This review of Star Wars: Victory’s Price: An Alphabet Squadron Novel by Alexander Freed may contain minor spoilers.
The final book in the Alphabet Squadron trilogy was released this week. Victory’s Price by Alexander Freed brings to a close the story of a disparate group of pilots, known collectively as Alphabet Squadron, fighting the remnants of the Empire in the days and months following the Rebellion’s victory at Endor. In Victory’s Price, Wyl Lark graces the cover and takes center stage, just as Yrica Quell did in Alphabet Squadron, and Chass na Chadic did in Shadow Fall.
Although focus lands predominately on Wyl, the circumstances of the other characters don’t receive short shrift. Victory’s Price picks up not long after the events of Shadow Fall, and Yrica Quell has presumably deserted Alphabet Squadron for a return to the Empire and the 204th Shadow Wing, and to her mentor Soran Keize.
The circumstances surrounding Quell’s departure leave her former cohorts angry and confused. In particular Chass na Chadic and the enigmatic Kairos as they pursue Quell seeking revenge for her betrayal and participation in the Emperor’s deadly final order, Operation Cinder.
Wyl Lark is the new leader of Alphabet Squadron, but he’s increasingly disillusioned with the ongoing conflict. Wyl is weary of war and deeply homesick. He feels pulled in directions that would take him away from Alphabet. This eventually leads to conflict with Nath Tensent, and risks as Wyl tries to arrive at some resolution with Keize and Shadow Wing.
Under Soran Keize, and with Yrica Quell at his side, the 204th plays a game of cat and mouse across the galaxy with the New Republic forces led by General Hera Syndulla, as it deals judgement upon Imperial holdouts and continues with Operation Cinder.
Victory’s Price does not lack for adventure and thrilling action worthy of Star Wars, but it really shines in the quieter moments shared between the characters, people who have been through so much and bear the wounds. The relationships feel deeply personal and honest. Quell is still trying to find her place, and Kairos, her identity. Wyl longs for home, while Nath feels unease at being called a hero. Chass looks for understanding of herself, beyond the influence of the Children of the Empty Sun cult.
The final chapters are highly satisfying, and the conclusion is filled with forgiveness, mutual respect and admiration, and absolution of self and others. Each member of Alphabet Squadron has a fully developed arc. Writing these characters and imbuing them real emotion, courage, and complicated natures seems to be a special strength of author Alexander Freed.
The unabridged audiobook presentation of Victory’s Price is read by January LaVoy. She’s an effective narrator and keeps the pacing consistent with that set by the book. (Both book and audiobook were experienced for this review.) Overall, the quality of the audiobook is on par with the highest of standards. Select musical cues from the Star Wars films are used effectively, as well as some original music likely created for this production, accentuate the action and the interpersonal exchanges.
There’s always a bit of trepidation coming into the conclusion of a trilogy. Will the payoff be worth it? Will it resonate emotionally with the reader? Will it be satisfying? Yes is the answer to all these questions when applied to Victory’s Price. Outside of a quibble or two on the part of this reviewer, the conclusion of the Alphabet Squadron trilogy sits very well while leaving the reader with a desire to see more from these characters in the future. (Ahem, Kairos….)
Star Wars: Victory’s Price: An Alphabet Squadron Novel is available to order now from Amazon.
Thank you to Del Rey and Penguin Random House Audio for providing copies for review purposes.Powered by Sidelines