Moderators: YAK_Den, Staff

By Darth Delicious
Hi guys. This is my review of the new REPUBLIC COMMANDO novel, ORDER 66. It's not as in-depth as I usually like to get with my reviews, but I wanted to be careful to avoid any spoilers, because this book keeps you guessing right up until the end. I hope you enjoy.

Palpatine's issuance of the now infamous "Order 66" is one of the few subtle, understated moments in the over-the-top, in your face cgi-fests that were the Star Wars prequels. The noble Jedi, morally compromised into leading cloned warriors into a war to save a bloated, corrupt Republic, are suddenly betrayed by the very soldiers they lead into battle. It's one of only a handful of scenes in the prequels where Lucas achieves a sense of emotion, drama and tragedy.

It's also the shadow that has long hung over the characters of Karen Traviss' REPUBLIC COMMANDO series of books published by Del Rey. Throughout the series, Karen has spun a fascinating web of intrigue and suspense, as we gain a great deal of insight into what life is like for the rank and file that make up the Grand Army of the Republic. The REPUBLIC COMMANDO books, for those unfamiliar with the series, follows the exploits of Omega Squad, four clone commandos who lost the rest of their original squads and have been reorganized into a new unit. The series also involves Mandalorian training sergeants Kal Skirata and Walon Vau, as well as numerous Null ARC Troopers that serve as Intelligence units for the GAR. With three previous books in the series, the cast has grown exceedingly large, and may be a bit impenetrable for those who haven't read the previous novels.

ORDER 66 picks up where the previous book left off, and mostly deals with Kal Skirata's priority of making sure his commando "sons" have an opportunity to escape the war at some point and live normal lives, something that the Republic doesn't seemed too concerned in providing it's cloned, meat-droid army. Paramount to Skirata's goal is finding a way to stop the clone trooper's accelerated aging, a sub-plot that has wound it's way throughout the series. Kal and the small family of clones and outcasts he's accumulated throughout the series have found evidence that many things about Palpatine's war just don't add up, and suspect that the end of the war is near. Traviss does an exceptional job of making that the elephant in the room; we, the reader, know what's coming, and begin to worry that there may be no way out for the characters we've come to love.

This is one of the many areas Traviss shines as a writer. She doesn't necessarily feel the need to have a major plot twist in the story; you may know where she's taking you, but her ability to surprise you with how she gets you there is key. Often the revelations of the psychological motivations for her characters is much more satisfying surprise than simply pulling the rug out from under you with a cliched "The butler did it!" At one point I was sure I knew where she was taking me with one particular chapter; I was positive Jedi General Etain Tur-Murken was going to meet her end on Kashyyyk at the hands of Delta Squad; but again Traviss switched gears and the resolution was nothing like I expected, and ultimately, more satisfying to me as a reader.

ORDER 66 starts off a bit slow, but this is Traviss layering a masterpiece...the story builds slowly, and then comes to a boil so quickly you're left rather exhausted by the finale. It's also a fresh perspective on the events of the Clone Wars that by far surpasses anything we saw in the films. It gives you an idea of why some of the battles took place, and more importantly, the lives of the men who fought them. They may be clones, but Traviss infuses each with their own identity, dreams and personality that makes this a fascinating read. It's a potboiler that leaves you wanting more, and I hope we get it, because by the books end some characters are better off, but some are in a worse position than ever, and much like in real life, not everything is wrapped up in a neat and tidy bow. Here's hoping Karen is already hard at work on IMPERIAL COMMANDO, or whatever the next chapter might be called. All in all, this book, and the entire series, actually, gets my highest recommendation. It exceeded my every expectation, and believe me, after the earlier books in the series, the bar was set quite high. 9 out of 10.

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By YAK_Jayson
Nice review DD, I might actually pick it up on your recommendation. KT has the Clone psychology down pat I think and although we know the beginning an end of the overall Order 66 arc, she sure fills in those offscreen "gray areas" rather nicely.
By Darth Delicious
I agree, Jayson. Part of what makes this such a fascinating read is Traviss' attention to detail. I know she was a military correspondent for many years, so she's really able to apply that knowlege and make the day to day life of a soldier, even a cloned one in a galaxy far, far away, quite believable. You really feel for these guys...grown only to die, for a Republic that they have no stake in.

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By jedibyron
thanks for the review.... i'm really stoked for this entry.... i loved the other books so far, the last one got me so tied up that i actually wrote Traviss.... she was awesome enough to write back and give me a little background on her motives for portraying the clones the way she has and it just makes it all the more real for me...

i don't know if she was consulted by the CW writing team but her characterizations of the clones seem to have made it into canon to the point where we're seeing the same emotions and conflicts and individuality in the new series as we do in her works.
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By Arc_Trooper77
Thanks for the review, and taking into consideration not to reveal anything. This is a book I have to pick up in the next few days.. anyone know of the cheapest price? :?
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By Incom
Cool review, DD and I agree with you that the RC series is a terrific one to read. I for one like her writing and I'm glad she's the only one to write all of these books, instead of numerous writers pinching in.

She knows her Commandos and Mandos and succeeded quite well in fleshing out the various characters and giving the clones individuality.

When I read a RC novel, I just fly through it. Even in True Colors, with Delta, Omega, Ordo/Mereel all on different locations, she manages to not make you feel you're being flung from one end of the galaxy to the other.

I really felt for Fi in True Colors.

Speaking of True Colors, the last chapter begins with Order 65 :wink:

I'll most definitely pick up Order 66, because I'm really anxious to find out how Omega and the others will deal with that.
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By TB9153
i finally found this in paperback. Im really excited to read it. I loved hard contact. Was a little disappointed with triple zero, and just skipped over true colors (for the time being) for this one.
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By YAK_Chewie
This was the first (and only) Commando novel that I read. I finished it up about 2 weeks ago... I thought it was pretty well written, and gave a very interesting perspective on how clones react to Order 66. I'd give this a 9/10 as well, it's one of the best SW books I've read.

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By jedibyron
YAK_Chewie wrote:This was the first (and only) Commando novel that I read. I finished it up about 2 weeks ago... I thought it was pretty well written, and gave a very interesting perspective on how clones react to Order 66. I'd give this a 9/10 as well, it's one of the best SW books I've read.


Oh wow Chewie you should really read the preceding books in this series... the end will mean that much more for you if you do.
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By Michael
I haven't read any of these yet, however I am looking forward to picking some of these up and reading them, I am on a whole Clone Wars kick at the moment, so I wouldn't mind reading these, and a great review well done, it has fired me up to seriously track these books down and add them to my collection.
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