Inferno Squad

Inferno Squad is not your typical video game tie-in novel. It’s not crammed with action and it doesn’t play out like levels with boss fights at the end. Instead it focuses on characters, relationships and the thin line between the Empire and radical rebel groups like Saw Gerrara’s partisans. This story is the fire that forge’s Inferno Squad, but it’s not the battle many readers will be expecting.

The main character in the story is Iden Versio. She’s a true blood Imperial, a believer of the cause, and a by the book soldier. The novel quickly introduces us to her with the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the first Death Star. Shortly thereafter, her father, Admiral Versio, puts together Inferno Squad as a means to fight back against the Rebellion, but more importantly, the corruption in the Empire. This was an aspect I was not expecting. Rather than going on commando raids to take out key Rebel targets, Inferno Squad cleans up intelligence leaks and turncoats. Whether it’s a dirty moff threatening high ranking officers with damaging intel or a mole feeding information to a Rebel cell, Inferno Squad gets sent to take care of business. The side effect is that missions typically don’t require a lot of blaster fire.

After a couple missions, the book slows down and focuses on just one. The target is a group called the Dreamers, and they’re the cobbled together remnants of Saw Gerrera’s partisans. Unfortunately none of them are the characters from Rogue One. Instead, these are partisans that were off planet at the time. Inferno Squad’s mission is to infiltrate the group, identify how they are receiving classified Imperial information, and tie-up all the loose ends.

This mission drags on a bit, and if you’re not prepared for it, it’s a real slow burn. But it does have a pay off. Rather than action and suspenseful missions, it focuses on what happens when Imperials go undercover and are forced to bond with Rebel terrorists. On one hand, they find qualities that they like in these people. But burgeoning friendships are curbed by the reality that these people are radicalized killers devoted to their cause. The members of Inferno Squad have to walk that line between true friendship and staying focused on the mission. These people are the enemy. You can’t love the enemy…can you? But beyond that, it also causes the reader to raise questions with just who the people in the Empire are. By making Imperials the main characters, if forces the reader to view them as the heroes of the story. The thin line between the Empire and the partisans is further complicated by the different people on both sides. Some characters are more likable than others, and some are more bloodthirsty than others. Good and bad isn’t parsed out based on sides, but spread around for all to deal with.

The slower nature of the book hurts the story a little. It’s not your typical Star Wars adventure. But it is an interesting story if you give it the time to work. As relationships build up, the dynamics of the situation get volatile, and that’s where the suspense comes in. However, it is a long game and a story that requires a little patience and lots of character bonding. It took a while, but I enjoyed the story overall and I give it a four out of five metal bikinis. It’ll definitely help give you a better idea of who Iden Versio and her squad mates are heading into Star Wars Battlefront II.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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