Christie Golden’s Inferno Squad gets back to the basics of Star Wars literature. No decade long slog examining every second breath the main character took. No cast of twenty colourful characters. Just a newly formed team of elite soldiers and their mission: infiltrate a cadre of Saw Gerrera’s former band if terrorists . So does the novel succeed in setting up the main cast of the upcoming Battlefront 2 game? And does it incorporate this set-up into a satisfying story?
Long story short: yes. Inferno Squad isn’t just a good book, it’s a great one. This is mostly due to Golden’s stellar work setting up the new characters. Iden, Gideon, Del and Seyn are all layered personas with strengths and flaws like the rest of us. At the same time though, the book never makes us forget that they are terrible people. It’s fascinating to witness a character get the same information as the reader and draw a logical conclusion from it… that’s completely horrible and wrong.
Against better judgment though, by the end of the book you get a certain attachment to these zealots. It helps in this respect that their opponents are perhaps even worse people than they are. Everyone we meet plays fast and loose with their end-justifies-the-means mantra. Still, Golden manages to plant the tiniest seed of likeability in everyone, so it’s still tense when the proverbial bantha poodoo hits the fan.
And hit the fan it does. Inferno Squad is filled to the brim with surprising events and unclear allegiances. A particular happening near the end of the book forced me to walk away for a bit. At the same time, I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know what happens next. (Side note: I finished this book within eight hours of getting it. This is not a boast, it’s a testament to how hard Inferno Squad grabbed me.)
Is it all perfect then? Well, no. For all its twists and turns, none of them are all that surprising. This is partly due to them being well (if un-subtly) set up. But the story never takes us anywhere we never expected to go. The resolution of the story also seems a bit easy. It’s like the book told the bits of story it wanted to tell, and everything after its major heartbreaking moments is a rushed clean-up job.
Overall, Inferno Squad the book is the exact opposite of Inferno Squad the people. The characters are evil, methodical, and the ends justify their means. Whereas the novel brings no-holds-barred joy, and the journey is more important than the end result. If you like Star Wars literature and don’t mind a despicable protagonist, Battlefront II: Inferno Squad is the book for you. I know it’s definitely the book for me!
Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden is available now from a retailer near you. It’s available in hardcover and ebook formats, or as an audiobook read by Battlefront II star Janina Gavankar.