the technical jargon and Star Wars specific vowel usage, sometime is distracting, especially for a non-Star Wars geek I suspect), never quite delves where you would expect someone to go with clones. They are clones, and in such have a different way of viewing themselves and the world. There's also differences between each member of the squad (a group of well trained Republic Commandos, bred specifically for tricky missions, which general troops wouldn't be useful), made even more so by the fact that the Omega Squad is made up of RCs that are all the sole survivors of their previous squads.

The parallels between breeding clones and raising up young children as Jedi is explored in such a subtle way that I was really intrigued, rather than bored by an info dump. It helps that the entire squad is slightly unfamiliar with each other so the reader learns naturally the specifics of clone dynamics. There's also the added bonus of exploring Mandalorian culture as it applies to the clones and the few Mandalorians left.

This book is a really fun read and a breath of fresh air for a Star Wars fan. I'd say that it'd be an enjoyable tactician/war book for someone not a Star Wars fan, but many of the best details come from some knowledge of the universe so I probably wouldn't recommend it for someone who hasn't at least seen all six movies.
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