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Reviews of Hard Contact (Star Wars: Republic Commando) (2004)

Review by sTalking_Goat (2005-04-08)
I'm an ex-Star Wars fan. This is mostly, but not totally, the fault of one movie and one book I had the misfortune fortune of reading and seeing the same week. The movie was of course Episode I: The Phantom Menace and the book was Vector Prime. These are two of the worst things to happen to the Star Wars Universe since Greedo shooting first.

I mention this so you understand the abject boredom that would cause me to read this book (I got it free). Suprisingly though Hard Contact is far above anything to come out of the Star Wars Universe since probably The Thrawn trilogy.
Traviss manages to do a number of things with The Clone Wars that were sorely lacking in the movie.

First was the almost complete lack of gimmicks and "stunt casting". The book feels like Old School Star Wars, before all the name dropping and unbelievable coincidences. The charcters are all non-entities in the greater scheme of the Universe which is refreshing because there are still suprises left. Its not like when someone puts Yoda or Anakin into a book and you know instantly that they're going emerge without a scratch. There's actually something at stake here.

Secondly Traviss manages to make whole interesting characters. No one is infallible and even the hereos commit some morally questionable acts. Traviss writes an actual war. People die, people mourn, things don't always go as planned. And someone finally questions the morality of using the Clone Army. One of my biggest peeves (and I have many) with Attack of the Clones was how easy it was for the Jedi Council to send an army of essentionally conscripted soldiers off to die. I mean here you have millions of men mass produced to kill and die and not much else and yet the Jedi council doesn't bat an eyelid at sending them off to fight their war. Seems like straying down the path to the darkside to me. Traviss gets inside the Clone Commandos heads and we get to see them grow and develop a bit. I appreciated that.

While it not Starship Troopers, or Armor by any respects, is probably as close as Star Wars will get, at least while Mad King George is till running things. Good read.





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