Breakout Squad by Ryder Windham

Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Secret Missions #1

Breakout Squad

Author Ryder Windham has written over fifty Star Wars books, and yet none of them are adult Star Wars novels. The question is: what are you missing out on? With Breakout Squad, you get a story that fits perfectly with the tone of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars television show. The book is only a 157 pages long, so there’s that short, episodic feel to the adventure. The story revolves around a squad of clone troopers and a young Jedi padawan on a Separatist planet. However the real fun is that the Jedi padawan is a Chiss who is mysteriously being intertwined in a plot concocted by Darth Sidious that also involves the bounty hunter Cad Bane. You get a story that’s one part “Rookies”, one part “Hostage Crisis” and one part expanded universe. The end result is a kid’s book that’s a lot of fun.

The story starts off on airless moon near the Kaliida Nebula as clone troopers scour the wreckage of the Malevolence. They’re looking for clues on who helped the Separatists build the ship, and those clues lead them to a planet called Kynachi. It’s a very interesting way to start the story as it ties in with the Malevolence arc from TCW, and introduces readers to the clone troopers in a way vaguely familiar to Karen Traviss’ EU novels. Ryder Windham gives the clone troopers names, he establishes attributes and personalities to them, and sets things off with a cast readers can work with even though they’re all clones of one another.

Joining the clones are two Jedi, a master and a padawan. The Jedi master is Ring-Sol Ambase, a native of Kynachi. The padawa is Nuru Kungurama, the blue-skinned, red-eyed boy pictured on the cover: a Chiss. Master Ambase doesn’t get too much page time, but Nuru does. Later in the story, he works with a squad of clone troopers as they explore the planet Kynachi and the mystery of the Separatist presence there.

Adding some spice to the story is Darth Sidious and Cad Bane. Cad Bane’s part is more prominent, but Sidious/Palpatine has some interesting scenes along with a little Count Dooku as well. But getting to see Cad Bane in book form was a fun surprise as this is something the adult novels have yet to touch on. The enigmatic, gunslinging, Duro’s bounty hunter is a great character and it’s a shame he hasn’t had his own book yet. Thus this story is a bit a treat as we get to see of him in action. Tossing in Sidious and Dooku just adds to the fun and Ryder does a good job with all of them.

Now this is a kid’s story, and it is very much in the same vein as the episodes of TCW. Some of the elements are much more kid oriented, some elements are more adult oriented. The two sides even out with a story both kids and adults can enjoy. If you like clone troopers, Chiss or Cad Bane, then this is a story you’ll want to check out as it’s hard to get enough of those three. Since this is a kid’s story, though, I’ll break out the special baby nexu rating and give this one a four out of five Anji’s.

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Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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