Originally published on Set The Tape
The second game in the new Star Wars Battlefront series introduced audiences to Inferno Squad, an elite special ops unit within the Empire, and it’s leader Iden Version. The accompanying novel, Star Wars Battlefront 2: Inferno Squad explores the events before the story of the game, showing the formation of Inferno Squad, their first few missions, and their deep cover operation to destroy what’s left of Saw Gerrera’s partisans.
The characters of Inferno squad are written well here, with each one easily distinguishable from the other in their personality and traits, whilst also falling quite nicely in line with where they will end up during the story of the game. During the events of the book Iden is firmly loyal to the Empire, believing wholeheartedly in the institution that she was raised in, however, by the end of the book you can begin to see some of the cracks in her beliefs forming, cracks that will eventually lead to her and Del Meeko defecting to the Rebel Alliance.
Del himself is probably the most enjoyable and engaging member of Inferno squad during the events of the book. Despite being the eldest member of the squad he seems to have a sense of childlike wonder, happiness, and warmth that is lacking in many of the others. Perhaps this is because he remembers a time before the Empire, even if he was a young child, perhaps it’s just because his personality is so different from the others, but he’s one of the only characters that we get a sense doesn’t always like what he’s doing. It’s clear, even this early in the characters story, that he’s not meant to be part of the empire, that his heart is too good to be one of them.
The one character from Inferno Squad that remains loyal to the Empire, Gideon Hask, is sadly one of the least developed here. Whilst we do see his longstanding friendship with Iden, and the sense of rivalry he has with her, this could have been something that was explored further. As it is, he’s only a little more developed that we see him during the events of the game.
The book did surprise me by adding a fourth member of Inferno Squad, Seyn Marana, a character that was totally absent from the game. Unfortunately, her not appearing in the game meant that it became rather obvious that something was going to happen to the character before the conclusion of the book. Whilst her death was obvious for these reasons it was still a shocking moment, one that had more impact than I was expecting.
Whilst the previous Battlefront book had a galaxy hopping adventure on a grand scale, the Inferno Squad story tells a much smaller tale, one that focuses more on characters than action. Inferno Squad are charged with infiltrating and destroying the last of Saw Gerrera’s partisans, and to find how they are receiving their intelligence. Instead of gun fights and battles most of the story takes place within the confines of the partisan base, where Infernob Squad and the reader are left to learn about the members of the group and to try and figure out who might be the Imperial leak.
Whilst this does lead to a slower read than some of the other Star Wars books, it does allow Inferno Squad a chance to show what they are like as people rather than soldiers, how they interact with others, what they think and feel about their missions, and the effects that this has upon them once they have destroyed the rebel group.
Star Wars Battlefront 2: Inferno Squad is not the book that I was expecting, ending up being a lot slower and smaller in scale than I thought it would be. Despite this, it still manages to explore the back stories of the characters of the game, as well as laying the foundations for the eventual defection of both Iden and Del. With some surprise connections to past Star Wars stories and the return of some unexpected characters, the book also manages to tie into the Star Wars universe in more than the expected ways.
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